What offseason? Jersey Shore retailers thriving in colder months
Businesses at the Jersey Shore don't just shut their doors when the calendar hits late fall.
Yes, some call it quits until the warmer temperatures return in 2017. But even along the boardwalk, retailers are willing to keep their staff and lights on through the New Year and beyond — as long as the revenue is worth the hassle.
In Asbury Park, the retail shop Storehouse is in its second year of operations through the colder months. And this past weekend, according to assistant manager Ashley Casatelli, the boardwalk store produced summer-like numbers.
"People come and make special trips because we are known for holiday shopping," Casatelli said.
But beyond the holidays, she said, the store still sees some decent foot traffic; only it's fewer "accidental customers" and more familiar faces that frequent the store maybe a couple times a month.
The shop is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It may be able to count on some extra customers over the next few weekends. The city is offering free downtown and waterfront parking every Saturday through Dec. 24.
To spur local business during the offseason, the Belmar Tourism Commission is offering season beach badges to the five individuals who submit the most receipts from different businesses. The receipts must be acquired between Nov. 26 and Dec. 24.
Yata Deffigos, owner of baby shop Cute as Buttons on Belmar's Main Street, said some customers opted for a paper receipt on Small Business Saturday, rather than an emailed receipt, in order to assist in their quest for a free badge.
But luckily for Deffigos, there's always someone having a baby, or a birthday party, and a townwide promotion isn't necessary to drum up business.
"I do run sales regularly on merchandise that I have, just to get people into the store," Deffigos said. "I feel like the more that people get to know where my store is and that I'm here, I think that the business will only increase in the winter months."
Even though the weather isn't at its best, Deffigos said she's had customers from throughout Monmouth County. And many Belmar residents make an effort to "buy locally" if the product they need is available, rather than jump on a highway in search of a major chain location.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.