Carly Meyer, president of the Princeton Merchants Association.

By Carly Meyer

Have you ever wondered who makes Princeton a unique place to live, work, dine and shop?

We are 90 businesses you recognize and frequently visit. We are the owners, the executive directors, the managers, the employees and familiar faces you see in downtown Princeton. Our mission is to maintain, sustain, preserve and grow our community. Born out of passion for entrepreneurism and community, we are the Princeton Merchants Association.

My introduction to this profound and passionate group of people started in 2010. A few pillars of our business community introduced me to Princeton, and I fell in love with its culture, its vision and the experiences only Princeton can offer.

Where else in New Jersey will you see Hollywood actors, world renowned speakers, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, inventors, educators, entrepreneurs, artists and politicians?


For more than 30 years, the PMA has been diligent and deliberate in representing, preserving and enriching the downtown experience for those who live here and for those who visit.

You may even recognize some of the work we have accomplished on behalf of our members — from customer service enrichment programs to parking solutions, from participation in jughandle traffic pattern discussions to moving investment from Wall Street to Nassau Street.

The Princeton University Community Walk, The Waiters’ Race, Hometown Princeton Holidays and Restaurant Week are all events sponsored and brought to the community by the Princeton Merchants Association.

The PMA has been present and in collaboration with local and state government, Princeton University, the Independent Business Alliance, the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and many more associations that influence and create the cultural experience.

One of our most important and exciting initiatives in recent years has been Hometown Princeton. Hometown Princeton is PMA’s network of locally owned and locally operated retailers, restaurants, professional services, and nonprofits promoting a “Shop Local. Dine Local. Give Local.” campaign to support community businesses in furthering PMA’s mission to create a vibrant and sustainable local economy.”


On behalf of Princeton Merchants Association’s board and members, we personally invite you to visit our shops, restaurants, businesses, galleries and nonprofits. Meet the owners, managers, employees and friendly faces who are your community.

We welcome you to participate in our programs, community discussions and festivities. We are here to provide you with an experience unique only to Princeton, our hometown.

The Princeton Merchants Association is also always eager to add new members who share our vision and who are ready to bring their own ideas to the table. We have a number of committees and meet on a regular basis. For more information, send email to or visit the “Join” page of our website,

In the coming months we’ll be bringing you more news and announcements from the PMA in this space. Stay tuned!

Carly Meyer is president of The Princeton Merchants Association.


The Princeton Merchants Association Board is as follows. Officers are:

President Carly Meyer (vice president and director of retail administration, The Bank of Princeton).

Vice President John Marshall (owner, Main Street Bistro).

Treasurer Lori Rabon (general manager, Nassau Inn).

Secretary Elizabeth Casparian (executive director, HiTops).

Directors are Jack Morrison (owner, JM Group); Jim Sykes (president, Princeton University Store); Tere Villamil (owner, La Jolie Salon & Spa); Joy Chen (owner, Joycards); Ron Menapace (owner, The Farmhouse Store); Lora Arendt (marketing coordinator, Palmer Square Management).


Upcoming PMA Events

March 25: Real Estate Panel Discussion

April 29: Small Business Forum

May 27: Presentation — Wealth, Investments and Your Future