The Trend is Your Friend, But Only With a Permit

BY  |  Thursday, Feb 03, 2011 4:30pm  |  COMMENTS (26)

I’m always looking for fun places to sit and write, so I was really looking forward to trying out Trend Coffee and Tea House, a new coffee shop being constructed in a former antiques shop at 411 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair. The building features two jutting bay windows, and the place looked all ready to go, with cute little clutches of chairs and tables already set up in the sunny window alcoves.

So I was surprised to go by about a week ago, my laptop all ready to be fired up, and see a bright red “Stop Construction Notice” in the window.

Turns out that Trend’s owners were getting a little ahead of themselves. “They were working without a permit,” says Robert McLoughlin, construction official for Montclair. “They fitted out the whole place without a permit.”

The big red card apparently did its job. McLoughlin says the owners have since applied for a permit and inspections should begin shortly. A call to the future cafe has not yet been returned but we’ll update you when it is.


  1. POSTED BY markus  |  February 03, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

    Montclair definitely needs an alternative to Cafe Eclectic, but one with a much better name than “Trend”.

  2. POSTED BY Hildy Fox  |  February 03, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

    Working without a permit? How shocking. We had already shelled out $200,000 on our house’s facelift before we even bothered to fill out the form. (Actually, my contractor filled it out.)

    I wish we’d get a coffee shop that prohibited so-called writers working with their laptops. It’s so irritating to walk into Starbucks and have to step over power cords. And those people spend two bucks and camp out all day long! When do they go to the bathroom?

  3. POSTED BY Richard N  |  February 03, 2011 @ 9:07 pm

    Let me get this straight. $200k on a house facelift, but felt no need to get a permit, need to point out that “your contractor” filled out the form. And you complain about writers? Hopefully your facelift will include a coffee machine so that you don’t need to shlep amongst the heathen.

  4. POSTED BY Erika Bleiberg  |  February 03, 2011 @ 9:08 pm

    Hildy, I take my laptop into the women’s room with me on the occasions I have to work in the coffee shop. Sometimes my internet server goes down and I have to seek out an alt wifi connection. Thank goodness for tea and coffee shops that invite people to come hang out and work.

  5. POSTED BY Hildy Fox  |  February 03, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

    Richard, dude, when you’re shelling out 100s of k at a time, you shouldn’t have to go filling out forms, do you think? By contrast these writers spend $1.61 and act like they’re major stockholders.

    Thanks for the intelligence, Erika. I didn’t realize they had alternative WiFi in the ladies’ room. Sounds kinky.

  6. POSTED BY bebopgun  |  February 03, 2011 @ 10:00 pm

    Come on Hildy, we have a bureaucracy to maintain. Your reward for upgrading your house is to pay higher taxes. No, you shouldn’t have to fill out a form to do that.

  7. POSTED BY DagT  |  February 03, 2011 @ 10:49 pm

    Erika do you realize the vision your created in my head – you – laptop – ladies room


  8. POSTED BY markus  |  February 03, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

    Hey, Trend
    Yours is the only stretch of sidewalk on the block that hasn’t been cleared of snow and ice.

  9. POSTED BY herbeverschmel  |  February 04, 2011 @ 7:37 am

    I believe there already is a Trend Boutique and Coffee Bar in Verona on Bloomfield Ave? Never thought a bad name would be so popular.

  10. POSTED BY Erika Bleiberg  |  February 04, 2011 @ 7:56 am

    Dag, Can’t help where your mind goes. Envision it if you really must, but 50% of laptops get stolen, according to the insurance agent who processed the claim when my family had one stolen from a public place. Just trying to hold onto my computer, so it comes with me everywhere when I’m working outside my office. If it comforts you to know that I don’t actually compute in the restroom, I’ll throw that in for good measure.

  11. POSTED BY Conan  |  February 04, 2011 @ 8:57 am

    I recently volunteered for the Beta test of a new device from MicroSoft/HP: it is a microchip imbedded in the nape of my neck that has all of the power of a modern laptop. Using the electric current generated by my thought processes, it performs various applications that allow me to write just about anything, anywhere, anytime, without being bound to a conventional hardwired or wi-fi device. The main problem is that output devices are hard to control: just the other day in Starbucks I was sizing up this very attractive person who was typing away on her laptop when all of a sudden my thoughts must have flashed on her screen. I had to leave quickly. Also, I now dream in Windows 11, which has a lot of bugs and doesn’t provide a really good sleep experience.

  12. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  February 04, 2011 @ 9:01 am

    Careful Conan or you’ll corrupt your LPT1 port.

  13. POSTED BY deadeye  |  February 04, 2011 @ 9:02 am

    Contractors routinely take care of the permit process; however, traditionally it’s done prior to work being done. What’s tough is to get them to give you an itemized estimate that’s anywhere near accurate. Seems like a lot of folks that move to town are ripe for the picking. First they get clipped by the builder’s, then the new tax bill arrives and they realize that they’ll be paying for the privilege of updating their home in perpetuity, then they become very attuned to the town’s budgeting process for some reason. Welcome to Montclair!

  14. POSTED BY huh_wha  |  February 04, 2011 @ 9:07 am

    Glad that this beautiful old house is being used again. It’s one of the last of the homes that must have lined Bloomfield Ave a century ago. I also loved the antique shop that had been there…the owner had a great eye for oddball antique curiosities (ok, insert joke here). New owners who don’t get a permit and don’t shovel that sidewalk, though? That ain’t promising.

  15. POSTED BY msasis  |  February 04, 2011 @ 9:44 am

    Deadeye…there is a company in town called Heritage Home Design. I just had some work done by them and they do give itemized estimates

  16. POSTED BY msasis  |  February 04, 2011 @ 10:39 am

    I meant to say accurate itemized estimates

  17. POSTED BY deadeye  |  February 04, 2011 @ 11:25 am

    That is good to know about Heritage. I had heard something good about them, and made a note to myself. A few years ago we were looking to build out our kitchen, and the experience was Kafaesque. A well known local outfit did an estimate that came out freakishly high. We were fresh off of having done some work on another property and had an architect an builder that were very meticulous and accounted for everything. So, when I asked the local fellow how he arrived at his figures he stared blankly back and said that he was never asked to itemize, and I’m just talking about major things things like framing out an addition, etc. We went through several configurations, adding and deleting some fairly significant things. When we added, the bill went up. When we deleted it never went down, he simply said that he would need to add in the cost of the deleted item to something else, no kidding. Apparently no shortage of folks around here are comfortable throwing away money, but I won’t do business that way.

  18. POSTED BY Hildy Fox  |  February 04, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

    What is the point of having piles of money, deadeye, if not to throw it away on a whim?

  19. POSTED BY deadeye  |  February 04, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

    True enough Hildy. I’ve got to remind myself to be more uninhibited, but something tells me that there was quite a bit of borrowed money being thrown around which was infinitely easier to treat whimsically. Now lots of people waking up with lampshades on their heads after the party ended. I paid WHAT???

  20. POSTED BY stu  |  February 04, 2011 @ 1:09 pm

    I’m currently collecting estimates for a new kitchen and bathroom for a home we just purchased in GR. The first contractor (from Vernon) spent an hour with me and came back for a second round of measurements with his dad, the doors and windows guy. The second contractor, (a Montclair/Glen Ridge specialist) took ten minutes and very few measurements. The third contractor (2 Italian craftsmen from Connecticut) who will sleep in the house while they do the work, are coming on Sunday morning to estimate. I would venture to bet that I will get three prices. The Italian guys will be 1/2 of what the local guys number will be. The Vernon guy will fall in between. All three do the same quality work. I have a feeling that the local guy just throws out a huge number and when some local sucker bites, he just reels in the line. Some speak of the infamous Montclair premium. I suppose the local guy is simply a smart business person.

  21. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  February 04, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

    (The “Montclair premium” does not compare to the UPPER Montclair premium. I often look for a contractor from Montclair so I’m not to be taken by an UPPER Montclair contractor.)

  22. POSTED BY bebopgun  |  February 04, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

    It makes sense to have a sliding scale. If piano teachers can do, why not contractors?

  23. POSTED BY Hildy Fox  |  February 04, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

    Bebop is right. Piano teachers often charge more for teaching the high notes than the low notes, though they often throw in the middle C for free.

  24. POSTED BY deadeye  |  February 04, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

    Stu, I think you’ve got it nailed. Also would bet you’re estimates come out exactly in the expected order. MTC/GR guy probably has a high target $$$ price/sq ft. and will throw out the big number. Smart way to approach it. Good luck!

  25. POSTED BY Jimmytown  |  February 04, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

    There’s a guy in Montclair who has a great team with decades local historian knowledge of Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, and Montclair. Chances are they knew the people who used to live in your home, or could tell you about what the neighborhood was like way back when. You hire them to put in a kitchen floor, and during their lunch breaks you will see them fixing hinges and doorbells that never end up on the bill. Company name is Brownie Works run by a guy named Norman Brown. Not bad for snow plowing either

  26. POSTED BY Spiro T. Quayle  |  February 04, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

    Let’s hear a loud hurrah for the earnest and needy dude with tools and a van looking to start his career by hanging a piece of neatly painted sheetrock immediately
    behind a rich banker’s $1,000 self-flushing toilet !

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And we can get this project completed in time for Montclair's sesquicentennial when we can stick a fork into historic preservation as a public policy.

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