By Maddy Vitale
Aileen Lynch opened Beachin’ Bakery, 1046 Asbury Ave. in Ocean City, back in May, with the help of her sole employee, Pam Gray.
Lynch, of Ocean City, was inspired to bake when she had her son, Sebastian, who is now 5. Then, the mother of two, with a master’s degree in technology, decided to go into the baking business. At first, she baked for friends. That is how she met Gray.
“We are still learning the ropes of being in business,” Lynch said Wednesday night at the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce “Welcome Night.”
Every year, the Chamber of Commerce hosts the event to introduce new and current residents to community, civic and social organizations, community leaders and city officials, as well as local businesses, including restaurants, financial and insurance services, retail stores and medical offices.
More than 60 tables, from businesses to non-profits and police and emergency personnel, filled the Ocean City Civic Center, 6th Street and the Boardwalk.
Lynch looked around at the people lining her table anxiously awaiting some of her sugar cookies and said of owning a business, “It’s been going great. I think joining the Chamber really was super helpful.”
She added that the Chamber helps by getting their names out in the public. “We also get to meet other small business owners,” she added.
Gray said being a two-person team has its challenges, but that they really had a good summer and attribute some of their success to the support of the business community. The duo also hopes to build on the momentum by expanding their name recognition even further.
Chamber of Commerce Marketing Director Shawnda McGinnis said Beachin’ Bakery is a good example of a budding new business that benefits from belonging to the Chamber.
“It’s a great networking event for our businesses and local organizations and for the public to come and see what Ocean City has to offer,” McGinnis said.
Thriving, well-established businesses, such as Jilly’s, a collection of family-owned Boardwalk retail outlets, has a table set up every year for the “Welcome Night” with candies and other giveaways.
People perused their table and enjoyed some free candies and other goodies.
Jody Levchuk, one of the Jilly’s owners, said the event helps both new and old businesses cultivate customers and get their name out in the public eye.
“It is a good event because people get to find out about new businesses and meet business owners,” Levchuk said.
While business owners and residents chatted, city officials greeted business owners and attendees.
Among the city officials at the event were Mayor Jay Gillian and Business Administrator George Savastano.
The mayor called the event crucial for the business community.
“It brings our city together, young and old alike. With competition from the big box stores, small businesses need all of the help they can get,” Gillian said. “I am proud of all of the work our Chamber does for the business community.”
Thomas Heist Insurance Company, a well-established Ocean City business, displayed notebooks, pens, magnets, calendars and other items for the taking on their table.
Tom Heist Sr. said, “The night is really great for Ocean City.”
Ann Gulian, an executive at Thomas Heist Insurance Company, called the well-attended event “unbelievable.”
“This is one of the busiest ones we have gone to,” Gulian said.
To contact the Chamber of Commerce call (609) 399-1412 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.oceancityvacation.com.