Tell us a little about yourself!
Hello! My name is Lorena Loayza and currently I am the Director for the McGinley Square Partnership SID. I have 3 children, sweet Isabella who is 9, vibrant Sophie who just turned 7 and Baby Lucas who is 3 months old. I was born in La Paz, Bolivia. The home of the highest administrative capital of the world! My grandmother and mother took the courageous step to migrate to the States when I was 3. This is where my Jersey City story began. I attended PS #17 through 8th grade. I graduated from Academy of Saint Aloysius and then graduated from Saint Peter's University. My catholic schooling was a big influence in the growth of my career.
Tell us about your business! How did it start? Biggest challenge? Favorite part? Where do you see it going?
The McGinley Square Partnership Special Improvement District, created by City Ordinance in 1997, comprises commercial properties located in the area just south of Journal Square and bordered to the east by The Beacon, to the west by Saint Peter's University, and to the south by Fairview Avenue. The Partnership funds promotional, cleaning, decorative lighting, and management activities through a self-imposed assessment and funding. We have over 120 shops, services, and food establishments to make your shopping experience a pleasant one. Several New Jersey Transit buses make your travel a convenient one; limited off- and on-street surface parking is also available.
My biggest challenge is addressing the socio-economic issues in a short-term timeframe. For a long time, McGinley has only been known as a place to pass through rather than to visit. It was my first year's goal to put McGinley on the Jersey City map as a place to check out.
My favorite part is being able to help out that individual who has a dream and is bold enough to make it a reality. It takes a lot of courage to start a small business, especially in our economic climate. I love the initial consultations where a person explains what they see for their business. I also love scouting places to see what location will work best. But the most fun part is the ribbon cutting ceremony. It is a celebration of having the bravery of opening that small business and also the beginning of working that business to the fullest.
I see more new small businesses opening in the McGinley area. We love to have our summer treats. So there are definitely plans for summer festivals with good music and food. I also see safer and cleaner streets for patrons to enjoy. I aim to make it a place where small businesses will thrive.
What is your biggest source of inspiration?
My biggest inspiration are the people of the McGinley community, the residents and the merchants. The McGinley residents should be able to walk down the block and enjoy a good cup of coffee and then shop safely. Our residents should be able to gather with family and friends and listen to live music on a sunny weekend. The merchants should be able to safely sell their goods and services.
What do you like to do for fun?
When I’m not working on all things McGinley, I enjoy practicing yoga and will soon start my marathon training. I also like to try new restaurants, usually with my sister in law\ Carla. As a working mom, I have very little down time. I absolutely enjoy a movie with dessert from anywhere.
Can you tell I'm a foodie?
Favorite Local Spots:
- Restaurant - Choosing just one is very difficult. I have several. My all time favorite restaurant is Gino's in the Heights. Their daily specials are always amazing. My favorite there is the chicken focaccia sandwich. Our Hero has the best cold cut sandwiches in all of Jersey City. The newest spot in McGinley Square is Cafe Alyce. They have a mean brunch and the space is lovely.
- Coffee Shop - As a coffee lover, I have 2 favorite spots.
Crema, 1 Duncan Ave is amazing! The owners are the most professional and courteous shop keepers you can find. There is a cute parklet out front to enjoy in the warmer months. My other coffee spot is The Cottage, 136 Monticello. Their menu is amazing and there is an adorable patio in the back.
- Place to Shop - My sweet tooth will always say Lee Sims Chocolates is the best in all of Jersey City. On holidays, there is always a line down the block. Right next door is Hudson Florist where you can find all types of floral arrangements and a ton of plant options. Imagine what Valentine's Day looks like in these two shops!
- Bar - McGinley Square Pub is a vintage craft beer bar that has great burgers also. I always enjoy catching up with my cousin, Karen, over drinks at O'Leary's Publik House. You're always greeted by a friendly place and their daily menus are quite creative and include a great drink special.
- Outdoor Spot - I love to take a walk or bike ride in Lincoln Park. There are community yoga classes on the weekends and a farmer’s market on Sundays. This beautiful park is a quick walk from McGinley Square.
- Honorable Mention - The best gym in all of Jersey City is hands down, Four Fitness. Marcisco, the owner, chose only the best for the establishment.
Monique’s Techniques is not only a hair salon, but also the MoHair Foundation. Monique has been in business over 30 years. At one point Lisa from Lisa’s Hairzone worked together with Monique. Lisa now works with her husband, Knowledge the Masked Barber also in McGinley Square.
McGinley is also the home of Chicken Delight, the best fried chicken in town.
Honestly, McGinley Square is tiny, but is filled with a little bit of everything. I invite anyone reading this to come out and check us out.
I always like to greet new people in my district. Stop by and say hi!
Connect with Lorena and make sure to visit McGinley Square!