Fisheads is about to enter a new chapter, in its 25th year, as store owner Carol Townsley plans to retire this fall and seeks a buyer for the boutique.
Townsley is the second owner of the shop whose golden fish head logo has invited customers in to locations that originated in Brant Beach, and after Superstorm Sandy, moved from Haven Beach to its current location at 1706 Long Beach Blvd., Surf City.
In the 17 years that she owned the store, Townsley developed a product line that not only carried on the trademark artist-designed T-shirts but added more women’s and men’s clothing, Sperry footwear, jewelry, LBI memorabilia, barware and home decor.
The newest T-shirt, "Sailing Away," commemorates her retirement but appeals also for its design of a sailboat backed by a sunset. It is Fisheads “25th and Last Summer,” at least with the current owner at the helm.
Townsley said she is at retirement age and would like to savor that time here on Long Beach Island. She could be available as a consultant or manager to a buyer who wanted help steering through the process of retail ownership.
“I just think it’s time for me to move on and to retire so someone else could take over and bring their own style and brand to it,” she said while preparing the shop for Labor Day weekend customers. “I’d like to even be part of the change if someone would Iike that option,” she said.
Townsley bought Fisheads in 1999 from artist and logo designer Eric Bourgeois, of Starving Artist. “I decided to enjoy ‘mid-life crisis’ from having a litigation support consulting business and working with 100 lawyers across the country,” she recalls.
Commemorative tees are a part of the business’ history. A “Rebuilding LBI, One Memory at a Time” design after Superstorm Sandy raised proceeds that were donated to local fire companies and other organizations. Townsley herself had lost everything in Sandy, businesswise, and also battled inundation at her home.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority chose Fisheads as one of its recipients for a grant to restock after the storm, and she became one of the authority spokespersons for the endeavor, she said.
Townsley, her employees and customers get a little misty saying bon voyage to the shop.
“Aside from missing the store, I will miss the customers and those who have become friends over the 17 years,” she said. “It’s emotional.”
The entire stock, with a few exceptions, is on a 10- to 60-percent-off sale for the duration. The last day will be “when we run out,” or sometime in October.
Customers can watch the Facebook page for developing details about whether remaining merchandise will be sold online in the future. For more information, or for anyone interested in buying the store, Townsley can be contacted at 609-361-0361 firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Maria Scandale
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