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RED BANK: WEDDING WALK RENEWS ITS VOWS

Dozens of local vendors make for a well-rounded Wedding Walk experience when the annual spring event returns to town this Sunday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Stressed out over planning and preparation of an impending Big Day? Red Bank RiverCenter has some advice — and that’s to “walk it off,” when the annual springtime Wedding Walk returns to the borough’s walkable downtown and waterfront this Sunday.

Nearly 40 local businesses — ranging from dressmakers, cake bakers and picture takers to jewelers, florists, caterers and more — are signed up for the 2017 edition of the townwide promotion, which is designed to introduce brides, grooms, partners, wedding attendants and their families to Red Bank as a one-stop shopping destination for all things wedding-related.

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RED BANK: WEDDING WALK RETURNS SUNDAY

wedding walk 032215 2Wedding Walk participants checking their itineraries during the 2015 edition of the annual event. Below, sidewalk markers indicate shopping routes. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[UPDATE:  The concluding reception of this event is now scheduled for 3 p.m. instead of 4 p.m.]

wedding walk 032215 4For prospective brides and grooms (and brides and brides, and grooms and grooms), it’s the most significant set of steps this side of that “walk down the aisle” — the annual Red Bank Wedding Walk, the 2016 edition of which renews its vows on Sunday.

Showcasing the products and services of more than 40 area businesses, it’s a real-world, real-time stroll through all the borough has to offer committed couples, from dress shops, confectioners and florists to salons, jewelers and photographers. And Red Bank, as befits its status as a “one-stop shopping destination,” is ready once again for its close-up on the first day of Spring, 2016.

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RED BANK: WEDDING WALK RETURNS SUNDAY

wedding-walk-iiA model lured customers to shops on White Street in 2010. Below, a view of the trolley available to participants. (Above photo by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge)

rb wed walk 033014 4Here comes the bride-to-be, and her entourage.

The annual Red Bank Wedding Walk returns Sunday, offering prospective brides-and-grooms, brides-and-brides and grooms-and-grooms an opportunity to trawl the town’s business district for all it has to offer in the way of wedding-related services.

Which is a lot.

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RED BANK: WEDDING WALKERS BRAVE CHILL

rb wed walk 033014 5rb wed walk 033014 2Some 215 soon-to-be-married couples and their attendants endured a wet, chilly few hours Sunday for the latest edition Red Bank Wedding Walk, which puts the services of several dozen wedding vendors on display. A trolly and a hot beverage made the going a bit easier for one participant, above.

The event, the first since a Superior Court ruled last October that New Jersey must recognize same-sex marriage, attracted a number of same-sex couples, including a set of grooms-to-be who won one of the event’s prizes, according to officials at Red Bank RiverCenter, the organizer.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

WEDDING WALKERS TO STROLL RED BANK

Matt DePonti of Powerhouse Signworks gets the word about Wedding Walk out above Broad Street last week. (Click to enlarge)

Here come the brides-to-be again, as Red Bank merchants reprise an idea that’s turned into one of the more popular recurring draws of shoppers and diners.

As with the first three editions of this shopping extravaganza, merchants of everything from formalwear to framing, from rehearsal-dinner restaurant meals to riverfront hotel suites will open their doors on Saturday to an expected swarm of soon-to-be-marrieds hoping to nail down details of their big day.

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RED BANK: GREGORY Q&A

red bank nj allison gregoryAllison Gregory. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

, ELECTION 2019

Red Bank voters will choose two council members for three-year terms in the November 5 election.

On the ballot are incumbent Democrats Kathy Horgan and Erik Yngstrom and Republican challengers Allison Gregory and Jonathan Maciel Penney.

redbankgreen sent all candidates written questions. Here are Gregory’s responses.

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RED BANK: ALLISON GREGORY Q&A

red bank nj allison gregoryAllison Gregory is running for council on the Republican ticket. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

red bank, nj, election, q&A,

At stake in Red Bank’s November 6 election: the mayor’s post and two council seats.

At stake in Red Bank’s November 6 election: the mayor’s post and two council seats.

On the ballot are: incumbent Mayor Pasquale Menna, a Democrat, and Republican challenger Pearl Lee; and council candidates Michael Clancy (R), Allison Gregory (R), Kate Triggiano (D), Sue Viscomi (I) and Hazim Yassin (D).

Here are Gregory’s written responses to questions posed to all candidates recently by redbankgreen.
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RED BANK: ONE-STOP WEDDING BIZ OPENS

The Wedding Establishment takes over a space vacated by Love Lane Tuxedos 13 years ago. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallAs the son of a singer in a wedding band, Mike Hernandez Jr. says he “grew up in the wedding business.” He was there when the band came to the house for its weekly rehearsals, and when no babysitter was available, he’d be schlepped to gigs, killing time behind the drummer.

That, and much more, he says, makes him well-qualified to create something he doesn’t believe has ever succeeded before: a one-stop market for wedding services. And in doing so, he’s ended one of downtown Red Bank’s most enduring vacancies.

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RED BANK: RUNAWAY BRIDAL SHOP?

ww 6 032412Activity at the Sassy Chic bridal wear shop during a Wedding Walk in 2012. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

retail churn smallA Red Bank bridal wear shop has been evicted, the Asbury Park Press reported Wednesday.

A customer tells the newspaper that she’s been unable to contact anyone at the Sassy Chic Boutique on Monmouth Street about the bride’s dress she put down a $717 deposit for back in January.

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WEEKEND: WEDDING WALK GETS SAME-SEXY

WeddingWalkMichael Warmington of Red Bank RiverCenter joins a team of Barbizon tour guides in welcoming guests to a past edition of the Red Bank Wedding Walk, which returns to town this Sunday. Wanda Sykes (below) brings her standup skills back to the Basie Friday night. 

Sykes-WandaRED BANK: When the Red Bank Wedding Walk returns to the blushing banks of the Navesink for its latest edition this Sunday, it’ll be a bigger/better-than-ever affair with an historic edge: it’s “encouraging same-sex couples to join us this year and explore all that Red Bank has to offer for the perfect wedding,” according to organizers at Red Bank RiverCenter.

Taking place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., the 2014 event sounds a call to “prospective brides, grooms, partners, their families and friends” to key into the borough’s “fun and funky vibe” as they visit over 40 wedding-related businesses — florists, gown and accessories retailers, bridesmaid and guest attire boutiques, photographers, wedding planners and designers, jewelers, salons and banquet facilities — many of which will be offering promotions, light refreshments and special amenities.

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RED BANK: SCAVONE TO LEAD RIVERCENTER

Jim Scavone, left, rockin’ promotional sunglasses at a Red Bank Flavour event last month with RiverCenter program director Amanda Lynn, center, and Visitors Center director Margaret Mass. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank RiverCenter kept it local, choosing interim director and borough resident Jim Scavone to lead the downtown promotion agency, the organization announced Tuesday night.

The selection of Scavone, who was RiverCenter’s operations manager prior to the April departure of Nancy Adams as executive director, marks a win for members of the search committee who urged their store-and-restaurant-owning colleagues to stick with in-house talent rather than bring in someone unfamiliar, people involved in the selection process told redbankgreen.

“The best man won,” said Tom Fishkin, RiverCenter’s vice chairman and owner of Readies Fine Foods on Broad Street.

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RED BANK: BRIDAL SURGE REPORTED

Once again, brides-to-be, accompanied by female attendants and the occasional fiancé, flooded the streets of Red Bank for the annual Wedding Walk extravaganza Sunday. The RiverCenter-orchestrated event highlights goods and services available in town, from banquet halls to photo framing.

Among the hundreds of participants was Alyssa Hopkins of Piscataway, who said she came away with “lots of ideas” for her big day and was delighted to find a shop that would rent table lanterns for her wedding reception, sparing her a costly purchase. “What am I going to do with 200 lanterns?” she said. (Click the embiggen symbol to enlarge the photo display.)

RED BANK: ADAMS QUITS RIVERCENTER HELM

Nancy Adams with RiverCenter vice chairman Tom Fishkin, center, and board secretary Michael Warmington in 2011. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The top job at downtown promotion agency Red Bank RiverCenter is vacant following the abrupt departure of Nancy Adams as executive director Friday.

Adams announced her resignation in an email to redbankgreen, describing her departure as neither a firing nor a forced resignation but as an amicable split with RiverCenter’s board of directors.

“It was a mutual thing,” she said in an interview Saturday. “Overall, I think the board was very happy with what we did to move forward from economic devastation.”

But she cited “ruffled feathers,” scapegoating and what she said was a relatively short lifecycle for heads of state-chartered Special Improvement Districts among her reasons for leaving.

Readie’s Market Café owner Tom Fishkin, one of three board members whose meeting with Adams Friday prompted the resignation, attributed the move to “some creative differences” and a desire for a “fresh start.”

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RED BANK: A PRE-AISLE BRIDAL STROLL

A bride-to-be and her entourage pass a begowned model at Barbizon School of Modeling at the 2012 edition of Wedding Walk, above, and the trolley that makes the walk a bit less, um, pedestrian. (Click to enlarge)

Having hit on a good thing, Red Bank turns into Bridesville once again Sunday, swapping the green of last weekend’s Saint Patrick’s Day for miles of satiny white.

The occasion is Wedding Walk, and the idea is promote the town’s dozens of wedding-related vendors – caterers, liveries, photographers and more – as a one-stop fulfillment center for every bride-to-be’s Big Day needs.

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REBRANDED RED BANK TOUTS ITS COOL

RiverCenter unveiled its new marketing campaign Thursday night at the Count Basie Theatre; below, branded squishy balls. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Not that there ever was, literally, but there’s no longer “only one Red Bank.”

The folks who market the borough’s discontinuous business district to shoppers, retailers and developers have scrapped the three-year-old “Only One Red Bank” slogan and replaced it with “a cool little town.”

The fact that there are Red Banks elsewhere – in Tennessee and South Carolina, and even another one in New Jersey – apparently didn’t factor into the decision to make the change. It was just time, said Nancy Adams, executive director of the business-promotion agency Red Bank RiverCenter, which commissioned the new branding.

“We needed a new, fresh reason to get them out there, especially with the economy improving” and competition from the nightlife hotspots of Asbury Park and Long Branch heating up, she told redbankgreen before unveiling the new slogan and associated visuals at the Count Basie Theatre Thursday.

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WEDDING WALK KICKS UP FOOT TRAFFIC

Models showed off bridal gowns at Sassy Chic Boutique, above, while a passerby did a doubletake at the sight of human mannequin Stephanie Rogers at Barbizon Models during the fourth Wedding Walk in Red Bank Saturday.

Nancy Adams, executive director of event sponsor Red Bank RiverCenter, said the walk attracted about 30 percent more registrants than the March, 2011 edition, with some 600 shoppers thronging the streets in search of dresses, hair styling, DJs, photographers and more wedding-related goods and services. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: SEXING UP WEDDINGS

21-e-front-glassLast tenanted by chic furniture dealer Design Front, 21 East Front Street is now home to a wedding and boudoir photo business as well as a DJ. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallVacant for more than two years, a high-profile storefront in downtown Red Bank has landed a small co-op of wedding-related businesses as tenants.

This is not, however, where your grandma went to have her engagement portrait taken. And when the curtains are drawn across the glass-fronted space, you can be sure something sexy is happening inside.

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FOR MARRIAGE NO.2, WEDDING WALK NO. 1

wed-walkPhyllis Merola and Dennis Evanchik, who plan to marry in May, took in Saturday’s Wedding Walk through Red Bank. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Though they were tucked at a table in a corner of a ballroom filled with young women teeming with excitement, Phyllis Merola and Dennis Evanchik were the standouts.

At 50 and 60 years old, respectively, they could have been the parents of just about any of the prospective brides sipping coffee and chatting at a soft roar in the Molly Pitcher Inn Saturday. And the story of how the two ended up at the Molly, to plan a May 7 wedding at the Shadowbrook in Shrewsbury, is one ripped from the pages of a Hollywood script.

They were friends for 30 years and had their own families. But within about a year of each other, the two went through divorces and, some time after, Evanchik made a proposition to Merola.

“He said, ‘if you can date a perfect stranger, why not date me?’ ” Merola said.

In November, another proposition: Will you marry me?

And so on Saturday, when 10 o’clock hit, the couple followed the procession out of the riverside hotel and headed for downtown Red Bank for the borough’s third Wedding Walk, ready to spend a full day tying up loose ends for their springtime nuptials — just like many of the 200 others who registered for the event.

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GET THE RICE READY: WEDDING WALK IS BACK

wed-wlkWedding Walk strolls back into town Saturday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Seems like only yesterday that Red Bank was flooded in white satin, with sparkly-eyed women peering over jewelry cases and trolleys carting hordes of hungry brides-to-be to and from the wedding wonderland that the downtown has become.

Yup, it’s been just four months since the marital merry-go-round last spun in Red Bank, but don’t get used to this being a frequent bridal bacchanal.

Wedding Walk 3.0 gets into action tomorrow — the first and last of ’11 — so, ladies, if a rice cooker isn’t on your registry, this is the chance to find all the essentials for that special day in a one-stop tour through downtown Wed Bank, New Jersey.

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RETAILERS & BRIDES PRAISE WEDDING WALK

wedding-walk-iiA model lured customers to shops on White Street all day Saturday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Jayne Hernandez stood inside Hamilton Jeweler’s Saturday with a clicker in her hand, and pulled its lever every time a customer walked through the door.

By 2p, she’d done that 230 times. Not bad for a Saturday, she said.

“It was a mob scene,” said Hernandez, a manager at the store. “A bride mob scene.”

In terms of business, a mob scene is a good thing, she Hernandez said.

And it came as a direct result of Red Bank’s second Wedding Walk, in which hundreds of brides-to-be and their families descended upon businesses downtown and elsewhere.

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THE BRIDES ARE BACK IN RED BANK

wdng-walk1A jeweler at A.H. Fisher Diamonds sizes a woman for a wedding ring at Red Bank’s first Wedding Walk in March. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Wedding season is over, but there’s no such thing as planning too early for next year’s, right?

RiverCenter thinks so. Therefore Red Bank is host, for the second time this year, to Wedding Walk, a bride-to-be-minded affair that shines the spotlight on all the business that can help make getting hitched go off without a hitch.

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A RED BANK WEDDING, TELEVISED

oyster-pointStephanie Agresta and Chris McCaffrey used only local businesses for their wedding, which took place at Oyster Point Hotel, and their journey will be televised tonight. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Before taking part in March’s Wedding Walk, Stephanie Agresta had already planned on having a Red Bank-heavy wedding.

But, as she pointed out, “the wedding walk really brought to life all the opportunities in Red Bank.”

It also brought another opportunity, which airs tonight.

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FROM RED BANK TO WED BANK

wedding-walk1Ashley Steimle, right, of Toms River, registers with one of the many vendors at Red Bank’s first Wedding Walk Saturday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

If there’s one thing a bunch of brides to-be can agree on, it’s that when taking a day to map out a wedding, 65 degrees and sunny in downtown Red Bank beats climate-controlled and crammed into a hotel lobby or V.F.W. hall.

Had it not been for the borough’s first Wedding Walk on Saturday, women from all over New Jersey said they might have gone the traditional route of mass wedding planning, usually held in  banquet facilities.

“I’ve been to the wedding conventions in hotels, and this is a far better experience,” said Tara Fantini, of Ocean.

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CHURN: FAST GREEK AND EASY WEDDINGS

lyristis bros 111615Brothers George, Charlie and Taso Lyristis plan to open Greek Eats on the Shrewsbury side of Newman Springs Road Tuesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallIn this edition of Retail Churn:

• Three brothers with a long track record as linen-napkin restaurateurs open a fast-food eatery rooted in their Greek heritage Tuesday.

• A wedding planning business that has its roots in a flower shop throws off a new shoot in Red Bank.

• A ginormous pharmacy chain opens a controversial store here.

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BAREFOOT BRIDE FLEES FAIR HAVEN

barefoot-brideWedding gowns line the spacious windows along Monmouth Street. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallMayra Perez didn’t get a barefoot-in-the-grass feeling when she bought the Barefoot Bride, then a 40-year-old business, in 2006. None of the neighboring Fair Haven merchants went out of their way to welcome her, she said.

Even after she’d settled into the wedding gown shop, Perez said, she felt isolated. “Fair Haven is just too quiet,” she tells redbankgreen.

By contrast, driving into work every morning through a relatively bustling Red Bank, Perez felt the tug of the familiar. A product of Puerto Rico and the Bronx, where “everybody helped everybody out,” Perez said she sensed her shop was in the wrong place.

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