Longtime Ship Bottom Businesses Making the Break Together

Aug 23, 2017

Oct. 1 is the expected closing date that will mark the end of an era for one venerable Ship Bottom business, and the beginning of a new era for another. The changing of the guard is between Cedar Garden, whose owners are retiring, and Bageleddi’s, the bagel shop that’s dominated the northeast corner of 17th Street and the Boulevard for nearly 35 years.

Tony and Donna Edwards, who purchased Bageleddi’s in 2011 and moved here from Staten Island, had been looking for a new location for some time so when the Carhart family decided to sell their florist shop they didn’t have to look long, or far, for a buyer.

“The sign was up for three days,” David Carhart, whose family owns and operates Cedar Garden, said, noting there were three offers they fielded, including the one from the Edwardses. “By Memorial Day, it (the pending sale) was done. We knew they’d been looking.”

“And they seem like the right fit,” Gail Carhart, David’s mother, said. “It’s a family business, and we’ve met all of them.”

The Carhart family bought Cedar Garden from its previous owner, Bob Coogan, in July 1989 after working for him for a few years. He opened the shop in 1976. Before that it was a Sears store, David said.

“We were at the right place at the right time,” Gail said, adding she and David both took classes at a trade school before beginning their careers as florists. David was working for a florist in Atlantic City when she called him, and told him he should come work at Cedar Garden with her.

As a year-round business, Cedar Garden, located between 18th and 19th streets and the Boulevard in Ship Bottom, provided flowers for Southern Ocean Medical Center and five area churches. Over the years, the business has expanded. It’s not only a florist shop but a garden center, a gift shop, and David does landscaping for more than 20 customers. “Three people have been running four businesses,” David said.

The decision to retire was a long time coming but quick in the end. It was David who brought up the idea the day before Mother’s Day as they were working to fill orders for the next day.

“I asked them if they wanted to retire,” David said, noting his mother and father said “yes” in unison.

Although excited about retirement, Gail said, “we don’t know where we’re going to go or what we’re going to do – yet.” She’s going to miss the customers, setting up displays, ordering and seeing their floral creations go out. “We’ve made a lot of friends with our customers.”

If you’ve been in either business this summer, the news isn’t surprising. The first signs of change came inside of Bageleddi’s where there are announcements about the pending move at the checkout counter. Next, those announcements were placed in the windows of Cedar Garden, and visible to passing motorists stuck at the traffic signal.

“Tony’s been telling everyone,” Gail said.

In the meantime, Cedar Garden is holding a retirement sale, but merchandise is going quickly.

 Gina G. Scala



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