65 broad 073014A Chocolate Works franchise has leased 65 Broad Street. (Click to enlarge)


Rcsm2_010508The rapid transformation of downtown Red Bank into an epicurean destination continues with the planned addition of another dessert-and-treats option.

A Manalapan woman signed a lease this week to open a Chocolate Works shop at 65 Broad Street, near the corner of Wallace Street.

If approved by borough officials, the shop would join the ranks of the Red Bank Chocolate Shoppe on White Street, as well as a handful of cake and cupcake shops to have sprouted in recent years, including Sugarush, Cupcake Magician, Whipped Bites and Carlo’s Bakery, not to mention a cluster of ice cream and frozen yogurt vendors.

The storefront was briefly occupied by Poor Cat Designs, and in recent years has been home to a home furnishings store, a guitar store, two carpet merchants and a health food store. Poor Cat, a jewelry shop, recently hopped a few doors south, taking over space vacated by Ten Thousand Villages crafts shop.

See why we call this thing Retail Churn?

Chocolate Shop owner Randi Garfinkel, of course, is hoping for a longer tenancy. After stints in corporate sales and real estate sales, the 41-year-old has decided to embrace her passion for treats and turn a longtime hobby into a business, she tells Churn.

She “fell in love with the Chocoloate Works” concept after visiting a franchise shop opened last December by a friend on Long Island, she says. Also impressive, she said, that all the chocolate used is from Belgium.

“It didn’t take long for me to realize it was a great opportunity,” she says, adding that she and her family have long been frequent visitors downtown. The chain has 10 locations listed on its website, with three more coming soon, not including Garfinkel’s.

Garfinkel hopes to open in time for the year-end holidays, but first, says she plans “a lot of construction to the space.” According to plans filed with the borough, that includes the replacement of the old-fashioned, 20-foot-deep recessed “show windows” foyer with an entryway just four feet deep.

The design changes also call for the creation of a room available for birthday parties, Girl Scout gatherings, corporate events and more, she says.

The plan requires a stop at either the planning or zoning board for a parking variance. No hearing has yet been scheduled.

Joann Clark of Blue Winn Realty handled the lease deal.