91° Mostly Cloudy

BIZ WATCH: WHO’S COMING, WHO’S GOING

dscf3010The lauded Broad Street Filling Station ran out of gas in Red Bank. And it wasn’t alone. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Rcsm2_010508The continuing trend in downtown Red Bank: good news mixed with not-so.

First with the bad: A few more businesses have been picked off by the slumping economy since redbankgreen last took the temperature of downtown businesses.

The good: Potential tenants are looking to snag some of those vacant spaces, we’re told, and a couple of businesses are either opening up or expanding in the borough.

At the north end of Red Bank’s main vein, Broad Street, the Firehouse Specialty Shop is having a what-do-we-do-next moment. Firehouse, customers know, has occupied the back end of 24 Broad for years while the niche boutique The Bee’s Knees filled out the front floor and dressed up the windows with lots of Jersey Shore apparel and women and children’s clothes.

Read More »

AXES AND OTHER ACTS AIM FOR STREETLIFE

streetlife_02Musicians and other performers lined up at the Count Basie Theatre last week for auditions for  the 2010 StreetLife series. (Photos by Anthony Trufolo; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s probably safe to say there’ll be no shortage of guitar players on Saturday nights in Red Bank this summer.

Crowding the narrow hallway of the Count Basie Theatre‘s rehearsal space last Wednesday night was a long line of axe-strapped singers and songwriters, all vying for a summer-long gig entertaining the public as part of the borough’s StreetLife series.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

INVASION OF THE BRIDES-TO-BE

wedding-walk

Discover NJ’s Frank Dicopoulos, left, interviews Margaret Mass and Kevin Barry for a video promoting this weekend’s Wedding Walk. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

For the soon-to-be-married guys looking to get familiar with Red Bank’s myriad watering holes, Saturday is your day.

That’s because the ladies will be preoccupied with more pressing things, like hitting dozens of downtown shops participating in the borough’s first Wedding Walk.

Red Bank RiverCenter executive director Nancy Adams says the Wedding Walk is landing in town because the oft-proclaimed Hip City doubles up well as a wedding planner’s paradise. Doubt it? Ask the Labettis, a Red Bank couple who put the borough to the test three years ago.

Adams, along with other local business owners and managers, figured now’s a good time to let the rest of the region know about it.

“Local retailers talked about Red Bank as an amazing wedding destination,” she said. “A to Z, you can plan a wedding here. You can even have it here.”

Read More »

RED BANK PASSES PARKING-FEE HIKES

broad-metersCome April, on-street parking will cost twice as much downtown. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank officials formally put a higher premium on downtown parking Monday night, passing an ordinance that will double on-street parking fees and raise the cost of parking permits by 33 percent.

The changes, boosting street meter rates to $1 an hour and permit costs to $800 a year, will take effect April 1. At a projected $203,000 increase in revenue for the borough, the meter and permit hike is expected to more than make up for a painful shortfall of about $10,000 a month resulting from the borough’s indefinite moratorium on charging for Saturday parking.

Despite its potentially fractious nature, the council faced virtually no pushback from the public.

Read More »

THE DUDES OF HAZARD

rb-walkinghazard1The guys over at Red Bank’s e.d. Design, shown standing at one of Red Bank’s many walking hazards they noticed while taking a smoke break.  (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Over the summer, John Donnelly and Andrew Edelman would step outside their Broad Street office for a cigarette break and take notice of a fairly common occurrence where the concrete of the sidewalk meets the brick, or is supposed to: an abrupt dip. It’s right next to a bench on the west side of Broad, in front of The Bistro at Red Bank.

“There’s this one spot where we always see people trip,” Edelman, 24, said. “And we thought, there’s got to be other places like this in town.”

They were right. The two, who run e.d. design studio, did a little footwork and found more spots that pose what they believe are dangers to Red Bank’s pedestrian population. The result, launched last week in the form of an online compendium of the downtown’s cracks, potholes and otherwise harmful walking spots, is called redbankwalkinghazards.com.

Read More »

CALENDAR TAPS RED BANK PHOTO ARCHIVE

dorns-downtown-1951“Wiggie’s Kiddie Center?” A view north on Broad Street in 1951, from the Dorn’s Classic Images archive, is included in the calendar. (Click to enlarge and see Wiggie’s at left)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Two of Red Bank’s most venerable names in commerce have gotten together for a little nostalgia trip into the borough’s past.

It’s a 12-month journey captured in photographs that show Red Bank’s buildings and streetscapes from 1940 to 1979, put into calendar form by David Prown of Prown’s Home Improvement and the husband-wife duo of George Severini and Kathy Dorn Severini oF Dorn’s Classic Images.

Read More »

A NIGHT ILLUMINATED BY SMILES… AND HATS

Yes, the traditional Holiday Express concert and illumination of downtown Red Bank combined once again to make for a great-sounding and dazzling extravaganza Friday night.

But it might be said that the real scene-stealers were the hats. With the wind whipping and temperatures dropping to the low 40s, Riverview Medical employees were out there giving away free pairs of knit gloves. But what about the all-important noggin? If you couldn’t have a kid sitting on your shoulders, the second-best way to keep your head warm was a stylish chapeau, perhaps with a trim of fur or a sprout of antlers.

As always, redbankgreen was there to thoroughly document the event, and culled this grouping of 75 shots from the hundreds taken. Enjoy, folks. And please let your friends know you saw them here.

To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To get back to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.

RED BANK TO BIZ OWNERS: STAY OPEN LATER

biz-closed11

Some merchants think too many downtown stores are closed at night. This photo was taken late Tuesday morning. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna has ramped up his campaign get downtown business owners to stay open later.

He says the effort did not begin with last week’s Broad Street debut of Urban Outfitters — a clothing and housewares store that’s open from 11a to 9p Monday through Saturday and 11a to 8p on Sundays. But Urban is doing business the right way, Menna says, and he’d like to see more merchants follow suit.

“Retailing has changed, our society has changed and Red Bank is changing,” he said.

Given Red Bank’s amenities, with its bevy of late-night hot spots like bars and entertainment venues, it has always made more sense that many businesses, especially retailers, keep the lights on and the doors open after dark and on Sundays, Menna says.

But examples of missed opportunities to hook visitors are plentiful, he says citing two from last summer, when the Red Bank Jazz & Blues Festival, and later the Taste of Red Bank, drew thousands of visitors who found limited shopping options because stores weren’t open later or on Sunday.

“The businesses that succeed are the ones who are available when people are on the street,” Menna said. “We don’t have the luxury of shoppers out at nine in the morning. It’s a change in our society and sometimes we have to change our business model to keep our competitive edge.”

Read More »

CAN YOU SPARE A SPRUCE?

tree-before-after-1Last year’s tree, seen as it was removed from Luba and Val DeFazio’s Tower Hill Avenue yard, left, and all lit up outside the Dublin House. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank RiverCenter is on its annual hunt for the perfect tree to serve as the downtown centerpiece for the coming holiday season.

Got one you want you don’t need lying around?

Read More »