Oak Tree Rd. shopping spree has a global effect
One of the goals and hopes of the first Oak Tree Road Shopping Festival was to make Oak Tree Road, made up of South Asian Indian shops and restaurants, known not only in New Jersey, but globally.“ This is the start to expose this area to a global audience,” said Sujeet Lakha, Oak Tree Road special events coordinator. “This place, this image we are moving towards is having this area be known as the one-stop shop where one can shop for the necessities from groceries to wedding shopping.”
The SouthAsian Indian Oak Tree Road sector runs from the Iselin section of Woodbridge into Edison Township.
News Corps Star TV joined Touch DownMedia, the Oak Tree Road business community, and township officials including Woodbridge Mayor John E. McCormac, and Nayan Ashnu, vice chairman of the Woodbridge Housing Authority, to hold the first Oak Tree Shopping Festival on May 26 and 27.
To help with the festivities was Bollywood actor Jigar Vishal and actress Pratigya Pooja Gor, who flew in from India. Also, popular Canadian singer Raghav Sachar was on hand for the festivities.
“For me, it’s great to be here,” said Raghav. “There are stereotypes out there, but this venue gives us a chance to show our true arts and culture.”
Jigar and Pratigya said it is wonderful to see the love they have in the United States. Walking down Oak Tree, festivalgoers flocked the soap stars and greeted them.
“The shopping festival idea is a brilliant idea to meet people and the love that we have been receiving is appreciated,” said Jigar.
Pratigya said she found the residential area nice and peaceful.
“No honks,” she said with a smile. “The gardens and lawns around the houses are beautiful.”
Over an average weekend, the businesses and restaurants on Oak Tree Road see approximately 2,000 people over the weekend. The shopping festival saw over 10,000 people, with businesses selling merchandise 50 to 70 percent off.
“This fusion is important not just for [South Asia], but for the whole world” said Rajan Singh, executive vice president for Star TV. “This festival will be aired globally. We are working on making Oak Tree a must go to destination for fashion and jewelry.”
Lakha said there are 92 merchants on Oak Tree including community banks.
Rahul Walia, founder of the Oak Tree Shopping Festival said what makes Oak Tree so special is the plethora of authentic Indian products and services available.
“You find a familiar charm in everything from the North Indian chaat served in restaurants to the pan shops on the street corners,” he said. “The jewelers offer an exquisite selection of classic pieces as well as chic contemporary designs enhanced with unmatched diamonds. Some of the best wedding attires, sarees, ceremonial decorations, costume jewelry and accessories are also housed here.”