Downtown Millburn Development Alliance Celebrates 25th Anniversary

The Downtown Millburn Development Alliance (DMDA) is proud to announce its 25th anniversary as the economic engine for downtown Millburn. Founded by the Township Committee in 1992 to enhance downtown’s appearance and vitality, the nonprofit plans events that attract thousands of residents and visitors annually.

DMDA’s first planned function was the Snowflake Parade in December 1992, and it has since grown to coordinate a variety of events annually including Millburn Live, the Sidewalk Sale, Farmer’s Market, Pre-School Trick or Treat and Girls Night Out. Events coming up this season include Shop Small Saturday on November 25th and the Snowflake Parade on December 3rd to ring in the holidays.

Today there are approximately 500 retail, office and commercial businesses located in downtown Millburn. National brands including Playa Bowls, Kung Fu Tea and Bluemercury are recent additions to Millburn’s downtown roster. Millburn Township has a population of over 20,000 people, with Downtown Millburn housing over 30 restaurants and more than 200 retailers.

“The DMDA has brought vibrancy to the community,” says John Murray, resident and founding board member of the DMDA. “The organization has helped veteran businesses boost revenues with events that increase foot traffic. Functions like Shop Small Saturday and the Farmers Market draw in people from around the state to shop and play in Millburn.”

“At Downtown Millburn we are always looking for ways to encourage the community to shop, dine and enjoy our downtown,” says executive director of the DMDA, Gillian Moritz. “This year, we launched Millburn Live—where we had live music, kid activities and sidewalks sales every weekend in June to bring the area to life and increase foot traffic for vendors.”

One of the biggest draws to downtown Millburn is the regionally renowned, historic Paper Mill Playhouse. With approximately 1,200 seats, the theater brings thousands of people to the town each year. Its proximity to Manhattan attracts award-winning performances and shows.

“The diversity of attractions and businesses in downtown Millburn is one of its strongest assets,” says Shayne Miller, director of press and public relations for the Paper Mill Playhouse. “Having a theater outside of New York City that has been recognized by the Tony Awards is just one unique aspect of our community.”

The DMDA helps merchants reach customers digitally using social media outlets including Facebook and Instagram to promote store openings, expanded hours and sales with engaging captions and captivating images. In addition, the DMDA launched a free state-of-the-art Close.By mobile app last year that makes it easy for customers to find information about downtown Millburn’s merchants, including details like parking information, hours and sales.

“At ArteVino Millburn, we are making use of all possible channels to create awareness of our ‘Sip and Paint’ classes and offerings. Close.By is a great tool to do this as it helps us remind people about upcoming events and promotions at our studio via push notifications and emails,” says Bahar Ozocak, owner of ArteVino.

“From the famous Paper Mill Playhouse to a walking downtown with more than 30 restaurants, Millburn is a lively community for locals in North Jersey,” says president of the DMDA, Vicky Powell. Powell has owned a family business called Shalas Boutique in the town for more than 30 years.

“All of us at the Downtown Millburn Development Alliance participate in the organization because we want to see Millburn thrive. We want a great community that will be economically viable and aesthetically beautiful for years to come. Most of us have lived in the area all of our lives so we do it for the love of our town,” continues Powell.

The DMDA is comprised of a staff of three employees directed by a fifteen-member, volunteer-run Board of Directors. The Board sets the overall policy of the organization, and consists of retail business owners, property owners, residents, and representatives of financial, professional and service businesses. A full list of DMDA members can be found here:

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