Anniversaries are special, especially in a family town like Ocean City.
Celebrating a long time in business by the waves is a big accomplishment, after all. Ocean City was founded in 1879 (that’s 142 years ago), and businesses started to form not long after.
Some things change over the years, yet others stay the same. If you’ve been coming to Ocean City your whole life, even if you’re approaching 100… there are some establishments that have been there the entire time.
Though only a few are celebrating their centennial… there are so many other noteworthy anniversaries. This year, among others, the Port-O-Call is celebrating their 55th, Manco and Manco is celebrating their 60th, Pessano’s is turning 75, Fudge Kitchen is turning 50, and Island Grill is turning 25. This story is part of a longer series highlighting the history and achievements of these beloved businesses.
Two businesses in Ocean City celebrating milestone anniversaries this year have at least one thing in common. They both have gone to the dogs. Literally.
Marty’s Sportswear mascot Miko lived his best life in the shop greeting customers for 20 years, and Levi has been taking regular naps at Julie’s for the last 10. The charm and personality of these small businesses has made them mainstays on the Ocean City scene, and beloved by locals and visitors for decades.
Julie’s Headquarters, owned by Julie A. Frasca, is celebrating its 25th Anniversary with a recent move to 1004 Asbury Avenue.
“Our original location was where Copiers Plus is on West Avenue. Then we moved over to 8th Street 13 years ago. This is our third and final destination,” said Chelsea Frost, director of business operations.
The move happened because of a client recommendation.
“One of Julie’s clients took her through this lot and said ‘You might want to think about buying’ and she bought this location and built it,” Chelsea said. “The goal was to buy instead of rent.”
Julie’s no stranger to barbering; she’s been in the business for 39 years.
“Julie worked at a barber shop for years and she was bringing in so much clientele she decided ‘I can do this,’” said Chelsea.
While Julie’s Headquarters caters to men, it is a place for everyone.
“We have a lot of men as clients. The premise is that we want the space to be geared more towards men so they’re comfortable and have a space at home. It’s not a girly hair salon. We have a lot of women clients who enjoy the same aesthetic,” Chelsea said.
Some of their treatments are designed for men. With the recent move, they’ve been able to expand their treatments by adding Shades at JHQ, a luxury spray tan experience.
“We have more barbering treatments, hand, and foot treatments tailored specifically towards men. We also have a full menu for color services, cutting, and waxing and now we have a brow and lash bar. We do eyebrow lamination and tint.”
Julie’s staff includes sweet sugar-faced golden retriever Levi who is the Employee of the Month every month.
There are three businesses almost side by side in the 1200 block of the Boardwalk that seem to have been there forever.
Henry’s. The Beach Club. Marty’s.
Marty’s, the youngest of the three, celebrated its 40th anniversary last year.
“Honestly, I don’t think I’d be in retail for 41 years if I wasn’t in Ocean City,” said Meryll Saul, co-owner with her husband, Marty.
The adventures of the New Yorker and the Jersey Boy started a few doors away from their current location when Marty, a salesman at the time, saw an empty store and decided to try his hand at business.
“We were attached to (what’s now) Henry’s but at the time, the candle store was there,” said Meryll. “The first store was 800 square feet. We used to have merchandise hanging from the ceiling.”
Marty’s, 1262 Boardwalk, started as a business that sold sweatshirts and clothing.
“When I came along, I started doing boutiquey stuff. Over 40 years, the personality of the store has changed. We consider ourselves a one stop shop,” Meryll said.
Marty’s values quality at an affordable price.
“One of the things we hear constantly is that we have really good quality and great prices. We‘ve always kept our prices really sharp. We try to be different. I try to have a lot of handmade goods in our store. We try to get local vendors and artisans and Made in the USA products.” Meryll has seen three generations work for her at Marty’s. These people have become like family. Her daughters, Carly and Jessica, also worked in the store when they were younger. She has also seen customers grow up and bring their kids to the store.
“The people who have worked for us have become family. We’re thankful and grateful for the customers, repeat customers, and the generations of customers who have always come back and made their stop at Marty’s,” said Meryll. “Without those customers we wouldn’t have made it for 41 years. It’s a really great experience.”
Hearing Marty singing along to Motown, Sinatra, and the oldies and watching customers dance through the store adds to the experience and isn’t uncommon.
“People constantly say how much they love our music. Music is very important. You can always find Marty singing,” said Meryll. “He likes to quiz the young kids and ask ‘Do you know who the Beatles are? Do you know who Elvis is?’”
Find this story and more in the September/October issue