A great pair of sunglasses is one of the few ways a person can look good while hanging out at the beach. The team at Helios Sunglasses in Rehoboth Beach wants to make people look good.
Located off Rehoboth Avenue in First Street Station, Helios Sunglasses is a business venture between two brothers and their wives – Ashlee and Andrew Martinelli, and Melissa and Vinny Martinelli.
“Sunglasses and the beach go together like peanut butter and jelly,” said Andrew.
Andrew said he and Vinny had been talking for years about owning their own business, but they were spurred into action after both couples moved to the Cape Region recently and a there was a COVID-forced reevaluation of what’s important in life.
“After 2020, we all needed a change,” said Andrew.
Melissa said they had almost signed a lease on another location before COVID, but they didn’t. Everything aligned, and there was no better time, she said.
Once the team settled on opening a sunglasses shop, Andrew started researching names. He said he knew as soon as he came across it, the name was going to be Helios, the Greek god of the sun.
“That is awesome. It doesn’t get more sunglassy than that,” he said.
Also, said Ashlee, they want customers to be ready to take on the beach like a god in their new sunglasses.
“We want to make it fun,” she said.
The shop offers brands like Ray-Ban, Costa, Oakley, Blenders and NYS Collection in a variety of price points. Estimating 1,000 pairs available, Vinny said there’s something for every customer. He was specifically excited about the NYS brand.
“They’re really fashionable, but affordable,” he said.
Local artist Laura Erickson painted a Cape Region-themed mural on the back wall. The team bookended the mural with swings.
It’s a place where people can take pictures and have a fun experience while they’re shopping, said Ashlee.
The space was most recently used as storage for Grotto Pizza. It’s been cleaned up tremendously, with the brothers and their father building all the display cases and shelves.
It appears Andrew will be shouldering the lion's share of working hours.
“I’m the only one who left their career,” he said, with a big that’s-OK-with-me smile. “You can ask anyone; I’ve wanted to live at the beach my whole life and now I am.”
Ashlee, laughing and joking, said she and the others might help at nights or on the weekends.
In addition to sunglasses, Helios offers G-Shock watches, kids’ sunglasses, clothing and other accessories.
For now, Helios is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday. However, hours will expand as summer gets closer.