Downtown Businesses Bringing Valet Parking Back
Valet service in Red Bank is coming back, though it's the businesses putting up the cash.
Valet parking will soon make its return to downtown Red Bank after debuting last year, but this time around it’s a group of business owners leading the initiative to help ease patron parking concerns and not Red Bank RiverCenter.
At a recent council meeting, RiverCenter proposed a return of valet parking to the downtown, an idea that was quickly approved by mayor and council. But while the business advocate and marketing agency has promised to lend official support, the finer details of planning and funding the parking effort have fallen to the participating businesses who wanted to see valet parking make a comeback.
A group of businesses, most of them in the first block of Broad Street, have joined together to spearhead the valet parking effort. Among the retail and restaurant businesses participating in the valet revival are Red, Coco Pari, Blue Water Seafood, and the Bistro. The idea to bring back valet parking was apparently conceived by TJ Earle, owner of lingerie store Femm by Ashley.
Jim Scavone, director of operations for RiverCenter, said despite the general excitement behind valet parking coming to downtown Red Bank last summer, the actual use just wasn’t there. There was also concern that the fee, $10 per car, was cost prohibitive, he said.
“What happened was when RiverCenter did it last year we worked with a company that charged by car. They felt they didn’t get enough business to maintain the valet,” he said.
The business owners, Scavone said, believe they can make it work if they can get costs down and better promote the valet. Despite the council approval, promotion of the valet service, which is expected to return this month, hasn’t exactly happened as of yet. Several businesses contacted by Patch said they were excited about the prospect of the valet’s return but couldn’t provide specific details about the program as they were still unaware of when it would start.
Several calls and messages left over several days with Earle, who is heading the valet effort, were not returned.
One manager at Red, who declined to be named because of the general confusion with the progress of the valet effort, said customers have inquired about the valet and have expressed their interest in seeing it return.
“It’s just that additional service that can set us apart,” he said.
Valet parking, when it does come back, will be offered Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. through December.