WISH GRANTED: After launching her career in Philadelphia, Louisa Befumo is at home in the Beach Haven boutique she co-owns with an aunt, who has opened successful Wish shops in several other key Jersey locations. (Photo by Maria Scandale)
Wish LBI carries the same enchanting name as the other “Wish” stores in a family enterprise, and brings a unique gathering of jewelry, clothing and accessories to Long Beach Island, where co-owner Louisa Befumo grew up.
At 412 North Bay Ave. in Beach Haven, the boutique skillfully shows off much to answer shoppers’ wishes, plus some surprises.
Befumo graduated from Philadelphia University with a degree in textile design and worked in the textile industry there for six years. As a sales rep for an acclaimed print studio, she paired name brand designers with talented artists who provided fresh, original artwork.
That “dream job” fell victim to the pandemic, but circumstances and her savings fund gave her the chance to partner with her aunt in a new “Wish” location on her home LBI.
Her aunt, Theresa Pennisi, opened the first location of Wish in Denville and cultivated a strong brand presence, then expanded to Manasquan in partnership with her twin sister, Virginia Falkinburg. This past winter the twins, along with Arielle Falkinburg, Virginia’s daughter, added a Wish to the Jersey Shore Premium Outlets in Tinton Falls. Two more Wish locations are new for Spring Lake and Madison, N.J.
“My aunt started this brand about 15 years ago and is doing incredible with it, and I thought it would be a really great fit for here, too,” Befumo said, “so I found this place and made it happen.”
The shop supports local artists and artisans, whose brands the 2010 Southern Regional High School graduate pointed out during a tour of the store. Handmade and recycled creations blend irresistibly with glittering costume jewelry and gilded sea turtles on leather tote bags, among many other articles. Comfort and style, beachy and wedding-worthy co-exist in one array of choices that spell “LBI.”
“We definitely support local artists and makers, and at the same time our main mission is to have trend-forward and affordable jewelry; that’s our first and foremost product,” Befumo said. “Besides that, we just see what’s fun and what people are wanting to buy.
“For down here, we want to have things that people can buy and use right away,” the store co-owner said. “There are a lot of kimonos and a lot of throw-overs, and scarving – then, of course, a lot of comfortable clothes that people like to wear after being in the sun all day, joggers and sweats.”
What items exemplify trend-forward? “We focus a lot on the New York City-Los Angeles trends as far as accessories and size-inclusive clothing go. We carry a lot of one-size-fits-all, a lot of items that women can accessorize with, wearing their basics and sort of dressing it up with a scarf or kimono.”
Dressy costume jewelry has also caught the eye of girls coming in for their prom, and brides looking locally for their wedding parties.
Treating themselves goes with supporting creative artists when buying a purse of recycled denim from Feelin Blue, or earrings of recycled metal from Beaucycled. And nature did the work in the ample display of rock crystals for sale next to journals for logging in the first thoughts of the morning or the ones to sleep on.
Photographic coasters in the shop can be gifts to a friend, mementos of a favorite summer place or conversation pieces on the table.
“We have these great coaster sets from Coaster Life,” Befumo pointed out. “She makes these all up and down the Jersey coast for all the different towns, so she made these specific to LBI, all the hotspots, for people to have memorabilia.”
From Day 1, which was the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, Befumo opened with an involvement in the community in mind. She decorated the entrance with cheery balloon garland, hosted entertainment, participated in the town’s Art Walk by offering kids’ photos with the Disney character Ariel, held a paint and sip event that also showcased local artists’ works, and has ongoing plans.
“I think we have such a great community, and I want to give back in different ways by using my space to create fun experiences,” she said, “in addition to bringing the trend-forward products that everyone may not be able to find everywhere down here, and make them available and affordable as well.”
Wish LBI is open daily from 11 a.m. The shop has a Facebook page.
— Maria Scandale