ORADELL — For many residents, visiting Charlie Kloeber’s seasonal flower and plant business to pick up holiday decorations was an annual rite.
For over 74 years, Charlie and his family were mainstays at the corner of Oradell Avenue and Maple Avenue, right by the train station. Now, their family name will be forever commemorated on that corner.
It was officially designated "Kloeber's Korner" at the end of March to thank Charlie and the rest of his family for their contributions over the years.
"My family being there for so many years, I truly feel my grandparents were the rock of getting that business going," said Kim Kloeber, Charlie’s daughter. "They were humble people and never asked for anything … they never would have expected it. They truly believed in hard work."
The Kloeber family has been a presence at Oradell Avenue and Maple Avenue since 1946, starting with Charlie’s parents, Kim said. Charlie’s father had a grocery store there that was known by a few names but eventually became known as Oradell Market.
The grocery store was sold but the corner market remained, Kim said. The seasonal business would sell spring flowers, pumpkins in fall and Christmas trees for the winter holiday.
Charlie took over the business after his father died and was running it until his death on March 25, 2020. He was a well-known figure in the borough, always happy to chat with regulars who would drop by.
"He loved making the residents of Oradell happy," Kim said. "He liked to bring joy to people."
Because she knows how much the business meant to people in town, Kim is trying to keep it operating despite living in Florida. She left her full-time nursing job during the pandemic, at the same time she inherited the business. So she would work in Oradell seasonally, then go back to take care of COVID patients during the off-seasons.
"I didn’t know anything about it," she said of running the business. "I feel like it provided a state of continuity during the dark times of the pandemic. Having the flowers really made me feel good as far as giving back and honoring my father’s memory. He really wanted the business to carry on."
Sam Tripsas, a member of the Beautification Committee, said the group would always buy corn stalks and spring plants to brighten up the town. He appreciated that Charlie always kept his prices the same.
Tom Kelly, a former councilman who knew Charlie for almost 30 years, called him an "Oradell treasure" and a special person who served the community with a warm smile and a good joke.
"He’s sorely missed," Kelly said. "He was a wonderful guy."
Joe Kufel, who used to help him unload flowers and trees, said Charlie was a down-to-earth person who was always looking to better borough.
"He looked out for people and always just wanted the best for the town," Kufel said.
Stephanie Noda is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Oradell NJ honors Kloeber family, which ran Christmas tree lot in town