By JOHN T. WARD
This edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn includes news on the departure of the Doc Shoppe; the opening of an exotic-fruit bar and café; and plans by a high-end beauty products retailer to open downtown.Playa Bowls plans to open next month at 14 West Front Street. Below: Cos Bar is to take one of the two vacant spaces flanking Tiffany & Co. at 105 Broad Street. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
• The Doc Shoppe, known as well for shoe-giveaways that drew hundreds of families to his store as for the punk-themed Dr. Martens boots that gave the store its name, will close at the end of March, owner Dean Ross told Churn over the weekend.
Ross, who founded his shoe business in the Acme Shopping Center in Fair Haven 17 years ago as a seller of then-new Crocs, said the store just couldn’t survive in the face of internet competition, a downtown parking shortage and too much high-end retail.
“The nature of Red Bank is changing,” he said. “You don’t have a balance of stores where the middle class can shop.”
Ross, who’s a part-owner of both the Bagel Oven on Monmouth Street and the newly opened Shapiro’s New York Style Delicatessen just a few doors south of the Doc Shoppe, said he expects to stay busy with both. He also plans to continue his twice-yearly bicycle light giveaway in conjunction with St. Anthony of Padua Church on Bridge Avenue.
The Doc Shoppe was the last retailer selling only shoes in town after If the Shoe Fits, with roots traceable to 1883, closed in 2014.
The Doc Shoppe space, at 43 Broad, is owned by The Tenco, in which municipal court Judge William Himelman, who died last Thursday, was a principal.
• Playa Bowls plans to open February 9 at 14 West Front Street, owner Robert Eliseo tells Churn.
The business offers healthy treats in the form of fruit bowls centered on the acai berry, and was launched in July, 2015 by Abby Taylor and Robert Giuliani in a building Eliseo owns on Ocean Avenue in Belmar. Since then, the business has exploded into nine locations.
Eliseo, a longtime owner of a Pepsi distributorship in New York City said he’s the sole owner of the Red Bank store, which will feature 55 seats and a café.
The space has been vacant since the closing of Lucky Break Billiards under controversial circumstances in 2013.
That is, if the company’s application to the zoning board is approved. Details on the variances needed and hearing date were not immediately available. [UPDATE: Planning and zoning office reports that Cos Bar needs to either change its proposed signs to comply with borough ordinance or seek a sign variance from the zoning board. The company has not yet indicated which path it will take.]
Cos Bar would take over a space that’s been vacant since the now-deceased Larry Garmany moved his upscale clothing emporium next door to the former Steinbach’s department store space in 2005, leasing the majority of the vacated space to Tiffany two years later.
The similar-sized space on the opposite side of Tiffany in the building, which was built as a U.S. Post Office, is also vacant. It’s last tenant was Rumson China & Glass.