Two Lower Merion Students Want to Make Your Beach Trip 20 Times Easier

The rising juniors just launched Perfect Beach Day NJ in two Jersey Shore towns. And they already have their eyes on expansion.

perfect beach day nj founders Jude Vaughan and Samuel Abella setting up some jersey shore chair rentals in Brigantine

Perfect Beach Day NJ founders Jude Vaughan and Samuel Abella at the Jersey Shore

I’ve lost count of how many day trips I’ve taken to the Jersey Shore with my wife and two kids, who are now 15 and 16. So many great memories. Building sand castles. Riding the waves. Waiting for the guy with the ice cream cart to come rolling down the beach. Dodging the seagulls as we scarf down hoagies from Sack O’ Subs.

Of course, as a parent, there are also the memories of all the work you do to get there.

You have to make sure you have every little thing you need packed into the car, from the cooler to the beach chairs to the umbrella to the buckets and shovels. Then, once you’re on the road, you realize you forgot the sunscreen and repellent that doesn’t actually work on those awful biting flies at the Jersey Shore, so you have to stop at the CVS on the way. You have to find ice for the cooler. Then you have to park the car and drag all the stuff to the beach. Then across the sand. And, oh, what about lunch? Finally, as the sun begins to set, you have to do it all over again in reverse.

A visit to the Jersey Shore can be a real headache. It’s exactly the headache that two rising juniors at Lower Merion High School aim to remedy with their brand new company, Perfect Beach Day NJ.

perfect beach day nj co-founder samuel abella

Perfect Beach Day NJ co-founder Samuel Abella at work in Brigantine

Sam Abella and Jude Vaughan, both 16, have known each other since the first grade. Abella lives in Wynnewood and Vaughan in neighboring Ardmore. Like many families in the Philadelphia area, theirs spent a lot of time at the Jersey Shore during summers. So they know what a grind it can be to get set up on the beach, especially if there are kids in the picture.

They had been talking for a while about starting some kind of business venture together and decided to basically become beach butlers. After taking a two-week intensive class in entrepreneurship at Wharton in June, they launched Perfect Beach Day NJ, using a $1,000 loan from their parents. (Vaughan’s father was the COO of Venmo and Abella’s parents are both doctors at Penn.)

perfect beach day nj shore rental founders

Perfect Beach Day NJ co-founders Samuel Abella (far left) and Jude Vaughan (far right) at Wharton with a fellow participant and a teacher from their entrepreneurship program

Here’s how it works. You go to their website and select a package online. You can also call, text or email the young men to request to book.

The standard package costs $80 and includes one portable cabana, two Tommy Bahama chairs (my favorite) with cup holders and plenty of pockets, a cooler with ice, one boogie board, and two beach tags. The deluxe version, which will run you $120, adds another two chairs and tags, one boogie board, and beach toys, the kind of stuff you need to make sand castles. You can also go a la carte.

You tell them where you want it. And they bring it to you at the selected date and time and set it all up for you. And when you’re done, they take it away.

“Going back and forth to the beach can be a real operation,” says Abella. “And it can really take away from the pleasure of going to the beach. We wanted to start a company that would alleviate all that and bring people more pleasure and leisure time.”

“It can be especially hard for people who want to come down just for the day,” adds Vaughan. “If you call us, there’s no hassle or stress for you. We do all the work for you.”

As for the aforementioned lunch and sunscreen, the pair stress that a rental with Perfect Beach Day NJ is fully customizable. Need sunscreen added to your package? No problem. You want your hoagie order in the cooler when it shows up? They will do that for you.

“I actually just got a request from somebody who essentially ordered the entire menu at Wawa,” says Abella with a laugh.

Emily Harriet was visiting Brigantine earlier this week with her friend and a total of five kids. She happened to spot something about the service on a Brigantine Facebook page and called Abella to set up a rental.

“We had the best time,” Harriet says. “Getting two moms, five kids and three dogs ready for an all-day outing at the beach is hard work. Sam made it super easy. Tell him he needs business cards!”

(Apparently they don’t teach you everything at Wharton.)

For now, Perfect Beach Day NJ is only available in Brigantine, where Abella’s family has a home, and Long Beach Island, where the Vaughan family spends much of its summer. But even though they started the company less than a month ago, they are already eyeing expansion.

“All of our friends spend summers at the shore,” notes Vaughan. “So it would be pretty easy to have other people start doing this on the different beaches. Maybe next year.”

Though both Abella and Vaughan will graduate from Lower Merion High School in just two short years, they say they expect Perfect Beach Day NJ to be around for a while, since they both plan on attending college locally — Penn — upon matriculation. For business, of course.