Business Notes

Surf City Business Cooperative Forms

Surf City Merchants Unite to Promote Town
By MARIA SCANDALE | Mar 15, 2017

A diverse group of Surf City merchants has recently come together to form the “Surf City Business Cooperative,” with a mission to market the unique tourism and commerce elements of this centrally located LBI town. The organization’s tagline “Surf City: Main Street LBI” highlights the centrality and walkability of the town, as well as the fact that just about everything can be found in its vibrant business district encompassing 28 blocks of Long Beach Boulevard, organizers noted.

The group is now beginning the process of recruiting members from among the 100-plus businesses located in the borough.

Some of the founding members include Bay Avenue Plant Co., How You Brewin? Coffee Co., Island Teak/Firefly, Northside Bar & Grill/Anchor Wine & Spirits, and Wally’s.

The idea to organize a group of merchants originated with the leadership team of the Surf City Taxpayers Association. The taxpayers group board saw the potential to work with the business community to help promote all the virtues in the town, including great beaches, a growing group of art galleries, restaurants, shops, and recreational and educational activities, they said.

A focus group-networking event was held late last summer to engage merchants on the topic.

“It became apparent that there was strong interest among the merchants who attended the focus group,” said Bob Lieber, vice president of the Surf City Taxpayers Association. “The taxpayers association has enjoyed great working relationships with merchants throughout the town, as they sponsored our events, distributed our annual calendar and donated free goods and services. Having the Business Cooperative as a new, standalone entity – and maintaining a strong working relationship with them – will combine to make Surf City the place where people want to visit, eat, shop, gallery hop and partake in events.”

Because of his experience with similar organizations, Dan Malay of How You Brewin?  was asked to serve as SCBC president.

Malay offered this outlook on the opportunity: “Surf City provides a unique visitor’s experience because of its geographical advantages on the Island, the ability for visitors to stroll safely along the entire stretch of Long Beach Boulevard, and the fact that visitors can find anything and everything in town.”

He continued, “It’s exciting that the merchant community has come together to highlight, enhance and promote those qualities through the cooperative.”

The cooperative plans a combination of marketing endeavors, with a strong emphasis on social media promotion, as well as a couple of strategically placed events.

On the first Friday of every month from July through December, member merchants will be invited to be a part of the group’s “Surfing The Sidewalk” event, giving each member the opportunity to highlight an aspect of their business with a special promotion.

“Surfing The Sidewalk” will be previewed with a one-day kick-off on Saturday, June 17, called “Sample Surf City.” Member merchants will offer a free giveaway, giving visitors the chance to “sample” their business.

Malay added, “We want to be efficient and strategic with our event efforts, leveraging all of the wonderful things already happening in town, as opposed to replacing them. This is about highlighting the community for visitors while maintaining our focus on unified marketing on members’ behalf.”

On Saturday, April 29, from 2 to 4 p.m., the cooperative will host a Member Workshop designed to further launch and communicate the cooperative’s efforts. This free workshop is open to all Surf City business owners, who are urged to attend. For more information regarding the member workshop event, contact Malay at dan@howyoubrewin.com.

The workshop is planned to “give the cooperative an opportunity to share their vision, detail plans and, provide short mini-trainings on topics such as graphic design, social media marketing, and retail/brand promotion,” organizers said.

For information about becoming a member of the Surf City Business Cooperative, contact Membership Coordinator Matt Nichols at matthewnichols7@gmail.com.  

Send business-related items to mariascandale@thesandpaper.net.

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