Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.

RED BANK: GUITARS, TOYS & TABLES CHURN IN

red-bank-relic-music-mike-nicosia-101521-500x332-6639923Relic Music owner Mike Nicosia with one of the Dunable guitars his shop carries. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

rcsm2_0105081-220x165-9667185Amid a booming market for six-stringed instruments, a boutique retailer of electric guitars has opened in downtown Red Bank.

Also in this edition of Retail Churn: a new combo toy and sports memorabilia shop, and a Ukrainian maker of custom tables and jewelry making its United States landfall, both on Broad Street.

red-bank-pop-freak-102921-500x332-7490654Pop Freak Collectibles, opened at the corner of Broad and Wallace streets. Below, Olena Prykhodko, owner of the Kochut jewelry and epoxy table store. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

red-bank-kochut-olena-prykhodko-102121-220x146-1578623• In addition to having been the birthplace of Danelectro guitars and amps, Red Bank was once a retail mecca for guitarists. It was home to a handful of stores carrying six-strings, amps and gear, including Guitar Trader, then located at 12 Broad Street.

The 2018 closing of Monmouth Music, two years after it gave up on retail sales in the face of competition from the national Guitar Center chain and direct-to-consumer sales by manufacturers, meant the end of guitar-only retailing.

But since the start of the pandemic, “this business has exploded,” said Mike Nicosia, who opened Relic Music Shop at 13 Monmouth Street last month. “There’s never been a better time to open an indie music store.”

Relic store carries “some entry-level stuff,” Nicosia said, but is mainly focussed on helping players achieve the tone they hear in their heads, using the right mix of guitars and effects pedals, which Relic also carries.

Nicosia, 42 and living in Ocean Township, started working as a salesman at a chain music store right out of college 20 years ago, and fell in love with it, a feeling that stayed with him even as he ventured into other fields, he told Churn.

But with the pandemic driving guitar sales skyward, Nicosia decided that it was time to follow through on a long-nursed dream: open his own guitar shop.

The key to survival is “you have to eat it, you have to live it and you have to breathe it,” Nicosia said. “If i had any sense, I’d go back to a regular job. But this is what I’ve always wanted to do with my life.”

His shop, which took space last tenanted by Sassy Chic dress shop, carries guitars by Dunable, Bilt, Fano and Robot Graves. The instruments sell for from $200 to “the five digits,” said Nicosia, who also offers guitar and amp servicing.

Pop Freak Collectibles has opened at 65 Broad Street, at the southeast corner of Wallace, replacing a long-gone carpet store.

The business pairs retailing of Funko and other toys, under the management of Jay Spedale, and sports memorabilia, run by Rolf Luberoff.

Some Funko toys have become high-price collectibles. In 2012, a new Star Wars toy could be purchased for $15. Today, with only 480 having been produced, it might trade for $1,500, Spedale said.

The store features a soda machine, or something that looks like one, that dispenses cans, inside which you get either the “common” version of a Funko toy or a variant, known as a “chase,” which Spedale said “may be more collectible because those are produced in more limited numbers.”

Having the shop located next door to Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash makes for good potential synergy, drawing on like-minded customers excited by pop-culture collecting, Spedale said.

This Sunday, the store hosts former New York Ranger Stephane Matteau and former New York Met Howard Johnson for an autograph session from noon to 2 p.m.

• Olena Prykhodko has opened Kochut Wood at 37 Broad Street, previously occupied by a clothing boutique called Anima.

Kochut is a Ukrainian company offering jewelry and epoxy-and-wood furniture. And if it sounds like an odd business model, well, it’s booming in Europe, Prykhodko says. The recent transplant to Morganville, from Brooklyn, is the owner of the Red Bank store, the first in the United States.

The company began when three brothers named Kochut opened a jewelry store in the Ukraine in 2013. Needing displays, they created their own, which led to an epoxy -and-wood table factory that now employs more than 300, Prykhodko said.

So customers walk in searching for jewelry and walk out having purchased a table? “That is very possible,” Prykhodko said, adding that over the summer, while the store space was still be readied, she sold seven.

The tables range in price from under $1,000 to $15,000.

Prykhodko said she expects to have all the jewelry, and additional tables, in time for the Christmas season.

• Artist Mike Quon, the last holdout among several tenants who shared 86 Broad Street on a “pop-up” basis for the past year, has relocated across the street, to 93 Broad. Both buildings are owned by Ten Co.

Quon Art Gallery 93 replaces Midtown Authentic.

If you value the news coverage provided by redbankgreen, please become a financial supporter for as little as $1 per month. Click here to set your own level of monthly or annual contribution.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
GOING GREY
Workers painting the stone facade of the PNC Bank at the corner of Broad and Harding Thursday morning. An upgrade? Maybe it’s just pri ...
COFFEE & WILDLIFE
RED BANK: The best wildlife show in town can be taken in from a waterfront bench outside the public library, and it's totally free.
FAWNING OVER HER BABY
A mother deer and her fawn were spotted between a row of garages on Hudson Avenue and some trees alongside the Broad Street parking lots. Re ...
EVENING ESCAPE
RED BANK: Sailors in Monmouth Boat Club's weekly racing series found tranquil conditions on the Navesink River Tuesday evening.
PEAK COLOR ON BROAD
RED BANK: A year after they were installed, downtown mini gardens have added to "transformational" improvements, says business owner.
RED BANK: FAIRIES MOVE IN ON WHITE STREET
Red Bank: Girl scouts turns tiny parking lot plot of dirt into a "magical girls sparkle garden."
TRAINING UNDER FIRE
RED BANK: Volunteer firefighters train to cut into pitched roofs under active fire conditions.
“SUPERMOM” WANTS YOUR VOTE
Business owner. Dyed in the wool, lifelong Red Banker. Mother of six. Yup, seems like Anita Pierce does it all. In other words, she’s ...
SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS
RED BANK: Town prepares for Saturday's Pride in the Park celebration with another lawn art design by public works supervisor and Fire Chief ...
MOVIES VIA LIBRARY
RED BANK: Public Library now offers members access to streaming movies via Kanopy, with some 30,000 titles and tons of content for kids.
NEW RAINBOW CROSSWALK ON BROWN PLACE
Kicking off pride month, some Brown Place and Spring Street residents, ages 5 to 11, constructed a rainbow crosswalk with chalk over the wee ...
WHAT TO WEAR?
RED BANK: Dressmakers' mannequins appeared to mull what to wear as they looked down on Monmouth Street last week.
SYMPHONY RETURNS JUNE 29
RED BANK: An annual crowd pleaser returns June 29 with a free concert in Marine Park by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, RiverCenter said ...
Heard on the Green
Heard on the Green
DUCK RESCUE EFFORT
Duckling rescue attempt underway in sewer at East Front and Broad, 10:29 a.m.
HOUSING CRUNCH
Demolition begins for new apartments at Globe Court and Mechanic Street.
FEELING SNAPPY
      Snapping Turtles come ashore to lay their eggs this time of year and are a common site along the Swimming River waterfr ...
TUB TIME
RED BANK: A sparrow waits for the next available dirt tub while two others take their Sunday baths. (Click for video.)
CHECK IT OUT
A bench outside the Red Bank Public Library provided a serene view of our beautiful Navesink River Monday evening.
WAYWARD SLIM JIM
Anybody lose a Slim Jim? A “Sweet Mild O’ Mine” flavor Slim Jim was seen left unattended on this mailbox on Mechanic Stree ...