YEAR IN REVIEW: This year, new retail shops and restaurants opened in Ocean City and throughout Worcester County, while others, unfortunately, called it quits. Others celebrated anniversaries while even more renovated and made changes within. These are some of the year’s top stories:

WEST OCEAN CITY:

  • Treasures By The Sea, located in the Decatur Business Center off Route 611, celebrated its grand opening Feb. 19. Owner Rachael Almony rents booth space to vendors who offer a variety of new and gently used merchandise, including clothing, jewelry, furniture, kitchenware, home decor, antiques and artwork.
  • Construction of a building on the Route 50 property Fashions For Less calls “home” wrapped up in January and the store opened Feb. 17. Hard to miss from Route 50 because of its eye-catching bright pink color, Fashions For Less is about 500 square feet of merchandise, which include rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, scarves, belts, sunglasses, among other items.

When owner Donald McLane opened the Route 50 store, he had intentions for a second location in Ocean City. The Boardwalk was an ideal spot for the store. He noticed a “for rent” sign in one of the store windows in the Inlet Village, at the southern end of the Boardwalk. The family-run,  600 square-foot store opened on May 1.

  • Dani and Ryan Pogge opened Bungalow Seven on Route 50 near the Ocean City Park & Ride on March 10. The couple took over the former Boog’s BBQ & Drive-Thru building and tore it down in May 2011. Construction of a new building began in June. She traveled all over the country looking for women’s, men’s and junior’s fashion, clothing, accessories and other products. A room is dedicated to building skateboards.
  • Fin City Brewery, which operates on the second floor of Hooper’s, located at the foot of the Route 50 bridge, began brewing beer onsite in April. Vince Wright is the brewmaster. The five-barrel system can be seen from the dining area. Hooper’s hosted a party May 11, to showcase Fin City Brewery’s beers.
  • A Summer Savings Bash took place May 25-27, to celebrate the grand opening of the new Tanger Outlets (formerly Ocean City Factory Outlets) and introduce the community to the shopping center’s makeover. The company acquired the nearly 200,000-square-foot property in January. Renamed “Tanger Outlets Ocean City,” the group immediately began a $3 million cosmetic renovation project. Some stores have been expanded and others added.
  • Construction of a nearly 4,500-square-foot building in the Seaside Village Shopping Center, next to Applebee’s, began in mid-February. A new West Ocean City Chick-fil-A restaurant opened June 7. Also within the shopping center, an 8,000-square-foot building in the Seaside Village Shopping Center houses Mattress Warehouse, which opened in June, and Chipotle Mexican Grill, which opened July 10.
  • Terri Parsley opened Salon by the Bay, in Assateague Square on Route 611, in April and celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and party June 22. She took over the space in January and renovated the area. Salon by the Bay offers pedicures, manicures, waxing, facials, chair massages and airbrush spray tanning as well as hair services for men, women and children.
  • Hooters of Ocean City has been serving its famous wings to customers on 123rd Street since the mid-90s. In June 2010, the business opened a restaurant on the Boardwalk at Fifth Street and on June 14, opened a third location in West Ocean City. The vacant building on Route 50 and Keyser Point Road, formerly home to a Dough Roller and most recently Osborn’s Westside Grille, is approximately 6,000 square feet. The interior was remodeled and space for a merchandise shop was constructed.
  • Larry Friedman has specialized in fine sporting firearms for more that 25 years. He acquired a vacant unit in the Teal Marsh Shopping Center in October. He built cabinets to showcase his shotguns, handguns and rifles, painted and installed hardwood floors and opened Larry’s Trading Post on Feb. 29. Friedman is an authorized Beretta dealer and also sells guns manufactured by Perazzi, SKB, Zoli, Colt, S&W and Sig Sauer.
  • Locals Beer & Wine store at Route 50 and Jerry Mack Road in the Royal Plus Business Center features approximately 325 different kinds of wine, from very dry to sweet dessert blends and more than 45 beers. General Manager Greg Fields, who has more than 20 years experience in the bar, restaurant and retail industries, opened the store June 15. The space, which was previously used by Royal Plus for storage, was transformed into a beer and wine store in less than one month.
  • Each year, Sunset Grille in West Ocean City receives some sort of upgrade or improvement. This year, the restaurant doubled in size with the addition of “The Bridge” rooftop bar and first-floor dining area. The original Caribbean island-themed restaurant, which opened in 2004, is 90 feet long and the addition measures 92 feet. The upstairs “bridge” features seating for approximately 90 guests. It opened just in time for the July 4 weekend.
  • Mark Carroll and his wife, Rachel, opened Beach Adventure Rentals in mid-July. Located in the Teal Marsh Shopping Center, the rental business offers Jeep Wranglers that are already tagged and equipped to drive onto the Assateague Island National Seashore’s Over Sand Vehicle area.
  • Ron Gossard thought about opening a shop, featuring stand up paddleboards and accessories, but it wasn’t until he met Sandy and Beth Deeley that his dream became a reality. They opened Walk on Water Stand Up Paddle Company in Assateague Square, off Route 611, July 4.
  • Angie Gillis worked as an interior designer and decorator for more than 20 years. As the economy took a downturn, she closed her interior design studio and created a business plan for Encore Events. A ribbon-cutting for the business venture was Oct. 6, at her studio, located in the Decatur Business Center. Encore Events, a division of A Change of Space Design Studio, Inc., specializes in “unique creations using natural elements” for a variety of occasions, from weddings to birthdays, baby showers and dinner parties.
  • Kathy Slaughter wants clients’ four-legged friends to feel relaxed and comfortable during their grooming session at her new business, OC Pet Spa, off Route 611 in the Assateague Square Center. She opened Oct. 5. A bath, ear cleaning, teeth brushing, haircut and blow dry, are among the services provided through the full-service treatment. A do-it-yourself station is also open for clients to wash their own pets.
  • Around Sound Music, in the Decatur Business Center on Route 611, just offered private and group vocal and instrumental lessons when owners Lori Thompson and Gina Servant opened last summer. Currently, 45 students are taking lessons at the studio. Several of the students have formed a band, under the direction of Thompson. In early September, Around Sound Music expanded into the unit next door. Around Sound Music has expanded it offerings, now providing art and drama/theater classes as well as special activities and open mic nights. Rentals of new and used instruments is still available.
  • Razzio’s Italian Deli and Market, located on Route 611 and Sunset Avenue in West Ocean City opened Nov. 2. Freshly made pasta dishes, Italian subs, pizza, paninis and desserts are just some of the items available. Many of the entrees are made with a family recipe marinara sauce, which may also be purchased in jars. Pre-made and packaged meals and desserts are stocked in the refrigerator so customers can “grab and go.” Razzio’s market features hard-to-find items imported from Italy. Razzio’s, owned by Victoria Simmons, only offers carry-out at this time.
  • Station 7 Restaurant opened Nov. 29, in the building formerly home to 707 Sports Bar & Grill, on Route 707 in West Ocean City. Owner Todd Wampler, who partnered with Ben Cooper, Mark Sens and Rob “Doc” DuVall in the business venture, took over the space Feb. 1. Renovations began immediately. The theme of the West Ocean City location is the same as Wampler’s other two Station 7 restaurants: an homage to fire companies.

 

OCEAN CITY:

  • South Moon Under’s first store, a small surf shack, opened in the summer of 1968 in Ocean City and since then, the company has steadily continued to expand, opening its 18th store in early October.

“We were originally a full-on surf shop with swimwear and some clothing,” owner Frank Gunion said of the first South Moon Under, which was located in the 33rd Street area. “Today, we are a contemporary clothing store for men and women. While we still have some surf lines, we are clearly oriented to contemporary men’s and women’s clothing. Also, [we] have lots of shoes, swimwear, jewelry and items for the house.”

South Moon Under stores can be found in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. New stores are planned in New Jersey and Virginia in 2013.

  • The Art League of Ocean City has been in its temporary headquarters since Jan. 16, in the former Susquehanna Bank building on 94th Street located in the Super Fresh parking lot. The ALOC had called a 1,200-square-foot building off 94th Street home since 1984, but it outgrew that space and the facility closed the week before Christmas 2011. Just yards away, the former Susquehanna Bank building, at approximately 2,200 square feet, had been empty for about two years. On April 15, there was a groundbreaking at the future home of the Ocean City Center for the Arts. The old building was torn down about a week later. The ALOC offers classes, programs and showcased exhibits in the temporary building until construction of the new, 7,500-square-foot arts Center for the Arts is completed. Rina Thaler is the newly appointed executive director of the Ocean City Center for the Arts.
  • After 25 years of serving customers in a quaint and cozy building near the inlet, Adolfo’s Restaurant owners Kimberly and David Griffin moved their business a bit farther north into the Boardwalk’s Beach Plaza Hotel on 13th Street. The restaurant reopened April 4. On March 24, the final night in its former home — a building constructed in 1881 — many loyal, longtime customers stopped by for dinner and cocktails.
  • Since opening more than 50 years ago, The Embers has “built up, out, every direction” to accommodate changing times and growing popularity. Now, with a canal on one side and Coastal Highway on another, it seems the 24th Street restaurant has limited space to expand. But the Taustin family developed the perfect resolution to prevent the resort landmark from becoming stagnant: expand the property. Blu restaurant opened in time for the influx of seasonal visitors. The crab house restaurant, is adjacent to The Embers, and specializes in Maryland blue crabs, but also features light fare and dinner entrees as well as a raw bar.
  • Jeff Burton designed the menu for Taphouse Bar & Grille, which he and wife, Juli, opened May 27, 2011, in the Paradise Plaza Inn on Ninth Street and the Boardwalk, around the more than 20 beers offered in the restaurant. Now, as the general manager and executive chef of the 45th Street Taphouse Bar & Grille, Burton, who is passionate about his food, again used beer to create the new restaurant’s fare. Thirty-six beers are on tap at the 45th Street location. Several shops in the 45th Street Village were torn down to the foundation frames and the restaurant was constructed. The 45th Street Taphouse opened March 16. To the right is OC Steamers, a seafood restaurant. The building to the left of the Taphouse houses a beer and wine market. Both opened during the summer.
  • Prior to purchasing the Second Street and Philadelphia Avenue property on Jan. 4, Wally Saleh contacted the Dollar Store company, based in Las Vegas, about a franchise opportunity. After a fresh coat of paint, new flooring and electric and construction of isles and shelves to hold the more that 30,000 items, the 3,200-square-foot OC Dollar Store opened March 6. An assortment of merchandise, including toys, party goods, groceries, snacks, pet supplies, kitchenware items, cleaning and automotive products, all of which costs just $1, is available.
  • The new Peebles store in the Gold Coast Mall on 115th Street opened April 18. The department store offers clothing, accessories and cosmetics for juniors and women as well as a wide range of men’s and children’s apparel. There is approximately 10,500 square feet of retail space at the uptown location, which was formerly home to Super Fresh. The grocery store closed in April 2011.
  • Skye Bar owners Roger Cebula and Tammy Patrick-Cebula celebrated their new rooftop bar, above Galaxy 66 Bar & Grille on 66th Street, on June 7, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and party. Demolition of Galaxy 66 Bar & Grille’s Skye Bar was completed in November 2011. The rooftop bar was approximately 1,000 square feet. Construction began in January and now, it is approximately 5,000 square feet. The bar and dining area is located over Galaxy 66 and the kitchen, restrooms and storage space has been built on the roof of Late Night Liquor & Kegs, next door to the restaurant.
  • Kim and Hollis Smith took over a vacant unit on Philadelphia Avenue between 15th and 16th streets in February. After some remodeling, Kim’s Café & Marketplace opened April 19. An assortment of produce is available as well as a variety of wraps, grilled and prepared to order, and salads. The orange juice and lemonade are freshly squeezed, and smoothies consisting of different fruits are offered.
  • Of the three Ocean City hotels that currently make up the Carousel Hotel Group, two have recently undergone major renovations. On July 14, 2011, the company purchased the Atlantic Oceanfront Inn on 45th Street and renovations began after the summer. A guest lounge, with a couch, tables, television, juice and coffee bar, was added and WiFi was installed throughout the hotel. The 51 rooms and nine suites got freshly painted walls, new bedding, televisions and furniture. The boutique-style, five-floor hotel re-opened April 13.

Coastal Palms Inn & Suites (previously the Serene Hotel) on 120th Street and Coastal Highway was purchased in November 2011. The property received a top-to-bottom facelift. The exterior and rooms were painted.

Coastal Palms has 94 rooms plus a beach house. One of the buildings is home to 60 rooms. The second building features 34 suites. The beach house, which has two bedrooms, a large flat screen television, washer and dryer, and a living room area and full kitchen, is steps away from the hotel.

The rooms have new furniture, drapes, carpets, bedding, vanities, faucets, televisions and free WiFi is available as well. Beach chairs are provided to guests. The five-floor hotel opened on May 4.

  • Since she was a child, Dena Smith has been affectionately called Monkey Doodle by her grandmother. So it was only appropriate to call the children’s boutique she opened in April with her husband, Delmar, by the same name. The couple researched children’s clothing and apparel and last winter they gutted and remodeled their gift shop, Treasure Island, also in the Inlet Village, and transformed it into a high-end children’s boutique.
  • Kimmerly Messick, owner of Bethany Resort Furnishings in Bethany Beach, Del., has furnished and decorated model homes, rental properties and clients’ residences in Ocean City for a number of years. But up until recently, she didn’t have a storefront in the resort. She took over the second floor of Homeworks Carpet One Floor & Home on 84th Street. Messick started her career at Homeworks in 1981, when it was located on 67th Street, and worked there for 10 years. In the beginning of April, Messick moved into the upstairs space of the building.
  • Blue Bar & Grill opened on 54th Street in Ocean City just in time for Memorial Day weekend. Chef and co-owner Giulio Assante describes Blue as a seafood restaurant with a Mediterranean flair. The space was acquired in January and renovations began. The dining room seats 70 people, while the bar can accommodate 15 guests. There is also a lounge area with modern decor, couches, tables and chairs.
  • Head baker Danielle Barry uses her Irish family recipes, passed down from generations, to create many of the baked goods and pastries available at OC Café, located on the corner of Fourth Street and the Boardwalk. But she also has a few secrets of her own. Customers can also get frozen yogurt, fresh fruit smoothies, breakfast sandwiches, paninis, wraps and salads, among other items. Robyn Fox opened OC Café in early June.
  • For Ocean City residents and visitors looking for unique, one-of-a-kind gifts, O.C. Trading Co., on Baltimore Ave. and Somerset Street in downtown Ocean City, might just be the place to find them. At the start of the year, O.C. Trading Co. President Ollie Powell noticed a sign that the landmark building, once home to Ocean City’s first post office, announcing the unit was available for lease. The store opened in mid-May and is filled with an assortment of merchandise including antiques, musical instruments, artwork, jewelry, Ocean City souvenirs, memorabilia, clothing and beach gear.
  • Ricky Singh, chairman of We R Wireless, opened a store on the Boardwalk next to the Purple Moose near Talbot Street in May. Singh said the We R Wireless store that opened on the Ocean City, N.J., boardwalk last year has been prosperous, so a local boardwalk location seemed ideal.
  • J/R’s Ribs on 131st Street bayside has made it convenient for customers in a rush to order some of their favorite items on the go — the uptown restaurant added an express drive-thru in July. Patrons can get burgers, chicken sandwiches and tenders, barbecued baby back ribs and owner Jack Hubberman’s famous, original recipe crispy fried chicken as well as side items.
  • Many of the people who hear or see the name of the carry-out eatery at 105 Second St., ask owners Paul Baron and Terra Rygh how they came up with “2 Crazy X’s.” The answer: life experience. The pair dated for eight years before splitting last September. The Salisbury residents were planning a move to Annapolis, when they came across the property for sale in May. The duo opened 2 Crazy X’s June 1. Breakfast is available all day.
  • Boardwalk Basic Outlet on the corner of Ocean City’s Eighth Street and Philadelphia Avenue (formerly Bailey’s Pharmacy), owned by Sammy Bitton, offers a large assortment of merchandise at affordable prices. Shoppers can get clothing, swim suits, sunglasses, beach towels and chairs, umbrellas, hats, flip flops, hand bags, toys and make-up, among other items. Surfboard rentals are also available. After some remodeling of the 2,400-square-foot store opened on June 27.
  • Anna Kachalova wanted to provide some healthy alternatives to the food available on the Ocean City Boardwalk. Kachalova took over a small unit on the Somerset Street Plaza in 2009 and opened a shop featuring coffee and French crepes. She operated the carryout under the name, Express Cafe for the past three years. Extensive renovations to the outdoor cafe began in May. With a new European-style look, the cafe also got a new name. “The Muze Cafe” opened July 4.
  • Step aboard the Flounder Magic and let Capt. Ken Roach lead the way to prime fishing areas in the bay. The licensed master captain leased the business, previously known as the “Pony Island Express,” this summer, leading its first voyage in June. The renovated, twin engine Coast Guard Certified 42-foot vessel has the capacity to take 20 people on a fishing trip. Any fish caught (of legal size) will be cleaned and bagged for anglers.
  • Brian Davis and Tobey Humble had stepped in to help a dozen business owners along the East Coast whose bars and restaurants were failing. This year, however, the pair opened their own restaurant when a spot in the White Marlin Mall on 115th Street became available. They spent two months renovating the 5,700 square-foot space and opened 115 Bayside Bar & Grill on Aug. 10. It is home to the Island Burger: two-plus pounds of meat, topped with six slices of bacon and cheese, a whole tomato, lettuce and onion all on a custom-made 10-inch round bun. Anyone who can finish it single-handedly in less than one hour will earn a spot on the restaurant’s wall of fame and the burger will be free. Oh, and it comes with fries.
  • Shawn Kotwica has collected recipes and concocted martinis for a number of years. So when it came time to develop a drink menu for The Underground Lounge, on 22nd Street and Baltimore Avenue, he was easily able to design a list of about 100 options. The Kucuk brothers, Berto Brock, Bugra and Bruno, opened The Underground Bar & Grill in May 2008. Kotwica partnered with the brothers and he will be running the renovated lounge. Kotwica began sprucing up the space in July. The Underground Lounge opened on Aug. 1, with a new look and concept. Martinis and tapas are the focal points of the establishment.
  • St. Paul’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church on Third Street opened a community center in the parish hall featuring a number of classes and programs for all ages, from infants to senior citizens. Fawn Mete is the director of the Red Doors Community Center at St. Paul’s by-the-Sea, which opened in October.
  • Many people have photographs they or others have taken displayed in frames in their homes. Some also have them printed on canvas. But how often have you seen those images printed on wood? Ocean City resident Wyatt Harrison is providing that service through his business, Plak That. He created his company in July and launched his Web site, www.plakthat.com, last month. People can upload their images and have them custom-printed on wood.

 

BERLIN:

  • Patricia Fischer has always been fond of the 110-year-old building at 11 Pitts St., so when it became available in October, she jumped at the opportunity to relocate her antique shop. One of the largest antique stores in the area, Town Center Antiques houses a number of booths, each of which is rented by individual antiques dealers to show and sell their wares. The Fischers closed the Main Street location in December 2011 to begin the move to the new space, owned by William E. Esham Jr. and was previously used for storage by Donaway Furniture. The new location opened Jan. 2, and approximately 80 dealers have booth space filled with thousands of items including records, dolls, fine China, movies, books, toys, jewelry, metal signs and furniture.
  • Leslie Lewis said it was a blessing to have her grandmother live with their family for 19 years as she was growing up, but she witnessed first-hand the struggles they had caring for her. She recognized that families need support, especially outside assistance, to help seniors who wish to remain in their homes as they age. That is one of the reasons Lewis and her husband, Claude, wanted to join Home Instead Senior Care, an independently owned and operated company that is part of an international franchise network. They opened their first business in Bel Air in 2000 and sold it two years ago. In 2004, the Lewises opened a second location in Easton, which their daughter manages. In January, the Lewises opened an office in Berlin, on Old Ocean City Boulevard, providing in-home care and services for seniors in Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties.
  • Sue Testerman loves her job and her customers make working as a barber even more enjoyable. After working for other people for more than two decades, Testerman opened Sue’s Barber Shop on Old Ocean City Boulevard in Berlin about four years ago. The shop moved to a new, much larger location — about three times the size of her former space — on Broad Street in downtown Berlin on Jan. 1.Testerman celebrated with a grand opening event March 21.
  • The new Walmart, located behind the original business on Route 50, opened for business April 11, following a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Construction of the new Walmart began in January 2011, and employees began stocking the store’s shelves on March 5. The old store, which opened May 19, 1999, closed April 10. The 185,000-square-foot Walmart is 83,806 square feet larger than the original and includes a full line of groceries and fresh produce, a bakery, deli area, pharmacy and vision center. The store features more than 30 merchandise departments such as apparel and accessories, lawn and garden center, health and beauty aids and electronics. The store is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Since moving to Berlin two years ago, Pete and Jennie Livolsi have wanted to bring authentic Italian cuisine to the town. The culinary couple’s dream is coming true, as Si’culi opened in July on North Main Street. The restaurant features pizza and Italian dishes, among other items.
  • Tex Mex & Beyond on North Main Street, celebrated its grand opening Sept. 1. Owned by Berlin businessman Ernest Gerardi, the restaurant features authentic Mexican southwestern foods inspired by chef Arturo Paz’s Latin-American heritage.
  • Sisters on North Main Street is owned by sisters Donna Compher and Michael Ann Phillips. The store, which opened in May, features a variety of gifts, accessories, jewelry, kitchenware, children’s items, among others, and there is also a small bar in the back, where beer and wine is sold.
  • The Maryland Wine Bar, opened on North Main Street in June, and features 65 wines exclusively from Maryland wineries. It is owned by Deborah Everett. Patrons can sip on wine at the small bar.
  • Knitting and crocheting enthusiasts now have access to a bountiful selection of vibrant and varied yarn and accessories since A Little Bit Sheepish on South Main Street in downtown Berlin opened its doors Nov. 14. It is owned by Brenda Trice.
  • Jennifer Davis co-owns Bustle, a bridal boutique on Main Street, with her mom Kathy Walsh. In conjunction with June’s 2nd Friday Art Stroll, Bustle held the Berlin Bridal Stroll as a celebration of its grand opening.
  • Main Street Sweets, at 116 N. Main St., combines candy and jewelry to put a small town vintage spin on upscale cosmopolitan indulgence. Connie Mayers opened the shop boutique-like store offers milk, dark and white chocolates, truffles and jewelry, Sept. 14.
  • Dave and Ruth Koontz opened Main Street Deli this fall. Soups, salads, sandwiches and a variety of other items are available.
  • The Zenna Wellness Center, Berlin’s first-ever Zumba, yoga and aerial yoga studio owned by Chrissy Ehrhart-Knight, Cate Carrick Nellans and Jesse Martin opened the Main Street studio in June. Art and apparel are available at the studio.
  • With its relaxing classical music, colorful array of stuffed animals and layout crafted with a high attention to detail, it’s plain to see World of Toys on North Main Street isn’t a run-of-the-mill toy store. Opened in June by Olga Kozhevwikova, World of Toys is stocked with many high quality brands that provide everything from simple entertainment to lessons as they play.
  • The Whimsical Cottage of Berlin opened at 11 Artisans Way in September and is run by Kelly and Jeannie Hastings. The 60-seat cottage offers a variety of live entertainment and is available from weddings, club and business meetings.

 

DELAWARE:

  • Shannon Reilly Mobilia celebrated the grand opening of her new studio, Pilates 54, located in Selbyville, Del., April 27 and 28. A pilates instructor for 10 years, Mobilia  took over a vacant 1,800-square-foot unit, formerly occupied by Curves, in March, in the Williamsville Country Village on Lighthouse Road. Pilates mat classes, small group reformer classes and personal training is offered.

 

 

1 Comment on this Post

  1. Hee Luzania

    Greenfly, I am not suggesting there is anything wrong with community programs, the problem is paying people to do it.

    Reply

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