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By JOHN T. WARD
Laureano “Larry” Garmany, a high-end clothier whose sizable investments in downtown Red Bank helped fuel its recovery from economic torpor back to prosperity in the 1990s, died Saturday.
No cause of death was given in an obituary published late Monday, but friends said the 62-year-old Colts Neck resident suffered a stroke early on the day he died.
Garmany, a Cuban immigrant-turned-retailer, bet heavily on Red Bank when it was widely derided as “Dead Bank,” and continually upped his stake in the town. His crowning achievements: transforming the vacant former Steinbach’s department store on Broad Street into a 40,000-square-foot clothing store bearing his name, and luring Tiffany & Co. to be its next-door neighbor.
Closing existing stores in New York City and Summit, “he took all his marbles so to speak and put them into one basket at a time when things weren’t looking so good for Red Bank,” former Mayor Ed McKenna said Monday. “His faith in our ability to resurrect the town was, for me personally, a real show of confidence, and made me feel better about the vision we had for bringing Red Bank back.”
redbankgreen has learned that Pierre Deux, a rapidly growing 19-store chain, has taken one of the two vacant spaces flanking Tiffany at its six-month-old Broad Street address.
A new Pierre Deux store will be up and running by early September, a company official confirms.
While the news is unlikely to be cheered by those who lament, or even vilify, downtown Red Bank’s continuing climb up the socioeconomic ladder, it stands out as only the latest in a series of gravity-defying feats pulled off by Garmany, a Cuban immigrant who bootstrapped a small haberdashery into an upscale men’s and women’s clothier occupying the district’s largest retail space.
Tiffany & Co., which opened much-anticipated new store on Broad Street in November, saw sales in its American stores that had been open a year or more dip 2 percent in the November-December period, the jeweler announced late last week.
The New York Times called it “a sign that a pullback in consumer spending that started at the low end of American retailing is percolating up to high-end merchants.”
From the Times account:
The slowdown was unexpected, and it sent jitters through the world of luxury-goods makers, who had seemed invulnerable over the last five years, even as energy prices surged and the housing market began to sputter.
The Tiffany results were among the clearest evidence yet that wealthy consumers and middle-class shoppers who sometimes splurge on luxury items are starting to tighten their purse strings.
If any one person outside of Tiffany & Co. is responsible for the jeweler’s decision to open a gleaming outpost in downtown Red Bank today, it’s Larry Garmany, who has a habit of making high-risk business moves that tend to baffle even his closest advisers.
Back in 1989, for example, after 15 years on Manhattan’s Upper Side, he decided to open a store in Red Bank. He bought 17 Broad Street, the former
Clayton and Magee Colorest store, and then drove down with his architect and accountant to show them the new home for his own high-end men’s clothing shop.
“We get out of the car, and my architect looks left, and he looks right,” Garmany recalled last week. “And he says, ‘Larry, this is ghost town. What the hell have you done here?’ Only he didn’t use the word ‘hell.'”
After months of rumors, it’s official:
Tiffany and Company, the 170-year-old icon of what was once known as the carriage trade, is ready to sprinkle some of its glitter on Broad Street.
The retailer announced today that it has leased a portion of the vacant Garmany building, next door to Garmany’s present business location. Tiffany said it will open a 6,000-square-foot emporium in November.
Red Bank, the company says in a press release, is “a jewel among Jersey shore communities.”
With its vibrant arts community, fine restaurants and luxury shopping, Red Bank is an increasingly popular destination and a natural setting for a TIFFANY & CO. store, said Beth O. Canavan, executive vice president of Tiffany & Co. Weve secured an ideal location, and we think the many residents and visitors who enjoy shopping on this charming street in the center of town will appreciate Tiffanys exceptional quality, craftsmanship and superior service.
The addition of Tiffany to the downtown retail mix, however, is also likely to bolster the argument that district has moved too sharply upscale in terms of prices and merchandise.
No big surprise, but don’t look for a Dollar Shoe store to take over the old Garmany space at 105 Broad Street.
Owner Larry Garmany tells redbankgreen he’s close to an anchor lease deal for the red brick building, which is just one door north of the present Garmany emporium. And while he says he can’t disclose the name of the prospective tenantor discuss rumors of a Tiffany Inc. move to townGarmany says it is a merchandiser of big-ticket goods.
As reported here last week, Garmany plans to divide the building, which served as a post office from from 1931 to 1965, into three stores.
Apparently, it’ll take three feet to fill the big empty shoe left behind by Garmany when it vacated the old post office for its current space in the longtime Steinbach’s building last year.
The high-end clothing retailer has submitted a plan to the borough to subdivide its former home into three stores.
Meanwhile, three years after Garmany announced plans to move out of the building that served as a post office from 1931 to 1965, the rumor mill is still buzzing that Tiffany Inc. is a prospective tenant for the site. But the folks involved in marketing the property for Garmany aren’t talking.
By JOHN T. WARD
A clothing boutique debuts; a gift shop and a restaurant plan openings; a would-be cannabis retailer stakes a claim; and a major retail building changes hands.
Read all about the latest business activity in downtown Red Bank in this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.
By JOHN T. WARD
Two new Red Bank businesses kick off their residencies, and the summer of 2017, with openings planned for the Memorial Day weekend, redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn has learned.
In addition, a longtime veteran of the town’s restaurant and bar scene is unveiling a new outdoor expansion.
By JOHN T. WARD
This edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn includes news on the departure of the Doc Shoppe; the opening of an exotic-fruit bar and café; and plans by a high-end beauty products retailer to open downtown. Read More
Pedestrians fording floodwaters in downtown Red Bank during the storm of July 29, 1961. The view is north along Broad Street from the corner of Canal Street. Below, a teen dives off car into the water. (Photo courtesy of Dorn’s Classic Images)
By EVAN SOLTAS
Over the course of several hours that Saturday morning and afternoon in 1961, 5.48 inches of rain fell, triggering the sort of flash flood that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says occurs, on average, once every 100 to to 200 years in the area.
French provincial furniture retailer Pierre Deux has closed its Red Bank store as part of a shutdown prompted by a bankruptcy filing for the 23-store chain.
The 2,400-square-foot Broad Street store, which opened next door to Tiffany & Co. three years ago, appears fully stocked. But a bright green notice taped to the door alerts visitors that the store is under the control of a court-appointed trustee.
The notice apparently went up Wednesday, though the closing occurred more than a week ago, said building landord Larry Garmany.
“It’s a shame,” he said. “But the good thing is that they didn’t leave because of Red Bank. They left because they were doing lousy” across America.
Onyx Equities, a real estate investment firm based in Woodbridge, completed the $3 million purchase of 26 Broad Street last month, according to Monmouth County property records. The deal was financed by a $2.25 million loan from Commerce Bank.
Michael Nevins, vice president of asset management at Onyx, said Onyx did not acquire the restaurant itself, which he said has a long-term lease for the space. Mario Medici, owner of Murphy Style Grill, declined comment on the sale.
The transaction comes at a frothy time for the central business district.