Tucked away down a little alley called Township Lane, off Route 70, sits Chick’s Deli.
The little sandwich shop may be hidden from view from the main highway, but its immense popularity within the local community has contributed to it being the oldest eatery in Cherry Hill.
Chick’s Deli is one of 21 businesses that have been honored by Cherry Hill Township so far in November for being in business in the township for 50 or more years.
The sandwich shop was paid a visit by Cherry Hill Mayor Chuck Cahn last week and given a plaque commemorating its longevity in the township.
The program is one that Cahn and the township have really taken to heart. The idea started a short time ago when the historical commission for the township was putting together an exhibit about older businesses in Cherry Hill to be displayed at the library.
The commission saw a number of businesses that had been in the township for more than 50 years and thought the township would be interested in starting a commemorative program for them.
“The mayor thought it was important to honor their longevity, especially the family-owned businesses,” Cherry Hill Communications Director Bridget Palmer said.
All honored businesses date back to a time before chain stores and large shopping centers dominated the landscape.
Chick’s for example, is located in a very small building behind a small strip mall. Co-owner Joe Danfield said the store isn’t found by many GPS devices. Its location has never changed.
Despite this, the support from the local community, combined with its history, has helped it become a successful fixture for so long.
“There are a lot of community ties,” Danfield said. “From the kids that later bring the kids in. Parents bring their parents in. You see the generations keep coming in.”
Chick’s relationship with the residents can be echoed by many of the honored businesses in the township’s program. The fact that these family-owned businesses have not only survived, but are thriving more than 50 years later really made them special in the eyes of the township.
“It’s really interesting, because it highlights the fact that our business district is so varied,” Palmer said.
As word about the township’s program began to spread, businesses began calling to say that they have also been in business for 50 years. The group of honored businesses began to expand as the township verified their longevity.
“There was no real scientific method to determine who had been here the longest,” Palmer said.
“Some you really don’t realize because there’s not real comprehensive history of them.”
The number of honored businesses was at 21 as of last week, and Cahn said that more businesses that the township wasn’t even aware of continue to call.
Cherry Hill officials are hopeful that this program will help give these businesses recognition that keeps them in the community for many years to come.
“They’ve really become a living part of Cherry Hill history,” Palmer said.