Despite the pandemic, several young businesses celebrated successful starts over the past several months, from a Red Bank boutique to a grand hotel opening in East Brunswick, plus the expansion of a contemporary co working space in Holmdel

by Jessica Jones Gorman

CoLab, a state of the art co working space, recently opened in Holmdel’s sprawling metro burb, Bell Works. The 25,000 square foot professional workspace includes a mix of modern environments that are available on flexible lease terms for small businesses, startups, and individuals alike.

The professional workspace first opened at Bell Works in 2016 in a 3,000 square foot space, and this new CoLab facility marks a significant expansion for the company and those who utilize it. CoLab currently has a roster of approximately 50 businesses and individuals across a variety of industries. jersey

Located on the 15 acre campus of Park Chateau Estate and Gardens in East Brunswick, the highly anticipated and mega luxe Chateau Grande Hotel recently celebrated its grand opening.

Billed as a destination wedding site akin to a romantic French chateau, the hotel is owned by Vito Cucci and brothers Joe and Barry Maurillo, who also own Park Savoy, Florham Park, and Nanina’s in the Park, Belleville.

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“The Estate has everything a couple needs, so they don’t have to waste precious time traveling here and there dealing with traffic issues,” noted Joe Maurillo. “They can hold a rehearsal dinner at Orchard Park, their wedding at Park Chateau Estates and Gardens, return to Chateau Grande Hotel for an after party, wake up there, and the next morning hold the recovery brunch right at the restaurant. We’ve created the perfect site to hold the destination wedding of your dreams right here in New Jersey.”

Within the hotel is Orchard Park by David Burke, a modern fine dining and catering experience crafted by the celebrity chef.

“Orchard Park will certainly raise eyebrows,” said Burke. “This project is one of the fi nest build outs in my entire career. It will be the best in the state and is poised to be a landmark destination hotel and restaurant.”

The 5,700 square foot restaurant features 170 plus seats inside and another 70 on the outdoor terrace. There’s also a chef’s table and wine room for 30 with Burke’s signature illuminated pink Himalayan salt brick wall.

Gwendolyn Esposito and Michelle Serpico always shopped at department stores for all their designer tops and denim. But when retail shuttered amid the pandemic, the friends were forced to scour the web for their favorite hard to find brands, and the search soon inspired an idea: Why not compile all of their favorite, hard sought fashion finds under one roof?

“We were so sick of ordering stuff online and not being able to feel it, see it, or try it on,” said Esposito. “We knew if we gave these brands a local presence, shoppers would show up.”

When retail space became available on Monmouth Street in Red Bank, the friends seized the opportunity, and GEMS Boutique was born. After a quick reno, they filled the racks with brands like Boys Lie, Rollas, and a high end label that rebrands and repurposes vintage Levis.

“We can’t keep items in stock everything flies out the door so fast,” said Esposito. “Every pair of jeans is a hit and people can’t believe we’re stocking We Wore What. All of our labels are hidden gems (hence the name). These are brands that you don’t normally see anywhere else.” gems