After 43 years, the Sea Shell Shop is consolidating to one location and closing its downtown Rehoboth Beach store. Taking over the soon-to-be vacant storefront will be longtime downtown business Tideline Gallery.
Patty and Thomas Derrick opened the Sea Shell Shop in 1979; it has been at 119 Rehoboth Ave. since 1982. At one point, there were five Sea Shell Shop locations. Thomas died in 2011, and Patty, who has been running the business with her son John, said it’s time to make her life easier.
“I’ve loved being downtown this whole time,” said Patty. “Making this decision hasn’t been easy.”
Patty said she hadn’t really been thinking about closing the downtown shop, but a recent staffing shortage caused by an employee’s medical issue forced her and John to close the downtown shop for a day. That was eye-opening, because it could happen again at any time, she said.
Following that issue, Patty said she talked with her sons about closing downtown and whether the building, which is located on the north side of Rehoboth Avenue’s second block, should be sold or rented. It was a stroke of luck that Bill and Barbara Hammond of Tideline Gallery were looking for a new location, she said.
“They’re dear friends and good people,” she said. “I had to approach them when I heard they were looking for a new place.”
The Hammonds have owned and operated Tideline Gallery for 38 years, most recently at 111 Rehoboth Ave., a few doors down from the Sea Shell Shop. An increase in rent forced them to search for a new location.
Bill said they were still looking for a new space when Patty approached them about her place. They’re grateful to be staying downtown, he said.
“It’s our market,” he said.
Barbara quickly confirmed.
“We don’t want to be out of town,” she said, adding there’s another benefit to moving just a few doors down. “We like being on the sunny side of the street.”
Derrick said there will be a big sale at the downtown shop Friday, Jan. 6 through Sunday, Jan. 8. It could last into next week, she said.
For more information on Sea Shell Shop, go to seashellshop.com. The address for the Route 1 location is 19366 Coastal Highway, Rehoboth Beach. The phone number is 302-227-4323.
The Hammonds will reopen Tideline Gallery at its new home as soon as possible. For more information, go to tidelinegallery.com.