Two years ago, Milton residents Patrick and Amy Conroy decided to take a risk and become their own bosses.
Supported by Delaware’s Project Pop-Up Program, which worked with landlords to provide three months free rent and business coaching, the couple secured two storefronts in downtown Milton for two business ventures: Wine Knot Shop, a nautical-themed gift store, and P.C. Rods, a custom fishing-rod business.
“It's been great from the time we opened the doors,” Patrick said. “We used it as a springboard to get to the next level where we wanted to be. That program did the job perfectly.”
Now the pair has decided to take the show on the road. They closed their stores in mid-December.
Amy has shifted her focus to her custom, handmade nautical glass art dubbed Beachscapes. Instead of filling a brick-and-mortar space with her creations, Conroy's Beachscapes now will be featured at area festivals and markets, at the Milton Mercantile and other local shops, and online through Etsy and an independent website.
“It's a good thing,” Amy said. “We're excited about the move. The Town of Milton has done nothing but support us, and we wouldn't have gotten this far without them.”
Patrick said their Union Street storefronts gave the couple insight into what sells well, but presented a logistical challenge when the couple wanted to display their goods at area markets, but still had to man the stores.
“We never had time to do the events that we wanted to because there always had to be one of us in the store,” Patrick said.
Patrick said a garage at their home on Union Street Extended will be the hub for his custom-made rods, featuring designs by his wife, as well as fishing-rod repairs.
While the Conroys have closed the doors on their downtown stores, their businesses will continue to thrive in Milton.
“We're sad we're not going to have a presence downtown,” Patrick said.
The Conroys said one of Wine Knot Shop's vendors, Cape Treasures, has plans to take over their former store locations on Union Street in early 2017.
For more about Beachscapes, call 302-228-2050, go to beachscapesbyamy.com or search “Beachscapes by Amy” on Facebook. For more about P.C. Rods, call 302-228-0208, go to pcrods.com or search “PC Rods” on Facebook.