The Cricket Box is a classic OC shop 40 years in the making
Text & photos by Paige Benedetto
[dropcap size=dropcap]O[/dropcap]nce upon a time there were two people from Pennsylvania. The man was from North East Philadelphia and the woman was from Bucks County. By chance, these two met in Avalon on a rainy Sunday. Because of the rain they weren’t able to go to the beach. So the woman asked her sister if she wanted to go to a hotel that held a jam session every Sunday. The man asked his friend the same thing. It was there that these two people met and as they say, the rest is history. Bill and Lois Maguire have been married for 46 years now and have owned the Cricket Box for 40 of those years.
“A cricket box is a little brass box that has holes in it, and people put a cricket on the hearth for good luck in other countries. My mom and I had a lot of cricket boxes that we used for flower arrangements and we told ourselves if we ever had a shop, we would call it the cricket box,” Lois said.
The Cricket box has moved from place to place, starting in Bucks County where Bill and Lois got married, and then it moved to the Ocean City Boardwalk. After that they moved to Asbury Avenue where the store was anchored until Mother Nature come ashore strong and fierce.
The Cricket Box was destroyed in 2012 during Hurricane Sandy.
“In Sandy we had quite a bit of damage, we had a multitude of items in our 4,000 square feet store,” Bill said. “Everything was under water, and we couldn’t even open the door because our merchandise was blocking it,” said Lois.
They weren’t able to keep that store, but instead of closing, they moved to Stainton’s Gallery of Shops a little further south on Asbury. Fast-forward a little bit, and business has been very successful in its new space; They have grown in Stainton’s from one booth to eight booths, and their most memorable merchandise from their old location is in the new space.
“We are limited in space and we need to be selective in what we buy now,” Bill said.
The Cat’s Meow buildings and Byer’s Choice figurines are still a very big seller at their new location. Most of the things in the Cricket Box are themed around the ocean and Ocean City. They also carry many items that are monogrammed, like afghan bags with initials on them. These are very popular, especially for wedding parties.
Bill and Lois each have their own specialties within the business.
“Bill is good with the numbers. From day one he has done everything with the numbers,” Lois said.
“Lois does the displays, she can look at something and automatically know where to put it,” Bill said.
Before they dedicated themselves full time to their business Lois was an elementary school teacher, and Bill was a chemical engineer.
When looking at how store has changed, Bill and Lois noticed something interesting.
“There are a lot more men that come in here compared our previous shop. We used to have very tight corridors and men would think that they would break things, so they would never come in,” Lois said.
A huge positive about moving locations has been the time commitment, Bill and Lois used to be at their store all the time. Now that they aren’t in charge of the whole store, they can go in once a day, instead of all day every day.
Bill and Lois try to not sweat the small things, enjoy their lives together, and stay balanced. After all, they would much rather have planned a down size instead of their hand being forced by Mother Nature. But they are happy with the place that they are in now.
Bill and Lois often finish each other’s sentences and know exactly what the other person is going to say before they say it, which just attests to all of the time they have spent together.
“We get along very well,” Bill said as he looked over at his wife. “And having a business together gave us something in common and something to share with each other.”
Find all things OC and a whole lot more at Cricket Box… located in Stainton’s Gallery at 810 Asbury Avenue.