It’s described as a four-story mall. A place for family, strangers, young and old to connect over food, music and fun. Plans and construction are in the final stages for Mondo Summit at 426 Springfield Ave.
“The content of this project is a culmination of 25 years of passions for me,” said Annette Dwyer, a longtime community advocate who leads .
Two years ago, when she was contemplating her return to the job market she said she noticed more than a few vacant storefronts in Summit and wanted to do something about it. Along with her husband Terry, she decided to take her passion for building community and blend it with her sense of entrepreneurship. A big plus was turning a vacant storefront into a place filled with fun and music.
And Dwyer has gotten some major help along the way. “We did not enter into this as a folly,” she said about the work she and her husband have done in acquiring the property. “The concept was well-thought out. We were counseled by the NJ Small Business Development Center,” said Dwyer. Her project, called MONDO also received backing from the for help reconstructing the 1917 brick building.
“We are eager to open MONDO Summit sometime this Spring,” she said. The project already has accolades and has been recognized with a 2011 NJ Small Business Success Award.
To make sure it's a rocking opening when she is ready to throw the doors open on MONDO Dwyer has a commitment for a school of rock type of business to open on the ground floor. The music school will be headed by Paul Fessock, a teacher for the past 12 years at . Fessock is a part-time guitar teacher and member of a local band called Amp'd. He says he was contacted by Dwyer one day about the project, which is expected to house 16 small-business entrepreneurs, and jumped at the chance to take part, mostly because of Dwyer's community passion.
“She loves Summit,” Fessock said. "She wants to create a cool place where people can go, especially the kids,” he said. “She calls me the Pied Piper.” Fessock's school, World of Rock, will offer children's music lessons and strive to create an atmosphere where adults and kids alike can come over and jam. It's the beginnings of the social space that Dwyer imagines.
For more on the upcoming opening of MONDO, check out their website: www.mondosummit.com .