By JOHN T. WARD
Having worked his magic in creating a dazzling new gallery downtown last year, art collector Kenny Schwartz has now turned his attention to a factory on Red Bank’s West Side.
There, in the former home of B&C Custom Wood Stairs and Rail, at the corner of Drs. James Parker Boulevard and South Bridge Avenue, the auto dealer is creating a custom-frame shop to serve walk-in customers, major museums and galleries, including his own Detour Gallery, on Clay Street.
Schwartz — who recently sold his World Subaru and World Jeep dealerships in Shrewsbury but still owns a Volkswagen business, a motorcycle dealership as well as a pub and restaurant in Keyport — has paired up with framer Erin Crinigan to create what he calls “the best-outfitted freaking frame shop in the country,” capable of making specialized displays required by museums.
They even acquired stairmaking equipment from the building’s prior owner that will be useful in making “spandrel frames, frames with pillars, crazy stuff,” said Crinigan.
With the 4,900-square-foot building now in the midst of a total makeover, they hope to open the shop this spring. The second floor will house Schwartz’s office as well as some artwork for sale.
“I used to drive by every day and go, ‘what a great building,'” said Schwartz, a Red Bank resident. Having injected major cool into a what was a warehouse downtown in creating Detour, he said of the frame shop location, “it’s Red Bank — it deserves a really cool corner.”
The business will join Lunch Break, Black Dragons Dojo and the Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County at the busy intersection, with Coffee Corral just a short walk away to the west. To the east, developer Roger Mumford is transforming the onetime home of African-American civil rights journalist T. Thomas Fortune into a community center and apartments.
“I think this will be the start of a change to this end of town,” said Crinigan, who’s been a framer for 22 years, first in New York and then for eight years at Chetkin Gallery on Wharf Avenue.
According to Monmouth County property records, Schwartz paid $425,000 last May for the building through a company called RB Art Storage LLC.
The sellers were Joyce and Chris Kalkucki, the immigrant Jamaican and Polish couple who owned B&C Stair. They could not be reached for comment. Check out redbankgreen’s profile of the Kalkuckis from June, 2006.