(Aug. 9, 2019) It might not have been exactly a coincidence that 18-year-old Katie Forrest ended up working at Wockenfuss Candies on the Ocean City Boardwalk.
Forrest, who’s from near Edinburgh, Scotland, is participating in the J-1 Visa program, which allows international college students to live and work in the U.S. for a summer.
“I just thought it would be a really interesting thing to do over the summer, and it’d be a good chance to explore a new culture, and doing something a bit more interesting than staying at home,” she said.
As it happens her father, Simon, worked at the same shop back in 1993.
“It’s incredible. Lovely to be back. The smell, the candy smells as good as it did,” Simon said.
Katie and her 16-year-old sister Jessica remembered their dad telling tales about his experience living and working in Maryland.
“[For] two little girls, it’s not hard to sell stories of coming to work in a candy store in the sunshine next to the beach,” Simon said.
Katie started working at Wockenfuss in mid-June and is expected to finish on Aug. 11. While working at the candy shop, Katie sells items in the store and produces some as well. Among her duties is making chocolate-covered strawberries and caramel apples.
“It’s been great so far,” Katie said. “The weather’s really nice, obviously, and working here is really fun because all the girls who work here are really nice.”
Simon said he also hoped Jessica would continue the family tradition by working at Wockenfuss.
“Yeah, I’d quite like to do this as well,” Jessica said.
For Katie’s mom, Kirsty, she chuckled that “it’s just quite bizarre” that her daughter and husband ended up working at the same place more than 25 years apart.
Chris Butler, a fourth generation owner of Wockenfuss, agreed.
“I don’t think it’s ever happened,” Butler said.
Simon added he knew Butler from the shop when he was last living in the states.
Anne Marie Conestabile, program director for United Work and Travel, said she’s never heard of an occurrence like this, but she’s pleased the two could share the same experience living and working in Ocean City.
“It’s so nice for Katie to come and enjoy a summer here like I did,” Simon said. “It’s a great opportunity.”
Altogether, 5,557 people participated in the summer work travel program last year in Maryland, according to the U.S. Department of State.