Montclair, NJ. — For 50 years, the DLV Lounge served the community by offering smooth jazz and fellowship. When George Marable announced that the lounge was closing its doors on Dec. 1, people were devastated.
But Marable was not stepping out of the spotlight. He was named grand marshal for the African American Heritage Parade on Saturday, June 3.
Born and raised in Newark, Marable went to college and raised his family in Montclair. When the DLV Lounge opened in 1972, it was known as the “Black bar,” said Richard Pierson, a longtime friend of Marable and performer at the lounge.
On Saturday, Marable’s contribution to the Black community was celebrated along with Cynthia Walker, founder and executive director of Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates, or S.O.F.I.A. They led the parade down Maple Avenue to Nishuane Park.
“I’m very, very honored but you know I’m not into a lot of fanfare really,” Marable said. “To be selected to be the grand marshal it’s a great honor.”
Though the DLV Lounge may have closed its doors, Marable is preparing the piece of prime real estate on Bloomfield Avenue for another business venture: cannabis.
Marable and Montclair resident Eric Payne, along with Marcy Leventhal, an expert cannabis business consultant, will be opening a cannabis dispensary at the site of the DLV.
Payne has known Marable since he was young and when he found out about the DLV’s closing he reached out to Marable to see if he would be interested in opening a dispensary.
Since being awarded one of Montclair’s three licenses for retail sales of recreational marijuana, the partners say their business, currently titled Night Owl LLC., will be different.
“We are going to be more tailored specifically for Montclair,” said Leventhal, a New Jersey resident who opened her first dispensary in 2003 in California and has continued to work with dispensaries across 22 states.
Leventhal said the partners plan to leverage Marable’s extensive business history in town and Payne’s local roots. “We’re going to take the power of those three things to create a more curated boutique Montclair cannabis experience,” she said.
Payne said he hopes the business will introduce a social conversation.
“We want people to think about us as being good community partners,” Payne said. “But also representing a part of the overall American community that hasn’t been represented a lot of times.”
Between the three partners, the dispensary will be Black owned and women owned. Leventhal said that the dispensary aims to focus on the educational aspect of the cannabis industry and hopes to offer resources to the community, “by choice, not by necessity.”
As support pours in for Marable’s new business venture and his role at the parade, he’s grateful that he can once again serve the people of Montclair.
“We’re very proud,” Marable said. “Like I said, I’ve been here, I’ve been here for 51 years and it was good to be thought of in a positive manner.”