By Maddy Vitale
Jilly’s Ice Cream Factory on the Ocean City Boardwalk has a lot of faithful customers.
But there is one patron who not only appreciates the chilled treats but is making sure others can have a taste of their own.
And it is all on him.
On July 16 the customer, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Jilly’s employees that he would randomly buy people ice cream throughout the day.
That he did, helping 56 people to frozen treats to the tune of $582.
He told the employee not to tell anyone who he was or what he was doing because he was just looking to pay it forward, said Jody Levchuk, whose family owns the Jilly’s business empire on the Boardwalk.
“The most important thing is, I can tell you 1,000 percent that this happened. The person wants to be nameless,” Levchuk said Tuesday. “It is very important because he plans on doing this often. All the kids know who he is, but it is important.”
When Levchuk heard about the generous act, he was inspired to do some pay it forward activities at Jilly’s businesses.
He assembled his team and together they came up with some ideas of how to create excitement and please Jilly’s customers this summer. Some contests were done successfully last year but improved this year, he explained.
“We have a good team of people who think outside the box,” Levchuk noted.
There was the “Free Ice Cream For The Rest of The Summer” contest in which three lucky customers won free ice cream from Jilly’s Ice Cream Factory for the rest of the summer.
“All we wanted to know were two things. We asked them to join our mailing list and write down and submit their favorite ice cream. Three random people were selected,” Levchuk said.
JASM Consulting did the contest and awarded vouchers to the winners.
Then there are some whimsical contests that incorporate, for example, the mascot of Jilly’s French Fry Factory, “Fry Guy.”
The scavenger hunt-style game coincided with National French Fry Day July 13. Jilly’s gave out free fries for the day and held a weeklong contest.
Clues gave people an idea where “Fry Guy” might be hidden in Ocean City. The grand prizes were Jilly’s gift cards ranging from $20 to $100 and they went to five people.
And Levchuk said the team is bringing it back for another similar game involving the mascot sometime before Labor Day.
“Everyone loves “Fry Guy. Our next contest we might do virtual. People out of town sent us messages saying it wasn’t fair that they couldn’t do the contest,” he said.
Clues led winners to the Ocean City Municipal Airport, where Fry Guy was propped up with a gift card.
“It was fun. People were into it,” Levchuk said.
The Jilly’s Arcade Fun Cards is running a special in which anyone who puts $100 on the game card, gets an additional $25 to play added to the card.
It’s a great way for parents to give their kids money to play games and not have to worry about it being lost.
All the parent, guardian or child has to do is take a photo of the Fun Card capturing its serial number and if it gets lost, they would just have to report it to Jilly’s and supply the number. Jilly’s Arcade will supply a new card with the balance on the card.
The Fun Cards were new this season and Levchuk said families are taking advantage of them because of the benefits.
Ocean City’s Family Night on Thursdays through the summer is a favorite of the Levchuk family because they can showcase their family friendly atmosphere at all of their Boardwalk businesses.
Jilly’s Candy Factory is hosting free candy apple decorating every Thursday in August from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. for all ages.
Levchuk said he likes Family Night because there are a host of activities and entertainment that bring families to the Boardwalk.
“We think it ties in nicely with Family Night. This is the second year we are having it,” Levchuk said of the candy apple decorating event. “It went over really well last year.”
The first 100 people get to pick an apple and chocolate and they get to choose from a variety of candies and treats.
“People could take the candy apples home or eat them there,” Levchuk said. “We play good music and it’s just a nice thing for families to do.”
For more information about Jilly’s businesses visit www.jillysocnj.com