When we think of the old Wildwood Boardwalk many memories come to mind. It holds all of the delights a kid dreams of - the rides...the food...the games. I like so many other kids had my agenda set. We knew we were hitting Hunt's Pier, Moreys Pier, and the Casino Arcade...we knew we were eating Mack's Pizza, Laura's Fudge, Douglass Candies and Cedar Avenue Funnel Cake...and we would most definitely be visiting the Fun Shop (keeping in mind to save a few bucks on our spending spree to the South end of the Boards).
The Fun Shop was located at 3616 between Lincoln and Schellenger Avenue on the Wildwood Boardwalk and dates back to the 1940's. The shop was originally started by Albert and Kate Cohen who were long time summer visitors to the Wildwood's where Kate managed the Beachwood Hotel. In 1946 the Cohen's along with their son Elliot moved to Wildwood from Philadelphia. They leased a property at 3614 Boardwalk to open "Kate's Novelty Shop". Al built an apartment behind the store and constructed a basement below the shop to house all of the products they would sell during the summer season. The Cohen's sold a variety of gags, tricks and novelties as well as ceramics, potteries and souvenir mugs.
Pictured left is the original Fun Shop at 3614 Boardwalk. This photo was taken in 1960 and comes from the Wildwood Historical Museum.
By 1949 the store became known as Kate's Fun Shop. Business was going so well that in 1961 they decided to double their retail space by leasing the shop next door at 3616 - which had previously been a Tommy Guns Shooting Gallery. At this point the Fun Shop had become one of the largest stores of its kind on the East Coast. All of the classic pranks could be found there - whoopie cushions, jumping snakes, rubber chickens, snappy gum, disappearing name it...they had it. The store front window was overflowing with (eye candy) - a treasure trove of fun - making it nearly impossible for any child to pass it by. The Fun Shop became a must stop attraction on the Wildwood Boardwalk.
Double the shop - Double the fun in 1961.
Sadly, in 1963 Albert Cohen passed away. Al was a well known and beloved member of the Wildwood community. This left Elliot to help his mother continue to run the store. It was only a year or so later that Kate would follow her husband. The aspiring young couple who had started the business were gone all too soon. It was about this time that the Fun Shop would return to operating as a single store at 3616 Boardwalk. Elliot would ultimately purchase the property his parents had been leasing but decided to sell the business to Jerry and Rita Best. Rita was already familar with the Wildwood Boardwalk. Her great grandfather Louis Segal started Sagel's candies in the late 1800's, and her grandfather Harry Sagel opened a candy store at Lincoln Avenue and the Boardwalk in 1918.
South view from Schellenger Avenue Boardwalk.
The Fun Shop Sign was created by Allied Sign Company of Wildwood.
~The Fun Shop photos above came from the Wildwood Historical Museum~

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Copyright 2001 Ralph Grassi