Making a buck in LBI despite closed beaches

By DONNA WEAVER Staff Writer, (609) 978-2015
Published: Wednesday, May 9, 2007

SURF CITY — One island business is putting a humorous spin on the beach closings, but some people are not amused.
Joe Muzzillo, owner of Exit 63 Wearhouse, formerly Beach Nutz, said he is making the best of a bad situation by launching a Surf City Bomb Squad fashion and accessory line. Muzzillo has sweatshirts, T-shirts, hats and stickers available with sayings that put a humorous spin on the munitions that have been found on the beaches since March.

Muzzillo is offering products with four phrases: “Surf City Bomb Squad,” “I Got Bombed on LBI,” “Surf City — ‘Da' Bomb'” and “Surf City — Our Beaches Will Blow You Away.”

Muzzillio said he even had a worker who was scanning the beach come to his store to purchase a T-shirt.
“I'm almost trying to make light of the situation. We'll keep the designs real conservative up until Memorial Day, but if the beaches aren't open I have some more serious designs,” Muzzillo said. “I hate that I'm doing it, but I'm in the T-shirt business and I need to do something to make up for the money I'm going to lose.”

But Rick Reynolds, executive director of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce is not laughing. Muzzillo said Monday he received a call last week from Reynolds, discouraging the sale of the items.

“I think that to a certain degree this is something that has the potential to be misconstrued. It can be a fun, frivolous type of thing, but it may not be seen that way by everyone else who has a stake in the beaches,” Reynolds said Tuesday evening.
The discovery of military munitions on the beaches in March contributed to the delay of the beach-replenishment project's completion in Surf City. Additional beaches in Ship Bottom, which were part of the area where the project tapered off, were closed earlier last month.

So far 1,044 munitions have been found on Surf City and Ship Bottom beaches, Khaalid Walls, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman, said Tuesday.

“We're going to submit our recommendations to the DEP next week, and it will be a linear process and we'll come to a decision jointly to open the beaches,” Walls said.

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