By TIM KELLY
The truism says “you only get one mom.” In Ocean City, one might add “so you better get more than one present.”
That’s how it seemed on Friday as the town was abuzz with Mother’s Day shoppers and folks enjoying family time in anticipation of Sunday’s holiday.
“Mother’s Day has always been a big holiday for us,” said Jody Levchuk, owner of Jilly’s Candy Factory at 1040 Boardwalk, and also the town’s Third Ward councilman. “When you combine Mother’s Day with the good weather, and other events around town, we’re going to have a fun time. That has been the case this year.”
Mostly sunny skies and 60-degree temperature, and a clientele anxious to emerge from COVID-19 restrictions, came together Friday to form a strong environment for businesses both on the Boardwalk and the downtown business corridor.
Katie Miccarelli, a resident of the north end of Ocean City, was looking forward to this Mother’s Day more than usual, as she is expecting her second child in July. She stopped for a photo in front of a Mother’s Day display for Cruise Control Gear active wear at Pappagallo, a boutique at 744 Asbury Ave., the local retail home to Cruise Control.
Katie and husband Matt are the proud parents of daughter Ava, 4. However, the impending arrival of their second child so close to Mother’s Day makes this pregnancy “exciting and extra special.”
Passersby proved it by congratulating her and wishing her luck.
Jessica Carbone, a Cruise Control model on hand with Louis, 3, her younger son with husband Ernie and brother to Ernie Jr., kept the festive attitude going.
“The weather is looking good and there are lots of things here to keep you feeling good,” she said. “It’s great to be out and supporting the team.”
Carbone wasn’t alone in sentiment, or as a shopper. Asbury Avenue and the Boardwalk were alive with activity.
Members of the Cocuzza family, of Egg Harbor Township, were typical. They drove to Ocean City to “shop for our ‘Nannas’ (maternal grandparents),” said Mom Jennifer.
She was there with husband Matt, son Matt Jr., 3, and daughter Emma, 2.
“The weather is so nice, and it’s very nice to get out as a family to do a little Mother’s Day shopping,” Jennifer said. “We come here a lot. We’ll shop and go eat some fresh donuts.”
Levchuk said Mother’s Day allows a great opportunity for area businesses to reach out, make extra customer support contact, and “have fun stuff” planned for customers. He said typically this will involve handing out a small gift to each customer on Mother’s Day itself.
“We’re not going to talk about it until (Sunday),” he said, “but it will be a token of our appreciation to our customers.”
The gift to mom Greta and daughter Kylie Gruber-Kolmer was simply “the chance to spend some time together,” Greta said.
The mom and daughter duo from Marmora had finished a business appointment locally and were relaxing together for a light lunch before getting out there again for more shopping and hanging out.
Kylie, a dance major at Stockton University, had just returned home from a major collegiate dance team competition at Disney World, where the Ospreys took second place nationally in two different categories.
“When we left our appointment, I said to mom, ‘The weather is nice, let’s have lunch, and have a girls’ day out shopping,’” Kylie said.
At one of the local stores, Shannon Ashton was showing off wares to mom Claudia Young and daughter Danielle. Both women live in Ocean City.
“It’s a nice day, and a nice day to be out and about,” Claudia said. “That’s really what it’s all about.”
If Friday’s warm-up for the holiday was any indication, Sunday will be a strong main event – with families celebrating being together – and celebrating mom.