SEASIDE HEIGHTS – Customers don’t always flock to a store just because its owner will be there but when the store is The Snooki Shop, that is a whole other situation.
Snooki, born in 1987, is actually Nicole Polizzi LaVale. She appeared in the popular reality TV show “Jersey Shore” and its spinoffs “Snooki & JWoww”, and “Floribama Shore.” “Jersey Shore” was filmed in Miami Beach during its second season.
Snooki and her co-star Jennifer Lynn Farley – better known as JWoww – starred in their own show filmed at one point in Pelican Island and rented to them by borough businessman Mike Loundy who also rented the Seaside Heights beach house to the Jersey Shore crew for the original show. Pelican Island is the piece of land that you drive through after you cross the bridge to Seaside.
Snooki told Jersey Shore Online.com/Toms River Times, “the store has been doing great. Obviously, this is my stomping grounds from “Jersey Shore.” I have two other locations, Madison New Jersey and in New York and when I thought of a third location and where I should bring it, it was Seaside.
“I love Seaside. I know everyone here. I know Mike Loundy and I saw the place open and I said, ‘Can I grab it?’ I grabbed it and I think it’s perfect,” she added.
As to some of the recent changes made within the borough including the removal of some familiar night spots of the “Jersey Shore” crew, Snooki replied, “personally, for me I’m sad that Bamboo and Karma and some of the places we used to go to are gone but now being a mom, everything has started to be more family oriented so I’m not mad over it.”
Snooki added, “everything changes.” She owns a summer home in Toms River but is enjoying her family life. She did recall her time in Pelican Island for her spinoff series. “I loved Pelican Island. It was very exclusive and quiet so it was good for my kids.”
As to her merchandise in the shop, “I wanted to keep it more Jersey Shore like my mugs that I love collecting now, me getting arrested on the beach, a lot of Jersey Shore funny stuff. I have a lot of mom stuff because I am a mom of three but I also like club attire so it is a mix everything,” she added.
Snooki said, “basically, when you come into my store you are shopping from my closet.”
Regarding motherhood, “I have 10-year-old, Lorenzo, Giovanna is 8 and my little one Angelo, is 3 so I have three little ones and I just got a dog so my house is chaotic just like any other mom,” she added with a laugh.
She was pleased with the turnout for her visit to the shop. “It was great to see my fans, my besties and it was nice to have an intimate event with all of them.”
Her appearance at her shop drew fans from as far as Pennsylvania, New York and of course north Jersey. They wanted to meet her, be photographed with her and check out what was in the boutique. They told Jersey Shore Online.com that they were happy they made the trip.
“She was very patient and very nice,” said Madison Sanders of Staten Island, holding several bags of items she purchased.
Sanders was joined by her two friends who made the long-distance trip to meet the star and to go shopping. Alexa Agostino came out from Old Bridge. “We had to do this. She was very nice.”
Wearing the Snooki Shop shirt for the occasion and matching Snooki’s height was Olivia Cervantes, 16, of Bensalem, Pa. who said “a lot of people call me Snooki at my school because they say I look like her.”
“She even said that too,” Cervantes added.
The series is believed to MTV’s highest rated show ever and it put the borough in an international spotlight. Not all of that spotlight was welcome however as the show featured some of the drama and violations of the law.
That included Snooki’s own beach front arrest filmed during the third season of Jersey Shore, for disorderly conduct and criminal annoyance of others. She faced recently retired Ocean County Judge Damien Murray in court who following a plea bargain, sentenced her to a $500 fine and community service with the two charges being dropped.
Polizzi married her Jersey Shore co-star Jionni LaVale on November 29, 2014. “Snooki & JWoww” was a different type of show as it focused on the two friends’ lives. It was executive produced by Jersey Shore Producer SallyAnn Salsano of 495 Productions and its stars described the reality show as a modern-day Laverne & Shirley.
It ran from June 21, 2012 to February 4, 2015. The first season had the pair living in a former firehouse in Jersey City and it was Polizzi’s pregnancy, disclosed during the show, that led to a change in tone veering away from the kind of party antics that was so popular in “Jersey Shore.”
Toms River and Point Pleasant Beach denied requests to film in those communities and Manchester Township was chosen as a filming location – a decision that was met with some controversy by some of the township’s residents.
Snooki gained popularity through both series and appeared on numerous TV talk shows. She was earning $150,000 per episode of “Jersey Shore” by its last season. She served as guest hostess for WWE Raw in 2011 and competed in WrestleMania XXVII that same year.
She made a memorable cameo appearance in 2014 playing herself in a ninth season episode of the CW horror series Supernatural. The plot of the episode called “Blade Runners” had her playing a demon.