“Is the glider chair upstairs really only $20?” asked Janice Tunell, who spends her time between her homes in Dagsboro and Wilmington.
“Yes, it is,” replied Karen Jayne.
“Sold!” said Tunell. “It will be perfect for me to sit in and rock my new great-nephew and great-niece when they visit next month. Your prices are awesome! I’ll definitely be back.”
The satisfied customer had just discovered a new shop at 33119 Main Street in Dagsboro, called Jayne’s Reliable.
“Jaynes are who we are and ‘reliable’ is what our family is known to be,” explained David Jayne, who owns the furniture and home décor business with his wife, Karen. “The name seemed a natural.”
Jayne is one of five siblings whose parents are South Bethany’s former mayor Gary Jayne and his wife, Barbara, who have both donated much of their time and life experience to the area.
“Their support has been huge – not just with advice but in a roll-up-your-sleeves, get-the-job-done-right kind of way” said David Jayne. “And, as well as our parents, our three sons all came to help us get ready for our opening day on Oct. 28. That’s just how the Jaynes have always functioned, as a family.”
Jayne’s Reliable is the culmination of dreams, hard work and serendipity. Both David and Karen have worked for themselves for most of their married life. At some point, they each started to help a friend with an antique furniture business in Hartford County, Md. That friend became a mentor.
David found he loved the workspace at the back of the store where he learned to refinish old pieces and give them new life. Similarly, Karen found she loved the front area, where her artistic flair was valuable, and she enjoyed interacting with customers. And then they both found they loved the thrill of hunting for and discovering an eclectic variety of inexpensive and unusual items that could be repurposed into quality treasures at great prices.
“‘What are we waiting for?’ we wondered. The time just seemed right, and we knew we wanted to move closer to Mom and Dad,” said Karen Jayne.
While waiting to find the perfect location for their store, the Jaynes started to accumulate and work on their future merchandise.
“We stored the larger pieces at Mom and Dad’s house,” said David Jayne. “And we were fortunate enough to find the Dagsboro Antique Center on Clayton Street, where we rented space to sell our smaller stuff. Then, when the quilt shop around the corner relocated farther up the street, we realized that would be a perfect spot for us.
“While we all sell a few of the same things, we’re not in competition,” he pointed out. “We believe that we complement each other and will attract more business to Dagsboro as a result.”
The store is an old, attractively painted, two-story building with welcoming front and back porches. There is plenty of off-street parking at the rear of the building. Most of the contents of the shop is furniture, but not all of it is antique. Some are natural wood and others have been painted with colors that match the light, airy rooms favored in beach communities.
“Here, I find more people prefer a pale blue rustic paint, whereas in Maryland a barn-red color was popular,” said Karen Jayne. “We want to appeal to young couples starting their first households, as well more established families who love to discover a unique piece that they can also call a bargain.”
One day during the summer, as Gary Jayne was perusing the increasing amount of odds and ends that were taking over his house, he noticed a rusty wrought-iron table base and, separately, pieces of wood from Karen’s mom’s barn in Vermont.
A gleam in his eye and many hours of joining together, cleaning, sanding, staining and applying a polyurethane finish, and Jayne had completed his first refinished table. A square masterpiece, it now stands in the corner of Jayne’s Reliable, awaiting a new and happy home.
“I’m a perfectionist, so I’m never satisfied, but I do like the way it turned out,” said the elder Jayne with a shy grin.
Barbara Jayne is finding she enjoys helping customers at the store, especially when they show interest in the splendid collection of beach-glass jewelry and candle votives that shine from an antique wooden display cabinet.
“See the base of this one,” she said. “I picked it from the beach in South Bethany after a storm last winter and gave it to Karen’s friend, who is a very talented crafter.”
Jayne’s Reliable is indeed a family venture. For now, it is open from Friday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Items will be considered for consignment. The phone number is (302) 927-0049.