Some beaches are open with restrictions, but stores still worry about summer business

Tim Jimenez
May 09, 2020 - 4:00 am
Barbara Beltz, owner of Serendipity in Avalon

Tim Jimenez/KYW Newsradio

AVALON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — With an uncertain Memorial Day weekend and summer season ahead, small business owners down the shore are trying to prepare for the unknown.

A few more shore towns lifted restrictions at their beaches this weekend. Gov. Phil Murphy believes beaches will be open — with some restrictions — for Memorial Day, but the impact on shore stores is already prevalent.  

Barbara Beltz has been running the Serendipity clothing shop in Avalon for the last seven years. She said Mother’s Day weekend is typically the time when a lot of people come down to prepare their shore homes for the season — but nothing is typical right now.

“Knowing that this summer was going to be different and this weekend was gonna be different was sad,” she said.

Beltz has been adjusting to the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic by providing curbside pickup and delivery on the island, plus selling some essentials.

“Instead of flip-flops this year, we have a wide selection of facial masks, and we just got in quite a bit of hand sanitizer,” she noted. “Our business model is changing for the coming season for the new normal that we see is gonna be needed.”

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Beltz hopes that the beaches being open now — for walking, running and biking — will help bring in some customers.

Her other Serendipity locations in Doylestown and Chestnut Hill have been hit hard too, but a major concern for the Avalon location — like many places at the shore — is the reliance on the summer months for the bulk of their business.

“We have such a short season here in Avalon that if we lose much of the season, it’s gonna be devastating to all the small businesses,” she added. “We’re very hopeful that we’ll be able to open soon and be able to survive through the summer.