By JOHN T. WARD
For reasons that may be clear only to her, JoAnn Clark decided to name her new commercial real estate brokerage after Bluewin, a Swiss email service.
Which is why visitors to downtown Red Bank are suddenly seeing signs touting the availability of retail spaces through Blue Winn Commerial.
The garrulous and nearly-always-laughing Red Bank resident’s half of just about any conversation is likely to contain numerous such head-scratchers. In fact, Clark is quick to admit that her stream-of-conscious repartee and sense of humor can be baffling. But she adds that what’s enabled to survive more than two decades of market ups and downs isn’t what she says, but understanding what her clients say.
“As much as I talk, I listen, and try and get a feel for what they need,” she said.
“They’re business people, but they need someone to tell them what’s happening in the market,” as well as to help them navigate the zoning and permitting processes of borough hall, she said.
Clark opened Blue Winn earlier this year, after three years at Coldwell Banker in Rumson and a total 21 years as a commercial broker. Her new firm, housed on the second floor of 27 Monmouth Street, recently hired an MAI-certified appraiser, and is about to bring on a residential broker as a partner.
For now, though, the firm is gaining its toehold via the bright yellow signs with blue lettering that dot retail spaces downtown, such as the former Monmouth Mattress store on Broad Street; the former Wooly Monmouth store just downstairs from Blue Winn’s office; and the long-vacant former Fameabilia store on Monmouth.
That space won approval from borough zoners a year ago for a 162-seat restaurant, and though it remains vacant, Clark said recently she believed she was getting close to signing a tenant.
And what does Clark think of the recent profusion of restaurants downtown?
“I don’t think we’re turning Red Bank into a ‘food court,” she said. “They’re bringing in the traffic that walks through the stores.”