CHURN: DELFINI OUT, TWO SWEET SHOPS IN

randi garfinkel 083115Randi Garfinkel with the chocolate fountain in the newly opened Chocolate Works. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallThe neverending Churn of Red Bank stores and restaurants continued in recent weeks with a departure of an Italian deli on the West Side and the addition to Broad Street of two shops that take aim right at your craving for sweets.

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CHURN: PROWN’S TO LEAVE RED BANK

david prown 042615Prown’s Home Improvements owner David Prown, seen at the Red Bank International Flavour Festival in April. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn small After 90 years in Red Bank, Prown’s is leaving town.

The windows-and-doors dealer, a former five-and-dime that won enduring devotion as a retailer of “everything” needed for household upkeep, plans to move to Middletown, its owner said Wednesday.

More details, and news of a bagel store eyeing a Red Bank location, right around the “read more” corner.

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CHURN: SIGNS OF THE PAST… AND FUTURE

18 broad 082415Builder Mike Rovere uncovered turn-of-the-century signs in gold leaf on either side of the facade at 18 Broad, home to a series of shoe stores dating back to 1883. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallSummer doldrums? Not in this installment of redbankgreen’s Retail Churn, which finds downtown Red Bank abuzz with Churnage, as usual.

We’ve got renovation work uncovering history at the site of a planned restaurant; progress on two other new businesses; and more news, right around the “read more” corner.

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RED BANK: YOUR PHOTOS, IN TILE AND GLASS

Theodoropoulus 112113 3Pete Theodoropoulus in his new Red Bank tile-art gallery, Tesserae, where works sell for $2,500 to $25,000. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Pete Theodoropoulus is still not an artist, though one might say his skills as a businessman are quickly approaching artistry.

As detailed by redbankgreen last summer, he’s a food guy, one who owns multiple Italian-ice stands and restaurants around New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. And he’s not yet 30 years old.

But Theodoropoulus believes he’s found a huge opening in the art world: a market for large images assembled from thousands of bits of cut and broken stone and glass. Art that weighs heavy on the walls and heavy on the wallet.

He’s seizing control of it. And his venture, in development for nearly two years, officially got a face this week with the opening of his gallery, called Tesserae – Greek for ‘mosaic’ – in a storefront on Broad Street in Red Bank.

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RED BANK: REUSILLES CLOCK TO BE RESTARTED

ballew clock 112113After an outage of more than two years, a Red Bank landmark, the Reussilles’ (later Ballew’s) Jewelers clock on Broad Street is expected to be back in the business of telling accurate time Friday, says Pete Theodoropoulus, who opened his new tile-art gallery called Tesserae in the former jewelry store Wednesday. We’ll have more about the store Friday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

FAIR HAVEN: ROBBER GETS NINE YEARS

A 69-year-old Staten Island man who admitted robbing a Fair Haven antiques store at gunpoint last summer has been sentenced to 114 months in prison, federal law enforcement officials said Tuesday.

Robert Fiolka, who wore a “flesh-colored” mask and toted a gun in the June, 2012 robbery of Blue Stove Antiques on River Road, made off with $200,000 in jewelry, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

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RED BANK: MOSAIC SHOP TAKES BALLEW SPOT

Tessarae, featuring works like the 500-pound “Penthouse Views,” below, plans to open at 36 Broad Street in early July. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After a 99-year run as a jewelry store and two-plus years as a vacant shell, the former Ballew Jewelers storefront in Red Bank is about to become an art store.

Sort of.

Tesserae, as it’s called, will feature only mosaics, all of them the brainchild of a 27-year-old restaurateur who’s only been in the creative realm for 18 months and leaves the execution of his ideas to someone else.

A budding Jeff Koons of the shattered-stone world, Pete Theodoropoulus makes no pretense to being an artist. What he’s selling, at prices ranging from $3,000 to $20,000, is home decoration – some of it weighing in at as much as 500 pounds, he tells redbankgreen.

“I wouldn’t consider myself an artist,” he said. “I have the vision – that this company could eventually have hundreds of stores worldwide.”

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FAIR HAVEN: 69-YEAR-OLD COPS TO ROBBERY

Blue Stove Antiques was robbed at gunpoint last June 2, with some $200,000 in jewelry and other valuables taken. (Click to enlarge)

A 69-year-old man admitted robbing Blue Stove Antiques in Fair Haven at gunpoint last June, federal law enforcement officials said Wednesday.

Robert A. Fiolka, of Staten Island, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton to an Information charging him with Hobbs Act robbery and use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

He faces up to life in prison at sentencing, scheduled for July 11.

As reported by redbankgreen, Fiolka was also linked to three other robberies dating back to 2007, according to the FBI. Those cases were not mentioned, however, in the announcement of Fiolka’s plea by U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Paul Fishman.

Nor were Fiolka’s priors, which included a 1967 armed robbery of a bank in Matawan in which a bank employee was taken hostage, redbankgreen has confirmed.

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FBI LINKS HEIST SUSPECT TO ROBBERY STRING

Blue Stove Antiques was robbed at gunpoint in early June by a man authorities have linked to armed robberies of New Jersey jewelry stores going back half a decade. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A 68-year-old Staten Island man accused of robbing a Fair Haven antiques store at gunpoint in June has been linked to three jewelry store robberies dating back to 2007, the FBI says.

And just days before his arrest, the suspect appeared to be casing one of those stores for a second try, the FBI suggests in a document filed in the case.

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BROAD STREET CLOCK RESTARTED

reussielles-clockThe Reussille’s clock was back to telling the correct time late Friday afternoon. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank’s landmark downtown clock is back to telling time, even if its owner has moved on.

The distinctive Reussille’s clock was shut off three weeks ago, when Ballew Jewelers, the successor to Reussille’s, ended a 126-year run in town.

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DID THEY LEAVE ANY SPARE BATTERIES?

ballew-clock-011911The departure from Red Bank of Ballew Jewelers over the weekend also apparently meant the end of a long run of reliability for the gorgeous clock in front of the Broad Street store. This photo was taken at 11:48a. Ballew, formerly Reussille’s, traced its roots downtown to 1886. (Click to enlarge) [Update: Jenn Woods of Red Bank has launched a “Save the Reussille’s Clock” page on Facebook.]