Michele Farias

Term: 2021 to 2023

Photo by Jeannette Michelson

The best way to describe past President Michele Farias is with this quote: “A visionary leader doesn’t look at what is; but rather what could be.” And that was Michele!

When Michele took over as President in 2021, our club, like most organizations, was just emerging from the pandemic.  People were still cautious and reluctant to get out again and bring things back to normal. Michele did not let this get in the way of moving the club forward after our long hiatus. Michele did a lot of encouraging. She pushed many of us out of our comfort zones. She embraced looking at new ways to enhance many of the activities our club does. Michele brought us through the next phase of taking risks. She began doing all that she could to make the name of The Garden Club of LBI a viable asset to the entire island.

Michele was born in Bound Brook, NJ which she describes as an “amazing, close knit family town”. Michele stated that many in her family had gone into teaching and that was the impetus for going to Rider College and pursuing education. Michele’s teaching career took her to Edgewater Park Junior High where she taught for 5 years. There she met her husband, Vince, and they married in 1970.

As teachers, the couple were drawn to the island to find work in the summer. It was during this period, the couple recognized that rental houses did not come with essential items. In addition, the pair had access to a building on the island where they decided to go into business selling all things tourists could use.  Their business foresight and acumen turned them from teaching into successful entrepreneurs on the island.

Today Michele and Vince are retired from “Farias Surf and Sport”, passing their business onto two of their three children, Brian and Stacey. As Michele explains: “Brian and Stacey have taken the reins of ownership while their daughter, Christy and her family now live in southern California.  Their oldest grandchild, Sarah, went from cleaning bikes to now owning her own business, “Five O’ Six” which she started as a spinoff of Farias. Another granddaughter does social media and advertising for the company while grandchildren, Drew and Sydney, work in the business during summer vacation from college. Their youngest grandchildren, Will, Chris, and Micah will be handed “Brillo pads” to clean bikes as soon as they are old enough. From this account, Michele’s love of her family shines through along with many being an integral part of their business organization.”

Then, with the retired part of her life taking hold, Michele started looking to enhance her personal interests of gardening and designing. Also, having many friends in The Garden Club and with their encouragement, Michele decided to join in 2016. In her short time as a club member, Michele worked the house tour as head decorator and chair, was part of the environmental committee and organized club trips. Michele also participated in other club activities, such as Art in Bloom and the Standard Flower Shows of 2018 and 2022 which integrated well with the other things Michele loves…decorating with antiques, collecting old china, and putting visual vignettes together with her collections.

Then in 2021, Michele took a daring leap into agreeing to take on the club’s presidency right after covid. Michele states “that she is very happy that during this period enthusiasm and energy came back into the club, that members embraced coming back to regular meetings, and once again, began taking part in committee activities that are the strong signature of our club.”  Michele initiated the holiday luncheon. She expanded the garden tour at a time we could not hold our regular house tour to raise scholarship money.  She also began the 50/50 raffle in which half of the proceeds would go to charity to again make our club’s presence known and felt on the island which is a very important facet of her leadership beliefs.

It is no secret that Michele is a passionate person, works hard for what she believes in, and has an accomplished business insight.  Michele brought these qualities to her presidency.  For all she has done, for all her time and energy in the service of The Garden Club of Long Beach Island, we are grateful.