Madison Township Lumber is last remaining entity of former town

0
896
ALAN KARMIN
Madison Township Lumber is the very last entity that exhibits the identity of the old Madison Township.

By ALAN KARMIN
Correspondent

 

It seems that not too long ago that there wasn’t an Old Bridge Township. Long-time residents and members of the surrounding communities will recall that Old Bridge was once known as Madison Township.

Madison Township was originally incorporated in 1869, breaking away from South Amboy.

And then, in 1975, the township’s name was changed to Old Bridge, so as not to continue to be confused with the Borough of Madison in Northern New Jersey.

After some time, the two high schools in town – Cedar Ridge High School and Madison Central High School, both just a stone’s throw from each other – merged into one, taking on the Old Bridge name and identity.

And with that, the last of what would be known as, and associated with, Madison Township was gone.

Except for one – Madison Township Lumber.

The very last entity that exhibits the identity of the old Madison Township is still standing and going strong on Route 34 just south of Cheesequake Farms.

Anthony Martorana, Sr. opened the business in 1962. He said that while things have changed all around him, he never had any thought of changing the name of the business.

“Way back when we opened up, you wanted to be associated with the town and community,” Martorana said. “We wanted to be synonymous with the town and recognizable. We were already in business around 20 years when they changed the name. Our customers knew us as Madison Township Lumber and we didn’t want to lose that identity and have to start from scratch.”

Something clicked, as the business is now in its 60th year serving the community.

“There was a lot of competition in a real hot bed,” Martorana said. “It was difficult at the beginning. But my wife, my son, my family have been great assets and helped to make it work. It would not have worked without them.”

Cliffwood Lumber, Keyport Lumber, Discount Lumber, and even Channel Lumber were all around him. Then The Home Depot opened up along with Lowes in close proximity. But through it all, Madison Township Lumber has not only survived, but has flourished.

Martorana said that as he looks back, he wonders if he would be able to do today what he did in 1962.

“When I look back on the twilight of my career, I think about how we went through so much back in the beginning,” he said. “Times were different. You were able to do things with little to no money that you couldn’t possibly do today. I know that if I had to do it today, I wouldn’t make it.”

Martorana’s secret? “I never ignored it,” he said. “It’s like having a girlfriend or a spouse … you can’t ignore it. You have to nurture it and give it your attention or else it won’t work.”

Martorana maintained that he thought it was great that the business allows ties to be kept to the old Madison Township. And when asked if he was aware that when you Google “Madison Township,” the entire first page is all “Madison Township Lumber,” he chuckled and said, “Really, I didn’t know that. Geez, that would cost me a lot in advertising. And the irony of it all is that while I am in the Township of Old Bridge, I actually have a Matawan address.”