Hot Sand’s studio buzzes with activity as instructors dip pipes into molten glass and then demonstrate how to blow the globs into recognizable shapes. Nearby, other students work on finishing their pieces, refining contours atop wooden blocks and polishing surfaces on a diamond wheel. Hot Sand's glass-blowing artists impart these techniques through basic walk-in experiences and immersive workshops, showing guests how to craft objects such as candy dishes, pumpkin-shaped ornaments, or one-time-use dodgeballs. Welcoming visitors of all ages, Hot Sand earned the distinction as a top kids' destination in New Jersey Monthly's 2012 Jersey Choice awards. The studio also expands the aesthetic tastes of the community through a gallery that showcases original works for sale.
When a shop on Ocean Grove's Main Street became available in 2011, fourth-generation resident Cindy Stiles seized the chance to combine her business savvy with her love for animals. She opened Ocean Grove Pet Boutique, which welcomes pet owners and four-legged friends as long as they're vaccinated and leashed. Stiles also enlisted the help of a baker to help make their own all-natural cookies and frozen yogurt. A baker might seem like a misfit at a pet store, but these goodies aren't for the humans. They're for the pets, and Stiles makes sure to give every visiting pup a complimentary cookie fresh from the store's cookie bar.
Aside from the doggie deserts, the boutique also draws in customers with its pet collars, shampoos, and other products made with natural ingredients. Staying eco-friendly is as important to Stiles as being pet-friendly, and as such, there are no plastic bags to be found in the store. Instead, she offers shopping bags made from recycled materials, and when customers bring them in, they receive 50 cents off future purchases and a silent thank-you from every tree they walk past.
At JLynn's Boutique, eponymous owner Jaimie Lynn Hardell helps women of all ages create ensembles that burst with contemporary, trendy style. Shoppers match form-fitting jeggings and flattering jeans with adorable denim dresses and flowy, layered blouses, creating head-turning new outfits with apparel from labels such as Miss Me, Blue Bird, Flying Tomato, and Organik. Clients mingle as they pick out new handbags, purses, and jewelry during Girls' Night Out parties. Hardell offers to help clients navigate any fashion emergency at any time, whether it's picking out a dress for a cocktail party or settling a heated dispute over the difference between business casual and smart casual.
Swimsuit Station prepares families for the beach with hundreds of styles of aquatic apparel from brands such as St. Tropez, Island Soul, and Breaking Waves. The selection accommodates beach-goers of all sizes and ages, with a varied array of one- and two-piece swimsuits, swim trunks, and board shorts.
In the kitchen at Third Avenue Chocolate Shoppe, artisan chocolatier Matt Magyar is hard at work sprinkling real sea salt over his handmade dark-chocolate caramels. As he describes to the Manasquan-Belmar Patch, “I had on-the-job training when I started making chocolate on the boardwalk in Seaside when I was 14.” Decades later, his training is evident in the vast array of tasty treats he crafts each day. Trays proudly showcase homemade treats such as chocolate nut clusters, caramel cranberry sea turtles, and rooster leggs.
Fly Standards gathers quality men's and women's clothing and shoes in a variety of brands, including Sprayground, Stance, Entree, and Vintage Havana. The shop cultivates an aesthetically stimulating environment with local artwork that patrons can also purchase and take home. After finding the perfect hoodie and pair of Air Jordans, customers can relax in style in the Fly Lounge, which features luxury reclining first-class seats, a chandelier, and 50-inch flat-panel TVs.