OLDE MILL INN / GRAIN HOUSE RESTAURANT
Located on 10 artfully landscaped
acres, the historic Olde Mill Inn and
Grain House restaurant in Basking
Ridge have long been popular for par-
ties, weddings and other special oc-
casions. A barn built in 1768 that once
held grain that fed George Washing-
ton’s troops during the Revolutionary
War was moved across Route 202 and
converted into a lodge in 1929. Later,
the lodge became a restaurant, and a
hotel was added to the property. Both
had fallen into disrepair when the Bo-
cina family, known for its real estate
development projects, purchased the
property in 1992. “The hotel needed a
lot of work,” says Bruce Bocina, who
originally partnered with his father,
Casper, and now runs the businesses
with his sister, Barbara Curtin. It took
two years to complete the renovation.
Today, the inn boasts 102 guest rooms
and suites, and the restaurant serves
modern American cuisine accompa-
nied by organic fruits and vegetables
from its own garden. Other green
initiatives include the use of energy-
efficient lighting and earth-friendly
cleaning supplies. Bruce’s son, Jon, the
assistant general manager, represents
the third generation carrying on the
family tradition, which still includes
real estate development. “This is just
another beautiful property that we
run,” says Bruce, “and we try to run it
better than anybody else can.”—AS
A.H. FISHER DIAMONDS/CLAIMLINK
After 30 years in Red Bank, A.H.
Fisher Diamonds has earned respect
as a trustworthy mom-and-pop serving generations of families. Owner
Alan Fisher, who grew up in town,
runs the business with his wife, Karen,
son Matthew and daughter Lauren.
The Fisher family also operates Claim-link National Jewelry Replacement,
which provides insurance companies
with price quotes and other reports.
Corbo Jewelers opened its first store
in 1946, but its roots go back to 1898,
when Alphonso Corbo, the great-grandfather of the current owners, began selling and repairing fine jewelry
in Italy. A fourth-generation member
of the business, Stephen Corbo, now
heads the Rutherford-based company.
At Corbo locations across the state, the
most important aspect of the business
is making sure each client finds the
G & G REALTORS
Husband and wife Irwin and Nancy
Gerechoff established G & G in 1967.
After several relocations, they settled
in Oakhurst, building a strong reputation. Many of their clients are referrals.
In 1978, the couple was joined in the
business by their daughter and son-in-law, Abby and Steven Scheer, and
more recently by their granddaughter,
Minalex in Whitehouse Station is a
leading supplier of aluminum parts to
the aerospace, medical and electronics
industries. Founded in 1965 by James
Casey with his wife, two other employees and a single metal press, the company had its big break when it became
the pioneer manufacturer of aluminum
tennis-racquet frames. Currently run
by Casey’s son, Christopher, Minalex
has continued to create quality products on a quick turn-around.
SINGER NELSON CHARLMERS
Al Singer started selling insurance
door-to-door as a summer job in 1958.
He built that business for 27 years before he sold it and started a new venture: Teaneck-based Singer Insurance
Group, with his son, David. The companies later merged. Some 26 years
later, Singer Nelson Charlmers is 40
employees strong. Al’s younger son,
Jon, joined the business in 1991 and
was followed by his sister, Sharon, in
F I N A L I S T S Revenue up to $10 million
S E M I F I N A L I S T S Revenue up to $10 million
DOGS’ BEST FRIENDS:
Three generations of the
Morris family, from left:
Lauren Downs, Marianne
Morris, Walter Morris Jr.,
Michael Morris, Ashley
Smith, Tricia Downs
(mother of Lauren) and
Joanne Morris (mother of
Ashley) with the family
dogs—Bella and Chase,
black Labradors, and
Lexi, a Great Pyrenees
mix rescue dog.
in Harding called Poodle Palace. Walter Sr.’s
granddaughter Joanne, who was seven at the
time, earned $1 a day sweeping out dog hair.
After dabbling in the corporate world, Wal-
ter Jr. couldn’t resist following in his father’s
footsteps. “The irony was that my parents nev-
er encouraged me to go into the family busi-
ness,” Walter reflects. “I was intrigued by the
pet side of it, not the show side with politics
playing a role.”
In 1978, Walter Jr. and wife Marianne bought
Poodle Palace, eventually moving it three miles
to its current location on Sand Spring Road in
Morristown. They renamed it Morris Animal
Inn in 1986.
Today, three generations operate the
24,000-square-foot facility. Walter Jr. and Marianne’s daughters work full time: Joanne serves
as vice president, and their younger daughter,
Tricia Downs, is director of payroll and finance.
Their son, Michael, a former employee, now
works in construction, but helped remodel and
expand the inn’s 12-acre campus. The new lobby, resembling a ski lodge with its dark wood
and exposed beams, was completed in 2007.
Four of Walter Jr.’s grandchildren work at the
Inn during peak vacation seasons.
“Kennel is a bad word for us,” says Walter.
“We are a pet hotel and resort. The industry has
caught up to our standards in the past 10 or 15
years. We create a lifestyle for the pets.”
The Morris family has made some unusual
accommodations for their clients. “We had a
cat live here about five years,” says Joanne. (The
cat’s owner had moved to a nursing home.) Af-
ter Hurricane Sandy, the Inn operated on gen-
erator power for 12 straight days and took on
a slew of homeless pets. “It was almost busier
than the summer season,” Walter recalls. “One
family brought in 15 cats for us to care for while
they looked for a new home.”
What’s the favorite part of Walter’s day?
Around midnight, when it’s quiet and most of
the pets are asleep, he checks on all the animals.
“I get attached to them easily,” he admits, smil-
ing. While touring the complex, he points out a
Labrador puppy. “This little guy was awake last
night, wagging his tail and licking my hand.” ■