Founded in Family: Reynolds Garden Shop and Landscaping

It’s hard to miss the Reynolds Garden Shop when traveling along East Bay Avenue in Manahawkin. The property is lined with impressive flora, gorgeous landscaping and breathtaking design elements. Reynolds Garden Shop offers patrons a florist, full service nursery and garden center as well as residential and commercial landscape design and installation services.

With 10 full time family members working at Reynolds Garden Shop, owners Mark and Peg Reynolds know a thing or two about running a family business.

“From sales to retail management to accounting, there is a Reynolds family member in almost every field at Reynolds,” notes Peg.

Their son Luke manages landscaping while their daughter Katie runs the florist down the street. Their son-in-law, Tanek, specializes in lighting and sound design and installation. Their daughter-in-law Ashley has managed the garden shops since 2009. The business that now spans over two blocks and inhabits 3 buildings on East Bay Avenue started out over three decades ago in a much smaller capacity – it all began with a small roadside flower stand.

The vision for the shop bloomed out of Mark and Peg’s relationship with each other and their mutual love for the region. While Mark was born and raised in the area, Peg’s family had a summer home in Beach Haven West. They decided to make LBI their permanent home in 1971, which is how Peg and Mark first met while attending Southern together. Mark started working as a card dealer at Caesar’s while Peg worked as a medical assistant. Mark, however, could not stand being indoors and started cutting trees, which later turned into a small landscaping business. At the time, Peg’s parents, Bill and Dot Cullen owned a driving range at the Stafford Township Municipal Building. Bill and Dot allowed the young entrepreneurs to use a corner of the driving range property to set up that initial roadside flower stand.

From there the business continued to bloom until Mark and Peg bought the current location as well as the neighboring property. Roughly three years ago they bought another building down the street and turned it into a florist/clothing boutique which is run by their daughter Katie.

Despite the inherent challenges of running a business in a seasonal location, the shop stays busy in the winter.

“Every year, the business gets stronger and the break during the winter gets shorter due to the diversification,” says Peg. “The retail side of Reynolds is traveling for buying shows and rep meetings. The design side of Reynolds builds houses and sells landscape projects for the spring and summer season,” she continues. “The construction and landscaping divisions spend a lot of time designing their diverse range of projects during the entire winter. These schedules leave less time for a winter lull than other local firms. There is always a small enough lull in the winter for vacation time.”

The business is constantly growing and adapting to the changing landscape of the region. Noting on the shift from a family environment to being a more expensive area to live in, clientele now seem to have more money for major renovations and high end work. The business has also stayed very busy in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, aiding in renovations across the region.

Some of the biggest challenges foreseen in the coming years are for the gift shops to stay afloat with online retail encroaching on brick and mortar stores. The business is facing this challenge head on by keeping up their own online presence and utilizing social media. The garden center itself, however, is meant to be experienced and Mark and Peg, along with their team, do their best to ensure there is something there for everyone. Noting that a garden center can’t be digitized, it is through offering such an inspiring and immersive experience that they are able to keep a loyal client base year-round.

“Our loyal clients are proud that we wear our hearts on our sleeve in all we do and those clients are what gives us hope for the next ten years,” says Peg.

Mark and Peggy truly value the experience of working with family, from the involvement of their parents from the very beginning to having raised their kids in the business. These days their grandchildren are welcome office visitors and Peg notes that before long they will be watering plants and working alongside the rest of the family.

“My kids are so busy, and it’s great that they work together so they are able to see one another,” says Peg. “There are challenges, but with family it is always worth working it out and seeing the bigger picture.”

The business will stay in the Reynolds family, eventually passing down to their daughter Katie and son Luke and their spouses, Tanek and Ashley. Peg mentions their other daughter Ashley might also come back and join the family business. Fortunately for the community, Reynolds Garden Shop is here to stay for generations to come.

Peg Reynolds was interviewed by John Dunlap, Southern Ocean Chamber Public Relations Intern, Syracuse University Class 2019. Interview edited by Adele McKenna for Volatile Media Management.

Founded in Family: G. Anderson Agency and Anderson Insurance Agency

While growing up on Long Beach Island, Gil and Marie Anderson likely never imagined that they would leave such an important imprint on their community. Gil provided for his family by clamming the bay and working as a house painter. Having the foresight to find ways to serve a developing resort area with changing demands, Gil established a Real Estate and Insurance business in 1967 that remains deeply committed to people who visit and live here. The original LBI location was at 117th Street and Long Beach Boulevard and in 1978, moved to their newly constructed current office in Haven Beach. G. Anderson Agency opened a second location in Manahawkin in 1973. Today, G. Anderson Agency handles real estate sales and rentals and Anderson Insurance Agency handles insurance for LBI and the surrounding areas. All four of his children, along with his son in law and one granddaughter, are involved in the operations of companies that bear the Anderson name.

Long Beach Island in the 1960’s was a different world, and the Anderson children had begun careers in various directions. Their love for home and family always remained strong. Andy Anderson, Gil’s son, was an electrician working for a local electrical contractor before his father asked him to join the business in 1971. Andy was reluctant to enter an industry that he knew nothing about. He went to night school for his Real Estate license and worked weekends in the winter and spring of 1972 to get a feel for the business. After he found he liked it, Andy attended insurance school and came onboard full time in February 1973. Terry Anderson having married Dan Taylor, moved to San Diego while he was stationed with the US Navy and after completing his enlistment, received a phone call from Gil asking Dan to return to New Jersey and assist with the family business. So in 1974, they sold their California property and were home in a matter of weeks. Dan began the licensing process in real estate and insurance. In 1983, Terry assisted with office work while staff were on vacation and subsequently started working full time. In 1993, Carter Anderson returned from Texas and in 1996 Lori Anderson returned from Hawaii, both joining the company. The family continues to provide the best solutions for those looking for local expertise in Insurance and Real Estate Sales and Rentals. Terry Taylor is President of G. Anderson Agency and Andrew Anderson is President of Anderson Insurance Agency. Dan is a principal in both businesses. Carter works in the insurance department, while Lori is active in real estate with G. Anderson Agency on LBI.

During the course of their lives, the siblings ventured to other places living as far away as Hawaii and Texas, but family drew them back. With their father retiring two years ago, they all share the philosophy of mutual respect for family and staff, and place an emphasis on customer service that is reflected on all aspects of the daily routine. They are proud of the relationship they have with their employees, and appreciate having good people around them. Some careers within the Anderson organization are approaching 35 years of employment. The biggest mark of success is that this family run business has had the opportunity to watch their clients families grow, with some returning for two generations.

It all started with hard work and a bond with a place you are proud of. As their 50th summer approaches, the Anderson and Taylor family invite everyone to look forward to the milestones and share in the memories that all families treasure.

Article written by Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce – Founded in Family Program with interview by John Dunlap, Winter Intern – Syracuse University Class of 2019

From Left to Right: Lori Anderson, Carter Anderson, Andrew Anderson, Dan Taylor, Erin T. Edgar and Terry Taylor

Founded in Family: Howards Restaurants

Since 1950, Howard’s Seafood Restaurant has occupied the corner of West 33rd and Baltic Avenue in Spray Beach. Each summer locals and visitors alike flock to this Long Beach Island institution after a long day at the beach for quality seafood and an intimate dining experience. However, much like LBI, Howard’s has grown substantially since 1950. From a humble lunch counter to an upscale seafood establishment, Howard’s has endured throughout its 67 years multiple storms, economic booms and busts, as well as three generations of Sparks ownership, all while serving up some of the best seafood Long Beach Island has to offer.

Howard’s is currently owned by Kevin Sparks, grandson of founder Howard Sparks. Howard, a pound boat fisherman, loved to fish and loved to cook. You will not find any pound boat fishermen on LBI nowadays, as the tedious process of rowing out to sea, placing nets, and dragging the heavy nets of fish back to shore was phased out in the 60’s with the advent of motors and commercial fishing vessels. Howard married his passions of fishing and cooking into Howard’s Seafood, which he owned and operated until he passed away in 1966, after which his son Kingston, took over with his wife, Jackie. Howard definitely laid the framework for a thriving seafood business, and among his contributions are the invention of Howard’s famous French-fried lobster in the mid 50’s.

Kingston set about expanding the restaurant in the 80’s, and his additions include the expansion of the downstairs dining room as well as the second floor we see today. “With each expansion,” current owner Kevin states “the kitchen grew. With more business they made more room to do business.” Kingston and Jackie owned and operated Howard’s until 2010, at which point it was bought by Kevin and his wife, Lara. The two not only bought Howard’s but also the property across Baltic Avenue which would later become El Swell. El Swell was opened in 2013 by Kevin and Lara with a focus on exceptional fish tacos and a more casual dining experience than Howard’s. Though Kevin and Lara are currently owners, Kevin stated that his father still helps them out quite a bit, especially with any sort of renovations and upkeep.

Interestingly enough, after owning Howard’s and running its kitchen for almost 7 years, Kevin had this to say looking back, “I grew up knowing I never wanted to do this. If you’d have asked me at 18 I’d have laugh in your face.” He went on to comment about growing up on LBI stating, “It’s a full on seasonal town. It’s two extremes, either full on gorgeous or its quiet, it’s dead. When I was a kid I never really appreciated the winter but as I get older I like it more and more.” Kevin completed a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Drew University before coming back and taking the helm at Howard’s. He stated that having grown up on LBI his entire life, he wanted to see what the world had to offer, but as time went on he gained a newfound appreciation for LBI and the people that make up this community.

“To me it’s home. None of the other beach towns along the Jersey Shore are like LBI. Each has its own character and over the years LBI has remained family friendly, kind of a little secret, though maybe not so much anymore,” he noted.

In regard to owning and operating a family business today, Kevin asserts that it’s a labor of love. As owner and head chef, he and his wife are constantly running between businesses and doing quite a bit of hands-on work; however, he attributes his success to his great staff and even better family team. Their son, Ben and daughter, Zoe have both worked at Howard’s and El Swell throughout the years, helping in both establishments when needed.

Kevin relishes the opportunity of working with family stating that “It’s added strength.” He continues, “I spend so much time here in the summer working, it not only allows me to see my family, but having family involved I know that there are other people involved who have as much of a strong stake in the business [as I].”

Looking ahead, Kevin is very optimistic about the future of Howard’s, El Swell, and the LBI business community as a whole. Like many business owners, the Sparks notably took a hit from Superstorm Sandy in 2012, but he asserts that LBI is on the rise. “We are still as busy as ever,” he states “Sandy took a bite, but things are slowly getting back to normal.” He continues, “[There] seems to be positivity in the market right now and that really carries over into people making a decision to rent homes on LBI for a couple of weeks and go out to dinner. As long as we get good stretches of weather, LBI has proved itself as a great destination and I think it will always will be if we keep LBI what it is at is at its core— which is friendly atmosphere, laid back, and inviting.”

Kevin hopes to continue to pass down Howard’s and El Swell to the next generation of Sparks, stating that both of his kids have shown interest. Zoe especially is pursuing a degree in business management from The College of New Jersey and plans to graduate in 2020. On his kids taking over, Kevin had this to add, “We’ll see, no pressure, but I would be glad to have my kids take the reins. Either that or I’ll give it back to my Dad!” At any rate, the locals and visitors of LBI can rest assured that Howard’s and El Swell will be serving up some of the finest french-fried lobster and fish tacos the Atlantic has to offer for years to come.

Kevin Sparks was interviewed by John Dunlap, Southern Ocean Chamber Public Relations Intern, Syracuse University Class 2019.

Founded in Family: Meet The Haglers

MORE THAN A PLACE TO DOCK YOUR BOAT; THE HAGLER FAMILY SHARES TALES FROM THEIR MARINA AND ITS CLOSE CREW

A familiar site passing through Brant Beach, Hagler’s Marina store front is only the beginning of the services and bay front access that this multi-generational business provides. Family owned and operated for 39 years, the Hagler Marina story begins with Joe Hagler vacationing on Long Beach Island as a child. Traveling from Oradell in Bergen County, Joe would take the drive down along with his aunt to her vacation home. Taking the back roads, Joe recalls stopping along Route 9 to purchase yarn, supplies or stop at a roadside donut shop. As Joe grew, he began driving his aunt’s car with a three on the tree (steering column). Pulling over whenever she commanded, creating memorable journeys to LBI. In 1980, Joe was working as a Boiler Engineer, when his uncle who was an island real estate agent called him with an opportunity to purchase Sicklinger’s Marina from its owner Frank. The rest as they say, is history.

Hagler’s Marina has kept up with the changes and challenges of technology and service. For over twenty years they established themselves as a Grady-White dealer and recently took on a new line of Release Boats. This decision came with the need to be on the forefront of the best mid class small recreational fishing and family boats. They also made the switch from a Mercury Outboard dealer to Yamaha. As a fully certified Yamaha Outboard Service Center, their highly trained technicians have access to a full line of parts and supplies. Joe is now joined by his daughter, Danni, and son-in-law Steve Haggart; working part time during the busy season. Keeping family together seems to work everywhere on site; the company also have a father and son mechanic team. The family admits that working together is usually a blast, but it does come with challenges. Everyone takes great pride in the business that bears their name and tries to keep personal matters at the door during business hours.

Having a younger generation on board certainly is helpful with technological changes. Joe Hagler states how Danni has been able to use her skills building a new website and enhancing their marketing to include social media. Danni traveled and spent time at college and grad school for almost a decade before returning home. She worked abroad before coming back full time to help run the family business. Since opening the business, the Hagler Family has seen many changes in the services people are looking for. Years back, many people wanted to do their own work on the boat. Now, with schedules being busier clients are looking for the marina to assist more. Now, Hagler’s offers boat detailing and other customized work.

The Hagler Family and their staff feel the Long Beach Island region is the best place in the world to grow up and operate a business. They witness the excitement of the area building with each passing year. Whether it is meeting new customers, greeting new businesses opening in the area or toasting a successful season with familiar businesses that are still going strong. The addition of new festivals and popularity of classic LBI events help draw people to the island which helps extend the season. With friends and their families coming earlier and staying later in the season there is a lot to look forward to being involved with this wonderful community.

Founded in Family: Meet The Maschals

We’ve all heard the saying “It takes a village . . . .” Well, it takes an entire family to run a village. Bay Village wouldn’t exist without the help of family. My wife, Maribell and I had the support of her family who’ve been residents of LBI since 1890. She introduced me to Long Beach Island, having grown up vacationing in Ocean City. That’s where I learned how to make fudge in copper kettles, from my high school science teacher. That scientific angle attributed to the fudge tasting extra special, creamy & delicious. I wanted to use this method on my own, and I discovered that Long Beach Island needed a fudge shop. In 1961, I rented an 8’ wide shop next to Koseff’s for $600, with Maribell’s family behind me. We did so well, we opened a winter shop in Media, PA. In 1963, we built a 2nd shop at the Lucy Evelyn in Beach Haven. In 1965, Maribell’s uncle Charles Ramsey initially bought the vacant lot across the street from the Lucy Evelyn. I repaid him and designed and built Bay Village. On Labor Day, 1965 we broke ground. On Memorial Day, 1966, we opened Bay Village. Not only did we open with every single shop rented, we personally created, outfitted, staffed and ran The Country Kettle Fudge Shop, The Crust & Crumb Bakery, The Windmill, The Golden Nickleodeon Ice Cream Parlor, and The Gourmet’s Mooring Restaurant. That undertaking today would truly be a miracle in that tiny span of time.

In 1985, we expanded fudge on the East Coast by opening fudge shops in Newport, RI. Then another in 1987 in Rockport, MA. While in Newport, we decided to bring the idea of a Chowderfest to Beach Haven and shared the idea with the Chamber of Commerce. What a success!

In 1984, we bought the Riptide Bar and moved the liquor license to Bay Village, to The Gourmet’s Mooring Restaurant . In 1989, we entered Chowderfest with my famous recipe under the Mooring’s name, although I had sold the restaurant to Managers/Employees. We actually won the 1st Chowderfest. And, the 2nd. We placed 3rd in the next Chowderfest, but then the Mooring decided not to enter again. It gave us the idea of entering as a fudge shop against 19 restaurants. We placed third! then first, then first again. The following year it was a no-brainer to open Country Kettle Chowda in the heart of Bay Village. We have entered and placed every single Chowderfest since 1989. Chowderfest became a family event from booth set up, to the kid’s staffing with their friends, and of course, the cooking.

Meanwhile, we were able to establish The Red, White & Blue Committee to bring back fireworks to Beach Haven, (behind Bay Village), over the bay. I remember asking my daughter-in-law, Missy, to walk through town with my 1st granddaughter, Megan, in her stroller, asking all the businesses for fireworks donations. The rest is history. With the island’s support, every year we have had a spectacular show. Our Bay Village manager, Carolyn, has done an amazing job keeping this an annual tradition. She runs the whole “show”.

In 1999, we were handed back the liquor license for the Gourmet Mooring but were successful in selling it. Since then, Bistro 14 has taken over and they have been a remarkable, family-friendly restaurant. The Ship Bottom Brewery took over the old “Tide” space and has become incredibly popular.

A family business takes communication. Our family lacks this quality. We actually named our boat “Miss Communication” . It takes commitment. That we do well. Carolyn keeps us functioning because sometimes you need somebody “outside” the family. There are disagreements and different view points, but in the end, there’s compromise. My brother, Chuck, former Mayor and current Councilman of Beach Haven, also worked at Bay Village while growing up . He purchased and ran The Windmill Ice Cream parlor for years. My son, Peter , (now a Chiropractor) married Laura Maschal, who now runs the financial responsibilities of Bay Village. Laura actually grew up working as a teenager in the Crust & Crumb Bakery and then the Mooring Restaurant, along with her siblings. Both sons, Peter & JB, began working as dish washers, then in maintenance, and eventually as bar tenders. JB took over for me as Chief Operating Officer. His wife, Missy Maschal also worked in the Mooring Restaurant in her teens. Now Missy heads up Advertising and Marketing for Bay Village. My sons made Long Beach Island their homes and raised their families here. The 4 grand daughters; Megan, Annabel, Mia and Emma, have been a significant help in the ads of the Sandpaper, on the billboard for many years, and later working in the shops at Bay Village. When you have a family run business, you obtain an excellent work ethic. Now they’re successful business women in their 20’s all over the country, but we wait for their return to Bay Village to keep the family-run business a tradition.

In the 60’s, we had families staying the whole summer on the island, with the children working full time summer jobs. We were able to staff every single shop. Times have changed. Families that used to stay all season, visit just for a few weeks, or just weekends. Bay Village has always been fortunate to have help beating fudge, scooping ice cream or waiting tables. We’ve have third generations coming back to work in their grandparent’s jobs. It’s a family tradition to work at Bay Village. While the island has changed, our family and our employee’s families haven’t been affected.

Devastated by Sandy in 2012, we had 5’ of water encompass Bay Village which led to completely having to gut the interior of the entire village. With all the work that had to be done, JB and Peter helped by working on rebuilding the interior walls. We also were able to honor our huge Christmas mail orders gifts by working through our Newport Fudgery, and our Surf City Fudge Shop. Again, it takes a family….

Time at the shore will always be a family thing. People love the memories and experiences they had when they were children and want to relive those memories and feelings with their children. In the next 10 years, we think Bay Village will keep thriving because of the love of the island and family traditions. Bay Village is a family oriented, kid friendly, safe place to share good times and make not only new memories, but to relive the old ones.

Written by Missy Maschal As told by John Maschal

Founded in Family: The Saropoulos Family From Leftys Tavern

Founded In Family – Eight Years of Milestones and much more in store, the Saropoulos Family and their team is doing something right at Lefty’s Tavern.

You might say that both Lefty Saropoulos and his wife Jennifer were born to run their family business. Both grew up in Southern Ocean County, spending most of their childhood’s right in Barnegat. In 2009, the opportunity came to them to open Lefty’s Tavern at 547 North Main Street in Barnegat from two employees who worked at the location under the ownership of Monte’s.

Lefty’s Tavern finds putting treating customers and staff like family, and putting them first helped them beat the odd. Nationally, about 60% of restaurants fail within the first 3 years. The Sarapoulos’ philosophy is that the restaurant business is a family, discussing decisions with the staff. The first consideration is how that decision will affect our family and the 30 or so families’ dependent upon the restaurant. Everyone is valued, we are people, with families, depending on the success of our business. It is that feeling of team work that helped Lefty’s Tavern expanded from just a family restaurant to a full banquet facility as well as an off-premise caterer. The past few years have been filled with milestones from booking their first 200 person wedding, to hosting the prom and the granddaddy of all wins, being voted Grand Champion Red Chowder at Chowderfest 2017. To bring that title to Barnegat for the first time in the event’s 29 year history was a feat that could only be accomplished as team. Under the direction of Lefty, Jennifer and Chef Oscar, the entire staff, family members and volunteers rallied together to achieve a monumental win for the restaurant.

Family means everything to Jennifer & Lefteddy who are the chief family members involved with the business. On any given day you will find them teaching their sons the ropes. At ages 8 and 10 years old, both have a good grasp on some of the responsibilities and are happy to pitch in. 8 year old Noah, is quite a proficient dishwasher and Aiden, age 10, loves to mingle and host our guests. Both Lefteddy and Jennifer’s Dads also help out no matter what the task. Lefty’s Dad, Chris, helped get the business up and running the first few months and Joe runs our poker night every Tuesday. Both are talented painters and builders who take on remodeling projects to fit with the restaurants plans.

Living here for 40 years, the Sarapoulos’ have seen a lot change to Southern Ocean County, with the biggest being the boom in population. With the development of the many Active Adult communities the area has seen a shift toward a more mature population. The Lefty’s team always looks to adapt, by keeping an open mind, keeping what works and what is comfortable; while making changes slowly and deliberately to keep it fresh. The shift in growth will help in keeping the younger generation around a bit more. Lefty and Jennifer stated “When they were starting out, if you wanted a job, you had to commute to Northern Jersey or the cities…now with tele-commuting and net-meeting and all the other fancy new ways to connect; it’s easier for young people to stay here, in Southern Ocean County where it’s affordable to live, relatively safe, and a great place to raise the next generation. I look forward to serving them and we’ll adapt for them too”

When reflecting on changes, the couple states “Everyday there are new challenges and old hat routine. As the years go by, new challenges become old hat and old hats gets a fresh look. And the years fly on by.” Through the changes, it is good to know that the value they show their extended family keeps some things the same, like those two employees that suggested they open Lefty’s almost a decade ago, are still part of team.

Founded In Family: Meet the Nugent and Magaziner Families

The freshest seafood from the ocean and bay.

That was the single most important philosophy from the start and it remains today.

The Tide Table Group consists of Ship Bottom Shellfish, Mud City Crab House, the Black Whale Bar & Fish House, Old Causeway Steak & Oyster House, Parker’s Garage & Oyster Saloon, and Bird & Betty’s (529 Dock Rd. on the water in Beach Haven) which will be open for summer 2019. And in each of these successful establishments, fresh seafood has been the key.

It started with Bob and Ginna Nugent, who met in 1977. Ginna’s father had worked the first tilefish boats with Lou Puskas and founded Cassidy’s Fish Market in the mid 70s. Her brothers ran the fish market through their college years. Bob was a surfer and started wholesaling clams in 1979, buying the building that is the current Ship Bottom Shellfish in 1981. Shellfish quickly became part of that bustling section of Ship Bottom, on 19th Street. Like many locals, they found themselves working 16-hour days from May through October. They gained a reputation for quality with the food served in the tiny dining room, take out, and the fish market.

“I just grew up with that tradition of local seafood. That was long before it was a culinary trend. The less time between the bay or the ocean and the plate, the better. When you start with quality ingredients, you just end up with a better product. We’re grateful that people recognize that and have supported us all these years,” says Ginna. One of their long time employees was Eric Magaziner, who started at Shellfish when he was 14. He and his girlfriend (now wife of 20 years) Melanie who worked at the Dutchman’s had serious business drive. The four of them rolled the dice on a property on the corner of Bay Ave. and Marsha Drive in Manahawkin that had changed hands more times than anyone could count. Together, they opened Mud City Crab House in 1999 which was an instant hit. It gave them the ability to host more families, harkening to summer nights in a backyard with a picnic table and a pile of steamed crabs. “That first summer was crazy. We thought we were taking a chance in that location. Who knew that people would travel over from the Island? But we were busy from the start and once we worked out the flow, it’s been such a pleasure to watch it grow. And a lot of the success has to do with employees who have been there for 20 years, since the day we opened,” added Eric.

Ginna’s sister Paula, also had restaurant ownership in her blood and ran Fish Tales on Barnegat Inlet for several summers, with her own creativity and the same focus on fresh seafood before the state turned it into a parking lot. The spot on the docks was eventually sold to Rob Robinson and is still Cassidy’s Fish Market. Paula and her family are still integral to the restaurants today. With Shellfish and Mud City both thriving, the couple took their first foray into the bar business in 2005, buying what had been Romeo’s in Beach Haven and opening the Black Whale Bar & Fish House, named for the famed passenger boat that used to ferry LBI visitors to Atlantic City for nights of fun. Partnering with Bill Burris, the restaurant gave LBI’s South End access to the group’s amazing menu but also a spot with a neighborhood bar feel and their signature Black Whale Ale, a harbinger of the craft beer movement that would follow. In the first several seasons, they began holding events which would lead to the deep involvement in the community that they are known for, specifically their partnership with Jetty and the Jetty Rock Foundation. Today, Melanie’s brother Zach is helping to run the kitchen.

While the three restaurants started to push longer into the shoulder seasons, the group negotiated the sale of the mini golf course next to Mud City. The plan to this gem to the roster was delayed by Superstorm Sandy, which saw significant damage to their restaurants. But while the Island community was reeling, the Magaziners and Nugents threw themselves deep into recovery. They provided food at fund raisers and Mud City became a meeting spot and host during the recovery. “We understand that our businesses are nothing without the community here. Our success has as much to do with local employees and customers as the families that come back each season,” says Melanie Magaziner, “There was no question. Our whole lives became recovery. Of course we needed to rebuild our own homes and businesses but it was just as important to see the Island and Mainland bounce back.”

And bounce back it did. By spring of 2014, the Old Causeway opened its doors for the first time. Not only would this be the first year-round business, but it also marked the involvement of a new generation. Dane and Brie Nugent had become fully involved in the family businesses, and Brie’s new husband, Billy Mehl jumped right in on the bar design of Old Causeway. While Brianna has the reigns on special event planning and operations, Mehl is now full time in the management of all the restaurants. Melanie’s brother, Josh Bedea is a fixture at the raw bar, known in local shellfish circles as “Shuck Norris.” Although Shay Nugent lives and works in NYC, she still returns to work weekends. The work ethic and dedication simply comes with the job.

The Old Causeway has become well known on the Mainland for its extended menu, live music on weekends and happy hour, not to mention the Mud Shuttle, which picks up and gets patrons safely home from the bar. It wasn’t long before the next opportunity arose. In 2017, the group purchased the Boat House on the water in Beach Haven from the Baldini family, again with Burris.. In a previous life, the building had been a dock, engine repair shop and restaurant owned by Ellis Parker, of the Tuckerton/Beach Haven Parkers. The building was reimagined as Parker’s Garage, paying homage to the Victorian age and the baymen of turn-of-the-century Beach Haven. With an elevated feel, it immediately caught the attention of New Jersey’s food writers, celebrated for the amazing dishes and famed Parker’s Sunsets.

As Parker’s has enjoyed rapid success, there has been little time to settle in. Early in 2019, they closed on the building just across Dock Road from Parker’s Garage. As the former Acme Hotel, this legendary venue is one of LBI’s oldest bars, owned for decades by Bird & Betty Clutter. The new incarnation is a throwback to the 1960s and 70s when the Island was alive with youth culture and the Acme was a main hub. Bird & Betty’s, which opened for the 2019 season has four bars, plus indoor and outdoor dining with a creative menu of the same food and craft drinks the Tide Table Group has become known for. The exciting news is that it will retain its reputation as a night spot with local and touring acts as well as a modern version of Teen Nite, one that teens will still enjoy and parents will be comfortable with.

If all of that isn’t enough, there’s more in the works. The Tide Table Group recently acquired Sleepy Hollow in Eagleswood with plans for a new multi-faceted spot on five acres of property that will celebrate the history and mystery of the Pine Barrens. At this point, the operations involve multiple generations. But there are also multiple generations enjoying the food and unique atmospheres the Nugents and Magaziners offer. And it all comes back to fresh seafood.

Provided by the Tide Table Group

A Nature Lovers Guide

Home to the pine barrens and a variety of unique waterways including pristine beaches, rivers, lakes, creeks and the Barnegat Bay; it’s not a surprise that people from all over choose to visit and vacation in the LBI region. With a myriad of ecosystems, comes a huge quantity of remarkable flora and fauna including many endangered species. It’s no wonder that our area has become a top destination for nature lovers. The region boasts some of the most extensive outdoor nature activities of anywhere in the nation! From canoeing, paddleboarding or kayaking to birding, hiking and bike trails, swimming, fishing, lounging at the beach and more; there’s so much to see and do in the LBI region!

Public Parks, Hiking Trails and Nature Reserves

Paul King County Park – Manahawkin

Situated on the beautiful Manahawkin Lake, this park is located in the heart of Stafford Township. The park offers a children’s playground, a large picnic area, a guarded swimming area (during the summer), picnic areas, a basketball court, fishing, a horseshoe pit and handicap-accessible restrooms.

Barnegat Branch Trail

This “rail-to-trail” project follows the abandoned Barnegat Branch Division of the Central Railroad of New Jersey. Once completed, the trail will stretch 15.6 miles from Barnegat to Toms River.

Eno’s Pond County Park – Lacey

Eno’s Pond has a long and colorful history dating to the Colonial period. The observation decks overlook Eno’s Pond, which is the ideal vantage point for viewing some of the pond’s wildlife. Eno’s also has a variety of nature trails, picnic area/grills, a playground, restrooms and volleyball court.

Cloverdale Farm County Park – Barnegat

Cloverdale Farm County Park is a beautifully restored Cranberry Farm. Besides cranberries, the bogs are home to a large variety of birds, making it an ideal birding destination as well as many wildflowers and other wildlife. The 1.4 mile self-guided nature trail strolls through the farm into undisturbed woodlands that offer an escape from everyday life.

Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve – Tuckerton

The Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JC NERR) encompasses approximately 116,000 acres in southeastern New Jersey, including a great variety of terrestrial, wetland and aquatic habitats within the Mullica River-Great Bay ecosystem. If you are interested in local wildlife, the reserve offers excellent programs and presentations throughout the year on a variety of wildlife and bay related topics. They also have a hiking trail that overlooks the wetlands.

Wells Mills County Park – Waretown

Wells Mills Lake is one of the most scenic Pine Barrens lakes. You may bring your own boat (no gas motors) and launch at the Conrad-Oakley Cabin, or rent a canoe at the Nature Center when in season. Fishermen are required to have a valid fishing license.

There are also miles of hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty, including a “VIP” (Visually Impaired Persons) Trail. The three-story Nature Center showcases a display floor, a library and the third floor observation deck.

Freedom Fields County Park – Little Egg Harbor

Active recreation is the theme at this park with soccer, softball, little league and baseball fields as well as picnic areas, hiking trails and ADA accessible restrooms.
“Tip” Seaman County Park – Tuckerton
Many sports areas including little league and softball fields, basketball, tennis and pickleball courts. There are also picnic and open play areas, fishing, a playground, a small boat launch, walking paths and ADA accessible restrooms.

Lochiel Creek Trail Map – Barnegat

This hidden treasure covers over 177 acres of forests and wetlands. The entrance to the park winds among pines and blueberries into a quiet and pristine setting.
Amenities include a comfort station with restrooms, ample parking, and a 1.75 mile marked nature trail. The trail highlights the park’s diversity as it meanders through rolling hills that are relic sand dunes from a time when the area was a prehistoric beach. The trail also crosses Lochiel Creek, the park’s namesake, which harbors populations of federally threatened wildflowers and strange carnivorous plants. Along with native orchids and wetland shrubs, there are plenty of wildflowers to see throughout the growing season.

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park is home to our infamous landmark, the Barnegat Lighthouse! Climb all 217 steps, enjoy trails, fishing, bird watching, picnics and more!

Public Boat Ramps

Perfect for launching your kayak, canoe or paddle board, the LBI region has many public boat ramps.

Beach Haven

A great launch site for the bay, where water vehicles can enjoy calmer waters and a scenic view of LBI. The ramp is located on 9th Street and Boat Ramp Drive near Bay Village.

Barnegat Light

Located at 10th street and Bayview Avenue.

Ship Bottom

Located just south of the Causeway bridge.

The Surf City Boat Ramp

Located on Division Avenue.

Barnegat Township Municipal Ramp

Located on E Bay Ave.

Cedar Run Dock Road

Located at the end of Cedar Run Dock Road in West Creek, adjacent to Antoinetta’s Restaurant. The ramp provides easy access to the bay.

Southern Ocean Fourth Annual Home Town Security Seminar an Informative Success

Our June 3 collaboration with the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell, New Jersey State Police, US Department of Homeland Security, and FEMA was held online with dozens in attendance.

This annual event brings together experts from Federal, State, County and local authorities to discuss with business and community leaders the importance of security and safety issues. This year the virtual program provided an opportunity for COVID19 cyber threats, scams and misinformation campaigns, FEMA strategies for preparing for the next threat, and discussion on the recent protests.

The morning opened with a welcome from the chamber CEO, Lori Pepenella and featured presentations from representatives of the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell, FEMA, NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, who addressed questions from the audience.

The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, works with the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce to bring this information, tools, and resources that help strengthen the security and resilience of communities such as our Long Beach Island Region. Important links and information from the live event can be found here:

New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness
Sign-up for the NJOHSP Bulletin here
NJOHSP Training Calendar link
See Something, Say Something Posters can also be downloaded here

FEMA – NJ Office: Deborah Costa: [email protected]
CERT Program: http://ready.nj.gov/cert/index.shtml
Subscribe to the FEMA Region II Preparedness and Resilience Bulletin here

New Jersey Cybersecurity & Communications Intergration Cell:
Krista Valenzuela: [email protected]
Request a presentation here
Sign up for the NJCCIC bulletin here
https://www.cyber.nj.gov/this-is-security/tips-for-teleworkers-remote-access-security

CISA Department of Homeland Security: [email protected]
Link to tools discussed – link
CISA Soft Targets and Crowded Places


Explore your summer in the Long Beach Island Region with Our CEO

Navigate the many things to do as Southern Ocean Chamber and Stockton University co host a complimentary webinar on June 10 at 11am

There is plenty to see and do in Southern Ocean County, and the business community welcomes residents and visitors alike as the state enters Phase 2 allowing more restrictions to lift. Explore with confidence as the region’s chamber celebrates its 106 summer. The Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce CEO Lori Pepenella, CDME brings together interesting travel tips, tools and Covid 19 era suggestions to those who are looking to make the most of this popular destination. Spend the morning on some of the best tips of the season, through restaurants, shopping, historical sites and other activities.

From virtual options, to finding your favorite things to try; this live webinar will give many ways to reclaim the summer. Lori proudly volunteers as Vice President of the New Jersey Tourism Industry Association, Vice Chair of the Ocean County Business & Tourism Advisory Board and as a commissioner for Ocean County Culture & Heritage.

Our organization serves as the official and accredited Destination Marketing and Management organization for the LBI Region, representing almost 600 businesses on a county, state and national level. The community is invited to attending this online course at no cost by joining the zoom platform using

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://stockton.zoom.us/j/95095787401?pwd=b0E3dVkxUGJXelVoWnVzV3JlV01PZz09  Password: 070455
Or iPhone one-tap :US: +19294362866,,95095787401#  or +13017158592,,95095787401#
Or Telephone:Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 929 436 2866  or +1 301 715 8592  or +1 312 626 6799  or +1 669 900 6833  or +1 253 215 8782  or +1 346 248 7799  Meeting ID: 950 9578 7401

   International numbers available: https://stockton.zoom.us/u/abwNXgG3pk