RED BANK: BOWLING FOR FOOD DOLLARS

The scene at the newly opened Playa Bowls last Friday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

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This edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn has news on three downtown eateries: one that’s doing gangbuster business, one that got a recent makeover, and one that’s calling it quits.

Details follow…

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RED BANK: FOOTWEAR, FRUIT BOWLS, FACIALS

The Doc Shoppe, which moved to Red Bank from Fair Haven in 2014, plans to close at the end of March. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallRed Bank’s last-remaining shoe store is closing.

This edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn includes news on the departure of the Doc Shoppe; the opening of an exotic-fruit bar and café; and plans by a high-end beauty products retailer to open downtown. Read More »

RED BANK: BROAD STREET BIDS GOODBYE

rb garmany 072915The casket bearing the remains of longtime borough merchant Laureano “Larry” Garmany, who died Saturday at age 62, arrives for funeral services at Saint James Roman Catholic Church in Red Bank Wednesday morning. Garmany’s namesake clothing store on Broad Street is visible in the background. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: CLOTHIER LARRY GARMANY, 62

larry garmany 110107 3Larry Garmany outside his Broad Street store in November, 2007. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Laureano “Larry” Garmany, a high-end clothier whose sizable investments in downtown Red Bank helped fuel its recovery from economic torpor back to prosperity in the 1990s, died Saturday.

No cause of death was given in an obituary published late Monday, but friends said the 62-year-old Colts Neck resident suffered a stroke early on the day he died.

Garmany, a Cuban immigrant-turned-retailer, bet heavily on Red Bank when it was widely derided as “Dead Bank,” and continually upped his stake in the town. His crowning achievements: transforming the vacant former Steinbach’s department store on Broad Street into a 40,000-square-foot clothing store bearing his name, and luring Tiffany & Co. to be its next-door neighbor.

Closing existing stores in New York City and Summit, “he took all his marbles so to speak and put them into one basket at a time when things weren’t looking so good for Red Bank,” former Mayor Ed McKenna said Monday. “His faith in our ability to resurrect the town was, for me personally, a real show of confidence, and made me feel better about the vision we had for bringing Red Bank back.”

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FURNITURE STORE BIDS A HASTY ADIEU

pierre-deux-070611Despite the failure of Pierre Deux, neighbors Tiffany & Co. and Garmany are doing well, says landlord Larry Garmany. (Click to enlarge)

Rcsm2_010508French provincial furniture retailer Pierre Deux has closed its Red Bank store as part of a shutdown prompted by a bankruptcy filing for the 23-store chain.

The 2,400-square-foot Broad Street store, which opened next door to Tiffany & Co. three years ago, appears fully stocked. But a bright green notice taped to the door alerts visitors that the store is under the control of a court-appointed trustee.

The notice apparently went up Wednesday, though the closing occurred more than a week ago, said building landord Larry Garmany.

“It’s a shame,” he said. “But the good thing is that they didn’t leave because of Red Bank. They left because they were doing lousy” across America.

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FOR MARRIAGE NO.2, WEDDING WALK NO. 1

wed-walkPhyllis Merola and Dennis Evanchik, who plan to marry in May, took in Saturday’s Wedding Walk through Red Bank. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Though they were tucked at a table in a corner of a ballroom filled with young women teeming with excitement, Phyllis Merola and Dennis Evanchik were the standouts.

At 50 and 60 years old, respectively, they could have been the parents of just about any of the prospective brides sipping coffee and chatting at a soft roar in the Molly Pitcher Inn Saturday. And the story of how the two ended up at the Molly, to plan a May 7 wedding at the Shadowbrook in Shrewsbury, is one ripped from the pages of a Hollywood script.

They were friends for 30 years and had their own families. But within about a year of each other, the two went through divorces and, some time after, Evanchik made a proposition to Merola.

“He said, ‘if you can date a perfect stranger, why not date me?’ ” Merola said.

In November, another proposition: Will you marry me?

And so on Saturday, when 10 o’clock hit, the couple followed the procession out of the riverside hotel and headed for downtown Red Bank for the borough’s third Wedding Walk, ready to spend a full day tying up loose ends for their springtime nuptials — just like many of the 200 others who registered for the event.

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THE EXPRESS TRACK TO HOLIDAY TIME

img_5665112709As usual, several thousand people are expected to pack Red Bank’s Broad Street for a Holiday Express concert and overall merriment Friday night. These pix are from 2009. (Click to enlarge)

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Even hardcore humbugs and web-shopping wetblankets can agree that there’s no better time for a bit of light therapy than Black Friday.

This Friday evening, for the 17th consecutive year, Holiday Express — the all-volunteer force of musical goodwill — pulls into station stop Red Bank to perform a free outdoor concert that sounds the keynote to the annual Town Lighting ceremony.

If you’ve spent at least a year of your life in the area, you’ll know the event as the “real” kickoff to the holidays — not just in Red Bank but all around the greater ‘green. And it’s just the tip of the icicle for a sleighload slate of activities that begins in earnest this weekend.

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