By JOHN T. WARD
After 90 years in Red Bank, Prown’s is leaving town.
The windows-and-doors dealer, a former five-and-dime that won enduring devotion as a retailer of “everything” needed for household upkeep, plans to move to Middletown, its owner said Wednesday.
More details, and news of a bagel store eyeing a Red Bank location, right around the “read more” corner.
David Prown, the third-generation owner of the business now known as Prown’s Home Improvements, said in a comment posted Wednesday on the most recent edition of redbankgreen’s Retail Churn, that the store is
moving 2 1/2 miles north to 669 Rt. 35 Middletown. Same Name, Same Owner, Same Employees/Installers, Same products. All good. Just more visible location and ample parking to meet needs of customers.
Prown couldn’t be reached for immediate further comment, but Churn will update this post if and when we hear from him.
A longtime regular at borough government and school board meetings, Prown has been increasingly vocal in recent months about his frustrations with both. Earlier this year, he blasted the borough council for what he characterized as an unannounced and unfair expansion of the paid-parking zone to include the stretch of Monmouth Street on which his store is located, as well as portions of Bridge Avenue.
Earlier this month, he teed up schools Superintendent Jared Rumage over a decision not to have middle school students play in the annual Red Kettle Classic basketball tournament Prown originated at the Salvation Army gym on Newman Springs Road.
Prown, a borough resident, is widely known in Red Bank as an advocate for economically disadvantaged kids, spending his afternoons, evening and weekends transporting them to athletic practices and cultural events, helping them navigate scholarship applications and more. Brookdale Community College gave him an honorary degree for his efforts in May.
Prown’s grandfather, Max Prown, founded the store known as Prown-Cooper in 1925. After a fire destroyed its 47 Broad Street location in 1960, the business reopened at 32 Broad Street — now a Chase bank branch. David Prown took over management of the business from a cousin in 1993, and pared its hundreds of product lines — which included everything from clotheslines to Christmas lights — down to doors, windows and window coverings when he moved to rented space at 135 Monmouth Street in 2003.
There’s a detailed history on the business website.
Afterward, we learned that the new owner, called 368 Broad St. LLC, has filed an application with the town to open a takeout bagel shop called M&N Hot Bagels there. The store would include eight seats for onsite dining, according to the paperwork.
The property, long used as a gas station and most recently leased by a dealer of used, upscale autos, was approved for an Italian deli in 2010, but that business never opened.
Churn was unable to reach Victor Battista, who is listed in the application as the property owner, for comment.