By JOHN T. WARD
Deal is done. Rumson, too.
After decades of operating jewelry stores in Deal and Rumson, Goldtinker founder Joe Romanowski is starting over in Red Bank.
He’s shutting down his shop in Deal, where he’s operated for 42 years. The town is “dead” in the off-season, he says. There’s not even a place to get a quick hamburger. His partner in the 32-year-old store on West River Road in Rumson, Penny Viau, is retiring.
So when his friends the Winters family closed their Firehouse Specialty Shop and Jersey Shore Apparel stores at 24 Broad Street and put the building up for sale earlier this year, Romanowski bought it, paying $1.3 million.
Romanowski said he conducted an informal survey on Broad Street outside Poor Cat, asking passersby if they knew of Goldtinker. Of the 50 people he says he spoke to, only one or two had heard of it. It was a revelation, he said.
“I realized that we don’t really get out there, outside our little areas,” he said.
Meanwhile, Poor Cat is going gangbusters, he said. He sees the foot traffic downtown as strong, and the mix of stores as “really starting to solidify” with the advent of Char Steakhouse and Buddy Valastro of ‘Cake Boss’ fame planning to open a Carlo’s Bakery nearby.
Both Goldtinker and Poor Cat make their own jewelry from their own designs – there’s no reselling of other manufacturers’ work, Romanowski said. Behind the selling area he’s creating for Goldtinker at 24 Broad, he’ll have six or seven jewelers working to produce the goods.
“It’ll be like a jewelry factory in there,” he jokes.
Romanowski anticipates a spring opening.
Here’s our feature story on Poor Cat Designs from last December.