Dolle’s owner offers to give Rehoboth iconic sign for free

Commissioners set to discuss options during Sept. 8 workshop
September 3, 2021

Story Location:
1 Rehoboth Avenue
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
United States

The end of 2021 is only four months away, and while it may not be the question on everyone’s mind, there’s no doubt that people are interested in what’s going to happen to the iconic Dolle’s sign on the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk.

It appears city officials will get first dibs on the sign’s future location. An agenda item for a Wednesday, Sept. 8 commissioner workshop says, “Discuss offer from Tom Ibach to take possession of the iconic Dolles sign currently installed on the roof of the old Dolle’s Candyland location, northeast corner of Rehoboth Avenue at the Boardwalk.”

In an email Sept. 1, Rehoboth Beach Mayor Stan Mills said, “Tom Ibach of Dolle’s Candyland is graciously offering a donation of his iconic Dolle’s sign to the city for free.”

Ibach confirmed that he has offered the sign to the city. That’s as far as he’s gotten, he said in a text message Sept. 1, adding the sign has to be taken off the building by Dec. 31.

Established in 1926, Dolle’s Candyland has been in Rehoboth for nearly 100 years. It had been at 1 Rehoboth Ave. and the Boardwalk since 1927. Ibach is the third generation of his family to run the operation, taking over in 1984.

Ibach announced in December 2020 that he would be moving the well-known caramel popcorn, candy and taffy store to his other candy shop, Ibach’s Candy by the Sea, a few storefronts west of the Boardwalk at 9 Rehoboth Ave.

A couple months later, the building on the Boardwalk was sold to Grotto Pizza and Pennsylvania-based developer Onix Group. Ibach installed a new LED-lit Dolle’s sign on top of the store at 9 Rehoboth Ave. in late June.

In the first commissioners meeting after the news about the Dolle’s relocation and the sign coming down, Mills said he supported keeping the sign in town. However, he added at the time, the sign doesn’t meet city code and no decisions have been made on how to allow it to remain.

In his Sept. 1 email, Mills said when Ibach first announced he was relocating the store, the city received multiple responses from the public on how the sign should be saved –  force the building owner to keep it in place, relocate it to the top of Ibach’s new location, relocate it to the roof of the Rehoboth Beach Museum and other ideas.

The first two ideas have proven unrealistic, said Mills. Other ideas will be entertained during the workshop, he said, keeping in mind that the sign is approximately 35 feet long and 25 feet tall, and its weight is substantial. 

“There likely would be costs for moving the sign and for its future upkeep should the city commissioners agree to accept the offer,” said Mills.

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