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RED BANK: INDIAN FOOD, JEWELRY AND MORE IN CHURN

Agara Indian Masala on Monmouth Street. (Photos by John T. Ward and Brian Donohue. Click to enlarge.)

By BRIAN DONOHUE

Whew. Skip a few weeks to make sure your tomato plants and family graduates are sprouting OK and you miss a whole lot of turnover in Red Bank’s ever-changing local business scene.

A new Indian restaurant, two women’s clothing boutiques and a jewelry store have all burst forth.

Read all about them in this early summer edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

Amanda Jean NYC at 69 Broad Street. Below, Nirmala and Kumar Yerakala at Agra.

• Wife-and-husband Nirmala and Kumar Yerakala have opened Agra Indian Masala at 30 Monmouth Street as the culmination of a Nirmala’s “25-year-dream,” she said.

Having raised three kids to adulthood, the couple decided the time was perfect to open a restaurant serving “traditional, not fusion” Indian cuisine, “like the food that I would serve my own children.”

“I wanted to retire,” Kumar said, but on a recent visit seemed more than enthusiastic to help his wife make her dream come true.

Chris and Femi Allen of Sensorium Emporium.

• Next door to Agra, another charming family story is playing out amid an incredible array of fragrances.

Beth Allen has opened Sensorium Emporium at 28 Monmouth. She has sold soaps and essential oils at markets from a converted school bus for a decade, and says the new shop allows her to widen offerings to plants, candles, custom pottery, herbs, and much more.

Her husband, Chris, and daughter Femi also work there, with the space set up for live music performances to round out the offerings of “things you can see, smell, taste, hear and touch.” They also offer “plant day care” services where people can leave their beloved house plants when they go on vacation.

Giselle Boutique took the Broad Street space recently vacated by Pop Freaks.

Giselle Boutique opened last week open at 65 Broad, at the corner of Wallace Street, in space vacated by Pop Freaks. Owner Melissa Barbieri started working in Red Bank retail when she was 16 at the former shop Wisteria and ran a shop in Holmdel before moving to Red Bank.

Barbiere converted the former Pop Freaks location in just 19 days to a store offering “high end clothing at affordable prices” for women of “all ages.”

• Just a few doors south, women’s clothing boutique Amanda Jean NYC has opened at 69 Broad, taking the space vacated by Poor Cat Jewelry (more below).

Owned by Amanda Astor, the shop offers clothing for women (with a small section of leisurewear for men) and also has a shop in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

The interior of Premium Jewelers on Monmouth Street.

Premier Jewelers opened May 11 at 17 Monmouth Street.

Owners Jay Zeidner and Daniel Roberts, who grew up together in Wayne Township, operated a wholesale high-end watch and jewelry business on Broad Street for years (and a showroom in San Diego) before deciding to open up a retail shop in the former location of Witch Baby Soap. which moved out six months ago.

Displays at Poor Cat on Broad Street.

• After a decade at 69 Broad Street, Poor Cat Jewelry has relocated to 53 Broad.

The shop takes over the unusual pie-shaped space vacated in December by Jacé Jewelers.

• Ruscil’s Pianos at 17 Mechanic Street has closed. But piano tuning and repair services continue, according to a sign in the window.

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