Take Back Your Town

People and places change over the years. It is part of life. Whether it be loss of hearing or changes that affect the livelihood of others, how we overcome those challenges can become life-defining moments.

For business owners in Millburn, those challenges began in July, when the township started a downtown improvement project that meant closing portions of Millburn Avenue and Main Street while they were milled, sidewalks were demolished and traffic lights and utilities were installed. That means that what had once been a thriving business community has spent much of the past year fighting for customers, who now had a difficult time parking, walking and getting around. In some cases, customers can’t even tell if a given business is open.

“We’ve been through a pretty tough time,” said Christian Kubick, owner of Kubick and Kubick Hearing Aids, located on Millburn Avenue. “They’ve torn our sidewalks down, closed both sidewalks at the same time, so a lot of the shops are either going out of business or struggling. A lot of money is being put into the town, but at the same time I see a lot of small businesses and a ton of customers expressing disappointment in the way it’s been done.”

According to the Millburn Township website, the Complete Streets Initiative includes a variety of engineering improvements meant to create safer pedestrian conditions, improve traffic flow, calm traffic at other areas and improve the efficiency, functionality and vibrancy of downtown Millburn. But business owners say the process may be threatening their livelihood.

That’s why Kubick and other business owners are trying to “take back the town” with a promotional campaign designed to get people back to Millburn.

“It’s a timely message,” he said. “We want to do a message of strength and we’re going to be making a TV commercial, where we film in the Millburn Deli, the Papermill Playhouse, Basilico, which is a top restaurant in the area. We want to get customers and shop owners to bond together and realize how important it is to support the town and get it to function the way it did before.”

Kubick is familiar with helping others take back something that was lost.

For more than 70 years, Kubick and Kubick Hearing Aid Center has been helping people regain a significant portion of their lives by providing them with ways to improve their hearing. He knows that those who can’t hear properly have a difficult time enjoying the sights and sounds of the area, including world-class shows at the Papermill Playhouse and the lively conversation at the Millburn Deli or over dinner at the Basilico or another downtown eatery.

“Many of our patients are in their 60s and they get what’s wonderful about having a small town, but they’re often not able to enjoy it if they can’t communicate,” Kubick said. “It’s loud in a deli, there’s a lot of excitement and action going on. People may avoid the Papermill because they can’t hear it. We want people to get out there and seize every moment they can. We want to maximize their hearing so they can enjoy the finest restaurants, going to the deli, going to the Papermill Playhouse and watching a great performance.”

Serving Millburn and the surrounding areas, Kubick and Kubick opened in 1940.

Through the years, it has developed a reputation for providing the best in hearing aids and hearing-loss products. But what it also offers is something larger, faceless competitors can’t: A friendly, familiar atmosphere that treats every customer like they are part of a larger community.

“We listen to them. It’s as simple as that,” Kubick said. “We sit down and listen to their concerns. They have a unique hearing loss or they have a unique lifestyle, so we listen to their particular needs and try to find a solution, and then, it’s not just a handshake and a goodbye, it’s an ongoing relationship. We fit people with a device that’s going to help them hear better, but we’re also there every single day, every single week and every single month of the year to make sure they’re still going to be hearing.”

That familiarity also helps customers work to overcome the stigma of having a hearing aid. Today’s devices are smaller and work better than ever before and they can fit every lifestyle.

“The stigma is change. People hate change, but once they have it, they’re going to hear a lot more,” Kubick said. “If you have grandchildren or a spouse, and you can’t hear them, you can’t talk to them. A hearing aid is as much a gift to them as it is to you. They want to hear what you have to say.”

Kubick and Kubick Inc. is located at 393 Millburn Ave.. Call them at (973) 309-7294 or visit www.kubickandkubick.com.