Jennifer Chaky, whose eco-friendly store Go Lightly opened on South Fullerton Ave. in 2008, started serving vegan ice cream last spring and then vegan lunches this past fall, is ready to hang up her apron. And she’s hoping that she can find another vegan entrepreneur to take her place — and take over her lease.
“I just need to not work six days a week,” says Chaky. “You know how it is when you just decide you’re done? I want to pass the baton. And I’d hate this to become something like a nail salon.”
Of course nail salon it might become. Chaky’s main interest is in getting someone to take over the lease, which ends next March. And she’s not planning to sell the business; she wants to continue as a vendor at fairs and fundraisers for pet causes. But her heart sinks when she thinks about the vegan following she’s built and her legacy not continuing.
Someone in fact walked into the store on Thursday interested in turning into an eyebrow place. “My first reaction was ‘Thank God somebody wants the lease,'” she said. “And my second reaction was, ‘Oh no!'”
Chaky opened about six months before the Wall Street meltdown, and has watched other nearby retailers, like Semplice and Color Story Home close up shop. She says there’s a pretty vibrant vegan community in Montclair — 390 in a Meetup group — but thinks a vegan restaurant would work better at night, when she’d rather be home with her daughter, Prairie, 13. “There’s only a short time to be a mom,” she says.