By Donald Wittkowski
They may be the coolest coolers ever made.
The highly-coveted Yeti coolers not only keep things nice and cold for an incredibly long time, but they are also becoming a status symbol among outdoor enthusiasts. In other words, they’re cool to own, too.
Now, the Yeti craze has come to South Jersey. The 7th Street Surf Shop on Asbury Avenue in Ocean City carries a full line of Yeti beverage containers, coolers and clothing.
Yeti makes stainless steel beverage containers and can or bottle holders. Prices range from $29.99 for the can-size holder to $69.99 for a 64-ounce container. A customer called the can holder the “ultimate dad gift” and stocking stuffer for Christmas.
The can holders and beverage containers are prized by commuters, because they can keep drinks cold even on long rides. The Yeti thermal technology also works in reverse. Coffee, hot tea or hot chocolate remain hot for a long time.
Colin Devine, store manager at 7th Street Surf Shop, recalled that he once left his Yeti beverage container in his car, in the middle of summer, for 48 hours. During that time, the ice inside it didn’t melt and the drink stayed cold.
OC City Councilman Michael DeVlieger is among the Yeti fans. He noted that his wife bought him a large insulated Yeti mug to keep his tea hot during his commutes between Ocean City and Philadelphia.
“I can leave Ocean City for a meeting in Philly and on the way home take a sip of my tea and it is still hot,” he said. “It is awesome for long road trips or for anyone who drinks tea or coffee like I do.”
He also uses his cooler when he and his family go to the beach. “In my house, we take our beach time seriously,” DeVlieger said. “We head down early and return at dark. I got used to running out at mid-day to get more ice for our cooler. Then my wife bought me a Yeti cooler. Now, I can go the entire weekend on a single bag of ice. It is truly a great product. Light years better than any other cooler that I’ve ever used.”
In South Jersey, the coolers are particularly popular with beachgoers, boaters, anglers and campers. Sales have been “fantastic,” said Devine.
“They see it’s a Yeti in the window and want to know more about it, so they’ll come in to check it out,” Devine said. “But a lot of them already know about Yeti. They know it’s literally the last cooler they’ll ever own. People are willing to spend the money for them because they’re expected to last.”
Yetis are a great value due to their performance and durability. Their innovative thermal technology has created such a buzz in the outdoor community and beyond. Yeti has entered the pop culture lexicon. The product has been mentioned in TV shows, movies and song lyrics.
The line of hard-shell Yeti coolers carried by the 7th Street Surf Shop ranges in price from $249.99 to $679.99. Devine said some of the bigger coolers can keep ice from melting for up to five days – perfect for boaters and anglers out on long trips.
One massive, hard-shell cooler serves as the centerpiece of a Yeti display in the surf shop’s front window. The hard-shell coolers are said to be virtually indestructible. Devine said Yeti advertises them as the only “bear proof” cooler on the market.
“It’s meant to take a licking,” he said.
The soft, fabric-like Yeti coolers sold at the 7th Street Surf Shop cost between $279.99 and $399.99. They are airtight and leak-proof. Some of the soft coolers have a shoulder strap and resemble the carry-on bags passengers take on planes. Devine said the shoulder strap makes them convenient for the beach or picnics.
The coolers don’t sweat on the outside, so beachgoers don’t have to worry about getting them “muddied up with wet, clumpy sand,” Devine said.
The 7th Street Surf Shop also carries a line of Yeti clothing, including baseball caps and T-shirts. The clothing has been selling well, said Kim DeMarco, a store salesperson.
“It started out for adults, but now they’re getting things for the kids, too,” DeMarco said of the customers who are buying Yeti products.