By JOHN T. WARD
Five years after it was opened by television baking star Buddy Valastro, Carlo’s Bake Shop in Red Bank has closed, redbankgreen has learned.
The unannounced shutdown comes just four months after a new investor in the business said there was no plan to leave town.
The store, at 86 Broad Street, didn’t open for business as usual Tuesday, though workers could be seen inside. By early Wednesday, a small sign had appeared on the front door saying the shop was closing. No reason was given, and customers were encouraged to patronize company stores in Marlton and Philadelphia.
Through the rear door, the kitchen was seen to have been cleared out.
Neither the company website nor the company’s social media accounts showed information about the closing early Wednesday. A message left with corporate office was not immediately returned.
In March of this year, Mike DeStefano of Colts Neck reached out to redbankgreen to announce that he had bought a stake in the store and to quell rumors of an August departure.
DeStefano, a CPA who said he’d bought his stake just a month earlier, did not immediately respond to a voicemail message Wednesday morning.
Debbie Eisenstein, whose family has a stake in the partnership that owns the building, told redbankgreen that closing was a bit abrupt.
“We knew their lease was up this month, but were not expecting that the doors would be closed as if yesterday,” she said.
Eisenstein called the departure “sad,” and said the partnership, called the Ten Company, is looking for a new tenant.
Valastro, who leveraged his popularity as a creator of colorful cakes at a family-owned Hoboken bakery into cable TV stardom, opened the Red Bank store with fanfare in November, 2013 after an expedited approval and build-out of a space previously home to Ricky’s Candy.
The shop was one of seven in New Jersey and one of 20 across the United States, according to the company website, which also lists one in Brazil.
Last week, media outlets carried photos of a slimmed-down Valastro and his wife, Lisa, enjoying pool time at a party in Sea Bright with Real Housewives of New Jersey star Melissa Gorga and her husband, Joe.
The vacancy creates three empty storefronts on the block, following the departures of Lux beauty products in May and Sempre Cannoli at an unknown date.