BERNARDSVILLE – Raising awareness of the number of health and fitness related businesses located in the borough was one goal of the “Mayor’s Winter Wellness Crawl’’ on Sunday.
According to participants and organizers of the first-time event: Mission accomplished.
“A lot of people that were coming around were saying they didn’t even know that some of the businesses here were in town, so it was a great way for the businesses to get exposure,’’ said Jessica Walker of J. Walker Salon and Wellness. “A couple people here said it’s a great way to see the different organizations bringing the community together.’’
“It think we got a great turnout,’’ said Christine Zamarra, a member of the Borough Council. “We’ve got some new studios that opened in the past last year. It’s a great way for them to get some recognition, let people know they’re here, and have some fun.’’
The event started and ended in the Community Room of the Bernardsville Library, where some 14 vendors set up booths to introduce themselves to the community. Starting at 9 a.m., residents were able to browse and chat with the businesses to learn about their services, and also sign up for free classes held at the various business sites to sample their offerings later on.
In addition to businesses featuring fitness and exercise programs, others offered wellness services or healthy foods. Beauty salons and the Community in Crisis non-profit that helps those in substance abuse recovery were also on hand. All are based in Bernardsville.
“It’s not just about fitness,’’ Mayor Mary Jane Canose said. “It’s also about taking care of your mental health, you’re entire body, mind and spirit.’’
“We’re very glad to be here, thanks to the mayor,’’ said Andi Williams of Basking Ridge, executive director of Community In Crisis. “We’re here to help the community understand more about making healthy choices and the dangers of substance abuse in our community. There are many people out there who need help but are reluctant to come out and we’re working to change that.’’
“We’re here to support our community and offer some information to clients that have questions about the health of their hair and how to style their hair,’’ said LynnAnn Madden, owner of The Bernards Salon. “We’re very happy that this is happening. It’s been a very successful day and hopefully years to come, it gets more successful every year so we can share information with people of Bernardsville and surrounding areas.’’
“This event is great,’’ said Gabriel Eisner, manager of Kessler Rehabilitation, located in the new addition at the Bernardsville Centre mall. “I think this town is really involved in getting active. This typifies the wellness aspect of this area.’’
“It’s nice to be able to introduce ourselves,’’ added Laurel Shnider, a Bernardsville resident and physical therapist at Kessler. “Generally we’re here for everybody. Anybody can come in if they have questions about anything. I know the community is very involved with active life styles. Not a lot of people know exactly what physical therapy is about and what we can do. So it’s really nice to be able to educate everybody about it and market with different companies and work together to help people in the community.’’
Allison Rosenzweig, a certified personal trainer with City Gym at 139 Morristown Road, called the event “awesome.’’
“It gave us the opportunity to bring awareness to the community about wellness and the positive effect it has on our daily lives,’’ she said.
In town for about two years, City Gym is a fitness facility that offers small group training, personal training and fitness availability 24 hours a day.
Bernardsville resident Jennifer Morrison, the owner of MSBH Fitness & Wellness, brings fitness programs directly to clients’ homes.
“It’s an in-home personal training business,’’ she explained. “My main focus is to help people get healthy and fit and do it in the comfort of their own home. I come to you, I bring everything you need, so if you have small kids or you don’t have a baby sitter or you just don’t have time to get out and get it done, I bring you the work out and everything you need.’’
Morrison said everyone at the event “has been very supportive.’’
“It was very community centered today and got the word out of all the different, great things we have here in our community to get people healthy, fit and wellness,’’ she said.
“The wellness crawl is the brainchild of our great Mayor Mary Jane Canose,’’ said Olivia Manning, the head of Downtown Bernardsville, a non-profit, community development organization that helped organize the event. “She put everything together and I was thrilled to be able to help in any way that I could. A lot of the promotional aspects, the fliers around town, that kind of stuff, is our contribution.
“The turn out was incredible for a first-time event and one that’s so unique as this one,’’ she added. “We’re always thrilled to be a part of whatever can to help the businesses in town and get people to come to Bernardsville and experience the amazing things we have to offer, including the amazing people that are here doing all this wonderful stuff for our health, well being and beauty.’’
Canose said she hopes to make the crawl an annual event.
“I think we had a wonderful response,’’ she said. “I’ve been talking to each of the vendors here and they’re really excited about the kind of dialogue they’ve got going, people are asking questions.
“People would say, ‘Gee I didn’t know these businesses were in town.’ People sometimes don’t notice the smaller clubs, and don’t know what’s available. Sometimes walking into a club can be intimidating, they don’t know what to expect, so this is a nice way for people to feel comfortable, to take a class.’’
About 50 residents were signed up for the program by 11 a.m. A drawing for free gifts and services was held at the conclusion of the event.
Participants included: The Bernards Salon, The Bar Method, City Gym, Cycle Bar Bernardsville, Fresh Press Juice Co., J. Walker Salon and Wellness, Lisa With Heart, MSBH Fitness & Wellness, Ride and Reflect, Somerset Hills Chiropractic, Kessler Rehabilitation, Shop Rite, Community In Crisis and Downtown Bernardsville.