Retailer: Peace of Wood
Location: 1112 Asbury Ave Ocean City, NJ 08226
Years in Business: 3
Interviewee: Kristina Young
Job Title: Owner/Entrepreneur
You were a school teacher who decided to open a Surf Shop. What led you to make this decision?
Growing up I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I have a passion for working with kids and knew that I wanted to pursue it as a career. I graduated in 2009 and taught in the public school systems for 6 years. Every year it became less about the kids, and more about teaching to a test. My final year teaching, I felt my philosophy of teaching no longer had a place in the classroom. My husband saw this eating me up more and more every year. I often came home defeated and most days in tears. We both sat down in 2015 and decided that would be my final year teaching in the classroom and we would build something for kids outside of the public school system.
As I was going through this hard time in my career, I started my journey with the ocean and learning how to surf, which then inspired me to start painting my own works of art.
We would sit on the side of the road in Brigantine, NJ and sell my art. This is where the idea of Peace of Wood was birthed. We would jam to reggae music, people would stop and hang, and if someone connected to it, snag a piece of art. We both thought “”””what if we put a roof over it and created a shop””””” At the core, our shop is about bringing community together, spreading peace and love, and encouraging everyone to follow any passion they have. We are inspired by the ocean, art, music, and community. That is what our shop is about.
There are daily paint jam sessions at Peace of Wood. How has this helped grow a community around the shop?
The paint jam sessions bring so many people together!!! Our art classes are a lot different than most. We offer painting on wood canvases that are all built by my husband Marshall. And it’s a creative paint session. It’s not guided, we don’t tell you what to paint, you just come in, relax, and paint what inspires you. There’s no minimum or maximum age. Kids, families, adults all come in a create. It’s truly amazing to see all the creations come to life when there are no limitations!! It’s amazing to see the kids’ faces light up when I tell them they can create whatever they want.
Art, culture, and community brings everyone together in our space. It’s a space where everyone is welcome and encouraged to be themselves and connect with others.
It’s fair to say you and your husband Marshall love tacos?. Tell us about Taco Tuesday’s at Peace of Wood?
Hahah We LOVE tacos!! We like to call ourselves taco enthusiasts. Just the other day we were driving around town and had a random person who saw the Peace of Wood van scream tacos!!!!!! We often get gifts of tacos and Marshall wishes we could receive payment in tacos .
Two things Marshall and I love are tacos and music, that’s where the idea of Taco Tuesday came from. We host music in the shop every week and have local bands come jam. On Tuesdays we host “”Cheezy Taco Tuesday””” A local band Cheezy and the Crackers comes to jam, we offer free tacos from a local restaurant Sandwich Bar, and offer a 1/2 off paint jam special. Kids can come create or just bang on some drums and hang out. It’s truly one of our favorite events in the shop.
You host a ton of music events at Peace Of Wood. What has been the most memorable event and why?
Music is a huge part of our lives, my husband plays the drums and we’ve shared so many memories through music. It was so important to us to have that a part of the shop and also to create a space where kids can come experience that in a positive atmosphere. It’s amazing to see the kids connect to the local bands and jam to the music. We also offer open mics where local kids can get up and perform. I can’t pick just one event, because every time we have music in the shop, we cannot wipe the smiles off our faces, music truly does bring people together and we’ve been blessed with a space to be able to share that.
You recently had Peace of Woods 3 year Anniversary. What lessons have you learned since opening your doors?
Dreaming big and knowing your why is the most important thing!!
If you know your why, than you can always figure out the how. We started this business from nothing. When I decided to leave my career, my husband got laid off the next month. We had no money, no loans, and struggled through so much to build this shop. But we always had our why!!! We believed so much in what we were building that no matter how dark it got, we knew to keep pushing. I truly believe that’s what has allowed our business to grow to where we are now. We still have a long way to go, but at the core we believe in our vision so much, nothing can stop us. So I guess, to some it up, never stop pushing towards your dreams, belief is most important even when no one else believes in it!!