Michael Yanniello

Michael Yanniello, 55, of Mays Landing, has a Kentucky Derby store in Ocean City.

Business: It’s My Derby

Owner: Michael Yanniello, 55, of Mays Landing

Location: 810 Asbury Ave., Ocean City, and 2005 Dune Drive, Avalon

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Started: 2011

Employees: As many as 3 seasonally

Phone: 609-335-3314

The core of It’s My Derby is the Kentucky Derby, the events and the culture, not just the race itself. That includes food, fashion and fun.

There are two weeks that entail what the derby’s about, starting in mid-April with a fireworks, a parade and balloon racing among 60 to 70 events. Most people think the derby lasts 2 minutes, but it’s a full two weeks.

We offer many collectible items branded for the year. This is derby No. 139, so we’ll have mugs and the hottest item, mint julep glasses, which have the previous derby winners printed on them. That’s the No. 1 collectible item.

We also have cigars, derby fedoras for men and ladies, polo shirts and T-shirts, jogging suits, fleece. We bring in more than 2,000 pieces and sell them first come, first served.

Along with Kentucky Derby Magazine published every year, there is a Kentucky Derby book and Kentucky Derby Museum cookbook.

We also have the limited edition Breyer horses, racehorses and other models. We focus on the collectible ones related to the thoroughbred industry. For example, we have Secretariat with jockey Ron Turcotte, who has signed nine of these Breyer models for us.

Beyond the derby memorabilia, we carry a number of bourbon-infused food products, such as a cake, fudge, truffles and the No. 1 seller, the Maker’s Mark Gourmet Sauce. That can be used in barbecue and many dishes.

We’re open year-round, with extended hours in the summer. Anyone looking to host a derby party, we have the products for them.

Entry: I’ve loved the derby since childhood and the great racehorses of the 1970s. I worked setting up racetracks since I was 14. I’ve been to many derbies and vowed when my son went off to college I’d turn it into a business.

In our front window we have 10-foot model of Secretariat looking out, and that helps draw people in.

Future plans: I’m going to add more art, jewelry and fashion items for the flair of the derby. I plan to open two more stores, in Gloucester County and Doylestown, Pa.

This year we’re holding a derby party fundraiser in Mays Landing with the Knights of Columbus.

Business editor Kevin Post

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