By JOHN T. WARD
Chelsea Delaney was all set to close on the purchase of Sea Bright boutique CoCoTay when Hurricane Sandy hit last October 29.
The business, like nearly all others in town, was wiped out, and the deal fell apart.
But Delaney moved on, and earlier this month opened a new shop, dubbed Sadie James Boutique, in Fair Haven, becoming part of a sudden makeover underway on River Road.
As previously reported by redbankgreen, Fair Haven’s tiny, resistant-to-change downtown was rocked by a number of retail departures earlier this year.
Out in a matter of weeks were Gourmet Picnic, Nature’s Emporium, the Java Stop and Write Impressions, a custom stationery and wedding invitation shop.
Since then, Lollies candy store has joined the exodus.
But vacancies are quickly filling in. Balderose Fine Foods opened its BFF Market in the Gourmet Picnic space last week. Booskerdoo, a two-year-old coffee shop in Monmouth Beach, is building a new coffee house to replace the Java Stop. Ink, which bills itself as “a stylish papery and gift boutique where we believe in the power of the hand written note and the excitement of receiving a fabulous invitation in the mail,” is in the process of setting up shop at 803 River.
Delaney’s Sadie James led the charge, quietly opening earlier this month in the space held for 40 years by Nature’s Emporium.
And one of the shop’s draws, Delaney hopes, will be a back room created for private “denim parties,” at which women can socialize, try on clothes and buy them at a discount.
The influx has a distinctively youthful air, too. Booskerdoo’s husband-and-wife owners, James and Amelia Caverly, are 31 years old. Delaney, though she’s racked up an impressive fashion-industry résumé, opening most of Dor L’Dor‘s stores, including the one in her home town Red Bank, is 28.