Bike Haven will close by the end of September, its owner says. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
A second longtime retailer is leaving the Fair Haven Shopping Center.
But unlike Laird’s Stationery, which is temporarily relocating to smaller quarters in the center after getting squeezed out of its home by a steep rent increase, Bike Haven is simply calling it quits, owner Cliff Wittenberg tells redbankgreen. And a rent hike is only the final nail in the tire.
A bit banged up but salvageable, one of the classic neon Rassas Buick signs in Red Bank – seen below in 2013 – was saved from the bulldozer Wednesday by restoration aficionado John Oakley of Fantastic Signs. Oakley credits Pete Esposito and crew from Esposito Construction with “going above and beyond” to get the sign down intact. Now, restoration of the open-face letter channel sign “will make a nice winter project,” said Oakley, whose Shrewsbury Avenue shop has become something of a museum of local signage. redbankgreen will let readers know when it’s done.
The former Rassas auto dealership was torn down this week to make way for a new Walgreens pharmacy. (Photo above and right by John Oakley. Click to enlarge)
One guessed it was taken at Prown’s Home Improvement on Monmouth Street. Another suggested “Page Photo Service (Matthew Page) located at 113 West Front Street, Red Bank” and added: “They had purchased the entire facilities of the Camera Shop formerly located in Carlton Theater building,” which is of course now the Count Basie Theatre.
John Oakley of Fantastic Signs removes Butterfly Fine Art’s name from the future home of the Glam Bar, a blowout-only hair salon. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Coming soon to Red Bank, for women on the go with hair issues: a blowout bar.
No cuts, no dyes just blowouts.
Well, plus changing rooms, for those rushing off to weddings and other events. And a few dresses and accessories, for those in need of just the right finishing touches. And, of course, makeup artists. And beverages.
Fantastic Signs owner John Oakley with his daughter, Charlotte, and some of his sign collection. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
It’s a weekday afternoon, and John Oakley is casually sipping a glass of water watching his two children, Charlotte and Luke, bouncing on an area carpet in his Shrewsbury Avenue showroom. There’s a jump-rope contest coming up, and the kids need practice.
On the wall behind them, there’s a large, white Dorn’s Photography sign. To the right, a red neon “DINER” sign, taken from the old Rex Diner, casts a forceful electric light over the room.
This is the Oakley family’s home away from home, a workshop where Oakley and his wife, Erin, design and fabricate signs; where his kids hang out and play with the family dog, Frank; and where the couple’s collection of roadside Americana dominates the building.
But Oakley’s business, Fantastic Signs, is as much a museum as it is a workspace and den, with fragments of local history that might otherwise be lost to the scrap heap tacked to just about every bit of wall space available.