By Robin Rieger
AVALON, N.J. (CBS) – They are filling racks and stocking tables, turning the Princeton and Whitebriar in Avalon, New Jersey into a shop-a-holics delight. Starting Friday at 6 p.m. until Sunday at 3 p.m., spaces in these bars and restaurants will be transformed into boutiques, with items from 34 Avalon and Stone Harbor stores.
“We have jewelry, clothing, shoes, home decor,” said Kathleen Wierzbicki, an organizer and the owner of Tiger Lily in Avalon.
Wierzbicki, who will be selling items from her store, says it’s always a successful annual event. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy though, store owners say this welcome Spring tradition is even more important to the local economy.
“This is a big shot in the arm for us , not only just financially, but emotionally and psychologically. It’s been a cold, tough winter. The weekends have been pretty dismal,” said Jacquie Ewing. Her home decor is called Armadillo, Ltd. She is the president of the 7-Mile Business Community Association.
“They think we’re closed. They think maybe nothing is open,” said Wierzbicki, referring to visitors who have been staying away from the shore.
She says the perception that all Jersey Shore towns are damaged, coupled with the drawbridge from Sea Isle remaining closed since Sandy, has negatively impacted business here.
“I would say my winter business is off anywhere from 30 to 45-percent. We’ve lost a few businesses that, because of the impact of Sandy, are not going to reopen,” said Ewing.
“We want people to know that we’re open here in Avalon and Stone Harbor,” said Wierzbicki.
State tourism dollars have been spent on the event, which highlights deep discounts, in the way of grants for local advertising.
“A Diane Von Furstenburg blouse, it was $245, it’s on my $60 rack”, said Wierzbicki. “It’s a great way for little boutiques to get rid of some older merchandise and make room for the new spring coming in.”
Donations and supplies will also be accepted during the event for the Cape May County Animal Shelter And Adoption Center. Some animals will be at the event.