We’ve all heard the saying “It takes a village . . . .” Well, it takes an entire family to run a village. Bay Village wouldn’t exist without the help of family. My wife, Maribell and I had the support of her family who’ve been residents of LBI since 1890. She introduced me to Long Beach Island, having grown up vacationing in Ocean City. That’s where I learned how to make fudge in copper kettles, from my high school science teacher. That scientific angle attributed to the fudge tasting extra special, creamy & delicious. I wanted to use this method on my own, and I discovered that Long Beach Island needed a fudge shop. In 1961, I rented an 8’ wide shop next to Koseff’s for $600, with Maribell’s family behind me. We did so well, we opened a winter shop in Media, PA. In 1963, we built a 2nd shop at the Lucy Evelyn in Beach Haven. In 1965, Maribell’s uncle Charles Ramsey initially bought the vacant lot across the street from the Lucy Evelyn. I repaid him and designed and built Bay Village. On Labor Day, 1965 we broke ground. On Memorial Day, 1966, we opened Bay Village. Not only did we open with every single shop rented, we personally created, outfitted, staffed and ran The Country Kettle Fudge Shop, The Crust & Crumb Bakery, The Windmill, The Golden Nickleodeon Ice Cream Parlor, and The Gourmet’s Mooring Restaurant. That undertaking today would truly be a miracle in that tiny span of time.
In 1985, we expanded fudge on the East Coast by opening fudge shops in Newport, RI. Then another in 1987 in Rockport, MA. While in Newport, we decided to bring the idea of a Chowderfest to Beach Haven and shared the idea with the Chamber of Commerce. What a success!
In 1984, we bought the Riptide Bar and moved the liquor license to Bay Village, to The Gourmet’s Mooring Restaurant . In 1989, we entered Chowderfest with my famous recipe under the Mooring’s name, although I had sold the restaurant to Managers/Employees. We actually won the 1st Chowderfest. And, the 2nd. We placed 3rd in the next Chowderfest, but then the Mooring decided not to enter again. It gave us the idea of entering as a fudge shop against 19 restaurants. We placed third! then first, then first again. The following year it was a no-brainer to open Country Kettle Chowda in the heart of Bay Village. We have entered and placed every single Chowderfest since 1989. Chowderfest became a family event from booth set up, to the kid’s staffing with their friends, and of course, the cooking.
Meanwhile, we were able to establish The Red, White & Blue Committee to bring back fireworks to Beach Haven, (behind Bay Village), over the bay. I remember asking my daughter-in-law, Missy, to walk through town with my 1st granddaughter, Megan, in her stroller, asking all the businesses for fireworks donations. The rest is history. With the island’s support, every year we have had a spectacular show. Our Bay Village manager, Carolyn, has done an amazing job keeping this an annual tradition. She runs the whole “show”.
In 1999, we were handed back the liquor license for the Gourmet Mooring but were successful in selling it. Since then, Bistro 14 has taken over and they have been a remarkable, family-friendly restaurant. The Ship Bottom Brewery took over the old “Tide” space and has become incredibly popular.
A family business takes communication. Our family lacks this quality. We actually named our boat “Miss Communication” . It takes commitment. That we do well. Carolyn keeps us functioning because sometimes you need somebody “outside” the family. There are disagreements and different view points, but in the end, there’s compromise. My brother, Chuck, former Mayor and current Councilman of Beach Haven, also worked at Bay Village while growing up . He purchased and ran The Windmill Ice Cream parlor for years. My son, Peter , (now a Chiropractor) married Laura Maschal, who now runs the financial responsibilities of Bay Village. Laura actually grew up working as a teenager in the Crust & Crumb Bakery and then the Mooring Restaurant, along with her siblings. Both sons, Peter & JB, began working as dish washers, then in maintenance, and eventually as bar tenders. JB took over for me as Chief Operating Officer. His wife, Missy Maschal also worked in the Mooring Restaurant in her teens. Now Missy heads up Advertising and Marketing for Bay Village. My sons made Long Beach Island their homes and raised their families here. The 4 grand daughters; Megan, Annabel, Mia and Emma, have been a significant help in the ads of the Sandpaper, on the billboard for many years, and later working in the shops at Bay Village. When you have a family run business, you obtain an excellent work ethic. Now they’re successful business women in their 20’s all over the country, but we wait for their return to Bay Village to keep the family-run business a tradition.
In the 60’s, we had families staying the whole summer on the island, with the children working full time summer jobs. We were able to staff every single shop. Times have changed. Families that used to stay all season, visit just for a few weeks, or just weekends. Bay Village has always been fortunate to have help beating fudge, scooping ice cream or waiting tables. We’ve have third generations coming back to work in their grandparent’s jobs. It’s a family tradition to work at Bay Village. While the island has changed, our family and our employee’s families haven’t been affected.
Devastated by Sandy in 2012, we had 5’ of water encompass Bay Village which led to completely having to gut the interior of the entire village. With all the work that had to be done, JB and Peter helped by working on rebuilding the interior walls. We also were able to honor our huge Christmas mail orders gifts by working through our Newport Fudgery, and our Surf City Fudge Shop. Again, it takes a family….
Time at the shore will always be a family thing. People love the memories and experiences they had when they were children and want to relive those memories and feelings with their children. In the next 10 years, we think Bay Village will keep thriving because of the love of the island and family traditions. Bay Village is a family oriented, kid friendly, safe place to share good times and make not only new memories, but to relive the old ones.
Written by Missy Maschal As told by John Maschal