Holmdel resident Peter Pessutti is a Bell Works regular. You’ll find him at Honeybell Bakery for coffee every Tuesday. And at the Holmdel Library & Learning Center checking out a couple of books. He might even do some laps with his wife Cheri, whom you may have seen getting her steps in for the day by walking the atrium.
“It’s such a great addition to the whole community, bringing this downtown concept, which Holmdel never had, bringing it to life,” Peter added. “The shops, the restaurants, the library, it’s just a fantastic resource for the community.”
The serendipity of a city under one roof
Peter and Cheri love the food and the library and the downtown feel, and of course the quarter mile length of The Block for getting in daily exercise – no matter the weather.
Husband and wife Wally and Nancy Memmer agree. Wally is no stranger to the building. He worked as a software engineer for Bell Labs over 30 years ago, and worked in the Bell Labs Holmdel location for three months. Less than a year ago, he retired from his job as a professor at Brookdale Community College down the road.
“When he retired, I told him he needs not to sit. So we come to Bell Works six days a week to get our exercise,” Nancy said. She’s been coming to the metroburb to take walks every day since the Holmdel Library & Learning Center opened. “It’s fun to watch the building grow and see everything happening around here. We hope to see it continue. And we even want to start a #walkinspired club!” Wally said.
Just ask Mari Nuval manager of Bell Market.
“The great thing about being here is really getting to know the people who come to work here in the building and also the people in the area,” said Mari, from behind the counter at Honeybell Bakery, where she frequently calls out a friendly “Hello!” to Bell Market customers.
“We started as a pop-up, over in the space where the Microsoft shop is now, and we didn’t know if we’d be there one, maybe two months. It ended up being nine months. We didn’t have a system for ordering, so we all learned everyone’s names quickly. It’s been great, we’ve been here so long we’ve seen their kids grow up.”
The Block Comes to Life
The Block at Bell Works, the name for the retail promenade here, started with the Bell Market food hall and recently added more food options: Estrella Azul, a Mexican restaurant, Mezza Luna, an Italian restaurant, and The Hummus & Pita Co. Holmdel Florist, OceanFirst Bank and Alchemist Jewelers recently joined the Bell Works community, too. And it is also home to the Holmdel Library & Learning Center and the Holmdel Montessori school. These businesses are the foundation that the community is built on, but a community can’t just be built by businesses moving into a space, a community has to be fostered, created by the people who comprise it.
And Bell Works is a community that Alexis Coccio, recent Johnson & Wales University Graduate and pastry cook for Honeybell Bakery, is proud to be a part of as well. She happily starts work at 4 a.m. to bring freshly baked pastries and desserts to her loyal customers.
“It’s a great opportunity for someone like me, right out of school,” said Alexis, “to get to work with the great chefs on staff here.”
Some of those people stopping by for breakfast used to work in this space when it was Bell Labs. And according to Mari, they all have great stories to tell— like reminiscing about a long-ago geese invasion of the front pond—and are so happy to be back in the building again.
“I’ve been so lucky to be able to watch, first hand, the evolution of Bell Works. It’s not just the physical space, it’s how the people are coming together to create this community,” said Mari. “It’s not just an office building, it’s a warm, open space. It really is like a home away from home.”
“It’s a great addition to the town,’ said Peter. “And I can’t wait to see what’s next.”
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