For a decade, Jessica Barbour and Sherry Christensen have worked together in Bethany Beach, selling women’s clothing. But, at the Rose Garden, they were just employees. Since early this month, they started selling clothes together once more. This time, it’s for themselves. After working for someone else for years, the pair decided to capitalize on an opportunity and open a store of their own.
Wear it Out, a women’s clothing and accessory store — and both women’s first business-owning venture — now sits just off of the main strip in downtown Bethany Beach.
“It’s something we thought about doing for a long time,” Barbour said, adding she knew the owner of the vacant building. “The opportunity just presented itself. Rose Garden is a wonderful store. But you need more than one,” she said.
Since signing a rental agreement in May, they stripped the building and performed renovations to fit their style, the owners said.
Barbour and Christensen now carry everything from wallets, shoes, bags, hats and jewelry to women’s clothing and apparel in the “cozy” corner store. Wear it Out features the designs of Provence, Velvet, Isda, French Dressing, Sandy Starkman, Amy Brill and Vivienne Tam, among others.
Barbour said that their store features nice clothing and accessories, which aren’t expensive, but aren’t cheap, either.
“You don’t break the bank shopping here,” she said, “but you are getting quality.”
And the pair would know. Aside from the decade of experience in the other Bethany apparel shop, Christensen worked with a designer in West Chester, Pa., before relocating to the area. In the last five years in this area, though, three women’s clothing stores have closed, leaving local women little option for serious fashion, Barbour said.
“No one came to replace” the three stores, Barbour said. “There was definitely a need.”
Since the pair’s grand opening on May 5, business has been light. Unsurprisingly, they expect that to change this weekend when the summer season gets under way — a season that serves as a consumer haven for all types of businesses in the bustling coastal area.
The owners, however, weren’t originally set on staying in downtown Bethany, they said.
”We would have been content to get off the beaten path,” Barbour said. “Our husbands talked us into staying in downtown Bethany,” Christensen added.
Little by little, the two are thanking their husbands for that decision. On Saturday, May 20, morning shoppers filled the store, wall to wall, in perhaps a preview of what is to come at the new Bethany Beach clothing stop — and for the blossoming, first-time business owners.
“It’s been a little slow but the people coming in are very excited,” said Christensen. “We’ve had a great response to the clothing and that’s a good thing. Every day, it’s picking up.”