RED BANK, N.J. — On the corner of Dr. James Parker Boulevard and Shrewsbury Avenue lies a retreat of sorts where conversation and caffeine reign supreme.
For nearly a decade, Courtlyn Crosson has been at the helm of Coffee Corral, a shop she took over from her father.
She now runs it with husband Erich Reulbach, who up until last year was a general contractor.
But when the pandemic struck, Reulbach was furloughed and needed to keep busy.
“Instead of getting yelled at I decided I will go to work to see if she needs any help,” Reulbach explained. “One thing leads to another, now we are business partners.”
An unlikely partnership spurred by COVID-19, the fact that they just got hitched in March 2020 added another layer to this dynamic.
“We say that we are still on our honeymoon,” Crosson quipped. “Because this has been what our honeymoon is.“
It’s a honeymoon nonetheless.
Since it opened, the specialty coffee roaster operated more like a commuter stop with no real dine-in option, limiting the business
“We had to figure out what we wanted to become based on the pandemic,” Crosson said.
They found the solution just a few feet away in a grassy neighboring lot that was widely unused and was supposed to be converted to a parking lot.
Instead, what they did was create a lavish outdoor space that has become a destination for the community.
“We kept saying — do we really want to pave paradise to put up a parking lot?” Reulbach said. “Honestly it was the best thing we never did.“
The couple says the outdoor dining area saved their business.