Original Tenant: Rex-Gene Food Warehouse
Address: 136 Monmouth Rd, West Long Branch, NJ
Later Tenants: unsure of exact location
Photographed: January 2021
Bear with me on this one. I am fairly certain that this 26,000 square foot segment at the far right of the Kmart of West Long Branch was previously a Rex-Gene Food Warehouse -- but I am not entirely convinced that the Rex-Gene wasn't at the far left side of the Kmart, since I recall reading that Kmart expanded into the Rex-Gene space. The Kmart closed in early 2020 and, to my knowledge, remains vacant.
Rex-Gene is not a chain about which there is a lot of information on the internet, but I'm going to give a few details here. The chain originated in Brooklyn and later expanded to New Jersey, eventually moving their headquarters to Red Bank. I am unsure how many stores Rex-Gene had at its peak, but by early 1998, they were down to five: Berkeley, West Long Branch, Rahway, Sayreville, and Manalapan. Berkeley closed at the beginning of 1998, with Manalapan closing in March of that year. In June, Queens, NY-based Western Beef announced that they were purchasing Rahway, Sayreville, and Manalapan, as well as the fixtures and equipment from West Long Branch. It's unclear to me whether Western Beef ever actually operated Sayreville or Manalapan, but if they were, they would've been extremely short-lived Western Beef stores like Rahway was. Here in West Long Branch, I believe Kmart expanded into the former Rex-Gene space; Rahway became Universal Meat Supermarket not long after Western Beef closed; and Manalapan became a gym. I have been unable to pinpoint where exactly the Berkeley and Sayreville locations were. (My sources for the other info are here and here.) If you have any memories of Rex-Gene or any additional information, please share in the comments! And don't forget to check out today's other post, the ShopRite just across the street here. Up next we're headed down to Belmar on The Market Report!