RED BANK: FOUR BUSINESSES EXPAND
Sweetest Sin owner Angela Courtney is doubling the size of her lingerie boutique on White Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
With their eyes on growth, four established Red Bank businesses are seizing opportunities to expand their presence downtown, redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn has learned.
Among them are three retailers who have found ways to survive online shopping, the coronavirus pandemic and other challenges that have crushed so many in their sector.
Chris Midose in the floor-thru space at 18 Broad Street, future home of Earth Spirit New Age Shop. Below, Cabana 19 is opening a second shop at the eastern end of the building it occupies on White Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
• After 13 years at 11 White Street, Angie Courtney is moving her lingerie store, Sweetest Sin Boutique, next door to 7 White, a space recently vacated by Chelsea Morning hair salon.
The move will offer more display area for brassieres, camisoles and other garments, and provide space for four oversized dressing rooms, Courtney told Churn last week.
With double the floor area and expansive windows, the space is “bright and airy,” said Courtney, who owns the building that has Semolina Restaurant and Red Bank Chocolate Shoppe as tenants.
Courtney has established herself as a downtown business leader, with deep involvement in the Red Bank Business Alliance and as an owner of commercial property.
After acquiring her building three years ago, she bought the building across the street last year from longtime owners Vance and Margaret Valente in conjunction with their decision to retire and close their Quicksilver Handcrafted Jewelry. In the process, she became the landlord to a Rook coffee shop, Hair & Co. and Cabana 19 (a shop that’s also expanding – see below).
“I love it here,” she said. “Red Bank has been good to me, and I want to keep growing.”
The opening of Sweetest Sin’s new home is expected in the next month or so. Another retailer will take over the space being vacated, Courtney said.
Meantime, Chelsea Morning’s stylists have moved to moved to Bliss Hair Studio on Swimming River Road in Lincroft.
• Earth Spirit New Age Center, a glittering Monmouth Street mecca for devotees of crystals, Tarot cards, candles and more, is moving to 18 Broad Street next month, owner Chris Midose tells Churn.
The floor-thru space of 3,000 square feet features 14-foot-high, tin-covered ceilings in a building that dates to 1883. Midose said he was awed when he first toured it, but initially didn’t dare think he could afford it. But his life- and business partner Rob Carroll convinced him they could make a go of it, and a longterm deal was struck with building owner Ralph Notaro, he said.
Earth Spirit is riding an unexpected rejuvenation, Midose said. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, 2020, he worried about the future of his business, but suddenly, the crystals market “exploded on Tik Tok,” he said.
“Now, we still have the same older customers, but there’s just been a wave of young people,” he said. “It’s been going strong for two years, and I don’t see any ebb” on the horizon, he said.
Last year was the company’s best-ever in sales, Midose said, and the relocation to more visible Broad Street storefront is expected to increase the momentum, as diners and shoppers discover the store.
The lease covers a basement that nearly doubles the square footage, enabling Earth Spirit to ramp up its online business.
Midose opened the business with his mother, Jocelyn, in 1991, at 16 West Front Street, and relocated to 25 Monmouth in 2005. He became sole owner in 2018.
The Broad Street space was last occupied by Haute Maven, but for more than 130 years was home to a series of shoe stores, culminating with If the Shoe Fits, which closed in 2014.
• Across the street from Sweetest Sin, in a building owned by Courtney, Cabana 19 owner Kris Winters plans to open a “little sister” shop called Locker 19, she told Churn.
Located at the eastern end of the building, the shop will carry on the “beachy feel” of the existing shop, located at the westerly end, while offering gifts and accessories Winters said she’s wanted to feature for much of her decade in business, but didn’t have space for.
“We will be offering teen gifts, baby gifts, wedding gifts, housewarming gifts, and birthday gifts,” she said via email. “We will have a section for pet lovers and sports (tennis, golf, pickleball). We are extensively expanding our personalization section so you can pick up a gift and have it wrapped and ready to go.”
Winters told Churn she hopes to open Locker 19 in the first week of May.
The space was occupied from 1972 until June, 2021 by Vance and Margaret Valente’s Quicksilver Handcrafted Jewelry which closed upon their retirement last June. A business called Peek-a-Boo Shoes obtained permits to operate in the space, but did not open.
This is the second time Winters has expanded her business. She busted through a wall to double the original footprint of her shop in 2014, just 16 months after opening Cabana 19.
• Patrick Jeffrey, seen at right last August outside Elli’s Backyard, plans to expand the eight-month old restaurant into vacant space next door at 43A Broad Street.
The space, most recently occupied by AR Workshop, will be used to create a “speakeasy” vibe, Jeffrey tells Churn.
“It’s essentially a hidden restaurant within a restaurant,” he said in an email, and will include “a ‘hidden’ door, secret menu items, and a different more intimate atmosphere.”
It will also allow him to host private parties on weekends without having to close his restaurant to other customers, as is now the case, Jeffrey said.
An opening is expected this summer, he said.
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