RUG MAN: HE’S LEAVING, BUT ALSO STAYING

12-broad4Get the message? But while the rug store is closing, its owner is putting down roots: he bought the building.

By WID CONROY

When a request by Nazmiyal Rug Decor for an extension on its going-out-of-business sale came up at last Monday night’s Red Bank Council meeting, the answer was unequivocal: No.

There was not one second’s worth of public discussion about the request, which would have permitted Nazmiyal to continue displaying its oversized signs in the window of its Broad Street store for another 90 days. But the message was clear. “You’re leaving? Go, already.”

“They got what they’re entitled to,” Mayor Pasquale Menna told redbankgreen afterward. He said other merchants had complained about the “subliminal message” of failure being trumpeted by the bold red-and-white signs.

“Most of our retailers are doing a very difficult job in a very difficult environment,” Menna said. “They don’t need that.”

So it may seem ironic that the store’s owner, while he’s throwing in the towel on his own business, is still a true believer in the downtown’s potential.

So much so, in fact, that he recently bought the former Broad Street National Bank buiding in which the store is housed.

The rug store space, on the ground floor of the five-story building next door to the new Urban Outfitters, has been the its home for 10 years, says owner Jason Nazmiyal. But with vivid pictures of exotic rugs just a mouse click away, he can’t compete here with Internet dealers.

Nazmiyal, whose flagship store is in Manhattan, said he closed a store two years ago for similar reasons.

“It’s very hard to pay the expenses and cope with the economy,” he said. “This store is 90 percent of my headaches and 10 percent of my revenue.”

The store stretches over 5,000 square feet when only about 2,000 is needed for the level of sales it does, he said. Retail space in the heart of the downtown is too precious to waste that way, he added.

But the 50-year-old Montville said he remains optimistic about Red Bank, having seen it emerge from doldrums. “When we came here, it was Dead Bank,” he said.

In fact, he purchased the building, which has office tenants and additional commercial space upstairs. He paid $4.5 million in August, according to property records.

Nazmiyal declined to discuss the purchase in any detail, but said he does not yet have a tenant signed yet to take over the retail space.

He expects to close Rug Decor by the end of January.