With his career in the NFL completed, L.J. Smith has set his sights on operating his own business franchise. He and his wife, Jessica, are set to open a wine and painting studio in South Plainfield, NJ. The studio will be a place where people can eat, drink, and learn to paint. The studio is part of the Pinot’s Palette franchise.
On a recent Thursday evening prior to the official grand opening on June 23, business leaders, city officials, and friends of the Smiths at the studio to get a feel of what the studio has to offer. L.J. “Little John” Smith spent seven seasons in the NFL after a spectacular college career at Rutgers University. Smith said his wife Jessica is the “mastermind” behind them opening their own business through the national franchise. Speaking about their studio, he said, “It’s a good and fun thing to do on a date night.”
A two-hour class at the studio cost $35 per person and you are able to paint while following along with one of the studio’s instructors. At the end of the session, you are able to take your artistic creation home with you. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own food and drinks. The Smiths said they will start out having three to four classes a week, and will also be available for hosting birthday parties and corporate events.
There’s 17 other Pinot’s Palettes in New Jersey and the Smiths’ location is the first in the South Plainfield area. In addition to the painting studio, the Smiths also own a Plato’s Closet franchise, where people buy and sell teen and young adult clothing.
Some of the people who attended the pre-opening celebration were the town’s mayor, Matthew Anesh, the city council president, Derryck White, and LJ’s former teammate Tra Thomas, who recently opened his own Pinot’s Palette in Cherry Hill, NJ.
Derryck White said the opening of the new business is a “big win for the community. There has been a lot of buzz about it. And it really fits our approach to economic development.”