Jack Pongnoo in the former Readie’s space, where he’s opening a new restaurant. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


retail churn smallSummer doldrums? Not in Red Bank, where storefront turnover continues as busily as ever.

This edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn has the scoops on:

• a new southeast-Asian restaurant coming to Broad Street

• an update on the former Katsin’s Pharmacy space on Shrewsbury Avenue

• a new women’s clothing boutique

• the departure of a vacuum-cleaner shop, and more.

It’s all Churning right around the ‘read more’ corner…

The long-vacant 19 West Front Street is now home to Feminique Boutique. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Jack Pongnoo, chef and owner of Muang Thai Restaurant, at the corner of East Front and Union streets, is close to opening a new eatery specializing in the cuisine of Vietnam, Laos and Malaysia in the former Readie’s Deli space at 39 Broad Street.

Called Baan Khun Restaurant, the new eatery fills a space that Readie’s vacated four months ago in favor of a commercial kitchen in Hazlet, where it reconstituted itself as a catering-only operation.

The business is all set to go, and even has place settings on the tables. Pongnoo said he’s just waiting for the certificate of occupancy from the borough… and a date that ends in 9, he told Churn.

“We opened Muang Thai on a 9,” he said. “It’s our lucky number.”

His aunt, Rean Pongnoo, will run the kitchen, Pongnoo said.

The town lost its only Vietnamese eatery with the closing of Pho Le in February. It was quickly replaced by an Indian restaurant, Bombay River.

At 192 Shrewsbury Avenue, seen at right, the former Katsin’s Pharmacy building is getting a gut-job makeover.

Owner Steve Goodman obtained borough planning and zoning office approval earlier this summer for remodeling work. A spokeswoman for Goodman said last month that he’s “renovating the space in preparation for tenancy,” but at the time there was  no signed lease.

Monmouth County property records show Goodman bought the property, at the corner of Catherine Street, last December for $310,000.

According to an archived Atlanticville article, Katsin’s closed in 2004 after 86 years of operation, the last 70 on the West Side.

A women’s clothing store called Feminique Boutique has set up shop at 19 West Front Street, alongside Emanuel Court. (Yes, that narrow alley is a public thoroghfare and has a name.)

Churn was unable to immediately obtain any information about the business, which fills a vacancy created by the departure two years ago of the Inner Eye Boutique, a smoke shop that had been there for five years.

The stucco-sided building is owned by the Morgan family’s Morco, which has extensive property holdings downtown.

Downtown promotion agency Red Bank RiverCenter and the Red Bank Visitors Center plan to move to 140 Broad Street (seen at left) in coming days, taking space previously occupied by Bayada Nursing, RiverCenter executive director Jim Scavone tells Churn.

The two operations have been working in second-floor space off English Plaza since 2011.

The main impetus for the move is more visibility and easier public access, mostly for the Visitors Center, Scavone said.

Catching up on some other churning in recent months:

Queen Vacuum has moved out of town, vacating 156 Monmouth Street, its home of 55 years.

The sales-and-repair shop, owned by husband-and-wife John and Rachel Decker, has relocated to 191 Newman Springs Road, seen at right, on the Shrewsbury side of the road opposite Vingo Wine & Spirits.

The business, started by Gene Graman in 1955, was originally called Graman’s Vacuum & Appliance and was located on Monmouth Street closer to Broad Street. Graman bought 156 Monmouth, at the corner of West Street, in 1963, and continues to own the property.

Graman, whom the Deckers refer to as “Uncle Gene,” trained John Decker in the art of vacuum-cleaner repair and sold him the business in 2002. The couple later renamed the shop.

John Decker said that despite his close relationship to Graman, the business couldn’t absorb a pending rent hike, the latest in a series. It was also squeezed for space, he said.

The new home, he said, is 500 square feet larger, at a lower rent $450 a month less than the Red Bank address. And with its “highway” frontage, it’s already bringing in more customers, he said.

Alex and Ani has vacated 12 Broad Street. As reported by redbankgreen, the jewelry business embedded crystals in the walls for “vital force energy” in preparation for its opening in 2012.

Decatur Lane, a jewelry store that opened at 9 Monmouth Street last November, has cleared out.