BALLEW BIDS ADIEU TO RED BANK

ballew1Ballew Jewelers closed its doors Saturday, 124 years after opening in Red Bank. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Ballew Jewelers is now a Red Bank memory.

After 124 years, the downtown landmark, known as much for its ‘lollipop’ clock on the sidewalk as its cases of diamonds and Rolex watches, closed its doors Saturday, leaving a hard-to-believe void.

“It’s sad,” Kate Ballew said. “You can’t picture anything else in here.”

But something else will be, eventually, she said.

ballewCustomers took advantage of closeout deals Saturday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

The Ballews, who own the approximate 2,000-square-foot building at 36 Broad, will put the space up for sale, she said.

The family’s two other stores, in Sea Girt and Freehold, will stay open for business, Ballew said. As a result of the lagging economy, Ballew said it became unsustainable to stay in Red Bank, forcing a difficult decision to move out of town.

“This one location just declined (in sales). Unfortunately, it hasn’t been as busy as the other places,” she said. “It’s a sign of the times.”

Sarah Ballew took over the business in 1930 from Alphonse de la Reussille, who opened as Reussilles in 1886. The Ballews renamed the shop, and over the years became a name synonymous with fine jewelry.

Saturday was a difficult day for Kate Ballew, who, when she wasn’t helping customers looking for last-minute deals, listened to customers reminisce about the old days visiting the store.

“You get a lot of people whose mother and father came here,” she said. “It’s really sad.”