CHURN CLAIMS TWO DOWNTOWN STORES

Nobody home at Prima’s Home Café on Tuesday morning. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The start of each New Year brings another round of retail culling to downtown Red Bank.

True to form, 2012 begins with two longtime Broad Street tenants closing their doors: furniture retailer Primas Home Café and Red Bank Art Gallery, which specializes in mass-produced wall decorations.

Signs at Red Bank Art Gallery signal the end of its run on Broad Street.  (Click to enlarge)

Two months after the building that houses Primas, at 28 Broad, hit the market – and found an immediate buyer – the furnishings store has closed.

Repeated attempts to reach owner Valeria Robero were unsuccessful, mostly because she was traveling between Red Bank and Brazil, where she lives and has other businesses, they said.

But employees told redbankgreen that the decision to consolidate the store’s inventory in Brazil was not prompted by any issues related to the change in ownership of the building, which sold to a partnership involving Rich Stavola of Middletown.

The parting was “amicable,” an employee said.

Contrary to rumors that he is planning a jazz-themed restaurant there, Stavola tells redbankgreen that he has “lots of ideas,” but no tenants lined up.

The building, at 28 Broad, was the longtime home of Carroll’s Stationers and, before that, the Merchants Trust Company bank. The interior features a gorgeous vaulted ceiling and expansive loft.

The Red Bank Art Gallery, at the corner of Wallace Street, is also closing, according to signs in the window.

Attempts to find out when the store is closing and why were unsuccessful because the owner barely speaks English and an intermediary did not respond to a request for comment.

The building that houses it, 65 Broad, is owned by B&M Realty Management.