The storefronts on Brighton Avenue always appear to be changing, with the exception of a few longtime businesses.
Stores come and go, but the spaces they leave are always quickly leased by another business owner looking to succeed in West End.
Jack's Goal Line Stand, Scala's and Richard's Deli have been fixtures in the area for years, and newer success stories such as the Draft House and Bon Appetit do not appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
There are several new businesses in West End that have opened in the last few months, and only time will tell if they are successful and become fixtures in the community themselves.
Heading east down Brighton Avenue, Crawford's Coffee Bar replaces Jesse's Cafe at 139 Brighton Ave. Jesse's Cafe used to offer healthy alternatives for lunch and dinner, but it is now replaced with a cafe and coffee bar; something West End was surprisingly lacking.
Cinco De Mayo has changed ownership and is now Mexikas at 121 Brighton Ave. Mexikas is an authentic Mexican restaurant and offers something different than Surf Taco, which is across the street at 94 Brighton Ave.
One of the biggest success stories in West End is the reopening of Shelly's Jewels at 605 2nd Ave. The original store at 55 Brighton Ave., was destroyed in a Feb. 13 fire, along with several other businesses. Shelly's Jewels is the first to return to the area.
Arje the Salon, at 95 Brighton Ave., now occupies the space at the corner of 2nd Avenue and Brighton Avenue. The large salon is a replacement for The Hair Club, another business destroyed by the fire.
Continuing east, The Chocolate Lounge and the Pink Elephant are two more new stores. The Chocolate Lounge serves up chocolate, coffee and other sweets and the Pink Elephant is a paint-your-own pottery studio.
The final, and newest, addition to West End is Bagel Guys Deli at 75 Brighton Ave. The breakfast and lunch spot serves up bagels, sandwiches and salads. Bagel Guys Deli replaces Mediterranean Grill, which offered Greek food for just about a year before closing.
Questions still remain for West End with the biggest being:
1) What will replace the stores destroyed by February's fire?
2) Will the old movie theater, Lou's Uniforms and West End Deli and Bagel be demolished to make room for a Chabad of the Shore synagogue and parking lot?
The answers to these questions are still unclear and it may be some time before these issues are resolved.
West End is Long Branch's main business district, and with the development on Broadway at standstill for now, it should remain that way for some time.
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