RUMSON — Looking for a way to overcome an obstacle for their customers, a business owner on the Rumson side of the Navesink River has established a partnership with one on the Middletown side.
Rumson Market Place, 122 East River Road, like a number of area businesses, had been looking at ways to address the challenge posed by the lengthy closing of the Oceanic Bridge.
With the Oceanic Bridge closed for repairs until Memorial Day, Rumson Market and the Lusty Lobster in Highlands decided to add an extra level of customer service by allowing Lusty Lobster customers to pick up their orders at Rumson Market.
“It’s a nice thing to be working together,” said Lusty Lobster owner Doug Douty.
“It’s been working out great so far,” added Jimmy Nelson, butcher for Rumson Market Place.
According to the businessmen, the idea originated with Bill Alcaro, a previous owner of the Rumson market. “It was his idea to cross market,” Douty said. “And with the bridge closing it was a perfect idea.”
The aging and dilapidated Oceanic Bridge, a drawbridge spanning the Navesink River, connecting the Rumson peninsula and the Locust section of Middletown and the Bayshore area bordering Highway 36, was closed on Oct. 17 for necessary repairs.
With its closing, drivers are forced to take extended detours to circumnavigate the river, having to travel through Sea Bright on to Highlands, Atlantic Highlands and on to Middletown; or they have to travel west on River Road, through Red Bank and on to Highway 35.
And that has been of concern to area businesses, which say this inconvenience has taken a toll on their bottom line, as customers are just forsaking their usual stops on the other side of the river.
“It’s a real hassle and it takes a lot of extra time and people just don’t have it,” Nelson said. “So right now we’re not seeing too many of those people.”
A little less than 10 percent of his customers come from the Middletown side of the river, as it is really the closest grocery store in the area, Nelson explained.
Douty’s has many customers in the Rumson and Fair Haven area who would normally travel to Highlands to buy seafood for their holiday get-togethers. He believes he may have lost some business because of the bridge situation.
Now customers can contact Lusty Lobster and Douty would arrange to have it delivered to Rumson Market Place for pickup, which the two businesses see as a win-win for them and customers.
“Of course, it complements us because of our meats and other items,” and bringing those customers into the shop, Nelson said.
“I think it’s a nice thing that Jimmy does for this customers and I think it’s a nice thing we do for our customers,” Douty said.
“I just think it’s really nice that two businesses can work together and help one another,” Douty added.