Jersey Shore shops welcome return of tourists, but more help needed for the summer

OCEAN CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Ocean City, New Jersey looked like years past Wednesday as the boardwalk and beach were bustling with the activity of a beehive.

For some, it's a season of firsts... quite literally.

"A few days ago we planned it because she's only three weeks old. We seen the weather and figured it'd be perfect for her first beach day," explained Christopher Dipipi from Northeast Philadelphia.

The Dipipi family was all smiles, as were others on the packed beach.

"It's definitely better with no masks," Dipipi said. "It's not as stressful with the kids worrying about the coronavirus."

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Another first this season: The Beef Jerky Experience.

"The response has been very well, people are like, 'it's really great to see something different on the boardwalk other than another pizza shop, ice cream, or t-shirts,'" said manager Tucker Richardson.

But just like all the other businesses, management here is in need of a few extra hands on deck.

"It's tough getting help. We've had pretty good success though with the high school students, a lot of them from right here in town, Ocean City High School. That's basically 90 percent of our staff," Richardson said.

Down in Wildwood, much of the same story. "Help Wanted" signs welcomed patrons at almost every stand.

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At Hoops Nation, a first on this boardwalk - and where this reporter acted out his best Ben Simmons impression - it's not about just finding any employee.

"It's hard to get good help around here. People want to come in and slack around they don't want to actually work. They just want a free paycheck," said owner James Piccirilli.

As far as evidence of people looking to vacation, look no further than the Aquarius Oceanfront Inn.

The Inn is nearly sold out for the summer, which means a lot more hires.

"We had to pay them more, but it was worth it because we have a full staff, we have a great team this year," said owner Annette McNamara.

Which, she says, translates into more business.

"We're going to have a good year," McNamara said.
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