WEDDING PHOTOGS SNAP UP MORE SPACE

John Arcara in the reception area of his spacious new photo studio. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508In retailing, where rents are steep and space is priced by the square foot, every one of them has to count toward the top line.

Or so goes one school of thinking. Another says there needs to be room for atmosphere and mood to stir and stoke the consumerist impulse. For that matter, not every retail tenant has to be selling something tangible.

Wedding and boudoir photographers John and Lovina Arcara have joined a recent resurgence in Red Bank: tenants of primo storefront space selling nothing more than memories.

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AGOSTINO, T. BERRY SQUARE PACKING IT IN

Agostino Antique’s home, at 21 Broad, is expected to have a new owner soon. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Downtown Red Bank’s economic recovery is not without its setbacks, as evidenced by two imminent departures from Broad Street.

After months of advertising a clearance sale, Agostino Antiques is planning to pack up its remaining merchandise in the next couple of weeks and shut its doors by the end of June, a principal in the company tells redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

Just two blocks to the south, Jennifer Quinn Payne is winding down her children’s clothing and furnishings store , T. Berry Square, to devote herself to motherhood.

Meanwhile, two doors away from T. Berry, and under the same roof, Hip & Humble Home has a for-lease sign in the window, but they’re not talking.

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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.

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CURB ALERT: HOT DEALS IN RED BANK

rb-sidewalk-sale-2008-1On the lookout for bargains at Mustillo’s in 2008. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

You don’t have to be a meteorologist to know that Red Bank’s Sidewalk Sale is more about rummage-type deals and unexpected finds on a folding table.

The annual tradition, now in its 57th year, has other certainties.

“It’s brutally hot every year and it always rains one day,” said Jayme Seldin, owner of Seldin’s Trinkets, on West Front Street.

But for retailers, there’s an upside for enduring the mid-summer’s stifle: increased exposure to customers. And the customers, Seldin said, are plenty.

“It does bring people into town. That’s a great thing in the summer,” Seldin said.

Beginning Friday and running through the weekend, the borough’s Baby Boomer of a tradition takes its place on clothes racks, in shoe boxes and just about every inch of sidewalk available, rain or shine, hot or hotter.

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GROWTH DRIVES T. BERRY SQUARE’S BIG MOVE

jennifer-quinn-payneT. Berry Square owner Jennifer Quinn Payne in her store’s new consignment section. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It wasn’t long after Jennifer Quinn Payne added a consignment section to her boutique children’s store, T. Berry Square, that she realized floor space had become a precious commodity. She kicked off the new operation in June with about 30 pieces of lightly used children’s clothing, and quickly, the Broad Street shop started getting smaller.

“It was kind of taking over,” Quinn Payne said of the consignment section. “We needed to expand.”

So expand she did. With Courtney Medd, brought in as a partner to help oversee the resale portion of the store, Quinn Payne packed up and headed south to a bigger space — next door, to 64 Broad, to be exact.

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