After Hurricane Sandy devastated his second-generation family business on Ocean Avenue, lifelong Belmar resident Jerome Beckman charted a new course forward in custom apparel printing and embroidery.
Tell us a little bit about your business.
Beckman’s on the Beach is a custom T-shirt and embroidery shop. In the summer, we also offer beach supplies and convenience store items. We first opened in summer 2006. It started out the same as my father’s store, Beckman’s Stationery, a cigar and magazine shop back in the day.
What was the inspiration for your business?
I was fresh out of college with a plan to open an automotive restoration facility. When the storefront on Ocean Avenue became unexpectedly vacant that April — crunch time to get ready for beach season — the landlord gave me an amazing opportunity. I had just enough money saved to convince the bank to give me the small amount I needed to get my doors open quickly. My plan was to run the store for two years and flip it to finance my restoration shop. That was 13 years ago...Life took me in another direction that has left me doing something else that I love just as much.
What do you enjoy most about being part of the Belmar business community?
I am a lifelong Belmartian. Belmar has always been home to me, and it’s hard to give up being on the beach in Belmar every day all summer.
What is something most people don't know about your business?
After my store was completely washed out by Hurricane Sandy, I decided pretty quickly that I was not going to rebuild as a cigar and magazine shop. I changed my business model and focused instead on selling resort boardwalk T-shirts — something Belmar did not have at the time. I started out the first summer after Sandy with a good heat press and eight designs. RELATED: Belmar Business Spotlight - Eastern Lines Surf Shop
Since then, the custom t-shirt business has completely taken over the store. We’ve added more designs and more styles of clothing — and it just keeps growing. People started asking if I could do custom work, so I started watching lots of YouTube, researching online and going to trade shows. I started out doing custom work with indirect screen printing, then added heat transfer vinyl for one-off custom designs.
As things grew, I upgraded my equipment and expanded into embroidery with a 15-needle commercial machine. Last year, I added a CMYK + white printer. This modern digital garment printing process produces 1440x1440 full-color high-definition prints with eco-friendly, water-based inks on any color apparel, even black.
When I’m not working, I like to….
Up until five years ago, it was all vintage Volkswagens, jam band concerts, and Mets games. Now, I love nothing more in the world than being Big Papa to my 5-year-old, Stella Rae, and my 3-year-old, Vivian Wylee.
Anything else to add?
I really love what I do. Just like how I enjoy restoring vintage cars, I am the type of person who likes to work with their hands, make things and be creative. The cool part of doing what I do in the town I grew up in is getting the opportunity to make shirts for local organizations such as Belmar Recreation and the Belmar Elementary School soccer team. I still remember my youth soccer and basketball shirts from when I played in Belmar Rec as a kid, and my mom still has the pictures on the wall.
Beckman’s On the Beach
1605 Ocean Avenue
Belmar, NJ 07719
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