May 20, 2007
More bling, less blah for shore shoppersBy Jim

Not that long ago, shoppers at the Jersey Shore could expect to wade through the shallow end of the retail world.

At a typical resort store, customers might find a kitschy collection of cheap T-shirts, salt-water taffy and creeping hermit crabs.

But now observers see a growing appetite for upscale items in an increasingly affluent marketplace. The trend’s most evident in Atlantic City, where several ventures will target high-end shoppers this summer, but it can be spotted in other resort towns, too.

“Customers today are a little more sophisticated,” says Larry Hume, who notes $20 T-shirts with an artist’s design easily outsell $6 counterparts at his family’s gift-shop complex at Sunset Beach near Cape May Point. “People will pay more if they see something that’s really different and really nice.”

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