FUNK AND STANDARD HEADS NORTH ON BROAD

Patti Siciliano plans to relocate her 14-year-old store to 7 Broad. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Funk and Standard, a retailing stalwart through Red Bank’s economic ups and downs, is planning to vacate its longtime home and reopen next month farther north on Broad Street.

Owner Patti Siciliano tells redbankgreen she’ll close the clothing and novelty store, as well as its 18-month-old Yummy Yummy Good Stuff juice bar, on Tuesday in preparation for a move to a below-the-street space at 7 Broad Street, between Red restaurant and Blue Water Seafood.

Hoping to take over the vacated space at 40 Broad is Greene Street Consignment, a high-end clothing consignment shop with seven stores in the Philadelphia area, according to documents on file at borough hall.

Funk and Standard’s new, subterranean home is best known as the onetime location of Down to Earth restaurant.  (Click to enlarge)

Siciliano, while full of praise for her landlord of 14 years, said the move was driven by rent. The new space, at 2,300 square feet, is much cheaper, and not solely because it’s 400 square feet smaller: it’s below the street, accessed by an exterior stairway.

The space is best known to long-timers as the home to Down to Earth, a much-loved vegan restaurant launched by chef Gail Doherty, now at Good Karma Café, and partner Lacey Sher.

The street-level retail space at 7 Broad has been vacant for years, which Siciliano admits is “a little scary. If there’s any downside to this move, that may be it.”

But she’s confident the side-by-side Yum and Funk can survive and thrive. What did in Down to Earth, she said, wasn’t the location, but a change in management after Doherty and Sher sold it in 2006 after a seven-year run.

There was never any thought of leaving Red Bank, said Siciliano, a Middletown resident who considers the borough a “glorious” place to be on a daily basis.

“I’m here doing what I dreamt of doing my whole life,” Siciliano said in an interview in her colorful office at the back of the store. “People hear the name ‘Funk and Standard,’ and they light up.”

A recent walk through town prompted her to see the former Down to Earth space, with a fully-functional kitchen, in a new light.  “It was like, why didn’t we think of this three years ago?” she said.

Siciliano, who once dreamed of franchising Funk and Standard and for a number of years ran a second store in Westfield, has closed that shop and is now focusing on developing the Yum concept into a juice-bar kiosk franchise.

Meantime, Greene Street Consignment will need a variance to open at 40 Broad because the zone in which the property is located doesn’t permit consignment shops. A hearing before the borough zoning board is tentatively scheduled for August 16.