The importance of brands at Global Pursuit, a Stone Harbor clothing retailer, goes beyond just carrying top names such as Lacoste, Lucy Love and Oakley.
Since Angela Marsh acquired the former Island Pursuit in 2009 and made its mission more “global,” she has focused the store on brands with a social or environmental benefit, made in the USA if possible.
With 10 brands from “companies with a conscience” and 13 American-made, Global Pursuit has positioned itself in a market niche summed up in its motto: “Feel good about looking great.”
Some, such as Patagonia and Horny Toad, are known for their success in turning recycled fibers into high-end (and often high-performance) clothing.
Others, such as Vineyard Vines, make donations or provide promotional products to nonprofits.
“They’re constantly giving to charities,” Marsh said.
Her favorite is Toms Shoes and Eyewear, which promises to help a person in need for each purchase of its products.
“For every pair of shoes the company sells, it gives a pair of shoes to a child in need,” she said. “They’re expanding that one-for-one concept into eyewear as well and will help someone’s sight for each pair of glasses it sells.”
Marsh said she searches regularly for new brands with a commitment to social responsibility, and earlier this year found one uniquely suited to the character of her market at the shore: Loggerhead Apparel.
South Carolina-based Loggerhead — named for the great sea turtle that’s endangered or threatened through most of its range — donates 10 percent of its revenues (as opposed to the more common and smaller share of profits) to conservation efforts for all kinds of turtles.
“They put their logo of a loggerhead turtle on their polo shirts and I thought, ‘How fabulous is that?’ The turtle around here is really beloved,” she said, citing the ubiquitous turtle-crossing signs and the diamondback terrapin conservation program at the Wetlands Institute, which she supports.
So Marsh had to have the Loggerhead brand, but would Loggerhead Apparel have her shop?
She contacted the company and expressed interest, and by the time she talked to owners Zac and Sara Painter, “they had already checked us out as well,” she said, and were ready to make Global Pursuit their first retailer in New Jersey.
Zac Painter, 30, of Greenville, S.C., said Loggerhead partners only with independent retailers.
“We knew Global Pursuit was great for us as soon as we looked at their website. They sell sustainable goods and are very supportive of the planet,” Painter said. “And they offer many brands we’re proud to be on the shelves alongside.”
Painter said the company will introduce more colors and a new style of polo shirt, as well as hats and belts, in the first week of August.
“For next year, we’re working on button-down shirts and khaki shorts and pants,” he said.
Loggerhead Apparel started the same year Marsh acquired her store.
Marsh used to be an attorney in Chicago, and then husband Derek’s work took them to Atlanta, she said.
But they “always had circled back here to spend summers,” she said, having grown up in North Wildwood, where they now live.
Marsh initially bought a motel in Wildwood Crest, having worked in her parents’ motel as a kid. She was lucky enough to sell the motel at the height of the real estate market.
“I feel very fortunate to come back to the community and run a store that stands for something,” she said.
The mission to do good, however, which sometimes involves rejecting brands that aren’t a good fit for Global Pursuit, doesn’t make Marsh less of a businesswoman.
“I would like to say everything in the store is made of recycled fiber, but if a brand is really, really hot, I’m not going to get rid of it because it’s made of regular cotton,” she said. “You have to have some business sense as well.”
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