5 Indie Merchants That Make It Easy to Shop Local in Delaware

Trying to shop local? These independent retailers make it easy to keep your dollars in Delaware.

When it comes to spending disposable dollars, a growing trend among consumers is shopping at stores that are outside the big box.

Purchasing from independent retailers supports local entrepreneurs and ripples into their communities. Indie merchants offer a unique, grassroots perspective on how to help their customers live more stylish, comfortable, confident lives.

What would we do without the handy clerk at our favorite hardware store? The antiques shop where we find the perfect one-of-a-kind housewarming gift? The boutique where the stylist picks out sunglasses that make us look like movie stars?

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There are indies we bond with when we choose a prom gown, pick an engagement ring or furnish our first home—and indie merchants we have yet to discover. Here are a few gems:

Chick’s Saddlery ships discount equine accoutrements—think English saddles, horse blankets and fly repellent—all over the country in recycled boxes and packing materials. In Kent County, folks can shop at Chick’s brick-and-mortar store, operating since 1975 on South DuPont Highway, about 20 miles south of Dover. If you don’t own horses but like the equestrian look, there’s a wide variety of boots, breeches and hard hats.

At Peter Kate in North Wilmington, shoppers can build their wardrobes with designer apparel, shoes, bags, jewelry and other accessories. The helpful, knowledgeable staff is committed to building relationships with patrons by providing savvy advice on styling that guides women in defining their unique look. First Lady Jill Biden is reportedly a regular patron.

Fairfax Hardware is a destination for handy homeowners—and folks who want to be—as the patient staff is happy to provide advice on tackling improvements and repairs. A larger location in North Wilmington means the 60-year-old family-owned business can stock even more electrical and plumbing supplies, housewares, lawn and garden implements, paint and sundries. Services include automotive chip-key cutting as well as screen and window repair.

At Jayne’s Reliable in Dagsboro, shoppers can count on finding vintage furniture and housewares, architectural salvage, decorative pieces by local artists and a house blend of DIY paint, all at the ready in a quirky Victorian house and outbuildings. Inventory changes constantly, which keeps the regulars coming back.

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With locations in Bethany Beach and Ocean View, Water Lili specializes in clothes and accessories with a beachy vibe and fluid lines reminiscent of mermaids. The boutique’s motto: “Anybody can be young, and women are changeable.” From lace and leather to silver and turquoise, the look is unabashedly and unapologetically feminine.

Related: Pack These Essentials for Your Next Delaware Beach Day

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