Daniel Ardelan puts the finishing touches on the window sign at GoodVibe Nutrition Tuesday afternoon. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


retail churn smallLying in bed in her New York City apartment on July 16, Irina Popa-Erwin had an insight: she had to open a store selling healthy beverages.

On Wednesday, five weeks later, she and two partners will open their business in Red Bank, a town they had never visited before they went on a mad search for a place to set up shop.

Irina Popa-Erwin, center, with partners Daniel Ardelan and Chia Burdea. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Though she’d never started a retail business before, the native Romanian and former medalist in gymnastics immediately threw herself into the project with the focus of an athlete, she told Retail Churn Tuesday.

With friends Chia Burdea and Daniel Ardelan brought in as partners, she embarked on a quest for a location. They started in East Brunswick, and visited Seaside Heights and The Grove at Shrewsbury before they came to Red Bank.

“We saw the farmer’s market, we stopped for dinner, we felt the energy,” said Popa-Erwin, a life coach with operations in New York, Los Angeles and elsewhere. “I was like, ‘wow, I love this.'”

The trio visited the tiny shop at 4B West Front Street, a storefront that frames a fabulous view of Broad Street, and knew they’d found a home, she said.

Their business, GoodVibe Nutrition, will offer healthy protein smoothies and coffee, “mega-energy” teas, fat blasters, beauty collagen drink shots and sports performance nutrition drinks.

Most recently, the space was home to Lake K’s Bake Shop , which opened in February, 2018 but closed June, a victim of the pandemic.

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