Local is the name of the game for Shore Marketplace, a business steeped in history.
Old-timers will remember Shore Building Supply opened by R.M. Ingram. “Dad opened Shore Building Supply more than 30 years ago because he was looking for reasonably priced building supplies,” Marlene Ingram Lusk said.
After the big box stores moved in, R.M. Ingram gave up building supplies and created a flea market on the property, eventually opening an unfinished furniture store. His thinking was that since Lusk went to school for interior design, she would come home and run the shop.
He eventually got his wish. Since their father’s passing in 2013, Lusk and sister Esther Ann Ingram have maintained the building and businesses in it.
Reconfiguring the anchor store, The Furniture Gallery, sparked an idea, and they have now transformed the space.
“We wanted to keep dad’s original flea market plan but upscale it, so we started Shore Marketplace,” Lusk said. The 6,000-square-foot space is divided into open-door rooms with more than 30 vendors and more planned before summer. “Many are true, local artisans creating original items,” she said. “To honor dad and the history of the place, we created a logo with his old truck and dog, and kept the word Shore in the name.”
Walking through, customers can find nautical hooks, wood creations and signs. Shoppers will find soaps, lotions and jewelry, or pick up gourmet preserved food items, jellies or hot sauce.
Others will be drawn to original art such as paintings, local photography, felt-tufted creations, framed sea glass birdies with a message, sailor valentines, stained glass art, and repurposed wood dragonflies.
Visitors looking for furniture will enjoy classic rattan furniture and refinished vintage pieces displayed alongside cottage home decor. There is even a florist, Beachbumz Lady, who will make floral arrangements for special events, and offers a variety of flowers and gifts.
Vendors spend time in the market to assist customers and offer a personal touch, giving the space a community feel. “Some people have a personal connection to when Dad had the lumber shop, and we want to keep that familiarity. In the age of online shopping, we offer a different experience. We want customers to feel relaxed and inspired while they shop, Lusk said.
Those who remember The Furniture Gallery of the past need not worry. The unfinished products are still available, and for the DIYers, Dixie Belle and General Finishes paint and stain products are for sale. “If you don’t want to paint your furniture, several of our shop vendors offer the service,” Lusk said.
The Furniture Gallery has expanded to become a full-service furniture store offering a variety of finishes on products. The newly designed space has an open, airy feeling, and it is decorated so visitors can see how an item might look in a room. From easy chairs to pub tables, from bedroom furniture to full dining sets, the selection is in keeping with a popular coastal cottage or farmhouse style. A company that creates products from repurposed old barn wood has just been added.
The Scrub Apparel Outlet, managed by Esther Ann, has shifted to the south side of The Furniture Gallery. “We are the only scrub apparel outlet in nearly 90 miles,” Ingram said. She sells a wide variety of styles for those working in all aspects healthcare, and yes, they even have stethoscopes.
But that’s not all. Lusk also runs workshops in the evenings, teaching others how to create painted signs. In the future she plans to offer more workshops with some of the artists in the marketplace.
The grand opening of Shore Marketplace and the grand re-opening of Furniture Gallery and Scrub Apparel Outlet will be Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 15-16, beginning at 10 a.m. Some vendors will be offering 10 percent off in their shops. There will be food and door prizes. The festival atmosphere will be enhanced by local musicians Ed Shockley and pianist Mark Gratton.
Shore Marketplace is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 17689 Coastal Hwy., Lewes, on northbound Route 1 past Arby’s near Five Points. Follow Shore Marketplace, The Furniture Gallery and Scrub Apparel Outlet on Facebook.