By JOHN T. WARD
Some random updates from the ever-changing mix of stores and restaurants in downtown Red Bank that we call the redbankgreen Retail Churn…
• From Ice to spice: the Spice & Tea Exchange, a chain of independently owned and operated merchants of gourmet spices, herbs, salts, teas and more, has filed papers with the borough to open at 12 Monmouth Street. The space was last, and briefly, occupied by Ice Jewelry, and before that, Soapmarket.
Landlord Bill Meyer tells Retail Churn that the business is jamming for a pre-Christmas opening. Ambitious.
• Jersey Mike’s subs, an ever-expanding franchise operation with New Jersey roots, plans to open a store in the City Centre strip mall at Maple Avenue and Water Street.
Jersey Mike’s will add a competitor to the already-saturated sub market, which saw the recent addition of Canio Paradiso’s Red Bank Subs.
The space was long occupied by White Dove, a dry cleaner that recently relocated to Shrewsbury Avenue in Tinton Falls, where it’s touting convenient drive-through service.
• Meanwhile, and speaking of subs, who knows what’s going on with the approved Subway at 60 Broad Street? After a burst of activity in September, the place still hasn’t opened. It was approved two years ago.
• Tina Bulwin won an OK to from the borough zoning board to relocate her two-year-old Flowers on Front florist shop, now at 5 East Front, to 59 Maple Avenue, at the corner of Gold Street. That space was formerly occupied by a furniture store. On the store’s Facebook page, Bulwin says she hopes to open by early December.
Once the move is completed, the new Muang Thai restaurant plans to expand into the space vacated by the florist.
• Demolition work is well underway at the former Jade Garden on Broad Street, where a new pharmacy and two other as-yet-unidentified retail shops are going in.
• Next door, at the corner of Broad and Harding Road, the windows of the former Tower Hill Antiques / Lamplighter stores have been papered over. Usually, that’s a signal that something’s coming. But commercial broker Geof Brothers tells Churn there’s nothing imminent.
An investor who asked not to be identified yet is about to close on the purchase of the building and “wants to do retail sales of art on the first floor,” but no tenant has been lined up, said Brothers.
The building has been vacant since the sudden death of owner Raymond Valerio in October 2010.
• As previously noted, Emilia is closing. The women’s dresses and accessories shop was facing what owner Jessy Krol said was a nearly 30-percent rent hike. Krol, who maintained an interior design consultancy throughout her two-year stay at 28 Monmouth Street, said she’ll return to that business full-time after the store closes November 26.
• Rugs & Home is closing at 16 West Front Street, with screaming yellow “going out of business” signs in the window and a sandwich board out on the sidewalk. Question: who even knew it had opened?
• The next hearing on the proposed Walgreen’s pharmacy, which would be built on the site of the former Rassas Buick dealership at the south end of Broad Street, is tentatively scheduled for December 2.
We saw an email recently being circulated by a resident who favors the proposal, and is trying to rally like-minded neighbors who fear that something worse – “a standard convenience store… with no landscaping to speak of and tons of wet food garbage in unsightly dumpsters” – will be be built there if Walgreen’s is shot down.