By Maddy Vitale
Anthony and Elena Kazoun definitely wrapped all of what Ocean City has to do for the holidays, into one day.
And they loved every minute of it.
“We went shopping. We got pictures with Santa. We did more shopping, and now we are going on a horse and carriage ride,” Anthony Kazoun said Saturday.
Elena Kazoun just got done checking out some dresses at Making Waves, 836 and Asbury Ave., where some apparel was discounted by 50 percent, one of the many stores along the avenue that featured holiday discounts.
The Kazoun kids, Anthony, 8, and Milana, 7, were all smiles as they got ready to head up Asbury Avenue for their next adventure.
“Merry Christmas,” they said in unison, before heading to take a carriage ride.
As days to Christmas tick away, shopkeepers are ramping it up with steep discounts. Festive music plays as the city’s landscape of wreathes, bright red ribbons adorning old-fashioned lampposts, and a white horse clip-clopping down Asbury Avenue taking people on fairy-tale like rides add to the holiday spirit.
Dawn Mottola, an employee at Bella U, 838 Asbury Ave., a boutique that features jewelry, furniture and clothing, said business has been great.
“This time of year is always busy,” Mottola said, while helping customers who strolled in. “There is a lot to do on Asbury Avenue. It is a busy season. It is just nice. It is a like a winter wonderland.”
Larry Friedel, owner of 7th Street Surf Shop, 720 Asbury Avenue, said business has been very good.
“Shopping locally is good. People don’t have to drive out of town. Ocean City is a great place and there are a good group of stores here,” Friedel said.
Some hot gifts at the surf shop continue the trend of Yeti coolers and beverage container popularity. Another season pleaser – ukuleles and the young kids love the Onewheel, similar to a motorized skateboard, that gives a feeling of surfing but on land.
Colin Devine, manager at 7th Street Surf Shop, said Ocean City’s events really help keep traffic to the downtown.
“Ocean City does a great job making it a really cool little destination to come to,” Devine said. “It definitely helps business.”
Despite cool temperatures, shoppers strolled along the Boardwalk and perused the shops. Meryl and Blue Vangelov, owners of Shriver’s Salt Water Taffy and Fudge, 9th Street and the Boardwalk, had a few minutes to spare in between the hustle and bustle of managing the employees and navigating the floor. A steady stream of customers flowed in and out to pick out that favorite goodie to give as a gift. Boxes of homemade chocolates and their famous salt water taffy were as always, big hits.
“It’s a great time to come in the store for some last-minute gifts,” Meryl, third generation owner of the landmark business. “We have great baskets and trays too.”
There are all sorts of gift baskets. One was filled with macaroons, chocolate covered pretzels and chocolate kisses. For people who can’t make it into the shop they can always visit www.shrivers.com.
Eleanor Sapienza, of Mays Landing, and her daughter Liz Sapienza, of Rhode Island, always make it a point to stop by Shriver’s a few times a year – the holidays are no different.
“We always come for the taffy,” Eleanor said. “We love it.”
Liz was busy looking at the different boxes of chocolates and settled on double dip mints for her mother-in-law and neighbors – and of course a box of taffy.