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Pet shop gives way to Hallmark store in Western Monmouth shopping center

By David P. Willis, Asbury Park Press,


MANALAPAN - A former pet store at Manalapan EpiCentre is now a Hallmark store.

Norman's Hallmark, the largest independent owner of Gold Crown Hallmark stores, has opened its latest "superstore" location at the shopping center on the southbound side of Route 9. The space, which is more than 5,500 square feet, was formerly a Pet Valu store.

Norman's sells Hallmark cards and ornaments as well as fashion and fashion accessories, books, stationary, games, home décor, specialty candy and gourmet food. Brands include Lenox, Yankee Candle, Life is Good, Willow Tree, Vera Bradley, Stonewall Kitchen and Corkcicle.

"We are pleased to bring one of our larger, full-format stores to the local community," said Howard Henschel, Norman's Hallmark president and chief executive officer. Manalapan EpiCentre is "a great place for us to be as we expand Norman's store portfolio in this market."

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Norman's now has five stores in Monmouth County with other locations in Howell, Freehold Township, Ocean, and West Long Branch. The company moved its store in Monmouth Mall to Consumer Centre in West Long Brach last August.

It joins other larger retailers at Manalapan EpiCentre, including Wegmans, Target, Homesense and PC Richard & Son.

"Norman's offers a great selection of gifts, and unique merchandise that will compliment the tenant mix at this premier center," said Danielle Brunelli, president and principal at R.J. Brunelli and Co., a commercial real estate brokerage in Old Bridge, who represented the landlord in the lease transaction.

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David P. Willis, an award-winning business writer, has covered business and consumer news at the Asbury Park Press for more than 20 years. He writes's What's Going There and Press on Your Side columns and can be reached at Join his What's Going There page on Facebook for updates.

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