The recent opening of Lucki Clover, above, in a Broad Street space vacated last September, is seen as one of many indicators of a strengthening comeback.  (Click to enlarge)


Rcsm2_010508Without question, the losses have been significant.

Over the past six months, as the global, national and regional economies have struggled to emerge from the wreckage of the 2008 credit meltdown, Red Bank’s retail market has continued to absorb hard-to-shake-off business departures.

Primas Home Cafe. Willy’s Cheesesteaks. Soapmarket. Later this month, Surray Luggage, a Broad Street fixture, will hold a liquidation sale.

But more so than in the recent past, the downtown real estate market has been marked by two noteworthy trends: faster refilling of storefronts, and the end of several key, longtime vacancies.

What’s it all add up to? In a word, recovery, says at least one downtown Churn watcher.

Among new stores yet to open is Femme By Ashley, a lingerie and swimwear shop owned by Ashley Dupré. (Click to enlarge)

Jay Herman, a principal in Downtown Investors, which owns a dozen properties in the district, tells redbankgreen that demand is “absolutely” on the upswing. He attributes that to the end of a national bottoming-out, and to the interplay of five local elements: retail, restaurant, residential, office an entertainment.

“The downtown is leading the way,” said Herman, who recently broke ground on an expansion for tenant Morgan Stanley on Linden Place, just steps from Broad Street. “We are finding more success than is true nationally.”

Or regionally, for that matter. Herman says anyone driving Route 35 from Hazlet to Brielle and looking at the shopping centers “will find that the success in filling vacancies is not what is in downtown Red Bank.”

Here’s a lookback at some of the key activity in Red Bank’s main business district over the past six months.

• Print shop AlphaGraphics moved to 68 White Street, former home of Cigars Plus, and quickly saw the space it vacated in the City Centre Plaza, at Maple Avenue and West Front Street, leased to Yo Mon Yogurt, a self-serve frozen yogurt business owned by Michael and Jennifer Mann of Little Silver. AlphaGraphics is open for business and Yo Mon is under construction.

• David Banegas, an action painter who already had a gallery in Delray Beach, Florida, opened a new gallery/live-painting studio into the space vacated five months earlier by clothing store Bella Mystique, at 43 Broad Street.

• Nina’s Waffles & Sweets opened at 15 White Street, in a space recently vacated by Filakia Children’s Boutique.

Yestercades, a retro electronic gaming parlor, opened at 80 Broad Street, filling a giant, gaping hole that had defied filling since the failure, in 2007, of f LJ’s Total Man/Today’s Woman clothing store.

• Barefoot Bride, a gown shop that had called Fair Haven home for more than 45 years, moved to the 2,000-square-foot storefront at 65 Monmouth Street, former home Rob Amend and Michael Yavorsky’s of Red Ginger Home furnishings, which relocated to Broad Street more than a year ago.

• LoBoudoir Photography, which offers the latest in must-have hubba-hubba personal imagery, joined its sibling CLB Photography and Mike Hernandez Jr.’s Sounds to Go DJ service to take over the storefront at 21 East Front Street, a glass-fronted space last tenanted by the chic furniture seller Design Front, which left in 2009.

• Two dress shops moved in days apart, and one storefront apart, on Monmouth Street in November.

Jessy Krol’s Emilia took over 28 Monmouth, vacated in early August by Cocoon, an accessories retailer. Then,  Rue Royale Couture, specializing in prom and pageantwear, took over at 24 Monmouth, formerly held by Polish tableware dealer Adams Imports.

In between those two was David Levine Salon, which relocated to 69 Monmouth, former home of Cheveux Salon, leaving a yet-to-be filled vacancy at 26 Monmouth.

• Also on Monmouth, in the shop that formerly housed Miss Sherri’s Honey Child Music, Josephine More opened Innovative Nails.

• Kravings Frozen Yogurt opened at 90 Broad, filling another of the downtown’s most persistent vacancies.

Remember Altamonte Imports? Yeah, neither does Google. That was the last tenant in the space. Kravings owner Jill Pecoraro, bouncing back from the failure of another fro-yo franchisor with which she had contracted, shifted gears to create the new brand and outfit the gleaming, green-tiled space, which debuted in February.

• Kramer Portraits, which for the past 10 years had occupied a narrow storefront next door to the Jade Garden take-out Chinese place on Broad Street, took one of the two storefronts at 8 East Front last month. That’s the former Kislin’s Sporting Goods building, which vacated in 2005 and had no successor tenants.

As reported by Retail Churn last week, Vizzini & Company, a furniture dealer, plans to leave its anchor space in the Galleria at Red Bank on the West Side to take the second of the two storefronts, ending the building’s seven-year drought.

• Hair stylist Salon Concrete has signed to take over half the space at the 5,600-square foot 123-127 Broad Street, said salon owner Christine Zilinski. For years, the building was home to Surray Luggage, which moved to the opposite side of Broad several years ago.

• In news that broke on redbankgreen and gained national coverage, Ashley Dupré, whose infamous romps with Eliot Spitzer torpedoed his career as New York’s governor, plans to open a lingerie and swimwear store called Femme by Ashley at 15 Broad Street, a stylish storefront recently vacated by children’s boutique Lavish Kids. Outfitting of the store is underway, with an eye toward a May opening, we’re told.

• Jr’s West End, the Long Branch late-night hamburger and sandwich restaurant launched five years ago, plans to expand into the former home of Zuleyka’s Kitchen at 17 West Front Street.

• After five months of downtime, popular Red Bank coffee mainstay Zebu Forno reopened at a new address on March 1: 12 Broad Street  just a few doors down from the storefront it occupied for a decade at 20 Broad.

• Jonathan Erdelyi, a 30-year-old national racing champion, rolled out Red Bicycle Studio at 27 West Front Street. The 975-square-foot storefront was last occupied by Down to the Felt, a retailer of parlor games now operating out of 182 West Front, according to its website.

• Sunkissed Airbrush Tanning opened in a tiny second-floor space upstairs from That Hot Dog Place, in the alleyway beside the Dublin House on Monmouth Street in Red Bank.

• Lucki Clover, a women’s clothing and accessories store, opened in half the space formerly taken by Zebu Forno, at 20 Broad. The other half is set to be the home of a Boardwalk Fresh Burgers & Fries, setting up an interesting potential hamburger war with Jr.’s, not to mention existing restaurants.

• Workers were seen doing early prep work recently in the planned home of Subway Café, a 28-seat “hip” variation on the sandwich shop chain’s usual offerings, at 60 Broad Street, in a long-vacant space between the Red Bank Nail Salon and Hip & Humble Home furnishings.

• 12 Monmouth is being outfitted for Ice Costume Jewelry, which hopes to open in just a couple of weeks, store manager Ashely Goral tells Churn. The space was most recently home to Soapmarket, which vacated in January to become an online-only retailer.

• Elio Ventrella’s The Glam Bar hair styling salon – blowouts, no cuts – opened for business, after a glammy red-carpet style opening party. (That’s the salon’s designer lounge at right.) The salon replaces Butterfly Fine Arts at 116 Broad.

• Lucky Break Billiards and Café, opened at 14 West Front Street.  The gaming parlor, with five pool tables and a shuffleboard table, is situated within steps of five bars.