Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.


Our community pillars help us carry out our 100-Year Vision

Check it out

Health and Wellness

Red Bank YMCA

At the heart of the Red Bank community since 1874, our Red Bank Family YMCA is here to support health and well-being for all. We’re a special place where people of all ages, interests and backgrounds gather to grow in spirit, mind and body.

Learn More
organization-banner
organization-banner

NOW OPEN ON MONMOUTH: THE ANTIFFANY

Katz_3

Here’s a development that boggles the mind, given recent trends in Red Bank’s retail scene.

There’s a new store on the bustlingest stretch of Monmouth Street that you can go into with $20, buy a couple of items, and still walk out with change.

The display racks are made of unfinished pine. The front counter is a pine board lined with glass jars of penny candy. The merchandise includes apple-scented candles in mugs for about $6 as well as 2-foot-by-3-foot European rugs for $9.99.

And driving the business into existence is the proprietor’s desire to bring a little bit of the dear departed Prown’s back to downtown Red Bank.

“It’s a throwback,” Irwin Katz says about his store, which he named Four Chicks & a Rooster General Store after his five kids—four girls and a boy.

To which any thinking person must ask: Is he nuts? Or does Irwin Katz know something the rest of us don’t?

The newspaper that had covered the store’s front windows came down last Friday, after months of delays, revealing beautiful wood floors that Katz had refinished and a pressed-tin ceiling with a fresh coat of white paint on it.

“I opened at about noon, and right away, I had tourists from France,” Katz says. “I swear to god, they started their vacation in Red Bank.”

Next in was a woman from Middletown who bought a clothes hamper for her beach house. Katz took that as a good sign.

A Bronx-born 60-year-old who now lives with his wife and kids in Shrewsbury, Katz once sold linens wholesale; among his customers was the legenday Prown’s, where he later worked. A housewares emporium legendary for its seemingly endless inventory, Prown’s closed its retail operation on Broad Street in early 2003 to focus on home improvements, which it now offers from a space on Monmouth Street a couple of blocks west of Four Chicks.

Katz opened JJ’s General store on Shrewsbury Avenue four years ago, selling everything from do-rags and t-shirts to ironing boards and luggage.

It was a mix as eccentric as Katz himself. For one thing, he’s borderline freakishly adamant about not being photographed, and though he told redbankgreen why, he asked that we not disclose it in the interest of his privacy.

He also carries a wallet reminiscent of the overstuffed billfold used in an episode of ‘Seinfeld’ by the fictional George Costanza.

“Are you kidding me? I am George Costanza,” Katz says, cradling his rhino of a wallet in two hands. “Seinfeld stole my life.”

When we popped by Four Chicks late Friday afternoon, a friend was trying to tell Katz what hardware he’d need to properly hang his new sign in the window. But Katz kept interrupting, and didn’t seem to comprehend what he was being told. “I swear, you have ADD,” the friend said.

Katz23

Katz recently sold JJ’s to concentrate on the Monmouth Street shop. The space he took over, at 24 Monmouth, was most recently the home of Town Trimmings, the last of a string of fabric-and-sewing stores that occupied the space for more than half a century.

His secret to making it as a purveyor of aprons, cruets and egg slicers in a downtown where the big buzz these days is about the expected arrival of Tiffany & Company?

“What allowed me to do this is that the landlord is old-school,” says Katz. “He’s reasonable.”

Looking down along Monmouth Street, Katz points out a store where the landlord is getting $4,500 a month from a new business. “We need more regular stores, and we’re not going to get them with these kinds of rents,” he says.

Katz says his mix of merchandise will change to match the demand he encounters. “I’m a work in process,” he says. “I don’t yet have a handle on what’s really going to move. Hopefully, it will grow into what people need.”

It all sounds decidedly old-fashioned and dowdy, and rather out of sync with the repeated assertion of the TriCity News that Katz is “hip.”

“I don’t want to be hip,” Katz. says. “I don’t even know what the word means. I just want to be a good fit for the downtown.”

Email this story

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank business owner happier than to hear "I saw your ad on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
HEARTY FAREWELL FOR HARDY
RED BANK: Council to honor DPU supervisor Rich Hardy, who retired recently after almost 39 years of keeping things running.
HOMEBOUND? READ ON…
RED BANK: Can't get to the public library? It's now offering free delivery and pickups for homebound borough residents.
TAMING A BEAST OF A WEEK
RED BANK: After the second snowfall of the week, a borough family finds the perfect use for it – a Godzilla snow sculpture.
RED BANK: LIBRARY CLOSED, BUT THE HILL’S OPEN
RED BANK: Though the library was closed by a snowstorm, kids got to enjoy the riverfront property's steep slope Tuesday.
LIGHT(HOUSE) MAKEOVER
This year, getting ready for spring means a midwinter makeover for Strollo's Lighthouse in Red Bank.
TODAY: LOCAL PUPPY COMPETES ON ANIMAL PLANET’S “PUPPY BOWL”
Red Bank’s very own rescue puppy, Biscuit, is set to compete in Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl this Sunday, February 11, at 2 PM. Th ...
WHAT? NO redbankgreen NEWSLETTER?
Apologies to redbankgreen newsletter subscribers: the daily email hasn’t gone out for two days because of technical issues.
RED BANK: TIRED OF SKEETERS?
RED BANK: Tired of mosquito bites every summer? Monmouth County has a free program to help eliminate skeeter breeding grounds.
SEA BRIGHT: POLAR PLUNGE FOR ST. JAMES, OTHERS
Hundreds braved the wind and sea on Sunday at 1PM in support of St. James Elementary School, and other Catholic schools in the area. The eve ...
RED BANK: RBR CLAIMS TITLE
RED BANK: Watch pure joy as the RBR boys basketball team celebrates its first B North championship in 17 years.
RED BANK: FORGET-IT FRIDAY
RED BANK: Train Station can be a lonely place Friday mornings, especially with cold rain in the forecast.
RED BANK: CROONING YOUR LOVE
RED BANK: Imagine a quartet of impeccably dressed gentlemen showing up at your beloved's workplace, singing of your love.
RED BANK: BLACK RIVER ROLLS ON
RED BANK: A 68-year-old rail freight engine can still be counted on to draw a trainspotting fan or two when it rolls through town.
RED BANK: ‘MONDAY SWEAT’ MEETS
RED BANK: Joined by the Hazlet Running Club, members of the Red Bank Run Club met for their "Monday Sweat" at Count Basie Field.
RED BANK: CARD SALE BOOSTS GYM DRIVE
RED BANK: Charter School Foundation offers student-deisgned Valentines cards to help raise funds for a gymnasium.
RED BANK: LOVE IS IN THE… WINDOW
RED BANK: Up next: Valentine's Day, and Partyline finds the Red Bank Chocolate Shoppe getting ready for a surge of love and craving.
CLOSING THE BOOK ON A GREAT CAREER
The Red Bank mayor and council honored with a resolution Linda Hewitt (in red) on her retirement from the Red Bank Public Library at Thursda ...
RED BANK: RAIL COMMUTER’S VIEW
A commuter's view of the Route 35 Cooper's Bridge over the Navesink River, as seen from North Jersey Coast Line train 3320 out of Red Bank F ...
RED BANK: PROMISING PROMS
RED BANK: Prom season approaches, and Lunch Break once again steps up with its 8th annual Prom Giveaway of donated dresses.
RED BANK: DOWN BY THE RIVER
RED BANK: Partyline contributor Karly Swaim captured a gloomy mood in Riverside Gardens Park Wednesday evening.