For most of her life, Michelle Vietri has dreamed of owning her own business. In February, that dream came true. Vietri and her mother, Diane Minio, opened the doors to Bella Mia Hair Boutique (37169 Rehoboth Avenue Extension, Rehoboth Beach, 226-2627).
“I’m so happy. We’ve been so busy,” says Vietri, formerly of Made Ya Look! Salon & Day Spa. “If we’re busy in winter, just imagine what we’ll be this summer.”
With lower gas prices and the economy keeping Delawareans close to home, many new beach area businesses are banking on a strong summer. The newbies cover the gamut, from wellness to toys to golf clubs.
Bella Mia—which offers a range of hair services, including nail treatments and facials—is in good company when it comes to putting beauties on the beach. Lotus Spa, Salon and Wellness (301 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 226-7546) this year expanded in the Cultured Pearl building.
Kelly Reading, who owns the spa with her husband, restaurateur Kevin Reading of Nage, previously had space in the old Salon Fur. When that business closed, she took over the shop, expanding her services to include hair care, Botox and Restylane injections, and skin care services. There’s even a barber, whose station is adorned with photographs of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.
Lotus is also enhancing beauty from the inside, with the addition of Lynn Wass, a naturopathic practitioner who specializes in holistic medicine. Massage, life coaching, yoga and chiropractic treatments are also on tap.
Sherif Zaki in March purchased Spa by the Sea (19266 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach, 227-8640). Now called Sherif Zaki Salon & Spa by the Sea, the salon is undergoing a facelift so rooms resemble Sherif Zaki’s Oasis Spa in Greenville. “It needs to be up to our specifications, the way we’ve been successfully doing things up north for 16 years,” says co-owner Emon Zaki. “The staff here is fantastic.”
Made Ya Look! (20831 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach, 226-1400) is under new ownership. Donna Serafini and Laura Meredith purchased the salon and day spa in fall, and they’ve updated its look with an outdoor area and contemporary appointments. The new owners have a green focus, with earth-friendly products.
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Seaside crafters have two new stores to tap for supplies. Clare’s Keepsake and Scrapbook Cove (123 Garfield Pkwy., Bethany Beach, 537-7508) opened at the start of last summer. “I get to play with my passion now, and I just love it,” says self-proclaimed “scrapbook lover” Clare Joneckis.
Joneckis specializes in hard-to-find items related to the area and to travel, including items with a connection to the Delaware beaches and Ocean City, Maryland. For those who live at the beach—or who visit all year—Joneckis offers a scrapbook gathering at the Roxana Fire Hall every other month in the off-season. “You can sit and scrapbook all day,” she says.
The store also sells gift items, home decor, picture frames, barware, clocks and Christmas ornaments with themes such as the beach, hobbies and sports.
Something Comfortable (70 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-6180) in First Street Station offers just that—loungewear and lingerie for women, as well as shapewear and other foundation garments. Brides-to-be will find a fantastic inventory of enticements, and there is a large selection of boxers for men.
With the booming wedding business at the beach, Leanne Silicato and Casey Ann Kieffer of Make My Day Event Planning have opened a retail space (701 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-7111). Brides-to-be and event planners can stop in for a consultation on its full line of services, and they can browse invitations and stationery from such fine makers as Crane’s & Co., Sandy Soiree, Julia D. Azar and more. Calligraphy services are also available.
Kathy Lewis last June opened Serendipity Quilt Shop (33119 Main St., Dagsboro, 732-6304). Lewis, a quilter, found few places between Lewes and Salisbury where a quilter could find supplies, so she took matters into her own hands. The shop is in the old Red Rooster Antiques building on Main Street. It offers everything from needles to books to patterns to fabrics. Lewis also offers classes, for everyone from beginning to advanced quilters.
Craftsmanship is the signature difference at Toys from the Attic (149 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 226-TOYS), which Michael Odell opened in November in the space formerly occupied by Atlantic Photo. The shop offers what Odell calls “heirloom toys,” including blocks, puzzles, Chinese checkers, jacks, stuffed animals and puppets. Most of his merchandise is handmade. He also sells arts-and-crafts items, including bead kits, play food and doll furniture. Odell, a retail veteran, encourages children to play with sample toys or sit at a table and work puzzles or color.
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What’s old is new again at Encore Thrift Shop (17689 Coastal Hwy., Lewes, 645-1676), which opened March 14 in the old Laptop Shop location. The store is owned and operated by Clear Space Productions, a local theater group. Ten percent of the proceeds will benefit the Theatre Arts Academy at Cape Henlopen High School. Along with “gently used clothing,” the shop offers electronics and household items.
Some new businesses will come to you. Go Green Mobile Clean (18766 John J. Williams Hwy., 4-105, Rehoboth Beach, 519-8428) is a car-cleaning service with an eco-friendly attitude. “We can wash an SUV with less than a gallon of water,” says Mark Quigley, who owns the franchise with his daughter, Tara. An ordinary car wash consumes anywhere from 100 to 175 gallons of water. The Quigleys also wash homes, boats—even airplanes.
Speaking of green, Tee II Green Golf (720 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 226-8333) opened at the site of the old Clubhouse Golf in Rehoboth Beach. The shop sports Sussex County’s only onsite club repair shop and a state-of-the-art simulator that helps select the right equipment. Expect to find such well-known brands as Taylor Made, Cobra, Ping, Nike and Titleist. The shop also custom designs clubs for clients.
The chains, meanwhile, continue to see opportunity along the coast. Consider BJ’s Wholesale Club (26676 Centerview Drive, Millsboro, 934-1637), which opened in December in the new Peninsula Crossing shopping center. With nearly 20 departments and more than 7,000 items, there is little the store does not offer. It also takes manufacturers’ coupons, which can be combined with BJ’s coupons. A membership is required.