IT’S ‘TAPS’ FOR RED BANK ARMY-NAVY STORE

Vinny Faiella is calling it quits, closing an Army-Navy store that had its roots at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508With roots that go back nearly 85 years, a Red Bank shop specializing in military clothing and accessories is closing this month.

Red Bank Surplus owner Vinny Faiella says the three-generation business has reached the end of its run and will close by the end of March.

Whatever merchandise he doesn’t get rid of in a half-off sale will be donated to charity, he tells redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

Faiella, 51, of Little Silver, says the shutdown of the store and a related online business is not emotionally hard for him.

“I know I’m doing the right thing,” he said. “Whatever’s meant to be, I gave it my best shot.”

The business, originally called Reliable Naval Tailoring Co., was started by Faiella’s grandfather, a tailor, in Brooklyn in 1927.

Faiella opened his  775-square-foot shop at 16 Wallace Street in September, 2006, rebranding it as Red Bank Surplus and carrying Army, Navy and Marine t-shirts, boots, pea coats, insignias and more.

(Here’s a redbankgreen interview with Faiella from early 2007, when the store had been open just a few months. The article, headlined “…THE BEAST,” was a companion to another one about a high-fashion eyewear store that opened around the same time. That one was headlined “BEAUTY AND…)

Faiella says the store did well enough in its first two years. But since then, he’s had only one good quarter – the last three months of 2010, for inexplicable reasons.

Otherwise, he said, “there’s just no foot traffic.

“I’m a half a block off Broad Street, and in the time I’ve been here, the foot traffic has dwindled,” he said. “There’s a lot of people walking around, but I don’t see anyone with shopping bags.”

He’s critical of Red Bank RiverCenter, which he said doesn’t do enough to promote retail, favoring restaurants.

Now, having worked in the family business since he was 19, “I have to get a job,” Faiella said. “That should be fun.”

But he’s not glum.

“I still have half my life ahead of me,” he said.