Wout Vanacker via Unsplash

Welcome to 2022 (soon!).

As we close out 2021, Montclair High School junior Catherine Carlson asked local residents: “What will you remember most about life in Montclair for 2021? What are your biggest hopes for our town in 2022?” And over and over again, the people Catherine approached returned to one theme: They’re grateful that in the pandemic, they’ve witnessed a strengthening of the community.

New Year’s Eve events in, around Montclair

Susanne Neckermann, owner of Get Dressed Montclair, said she’ll remember how thoughtful and kind customers were,” and how everyone in the town is really trying to help each other, and how generous people are.” (CATHERINE CARLSON/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)
Sylvia Abuissa, at Falafel Hut, said she’ll remember how “people just got super friendly and super helpful around the community.” For 2022, she hopes that continues. “I feel like ever since the pandemic — and yeah it was unfortunate — but I feel like everyone has become more of a family around here, and hopefully it stays like that,” she said. (CATHERINE CARLSON/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)
Jennifer Snyder, owner of the Little Daisy Bake Shop, said she’ll remember how people adapted and persevered throughout both 2020 and 2021. Customers were understanding about needing to wear masks, or a limit on two people in the store at once. The business and its customers stayed strong through curbside pickup and delivery. “Our customers just kept buying from us which was super supportive, and super great, even though it wasn’t in the same way,” she said. “I feel like I’ll just remember that people can adapt.” And her hopes for 2022? “My hope for Montclair is to get the parking situation under control. I know they’re working on it, but, you know, I wallpapered my bathroom with my parking tickets. I think that’s our biggest issue.” (CATHERINE CARLSON/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)
Jaimee Keys, outside the Little Daisy Bake Shop, said she learned “how supportive the Montclair community is, and how people would gather around a cause here.” She said she hopes people continue to advocate for causes they care about — “and hopefully we’ll see progress with covid safety, like getting more people vaccinated.” (CATHERINE CARLSON/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)
Brittney Abell, wine director at the Grape Collective, said that in 2021, she learned “everyone is a part of the community, and they all kind of band together to get through the hard times.” Often, she said, customers would come in and tell her, “So and so is doing kind of rough. I want to help.” And that, Abell said, “is what I think is so amazing about this small community.” “I really hope that we can all band together even more to get rid of COVID, because I think we are all up to here with it, and we’re ready to just live a little bit more normally,” she said. (CATHERINE CARLSON/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)
Amy South, owner of Moss & More, said she’ll remember “the sense of community and support from my customers, and patience and appreciation for what we have.” “My hope for 2022 is that we all have a freer ability to shop local and support stores,” she said. “Because of COVID there have been a lot of limitations in terms of lifestyle, hours and juggling kids, and I think that [if], hopefully, we can get our arms around all of this, people will be more free to shop local.” (CATHERINE CARLSON/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)
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