RETRO FASHION OUT, ASIAN EATERY PENDING

43 broad 020414Backward Glances’ owner cited rising rents and diminishing cool as factors in her decision to leave Red Bank. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508After 28 years in Red Bank, vintage clothing and accessories boutique Backward Glances has departed for Asbury Park.

Also in this edition of redbankgreen Retail Churn: an Asian restaurant hopes to open in English Plaza, just a few doors away from a new hair salon that’s readying for its debut.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

IN FAIR HAVEN, A HAVEN FOR THE HANDMADE

dave melanie stewart 100913Melanie and Dave Stewart in their new art gallery/retail store, Handmade Haven. Below, t-shirts repurposed as skirts. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

homemade 1 100913The world is awash in mass-produced sameness. Do we really need any more?

A month-old shop on River Road in Fair Haven posits an alternative. Handmade Haven was conceived as an “artisans’ and craftsmens’ retail gallery,” says Melanie Stewart, who owns the business with her husband, Dave.

Everything on its tables and walls is not only handmade, but produced locally, they say.

Think of it as “kind of an Etsy on Main Street,” Melanie tells redbankgreen, referring to the online market for craftspeople and other makers. “We give them a Main Street platform for their work.”

Read More »

RED BANK: SQUASH FOR CHRISTMAS & BEYOND

farmersmarket7Laura Dardi and Lisa Bagwell explain how to store winter squashes and other vegetables. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

With the Red Bank Farmer’s Market 2013 season heading into the home stretch, the last of the year’s opportunities to shop for fresh produce at the Galleria are now on the early-dimming horizon.

Piehole checked in with Lisa Bagwell and Laura Dardi from E.R. And Sons Farm, an organic farm out of Monroe, to get the lowdown on what we can buy now and how best to store it so we can enjoy local produce through the winter.

“Right now we’ve got all types of winter squash: butternut, acorn, spaghetti and pumpkins,” said Bagwell. “Also the potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbages, beets, leeks and apples — these can all be put away.”

Read More »

M’TOWN MAN INDICTED IN STORE ATTACK

The man accused of viciously stabbing a shopper at a Bed Bath and Beyond store in Middletown last January has been indicted on an attempted murder charge by a Monmouth County grand jury, authorities reported Friday.

Tyrik Haynes, a 19-year-old township resident, has been held on $1.05 million bail since the attack, in which a 29-year-old Keansburg woman was repeatedly stabbed in the Route 35 housewares store.

Read More »

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.”

Read More »

LACROSSE STORE TAKES AIM AT BROAD STREET

Lacrosse Unlimited plans to take the space at far right in the building above, formerly tenanted by Hip & Humble Home.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508A fast-growing, family-owned chain of stores specializing in gear for lacrosse players plans to open a shop in Red Bank.

David DeSimone, an executive with Lacrosse Unlimited, tells redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn the company has leased the 2,250-square-foot storefront at 58 Broad Street, most recently occupied by Hip & Humble Home, and hopes to be open by early December.

The lease would appear to stabilize a stretch of four adjoining storefronts that has seen more than its share of churn in recent years.

Read More »

MAKING PET FOOD SHOPPING EASY AGAIN

Kathleen Fox-Smith chats with a customer on opening day of her Little Silver shop last Friday. (Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Home Depot, Costco, PetSmart: With their enormous inventories, the big-box-stores that transformed American retailing in the 1990s destroyed innumerable small, local businesses along the way. They also forced customers to travel farther for the privilege of finding what they need at unbeatable prices.

Kathleen Fox-Smith has chafed against the tradeoff for years.

“I have three dogs, and the nearest major pet store is PetSmart on Route 36″ in Eatontown, says the Little Silver resident. “It’s not that far, but it’s just a nuisance to go over there.”

So, answering a deep desire to own an animal-related business and her belief that area pet owners are ready to again shop locally, Fox-Smith has decided to take on the giants in her own, small way.

Read More »

BETWEEN THESE WALLS: ‘VITAL FORCE’ ENERGY

Retail space tucked inside 12 Broad has been leased by a store specializing in jewelry infused with “vital force.”  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Downtown Red Bank’s comeback is about to get a jolt of extra energy.

Alex and Ani, a designer and retailer of wrist bangles and necklaces infused “with the positive energy that ancients refer to as vital force,” has signed to take over retail space at 12 Broad Street, next door to the newly relocated coffeehouse Zebu Forno.

Even the walls are expected to hum with good vibes.

Read More »

STASHERS AMPED FOR REALITY TV DEBUT

Michael Zapcic with Thomas Mumme, left, during Thursday’s live ‘SModcast’ at Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. Below: Kevin Smith on the center monitor during a taping earlier this week in Red Bank. (Photo below courtesy of Robert Bruce. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Michael Zapcic had the “really surreal” experience earlier this week of walking past Madison Square Garden, glancing up at the massive Jumbotron and seeing a commercial for ‘Comic Book Men,’ a new cable show in which he appears as himself: a self-described comic book geek.

“I’m like holy crap! It’s them! It’s us!” he recalled Thursday, in the tone of an average, fedora-wearing citizen spotting a caped man flying overhead.

Life in the mini-Gotham that is Red Bank may never be the same.

Only, yeah, it will be exactly the same, because ‘Comic Book Men’ is a reality show, one focused on the daily interplay of three employees of  “possibly the world’s most famous comic book store” – Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash on Broad Street, where the show is set.

Over six episodes, four opinionated, superabsorbent sponges of superheroism – Zapcic, Ming Chen and Walt Flanagan, plus original store manager Bryan Johnson – spend a lot of time  “just arguing about stupid movie plot points, which happens every day without cameras anyway,” says Chen.

Read More »

READY FOR THE NEXT TENANT

jack-readieretail churn smallJack Readie scraped his own name off the window of the storefront that was home to his meat shop on Monmouth Street in Red Bank for many years Thursday.

The business, which was born as the Village Pork Store in 1957 and taken over by Readie in the 1980s, has been owned for the last 11 years by Tom Fishkin. Still called Readie’s, it moved to Broad Street in September.

“I’m not even thinking about” the end of an era, Readie told redbankgreen, adding that he has two strong prospects as tenants for the space. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK RENEWS PUSH FOR LATE CLOSINGS

rb-late-nightBars and restaurants are doing their job keeping doors open late, some say, but more merchants must stay open to attract more visitors. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

As Red Bank continues to claw its way out of an economic hole it hasn’t seen since the we-don’t-like-to-talk-about-it Dead Bank days, Mayor Pasquale Menna tends to periodically jab downtown’s retailers with a reminder that it’s going to take work to bring Red Bank back as a top destination in the region and beyond.

Lately, though, he’s taken a firmer approach.

At a council meeting last month, when two requests for car shows on Broad Street appeared on the agenda, he paused from the typical rubber-stamping of such requests.

“This is a chance to tickle, pinch, smack our retailers to stay open on Sunday,” Menna said, and then pointed to Red Bank RiverCenter Executive Director Nancy Adams, who was seated in the audience. “Get the word out. Tell them to stay open on Sunday. I might start smacking instead of pinching.”

It was another lash at a limp horse he’s been flogging since before Red Bank’s business dipped with the national economy. For years, Menna has been urging merchants to move away from the nine-to-five mindset and keep the lights on after dark and on Sunday, when too many stores, he says, are closed.

Read More »

4B, OR NOT 4B? NOT.

4b-mimi-james1After a six-year run, Mimi James is closing 4B, her women’s clothing boutique, to concentrate on the private-service side of her business. (Click to enlarge)

Rcsm2_010508

By JOHN T. WARD

It’s been a good run, says Mimi James.

The owner of 4B, a women’s clothing boutique in Red Bank, said that even with the sharp economic downturn that began in late 2008, her business has never lost money.

Still, the store that took its name from its original address on West Front Street – it’s now just a few doors away, adjacent to the Downtown Café – will close for good Sunday.

Read More »