TWO BROAD STREET BUSINESSES CLOSE

eside-cafe-050310Passersby peer through the window of the newly-closed East Side Café Diner Monday afternoon. Below, a sign taped to the door of the Häagen-Dazs. (Click to enlarge)

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A pair of longtime Red Bank food establishments failed to reopen Monday.

One was the East Side Cafe Diner at 179 Broad Street, next door to the Verizon building. A “Gone out of business” sign was hung on the door of the eatery.

Best known for breakfasts and lunches, it had tried introducing dinners a few years ago, but its booths remained unused at the supper hour.

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CARMINE’S CLAIMS GROUND ON SUB FRONT

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Sandy Marino, left, co-owner of Carmine’s Sub Shop, with two of her employees. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Rcsm2_010508Carmine Marino, a hoagie hound who had worked at an insurance agency in Red Bank for the last five years, had himself a lunchtime dilemma.

“I love subs, and within the town, trying to find what I love, I found myself traveling outside,” he said.

Normally that’s a pretty serviceable solution. Not for Marino.

With a vacancy on White Street left by K.C.’s Closet, Marino, of Lincroft, saw an opportunity to fill his victual void. Thus, there’s now Carmine’s Sub Shop, planted between Cigars Plus and Toymasters.

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COMING TO BROAD: WOMEN’S CLOTHING SHOP

chelsea-homeDor L’Dor’s owner hopes to open in mid-May. (Click to enlarge)

Rcsm2_010508A Manhattan-based clothing store catering to women aged 16 to 36 has signed a lease in downtown Red Bank, redbankgreen has learned.

Dor L’Dor, a financial-district casualwear shop that also has stores in Brooklyn and Hoboken, will take over the space last occupied by Chelsea Home furnishings at the corner of Broad and Mechanic streets, real estate agent Karen Gagliano confirms.

A person affiliated with the store — whose name means “from generation to generation” in Hebrew — said the family-owned business expects to fit in well with fashion-oriented emporiums downtown, including its largest new magnet retailer, Urban Outfitters, which opened less than a block away in November.

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RARE BREED SQUEAKS INTO TOWN

rarebreedOrlando Dawkins of Tinton Falls checks out a pair of sneaks on opening day at Rare Breed earlier this month. (Click to enlarge)

By WID CONROY

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Newly shuffled into downtown Red Bank is Rare Breed, a sneaker store at 16 White Street.

Owners D.J. Senatore and Stephen Perri, who moved their business here from Brighton Avenue in Long Branch, are counting on what they say is a distinctive  mix of sneakers, T-shirts, caps and accessories to draw customers to their storefront across the street from Nirvana.

“I hate the word ‘streetwear,’ but that’s one way to describe what we sell,” says Senatore.

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FROZEN SUBSTANCE DOESN’T NEED SHOVELING

frozsurtCo-owner Daniel Natale outside his Frozsürt store, which opened on Monmouth Street yesterday. (Click to enlarge)

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Just in time for the sudden onset of springlike weather and the end, we hope, of the mini ice-age winter we’ve experienced, a long-crystallizing frozen dessert business has opened in Red Bank.

The debut yesterday of Frozsürt marks the first time in more than half a century that no newspapers are being sold at 2 Monmouth Street, the longtime home of Red Bank News.

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ZULEYKA’S BACK ON THE BLOCK

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Zuleyka Farro has re-opened her Zuleyka’s Kitchen eatery in the West Front Street space that most recently housed Surf Burger Island Grill.

If you’ve found yourself doing a double-take as you pass by the storefront at 17 West Front Street, rest assured that you haven’t slipped into some time-warp vortex.

Zuleyka’s Kitchen, the restaurant that had occupied the space from December 2006 until last summer, has quietly returned to its location on the south side of the block between Broad Street and English Plaza. Situated just around the corner from the newly opened Urban Outfitters store, the space had been leased until a few weeks ago by Surf Burger Island Grill.

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STAPLES TO LAND IN RED BANK’S IN-BOX

staples-broad-stThe big-box retailer will lease a space less than a quarter the size of its average store at 137-139 Broad Street.

Rcsm2_010508Staples Inc., the big-box office supply retailer, is coming to Red Bank.

But the giant seller of everything from pens to desktop computers won’t be opening one of its warehouse-sized stores here. Instead, it’ll be trying out a relatively new micro store, dubbed Staples Copy & Print, that will feature the services of the print shops in the big-box Staples plus the top 1,000 items available on their shelves.

Jay Herman, principal of site owner Downtown Investors LLC, tells redbankgreen that Staples has signed a lease for 4,000 square feet at 137-139 Broad Street, three doors up from the intersection of Harding Road.

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METER RUNS OUT FOR TOY STORE

BroadvacanciesMark Ginsberg, below right, will close his Art of Play store on Sunday, adding a vacancy next to the space that was home to the short-lived Nibus clothing store.

After yearning most of last year for foot traffic into his toy and game store, Mark Ginsberg saw evidence of a spending surge as Christmas approached.

Ginsberg, markHe wasn’t fooled. He knew the faces, the tastes and the budgets. These were what in the past might be called “loyal customers,” he says, except for the fact that, eleven months of the year, many of them want nothing to do with the hassle of shopping in downtown Red Bank.

“I have the customer base,” Ginsberg tells redbankgreen. “But after they finished shopping, they’d say, ‘OK, see you next year!'”

Well, Ginsberg can no longer hold on until next year. This weekend, he’s closing his Broad Street shop, Art of Play. And more than anything else, he says parking enforcement is to blame.

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COMING SOON: HAIRCUT, SHAVE & SHINE

IMG_227872Shane Bruno outside his new shop on West Front Street.

Shane Bruno could use a shave. But give the guy a break.

He’s hunkering down with his girlfriend and partner, Patricia Gilmartin, as they hustle to open their first business together, Old World Shaving Parlor, at 4B West Front Street, Red Bank.

On Wednesday, redbankgreen found Bruno in the half-completed shop, where he built and has started staining three individual chair stalls. When completed, the place will have an early 20th-century air to it, with a hexagonal-tile floor, sepia-toned photos on the walls and bare-bulb Edison lights overhead.

The services, too, will evoke an atmosphere undone by unisex hair salons filled with lucite decor and throbbing music: that of the genteel barber shop, a place for men seeking not manicures and facials but the basics of grooming.

And if all this sounds awfully familiar, it’s the result of an eerie coincidence: the same address was home to Marascio’s Barber Shop through almost the entirety of the 20th century.

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STORE ROBBED AT GUNPOINT

Little diamond jewelryOne of two robbers showed a gun, an employee said.

A Red Bank jewelry store was held up at gunpoint Monday afternoon.

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There’s no official word on the crime yet from police, who were just leaving the scene on Shrewsbury Avenue as redbankgreen arrived shortly after 3p.

But an employee of Little Diamond Jewelry, a few doors south of the Westboro Post Office, confirmed that two men — one brandishing a gun — had robbed the store a short while before.

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CLOSET STORE CLEARS OUT

Cal closetsCalifornia Closets has vacated its location at 116 Broad Street in Red Bank, opposite Garmany.

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In keeping with its reputation for orderliness, California Closets has packed up and left town, and it seems there’s not a stray hanger left behind.

A notice in the window says the business, a franchised retailer located opposite Red Bank’s mini-Rodeo Drive pairing of Garmany and Tiffany & Co., moved out “due to the sale of this building.”

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DOES RED BANK NEED A ‘HIP’ TRANSPLANT?

IMG_1659 Big Bill Morganfield performs at the 2007 Red Bank Jazz & Blues Festival. Which is hipper, jazz or blues? Or is it the festival itself that’s ‘hip?’

Parking shortages. Exorbitant parking fines. Red tape at borough hall. Greedy landlords.

Among the many peeves, public floggings and constructive suggestions we expect to hear aired at tonight’s “economic summit” on how to revive Red Bank’s sagging commercial fortunes, one topic is unlikely to get much attention:

What to do about the relentless use of the word ‘hip’ to describe our little burg.

‘Hip City.’ ‘Hip Town.’ They’re the go-to phrases for phoned-in yet earnest descriptions of Red Bank like this one, and this one. And a thousand others, it seems.

Then there’s the TriCity News out of Asbury Park, which puts ‘Hip City’ in sardonic quotation marks — yet is as boosterish about Red Bank as any chamber of commerce shill, suggesting that, deep down, it kinda likes the label.

Now, to be sure, with the national economy spiraling drainward and Red Bank showing no sign of bucking the tide, there are bigger and more substantive issues at stake here than semantics. No argument there.

But as long as we’re talking about a possible repositioning of downtown Red Bank in the public imagination, can somebody please come up with something better? How do we put an end to this plague of purported hipposity?

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GALLERY JOINS DOWNTOWN EXODUS

AsherneimanEmily Asher Neiman works the room at an opening in September.

By TOM CHESEK

Veteran observers of Red Bank’s commercial streetscape know that the
phenomenon known as “the Retail Churn” goes into overdrive each January,
regardless of the general economic forecast.

Now, with the entire nation — and much of the world — in
uncharted economic seas, the phenomenon has returned to our local streets, with the already departed (Fameabilia, DesignFront, Nibus, ME) to the winding
down (New York Trend, Bellini Shoes), as well as those, like Bella
Mystique boutique, that promise to return at a new location.

Add Asher Neiman Gallery to that last category. According to proprietor Emily Asher Neiman, the
gallery will be relocating later this year — as will Emily and her
boyfriend, web design wiz Simon Abramson — to an as-yet-unspecified address in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn.

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FINAL INNING AT FAMEABILIA

JuliebaronYogi said it ain’t over ’til it’s over, but after seven years on Monmouth Street, Julie Baron and husband Bruce are signing off at their memorabilia showcase store.

By TOM CHESEK

RETIREMENT SALE. EVERYTHING MUST GO. 50% OFF.

The signs went up on Monday morning across the windows of the downtown Red Bank storefront, pretty much taking all who saw them by surprise.

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Even owner Julie Baron admitted to some mixed feelings when she first viewed the new signage from across Monmouth Street. But then, it was Julie’s decision, finalized just this past Sunday night, to close the doors of Fameabilia, the high-profile memorabilia and collectibles business that she and her husband Bruce have operated at 42 Monmouth for nearly seven and a half years.

Bittersweet as the decision may have been, it represents a clean break for the Rumson residents, who have no plans to seek a buyer for the established business, or to continue as an online entity. The owners are committed to staying open through Christmas Eve — “even if there’s just one thing left hanging on the wall,” in Baron’s words — and the store’s regular seven-day schedule is expected to be observed for the duration.

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FUTURE UNFOCUSED FOR EYEWEAR SHOP?

Img_2431A sign on the door says Chic Optique lost its lease. Records indicate the property is about to be sold.

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Chic Optique, the upmarket eyewear shop that raised eyebrows over its ample amount of unused floorspace when it opened less than two years ago, is gone.

A handwritten note taped to the door of the storefront at 65 Broad Street says the business lost its lease. “We are in the process of rebuilding in another location in Red Bank,” says the note, signed by “Management.”

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A ROLL OF TAPE, BUT HOLD THE CHERRIES

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We thought we had a big scoop when we reported back in July, 2006 (yes, newbies, redbankgreen is that old) that Ben & Jerry’s was planning to open a store on White Street.

The western end of the block, which sees relatively little foot traffic past Clearview Cinemas, would come alive with new businesses, triggering a land rush, we speculated. And things would only heat up if the long-debated parking garage was ever built on the White Street municipal lot.

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Well, that vision gradually melted away. Though a sign touting the ice cream purveyor’s anticipated arrival stood for months in the window of a vacant storefront at 68 White, the butter pecan, cherry Garcia and Chubby Hubby frozen desserts never materialized.

But now, at least, the storefront is no longer vacant, thanks to the constant churn of retail establishments downtown, which are born, trade spaces and die with sometimes alarming frequency.

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