July 15, 2024
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July 15, 2024
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Contempo Space Revitalizes, Repurposes Passaic Factory

The iconic factories of Passaic’s history are being modernized to be part of its present and future, and the people at the forefront are a family of furniture makers who made New Jersey their home over 30 years ago and never looked back.

Shimon Einhorn emigrated from Israel to the United States in 1978 and opened a small custom cabinet shop in downtown Manhattan. Now, along with his sons Shamir and David and daughter Ruti, the Einhorn family, owners of Contempo Space, is embarking on building a new future for downtown Passaic with the construction of three businesses on a 12-acre property the family owns at 220 Passaic Street, on the site of the old Okonite cable factory.

The property encompasses thousands of square feet of commercial space that the family is developing into a flagship showroom and store for their furniture business, a retail mall shopping center, a corporate event center with a maximum capacity of over 1,000 people and a plan to develop a hotel.

Once built to the Einhorn’s vision, the entire complex will usher in a new era of economic vitality for the city of Passaic as it leverages valuable real estate for a different purpose than originally intended, ensuring the rich history of manufacturing in Passaic doesn’t get lost in future generations, and serving as a catalyst for manufacturing businesses and urban renewal throughout other parts of the state.

“This project will be a tremendous asset to the revitalization of Passaic and will provide numerous benefits to our city,” said Passaic mayor Dr. Alex D. Blanco. “We commend the Einhorn family for their long-term vision and commitment to this project and our city.”

The three distinct businesses being created by the Einhorns are Contempo Space, which includes an expanded factory, refurbished corporate headquarters and new retail showroom for the Einhorn family’s furniture business; Contempo Plaza, a local retail shopping district with room for over a dozen retail tenants—including a full-service supermarket—and ample vehicle parking; and Factory 220, a character-filled loft above the retail complex that would serve as event space for corporate and private affairs and connect to a future hotel.

Construction has already begun on the project and completion is anticipated by fall 2016.

“For years, companies and individuals have talked about launching major manufacturing projects in Passaic, but this is the first one to actually happen and will be a boon to the entire region,” said Passaic County Freeholder John Bartlett.

Contempo Space’s current headquarters, manufacturing facility and showroom are located in Passaic City, in the heart of the once-thriving industrial and manufacturing district of northern New Jersey. In an ironic twist, the current location of Contempo Space bears a striking resemblance to the downtown Manhattan neighborhood where Shimon Einhorn began to build his furniture empire.

Shimon started the company as a one-person business and created a full-service operation that would build, deliver, install and invoice his custom furniture as a vendor for some of the largest retailers in New York, such as Levitz, Fortunoff, Macy’s, Bloomingdales and Seaman’s.

The company became Contempo Space, a family-run manufacturing business specializing in contemporary-styled custom wardrobes, room dividers, wall units, cabinets, desks and assorted bedroom accoutrements.

“My family set up shop in Passaic in 1992 when my dad discovered the Okonite complex, which was vacant for over six years, and saw something that no one else did,” said Shamir Einhorn. “He had a vision for the site where he could rebuild and transform the historic property into our modern, corporate headquarters and expand the family business into other avenues that also would service the local community. We think this complex will not only make his vision become reality, but will better the lives of Passaic residents for years to come.”

Contempo Space’s business for the majority of its existence was a design/private label/wholesale manufacturer and home-delivery company, where retailers would call to design and develop their contemporary furniture collections without any inventory and delivery headaches. As Asia started to develop more furniture production, retailers started to source out and develop their own products, focusing more on low price and not on design and value.

Now, the factory, which had some stops from a basement on Canal Street to Carlstadt, Rochelle Park, Garfield and finally Passaic, is about to expand and become the linchpin for the manufacturing resurgence of Passaic.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the future,” said Shimon. “This project makes me feel young again.”

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