Local Businesses

April Cornell Store Manager Finds Inspiration While Representing A Brand She’s Always Loved

geralyn gray april cornell spring lake.jpg

Have you ever felt so inspired by a brand that you could see yourself working for the company some day?

That’s what happened to Geralyn Gray.

Working as the Store Manager for April Cornell in Spring Lake is like a wish come true for Geralyn.

For years the brand resonated with her as she admired the colorful, whimsical, nature-inspired designs while shopping in their Philadelphia, Princeton, and Shrewsbury, New Jersey stores.

So when Geralyn heard about a nearby job opening at the company, even though she wasn’t looking at the time, she applied anyway because she had always felt it would be a great brand to represent.

What I’ve come to realize is that life eventually comes full circle. Things that we wish and hope for eventually show up in our lives. Right now I’m very content, and it feels like I’m filling up the circle.
— Geralyn Gray, Store Manager, April Cornell, Spring Lake, New Jersey

“I love how my values align with the company’s values. I also enjoy the romance of the product line and how April Cornell’s love of nature shines through her designs.”

“This dynamic, as well as the time April spends educating us about each product, makes selling the products easy. The added bonus is that I have freedom to creatively express myself through her products.”

It’s been two years since Geralyn joined the company. Initially, she began working in their Ocean Grove store until they relocated the store to Spring Lake in June of 2018.

April Cornell chose Spring Lake due to the historic, charming, and nature-inspired feel of the town as well as for the mix of both year-round residents and tourists.

April Cornell’s flagship store is located in Burlington, Vermont, and their factory is located in Delhi, India due to the country’s strong textile industry and tradition in needlecraft, printing, and weaving.

One signature technique that April Cornell uses is printing watercolor designs onto her fabrics, especially for her table linens and tea towels.

April Cornell Offers …

  • Handcrafted Women’s & Girls’ Clothing Designs, Shoes & Accessories

  • Women’s Nightgowns & Pajamas

  • Coordinated Colorful Table Linens & Kitchen Items (Tablecloths, Placemats, Napkins, Tea Towels)

  • Plus a whole lot more to check out!

💐 April Cornell | Spring Lake
1108 Third Avenue
Spring Lake, NJ 07762

☎️ (732) 359-6983

🕛 Store Hours:
Mon - Sat | 10 - 6
Sun | 11 - 5

April Cornell Online: aprilcornell.com
April Cornell, Spring Lake on Instagram: @aprilcornellspringlake

Alexander Meder, Owner Of Red Bank's THEO, Curates The Art of Clothing For His Clients' Lifestyles

THEO's Creative Director, Tamara Lynas along with Owner & Buyer, Alexander Meder.

THEO's Creative Director, Tamara Lynas along with Owner & Buyer, Alexander Meder.

Alexander Meder, Owner & Buyer of THEO in Red Bank, is a curator of clothing and style.

Through the creation of his unique designer clothing boutique, Meder creatively combines his experience, inspiration, knowledge, and intentional philosophy about style to inspire and serve his clientele.

THEO is a culmination of Meder's spirit, personal style, and all that he learned, loved and grew to appreciate during the course of his career.

Meder first fell in love with fashion while growing up in a family that grew a successful wholesale and retail business outside of Munich, Germany.

In fact, to pay homage to his roots and initial source of inspiration, he named the boutique after the abbreviation of his father's middle name. A beautifully framed photograph of his father when he was a young man also hangs on the wall in the front of the store at THEO.

After learning about the business from his family, in his twenties, Meder worked in a department store in London. Then, after coming to the United States in 1987, he represented designers, Givenchy and Lanvin.

It was through these many years of experience Meder gained an appreciation and eye for quality fabrication and finish-- clothing that is stitched together perfectly and fits the body just right.

"I guess you could say I've always been obsessed with quality and texture," says Meder.

After nearly 40 years in the fashion business, Meder decided it was time to open his own boutique, offering a highly-curated selection of "unique, contemporary designer American and European apparel" to be worn every day, representing one's overall personal lifestyle, and not just for special occasions.


Given Red Bank's vibrant, sophisticated, and artistic vibe, Meder felt it was the perfect place to launch his vision. He was also drawn to Red Bank because of its many independently-owned small businesses and it's both a strong year-round community as well as a travel destination.

On August 1, 2016, Alexander Meder opened THEO's doors, and his vision was realized. THEO occupies a 2,000 square-foot space in a historic building, overlooking the Navesink River, in the heart of Red Bank's shopping district.

Alexander Meder and Creative Director, Tamara Lynas, currently work with over 30 designers, and the designers they carry vary by season.

Clothing is art. It should have a personality, tell a story and fit seamlessly into one’s life.
— Alexander Meder

About 20% of the designs are sourced in the local tri-state area, and another 50% are sourced in Europe. Roughly 40% of all of the designers are women or owned by women.

Because THEO's designs are selected to work together, their store displays are driven by color and theme rather than by individual designer. 

From the carefully selected garments and accessories to the store's custom armoires and artistic storefront window display, every detail of THEO is carefully curated to highlight each piece, further underscoring Meder's guiding philosophy that "clothing is art."

THEO Offers ...

  • A talented and experienced team of buyers, stylists, and fashion lovers offering a level of service that is truly above and beyond the average shopping experience.

  • Unique, exciting, contemporary designer apparel and accessories from small-label, emerging European and American designers.

  • Designs that exude a fresh sense of timeless ease that cannot be found in department stores or elsewhere.

  • Free in-store personal shopping.

  • At-home wardrobe & closet rework services.

  • Wardrobe & outfit consultation services.

  • Seasonal trunk shows where designer samples are showcased and pieces can be special ordered.


THEO Believes ...

  • In keeping the needs of each client in mind, complimenting their individual taste and style while providing an unparalleled service experience.

  • In earning their customers' trust by recommending what is right for them.

  • In inspiring and guiding women and men in developing their unique sense of style while staying true to their lifestyles.

  • Good fashion doesn’t need to be trendy or stuffy and that real style can be chic, elegant, and unique.

  • Quality apparel should fit, feel good, last, and mesh with their customers' existing wardrobe and lifestyle.

  • In building long-term relationships with their clientele and the Red Bank community. Relationships are more important than making sales.


THEO Also Participates In ...

  • Pop-up shops

  • Fashion Shows

  • Monthly Charity Beneficiaries

  • Special Event Charities

Three East Front Street
Red Bank, NJ 07701

🕛 Store Hours:
Mon - Wed | 10 - 6
Thurs - Sat | 10 - 7
Sun (Jan - May) | CLOSED
Sun (June - Dec) | 12 - 5

THEO's Website: www.theoclothier.com

THEO on Instagram: @theo_clothier

THEO on Facebook: THEOClothier

Manasquan's Findings Uses Vintage Components To Handcraft One-Of-A-Kind, Modern Jewelry

2018-03-28 05.05.30 1.jpg

"Findings was born in 2007 after I took a jewelry making class in New York City for fun. After taking home what I learned from this experience, I began to play around with creating my own bracelets.

This lead me to design the "Original" charm bracelet, the piece that is the foundation of a jewelry line which has since amassed to over 100 styles of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and more for Findings.

We love bringing sentiment to our customers in the pieces we use. Many times customers comment that they remember the vintage elements from their grandmother or mother, and when they buy our pieces, it allows them to be stylish and have those memories with them.

Each piece of Findings jewelry is handmade in our New Jersey-based studio and utilizes a wide range of vintage components.

From keys, brooches, coins, pearls, buttons, and chain, everything we create is one-of-a-kind in its own right (prices range from $10 - $58.)

We use some new chains and clasps to ensure the quality of each jewelry item is top notch, but the statement elements are always truly vintage.

Since Findings has been in business, we have traveled the country to retail and wholesale tradeshows, such as AmericasMart in Atlanta and the Country Living Fairs in NY, OH, GA, TN and more.

After ten years of growth, travel, and experience in business, we took a new opportunity to open our first brick-and-mortar store and studio space in Manasquan, New Jersey in September 2017."

~ Joanna Madden, Owner & Designer, Findings (R) and Ali Glass, Designer & Manager (L)

115 Main Street
Manasquan, NJ 08736

🕛 Store Hours*:
Wed - Sat | 10 - 5
*Extended hours coming soon.

💻Shop Findings Online: findingsjewelry.com

Instagram: @myfunkyfindings

Asbury Park's Swagger & Blade: A Modern Take On The Old-School Barber Parlor


💈✂ Meet Shane Bruno, Owner & Master Barber at Swagger and Blade in Asbury Park and Wanamassa.

When Shane opened Swagger & Blade, he set out to "recreate an old-school gentlemen's barber shop with a modern take."

Swagger & Blade's website says their "attention is on the details," and we can't agree more because we experienced this on all fronts--

✂ Their meticulous work (first discovered in their Instagram feed)

💈The authentic vintage old-school barbershop vibe, and

💻 A streamlined, modern customer experience by leveraging modern technology

Swagger & Blade's attention to detail was immediately noticeable when I went to their website to learn a little more before calling to make an appointment, which I never had to do.

Aside from the being greeted by a full-screen lineup of barbers who mean business about their business, the website was the starting point for taking us through a modern customer experience.

First, I browsed through the barbers' clever bios, which read more like character descriptions.

Then, I was able to book my son's appointment by selecting the type of service, barber, location, and the appointment time.

Immediately after scheduling and again within a couple of hours before the appointment, I received confirmations via email with the option to change/cancel the appointment.

When we arrived for my son's appointment, we were immediately greeted by his barber, @alexdlevine, who cut my son's hair with care and precision.✂

My son was happy with the cut, and he left feeling like he just had a really cool experience.

The next day I received a very simple follow-up email, thanking us for our business and politely asking for a Google review, a "like" on FB and a "follow" on Instagram (with links.)

Our experience with Swagger & Blade came full circle via technology.

It started when I discovered them on Instagram and ended with a Google review.

So while Shane successfully recreated the vintage barber parlor experience, he also creates a modern customer experience (that feels more like an attentive, old-fashioned way of doing business) by leveraging modern technology.


Asbury Park
621 Lake Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712
1411 Wickapecko Drive, Ocean Township, NJ 07712
✂ Haircuts
💈Beard Trims
✂ VIP Shave with Mask
💈Reduced rates for boys (12 & under), seniors, vets, cops, fire

☎ 732-361-5400

BookOnline: swaggerandblade.com
Instagram: @swaggerandblade
Facebook: swaggerandblade

9 Independently-Owned Coffee Shops At The Jersey Shore

Independent coffee shops provide a great way to fuel, refuel, and reset your day. Many also go the extra mile of providing a place to meet up, connect, reconnect, exchange ideas, and work remotely, which helps enhance and strengthen local communities.

The following is an alphabetical list (by town) of independently-owned coffee shops in Monmouth & Ocean counties that are doing just that. From the photos, you'll see that each one has a different vibe, and is unique in its own way. Some also offer small bites, meals, and open-mic nights.

A few have been open for less than a year so I hope that this list helps make people aware of these new businesses. Be sure to check store hours on Google before you head out!

Asbury Park


America's Cup | 633 Cookman Ave, Asbury Park

Website:  http://www.americascupcoffee.com/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/americascupcoffee/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AmericasCupCoffeeCompany/



Asbury Park Roastery | 1300 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park

Website:  https://www.aproastery.com/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/aproastery/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/aproastery/



Cafe Volan | 510 Bangs Ave, Asbury Park

Website:  http://cafevolan.com/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/cafevolan/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/cafevolan/





Kofi House (Just Opened!) | 1061, 526 Main St, Avon-By-The-Sea

Website:  http://kofihouse.business.site/



Bay Head


Coffee at Noon | 524 Lake Avenue, Bay Head

Coffee at Noon is a combination artists' studio with a coffee bar. While you sip your coffee,  you'll be surrounded by beautiful art. Lots to look at!

Website:  https://www.noondesignshop.com/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/coffee.at.noon/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/coffeeatnoon/





Green Planet Coffee Company | 78 Main St, Manasquan

Website:  http://www.greenplanetcoffee.com/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/greenplanetcoffeecompany/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Green-Planet-Coffee-Company-178226222225483/



Point Pleasant


Divi Tree Coffee | 2615 Bridge Ave, Point Pleasant

Divi Tree is a new business owned by a young couple. The vibe is super friendly, and they offer healthy sandwich options.

Website:  https://www.divitreecoffee.com/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/divitreecoffee/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/divitreecoffee/



Green Planet Coffee Company | 700 Arnold Ave, Point Pleasant Beach

Website:  http://www.greenplanetcoffee.com/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/greenplanetcoffeecompany/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Green-Planet-Coffee-Company-178226222225483/



Spring Lake


Driftwood Coffee House | 1102 3rd Ave, Spring Lake

Website:  https://www.driftwoodcoffeehouse.com/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/driftwood_coffee_house/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/DriftwoodCoffeeHouse/


Manasquan's Main Street Gallery Prides Itself In The Art Of Framing & Representing Local Artists


"I started working at Main Street Gallery in 1995, just days after graduating college with a fine art degree. I worked beside previous owner and artist, Lea Colie Wight, for seven years and fell in love with the shop, the customers, the artists, and of course, the art of custom picture framing. After relocating to Vermont for 12 years and custom framing there, I decided I was homesick and moved back to the Jersey Shore. It was around this time that the gallery's owner, Lea, who was looking to retire, proposed that I buy the shop. This June will be my 5th year as the new owner of an almost 40-year-old business! I could not be more grateful!"

Jennifer Burger O'Brien, Owner, Main Street Gallery

☎ 732-223-1268

  • Custom Picture Framing

  • Museum-Quality Art & Frame Conservation

  • Local Art, representing over 20 of the best artists in Monmouth and Ocean Counties

  • Art Classes For Kids

Instagram: @mainstreetgallerynj

Facebook: mainstreetgallerynj

Website: mainstreetgallery.com


Main Street Kitchen in Manasquan Offers A Variety Of Healthy Options To Their Customers

Main Street Kitchen Manasquan

I dreamt for half my life about opening a local food shop in Manasquan that would provide simple, clean, seasonal foods to the community. I have been blessed to have found the perfect spot in the perfect community. ~Meighan, Owner, Main Street Kitchen

Main Street Kitchen’s philosophy is that exceptional food must be meticulously prepared and creatively presented. We have a fresh, modern take on traditional ingredients, sourcing as much as possible locally.

We serve daily specials, sandwiches, soups, salads, grab & go meals, and kid-friendly options. We even offer cooking classes for kids!

Food options include organic, vegetarian, gluten-free and traditional methods of preparation. Our specials change daily, based on the seasons, market availability, and customer suggestions.

Catering Services: We have over 25 years experience as caterers. Main Street Kitchen is available for off-premise catering. Please call us to inquire about booking your special events with us. We can manage as much as you need-- from food to servers, rentals, tenting, liquor coordination and decor.

Main Street Kitchen

140 Main Street, Manasquan, NJ

☎ 732-223-6246

Instagram: @mainstreetkitchen

Facebook: mainstreetkitchenmanasquan

Website: www.mainstreetkit.com


Multi-Generational Manasquan Bike Shop Keeps Local Families Moving Together

Gary & Tyler Scimeca-- Father, Son & Owners of Manasquan Bike Shop in Manasquan, NJ

Gary & Tyler Scimeca-- Father, Son & Owners of Manasquan Bike Shop in Manasquan, NJ

One of the greatest gifts I received from growing up at the Jersey Shore was the independence and freedom I had as a result of the summers I spent riding my bike to Manasquan Beach via the bike path.

With a Panasonic cassette player playing a mix tape rigged to my bike's handlebars, I'll never forget the rush of freedom I felt as I left my driveway, setting out for a full day at the beach with my friends.

Cycling and bike riding, especially on beach cruisers, is a big part of the lifestyle for all ages here at the Jersey Shore.

So, for my first mini-feature of local small businesses, it’s my pleasure to introduce Gary and Tyler Scimeca (L to R)-- father, son, and owners of @manasquan_bike_shop in Manasquan.

Q: Tyler, what products do you offer and for whom? We offer all types of bicycles from beach cruisers to hybrids for riders of all ages. We also help our customers maintain their bikes. We offer in-store and mobile repair where we’ll do the repairs right in your driveway.

Q: What is your goal in servicing your customers? Our goal is to get the whole family on bicycles so they can go out for a ride together. We also aim to get customers properly fitted on their new bikes while making sure those with bikes have them tuned up properly.

Q: If any, what was the inspiration behind starting your business? The bike shop was started in 1926 by my great-grandfather and that keeps me going every day. We have been operating in Manasquan since 1978, and I am the 4th generation bike mechanic/shop owner.

Q: What’s the most valuable insight you would share with a new entrepreneur or someone who may want to pursue your type of business? Retail is challenging but most importantly, the customer is always right.

Thank you, Gary and Tyler for keeping families moving together and kids active and independent at the Jersey Shore!

Manasquan Bike Shop

128 Main Street, Manasquan, NJ 08736

☎ 732-223-2444

Instagram: @manasquan_bike_shop

Facebook: Manasquan Bicycle Center

Website: manasquanbikeshop.com

How Donna Sica Found Her Purpose Of Empowering Others To Live Authentically

How Donna Sica Found Her Purpose Of Empowering Others To Live Authentically

Two years ago I was fortunate enough to sit down with Donna Sica, owner and founder of Soulful Awakenings in Lake Como, New Jersey and she shared her story with me.

Before I redesigned my blog, I published her story, but today I want to share it again because it's a clear example of the following points:

  • When we trust and follow life's leads about who we are, we can be guided along an authentic journey.
  • Creatively combining our skills, interests, gifts, and passions may present a business or career opportunity.

Soulful Awakenings, a gathering place with a strong feeling of community, offers a variety of classes and events for the purpose of nourishing the soul.

I first met Donna when I attended her chakra crystal bowl meditation meetups in September 2010 when she first opened Soulful Awakenings.

Soon after, Donna began to host a weekly "circle" meetup called "Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life," and I attended the group for 18 months.

Each week Donna brought more awareness to the group about how powerful our thoughts are and how we attract what we think about. Group members could also share what was unfolding in their lives as a result of being more mindful of their thoughts.

Meeting up in-person to learn from Donna as well as share with the group made a lasting impact on my life.

    So, without further ado, please enjoy Donna's story about all that led up to her opening Soulful Awakenings: