By Joy Chen

The Princeton Merchants Association and our downtown business community are looking forward to a great year ahead, with new member businesses, fresh ideas, and new looks for some old friends. And we figure that there’s no time like the start of the new year to tell you some cool new things you can expect from your downtown Princeton experience.

First, let’s welcome one of our newest and most exciting businesses, Pure Barre, which is slated to open in February in Palmer Square. Pure Barre is a 55-minute total body workout for any person at any fitness level, and no two classes are the same.

Jacqui Arce-Quinton, owner of Pure Barre, chose to open her studio here because of the dynamic and diverse residents and the uniqueness of the Princeton community.

“I’m from North Jersey and my husband’s from Plainsboro,” Jacqui says. “We both came to love the idea of living in Princeton, but there was no Pure Barre. I decided to open one because this is a very active community, and people here are very much about the active, healthy lifestyle.”

Despite the first day of class being another month away, Jacqui says she is already getting a ton of positive feedback about Pure Barre’s presence and about the space the studio will occupy. Pure Barre is located on Hulfish Street on the second floor above Mediterra, and the space allows the studio to offer the perfect blend of the classic Pure Barre look and that distinctively “mini city-suburb” appeal that makes Princeton so special.

Jacqui says that she’s been meeting loads of folks from all around and looks forward not just to opening the studio, but also to offering special classes and hosting events on nutrition and lifestyle as well.

Another familiar name who’s a new face at the Princeton Shopping Center is Orvis, the premier outfitter of outdoor adventures. If you’re familiar with the Orvis name, that’s probably because the company has been around since 1856 and it is the oldest continuously operating catalog company in the country.

Tim Hough, fly fishing manager at Orvis, says the company chose Princeton because it was a perfect fit with the community and its high standard of living and its love for the active lifestyle.

One of the coolest things about Orvis’ Princeton shop is its real pebble floor, which gives visitors the look and feel of standing in a crisp Colorado river. It’s part of the outdoors experience Orvis offers its guests, who don’t, by the way, need to feel like they have to buy anything.

“You can just come in and talk fish,” Tim says.

Speaking of creating an atmosphere, we can’ forget to welcome a new friend who’s actually one of our oldest friends in town. H1912, at 104 Nassau Street, is part of the Hamilton Jewelers family of brands that can boast more than a century of expertise in craftsmanship, design, service, and community trust, and is the most exciting thing to happen to vintage accessories in Princeton in a long time.

H1912 brings a definitive, New York-style cosmopolitan flavor to Princeton, without losing the charm and vibrant pulse of Princeton itself.

Anne Russell, head merchant at H1912 — which is named after the year Hamilton Jewelers was founded — says the shop offers vintage, one-of-a-kind timepieces, rings, necklaces, and pendants, each one with its own unique story. This, she says, offers buyers the chance to own something no one else has, and lowers the footprint by giving new life to vintage pieces.

That commitment to sustainability is a major focus of our mission at the Princeton Merchants Association, and it’s something all our member businesses strive for. H1912 is not just about reducing the footprint ‒‒ which Anne says is “very much in the DNA” of Hamilton Jewelers’ brands ‒‒ the shop also strives to eliminate paper receipts and uses only recycled paper when someone wants a paper copy.

Likewise, Pure Barre and Orvis offer paperless transactions, and Pure Barre also has no bags for any sportswear or merchandise sold there. It’s all part of the Princeton business community’s ongoing effort to repurpose, reduce, and promote sustainability every way we can.

Also, our new business friends are making sure to give back to the community they love so much and chose to make home. Pure Barre plans to give back through community outreach and healthy lifestyle programs.

“It’s not just a workout,” Jacqui says.

Meanwhile, at Orvis and H1912, efforts at being awesome business citizens are in full stride. Orvis already has a history of working with conservation groups such as Trout Unlimited to help protect the environment.

Tim says, the Princeton shop will also ramp up its efforts to reach out to more groups and advance its role in such programs as Project Healing Waters, which helps rehabilitate combat veterans through the tranquil art of fly fishing. Meanwhile, H1912 donates a portion of every sale to charities the company works with, such as HomeFront.

All this spells great things for the new year. Come see for yourself what makes Princeton less a destination and more an experience.

And from the Princeton Merchants Association, Happy New Year, and have a fantastic 2016.

The Princeton Merchants Association column is provided monthly by the PMA. On the Web: princetonmerchants.org.