Jilly’s Arcade has been around Ocean City, NJ for over 30 years. The arcade has officially become a landmark in OC, NJ and that’s no surprise. Anyone who has been to Ocean City more than a few times knows that the arcade seems almost as important as the beach (I am serious). It’s one of those familiar, sounds like home, type of names that everyone can look forward to when visiting Ocean City. Which is why when Jody Levchuk and his brother Randy decided to expand the Jilly’s name to more than just the arcade, it was no surprise that their business soon became businesses, and successful ones at that. The businesses include a T-shirt factory, an Ice cream factory, a French fry factory, an upscale clothing store, an arcade and even a place where you can rent bikes, surrey and more. After interviewing Jody Levchuk, co-owner of the Jilly’s company along with his brother Randy and other family members, you could tell he had a passion for his job and loved the business he is in.
Q:How did this company start? What’s the story?
A: Jilly’s Arcade dates back to 1976 with my parents. My grandfather had owned other arcades and wanted to bring his children into the business. My family is still 100 percent involved, my brother and I just took the name and expanded it into the Jilly’s company that exists today.
Q: When, and why did you decide to expand the Jilly’s name?
A: Randy ( Jody’s brother ) and I expanded in 2001 with “Jilly’s French Fry Factory” and we were successful. We both just graduated from college and it was sort of an accident. We didn’t plan it, a space opened up that my parents had owned and we just took that as an opportunity and just did it. We became addicted to the business and here we are today.
Q: Which business would you say is most successful?
A: I never really had anyone ask me that before. I would say the arcade because it has been there the longest. It’s considered a landmark by Ocean City and the state so it can’t be torn down. There’s a big dome from the early 1900’s where there was an old carousel which makes its a landmark.
Q: Did Hurricane Sandy effect you at all?
A: No, we actually had no damage, it was actually a positive effect and it helped that the stores were closed for the season. We helped out with the community a lot.
Q: That was my next question? Do you usually help the community?
A: I like to think we do, but everyone could always do more. We have always helped the community, but Sandy helped us move to the next gear, if you know what I mean.
Q: Is anything new or exciting?
A: Yeah, there’s always new games in Jilly’s Arcade. We are constantly rotating games and people can always look forward to having the best, top of the line games there and that will never change. Also pinball has become huge, and we will be one of the first arcades to get the new Wizard of Oz pinball game. We got all new skee-ball machines too, which is really popular here. We have skee-ball for only 10 cents here, which we are known for too.
Q: Did you ever think about expanding Jilly’s to other locations like Wildwood?
A: We actually do own arcades in Wildwood. There is one called Pay Boys, it’s like Play Boy without the L, it has been in the family for over 40 years. The Jilly’s name will remain sacred to Ocean City however, because it is such a sacred thing and its very synonymous to Ocean City. We also operate video equipment in other arcades on other boardwalks. We own the games and we just fill the arcades with them.
Q: Is there anything else you want to tell me?
A: Yeah, everything will be open by mid March with the exception of the ice cream shop and the arcade is open all year round! Also go on our website and our Facebook and check it out. We have a bunch of coupons and cool stuff on there.
So of course I went on there, and it was really cool to read about the family history and all about how Jilly’s started. It is a must you should go check out. Plus, there really is a bunch of coupons ( The kind that is actually worth printing out)! You can tell the Jilly’s Company is here to stay. It seems as though it will continue to be passed down in the family and hey, you never know what could happen down the road. But I do know that it is worth going to Ocean City, NJ just to check out all the cool Jilly’s locations ( especially the arcade). So if you were planning a trip to Ocean City, NJ this summer, make sure you bring a bunch of change for the arcade and some extra cash because once you walk into the clothing store “The Spot” you’re probably not going to walk out empty handed.
Alright well thats all I have for now! Email me or comment below and let me know if you want me to do any certain stories. Today I am going to leave you with my favorite quote of all time.
There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the
current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.