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The Inspiration Behind the Brews

How COVID pandemic — and father's exterminating business — inspired Ocean Brew Coffee


Article Written By : Brett Kimmins

WALL - For Ellen Bodnovich, owner of Ocean Brew Coffee, there is something special about coming into her shop everyday and being a part of something great.

“I walk in that front door at 5 a.m. every morning,” Bodnovich said. “Before I open up the store, I look around and I don’t just see the espresso machines and all of this fancy equipment. I see my family and all of the people that make this business possible. Here, everyone is family and that doesn’t just include my relatives, it includes everyone from our employees to our customers. It is a perfect example of dreams coming true.”

From an early age, Bodnovich knew she had aspirations to be an entrepreneur, but she didn’t know in what field. Her father owned an exterminating company when she was little and she wanted to replicate that experience.

“I saw him going out everyday, working hard and coming home tired and dirty, but still making time for our family,” Bodnovich said. “He made it a point to have dinner every night together and that mentality really hit home and stuck with me.”

Bodnovich's grandfather, Howard Fischoff, started the business and her father, Gary, took over the business after Howard passed away in 1988.

“I paid a lot of attention to my father,” Bodnovich said. “He took over all of Deal, as well as all the ocean homes on Ocean Avenue running up and along the Jersey shore. I knew, just by watching him grow the business into something special the way he did, that I wanted to follow in his footsteps and do something equally fulfilling.”

Sometimes, Bodnovich would go along with her father and got a hands-on experience of not only how her hard her father worked, but also of how to go above and beyond to please the customer.

“I constantly saw the way he interacted with customers and I loved that about him,” Bodnovich said. "It was a pleasure for me to observe the rapport that he built and I knew that I would be able to utilize that same skill set for myself later on in life with my own business. His work ethic really inspired me.”

'I just loved customer service'

When Bodnovich was in high school, she had her first job working at a Dunkin' Donuts in Ocean Township.

“I just loved customer service and being with people,” Bodnovich said. “I got a real pleasure out of talking to the customers, so I would start up a little conversation with every customer that came through the door. The next time they came in, I would remember them. You don’t see a lot of that in most Dunkin' Donuts these days, but I tried to give that experience to every customer that I came into contact with. Since I was young, I have been all about the experience, no matter what job I had.”

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