Dollars & Sense
Small-to-medium sized businesses face a challenge: how to generate more revenue while still keeping costs as low as possible.
The Dayna Feher Real Estate Team of ResortQuest Real Estate recently received recognition as the company’s overall Top Producing Team for 2015 and was ranked No. 1 in sales for the year, with more than $20 million in sales.
Long & Foster Real Estate recently welcomed Mike Holoka as a sales associate in its Bethany office at 33298 S. Coastal Highway.
Bruce Mears Designer Builder was selected as the “People’s Choice” winner in Integrity’s 2015 Red Diamond Achiever (RDA) Program, which awards architects, builders and remodelers for cutting-edge design and sustainability through the use of Integrity Windows & Doors.
Delmarva Power electric and gas customers this month and into May will see a $122.64 and $49.95 credit, respectively, on their monthly bill, the first of the benefits they will receive as part of the merger completed last month between Exelon and Pepco Holdings Inc., the parent company of Delmarva Power.
Buoyed by a stronger-than-forecasted first quarter, the Sussex County Association of Realtors (SCAOR) announced this week a revised outlook for 2016 that would continue what they described as a years-long period of modest and steady growth in southern Delaware’s real estate markets.
New Ocean View residents set to appear on ‘The Chew’
Not long ago, Tony Lanuza and Chris Poeschl of Ocean View were living the stereotypical “struggling artist” life in New York City. But on April 15, the two men — partners in life, as well as entrepreneurship — will appear beside world-renowned chef Mario Batali on the ABC TV show “The Chew.”
Their baked goods company, “The Brooklyn Baking Barons,” produces a Honey Whiskey Cake that has made its way onto People magazine’s holiday gift guide and into homes of celebrities including Batali, who apparently now buys the cakes for celebrations with his family.
The golden palm-sized mini-cakes may be their ticket to stardom, but they actually had the humblest of beginnings. It was Poeschl’s birthday, and, according to Lanuza, finances were too tight to buy him a gift, so he offered to bake him something. Poeschl asked for “a Caribbean rum cake, but not a rum cake,” he said.
The resulting cake has been the pair’s ticket to success. That success is due in no small part to a previous visit to “The Chew” — not as guests, but as audience members, with free tickets. Wanting to take full advantage of the opportunity, the two decided to bake up some honey cakes for the hosts, as well as the crew.
Water Lili brings bohemian style to Bethany boardwalk
It just kind of worked out.
The space for her store of 10 years in Rehoboth Beach was being renovated. There was a divorce that was winding down. And an oceanfront spot right on the Bethany Beach boardwalk had just opened up.
Factor in that her partner — a Bethany legend who goes by the handle “Bodji” — knew the landlord, and that she padded by the spot on her stand-up paddleboard (SUP) every morning anyway, and Lili Oller didn’t have to think twice about opening up her new store, Water Lili, as everything else seemed to fall into place.
“This is the rebirth. This is the new beginning,” said Oller, who had previously owned Tiger Lili in Rehoboth. “I was like, ‘Alright, I’m just gonna dive into this, because I so believe in this.’ This is not work. This is my life.”
An avid SUP-er and ocean advocate, with a worldly travel résumé and off-the-wall passion for fashion, Oller opened up shop last week, aiming to introduce Bethany Beach to her signature — yet always changing — bohemian beach style.
An array of versatile clothing options, ranging from beachwear to casual and evening wear, as well as jewelry, eyewear, handbags, footwear, accessories and vintage T-shirts, flannels and even a few garments without universal classifications, are just a slice of the lifestyle that can be typically found at the newest hotspot on the boards. And, according to some of the locals turned already-loyal Water Lili customers, it’s exactly what the area has been waiting for.
The number embossed on the door of Doyle’s restaurant in Selbyville reads “5092.” It is a number that tells the very beginning of a story that now spans 65 years and is firmly planted in the area’s history — a history that includes agriculture, as well as tourism.
Originally called Woody’s Diner, after owner Woody Sturgis, the restaurant has been verified to be the oldest “Silk City Diner” still operating in Delaware — which is part of the story told by that 5092 on the door. It signifies, according to Brandon Doyle, that the diner was built in 1950 and it was the 92nd “dining car” — which is what the Silk City Diners actually were — built by the Paterson Vehicle Co. that year.
Doyle, whose family has operated the restaurant since 1983, takes pride in the fact that the diner appears today just about the same as it did in 1951, when Woody’s Diner opened. Coverings on stools and booths have been replaced over the years, and somewhere along the way the original blue coverings were replaced with red ones. But otherwise, the diner is very much unchanged — thanks in part to the Doyle’s efforts to find authentic replacement parts when they are needed.
Schreiber breaks the mold with Custom Fit 360 in Millville
Accept the challenge.
That’s what Erik Schreiber told himself he had to do when, after making a career out of fitness, he finally decided to open his own gym last month. And at Custom Fit 360 in Millville, that’s what he asks his clients to do, too.
What he doesn’t ask those clients to do, however, is work out the way that he works out, or the way that anyone else works out, for that matter, because, as the name suggests, Custom Fit 360 is all about one thing: customizing the fitness experience for each individual client.
“Everybody has different things that they need to work on,” Schreiber explained. “You’re not gonna get P90X in here. You’re not gonna get Jillian Michaels — because that’s not customized; everybody does the same thing. You’re gonna get your own workout based on what your goals are, and we’re gonna accomplish those goals by working together.”
Individualizing everything from the exercises to the way he puts his clients through them, and even down the music selection, Schreiber is able to put the focus on specific, and typically very different, needs.
One of those clients has been local restauranteur Steve Hagen of the Off the Hook Restaurant Group, who has lost more than 30 pounds since signing up with Schreiber around three months ago.
The Bethany Beach Town Council has formally made known its opposition to a development of six four-unit multi-family structures proposed to be built off Garfield Parkway on property that contains forested wetlands — 1.9 acres of which would be filled in by owners Stanley and Delores Walcek if permits from federal, state and local officials were granted.
Bishop-Hastings Funeral Home rang in the new year early, with a rebranding ribbon-cutting ceremony held on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, to commemorate its new name. Family and friends joined new owner W. Bryan Bishop Jr., along with Selbyville Mayor Clifton C. Murray, and State Rep. Ron Gray in celebrating the rebranding.
For the fifth consecutive year, data compiled and released by the Sussex County Association of Realtors (SCAOR) earlier this month indicates a period of modest growth in the region’s real estate markets.
Again led by the coastal market, the numbers indicate nearly $1.52 billion in southern Delaware real estate changed hands in 2015, which is a 1 percent increase over the previous year.
The Coastal Region of Long & Foster, which includes the New Jersey shore, the beaches of Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, recently congratulated its top producing agents and teams for the month of November 2015.
Since Kristina Isom took over the Mind, Body & Sole Wellness Center in Bethany Beach, it’s seen its fair share of expansion. The facility has gone from what was simply a place for detoxification to expanding into saunas and massage therapy, and then again into facials, manicures and pedicure services.
But even after the newest addition this past October, taking over the adjacent studio for yoga, Zumba and Pilates classes, Isom still isn’t finished with what she envisions Mind, Body, & Sole becoming in the future, as she continues on her campaign for wellness in an area where she sees a growing demand for it.
“This is a growing area for wellness. There’s a need for it,” Isom said of the continued additions. “There’s a need for a place for people to come and feel comfortable taking care of themselves.” The yoga studio “was a great addition to what we already offer now.”
A nationally-known pet store is close to getting its final approvals to come to Millville.
The Millville Town Council has approved a preliminary site plan and final site plan for Petco, a retailer of pet supplies and services, with more than 1,500 stores across the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico.
Buffalo wings, brisket, cheesesteaks and sports headline at Burnzy’s Bar & Grill near Bethany Beach — the newest venture from owner and local restauranteur Matt Burns.
Taking over the space previously occupied by Turquoise in the Market Place at Sea Colony Burns and his team have completely renovated the space to turn it into what they’re hoping will become a staple of the area and hotspot for sports fans in Bethany Beach.
And with a completely revamped bar and dining area, bartenders and waitresses clad in a referee uniforms, and the walls lined with sports memorabilia, with an array of local teams represented, the atmosphere reflects that of the menu for locals and tourists alike.
“Everybody’s so excited for us to be here. They love the atmosphere,” Burns said of the renovations. “There was so much to do before we could even think about the theme, so it kind of happened as we were building it. I tried to do a classic sports theme throughout.”
State Sen. Robert Marshall (D-Wilmington West), has introduced an amendment to his minimum wage bill that calls on Delaware to increase its lowest wage to $15.05 per hour by the year 2023.
The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce on Nov. 10 honored SoDel Concepts, a Rehoboth Beach-based hospitality company, at the 2015 Superstars in Business Award luncheon, held at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington.
Dr. Christine Fox recently brought her 20-plus years of experience as a general dentist to Bethany Dental Associates.
Fox previously owned her own practice in New Jersey before moving to Delaware to be closer to her aging parents. She said patient comfort is of the utmost importance for her, and her patients experience, gentle, caring treatment.
Quick service, flavor and a filling meal are key for Millville’s newest taco shack, called Taco Taco.
Owner Kevin Martin loved the simplicity of a small, quick and easy restaurant, mirroring the create-your-own meal style of fast-casual restaurants like Subway, Chipotle and Moe’s.
“I knew the area always needed quick, quality food for a reasonable price … for the working man.” Martin said.
People choose either two tacos, a burrito, a salad or burrito bowl. Meals are priced by the meat, which includes chicken, chorizo, fish, breaded shrimp and ground beef. Overnight slow cooking is the key to shredded beef and shredded pork.
“It just falls apart in the morning,” said Martin, also brainstorming a vegetarian option.
Community leaders, educators, businesspeople and elected officials will join together to raise public awareness regarding current economic issues at the 22nd Annual Sussex County Today & Tomorrow Conference. The event will be hosted on Wednesday, Oct. 28, from 7:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Carter Partnership Center at Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown.
Following welcoming remarks by Sussex County Council President Michael Vincent, Delaware Tech President Mark T. Brainard, and Vice President and Campus Director Ileana Smith, the morning will include information that could be important to Sussex County employers.
The conference will include a statistical update by Workforce Analyst Ed Simon of the Delaware Economic Development Office and a keynote address by Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Brewery.
There will also be an hour reserved for Delaware Tech’s 1 Million Cups initiative, a partnership effort with the Kauffman Foundation to support entrepreneurship nationwide. The two presenters will be Rob Rider of Body & Soul Fitness and Katey Evans of the Frozen Farmer.
The benefits and challenges of a workplace with a mix of generations is well-known. What can make the blend interesting is that a few common stereotypes continue to exist, as people attribute certain characteristics to certain age groups.
For example, Baby Boomers (ages 50 to mid-60s) are supposed to be old-school; members of Gen X (ages 35 to 50) are supposed to be self-entitled; and members of Gen Y (ages 18 to 35) are supposed to be to be lazy and aloof.
Then there’s Zack, Sean and Ben from Sussex County, who refuse to be part of the stereotype. They’re Gen Y professionals building their businesses from the ground-up, and, no, they’re not just selling lemonade for nickels.
Zack King grew-up in Ocean View. He’s a member of Gen Y, at 27.
King currently owns his own restaurant and distillery on Route 1. He built Delaware Distilling Company from the ground up in 2012. Now he runs a successful restaurant and distills more than a dozen spirits for use in the restaurant and for retail sale and distribution.
“I like to surround myself with people that are dedicated, hardworking and passionate about what they do, regardless of the generation,” said King. “We have key employees from 25 to 65 years old, and it works. I’m not saying we don’t have our share of turnover, like most businesses in the area. It’s just important to recognize talent and keep those people happy.”
There’s been a change in scenery along Route 26 in Clarksville in recent weeks, with Hocker’s Super Center’s revamped billboard at the corner of Routes 26 and 17.
Hocker said the digital billboard received approval on the county, state and federal levels prior to its installation.
“It has been a four-year process. I went through every proper channel I needed to go through to get 100 percent approved,” said Gerry Hocker. “I first started with the County, and got approval from the County. Then I had to get approval from the State. There were a lot of meetings. It took a lot of time.
“I went through every proper channel… Looking back now, I don’t know how I did it… other than determination, perseverance and respect.”
The billboard, which was upgraded in August, is a state-of-the-art, double-sided digital billboard, with each side measuring 300 square feet, and is available for rental by interested parties or advertisers.
G&E Supermarket and Hocker’s Super Center have been Hocker-family-owned and -operated businesses for more than 50 years. Along with its deli, supercenter, gas station and convenience store, Hocker’s also offers catering services.
Last month, Hocker’s added a new food trailer to its Hocker’s BBQ fleet, continuing to expand their catering business.
“It’s just another avenue of our business where we like to diversify,” said Gerry Hocker. “The downturn of the economy kind of affected everybody. We were affected, as well, with our businesses. We looked into where we could diversify and what we could expand into, and avenues we could take that our competition couldn’t.”
“You have a lot of competition come in. You have to do things that your competition can’t, being that we’re locally owned,” added Greg Hocker. “We can branch out and do those other things that the other brand stores can’t do.”
Greg Hocker said the catering business and barbecue trailer started small but have continued to grow.
“People start asking about certain things that we had never even thought about making,” said Greg Hocker. “We started experimenting and making it, and now we can make pretty much just about anything anybody wants.”
When SoDel Concepts opened NorthEast Seafood Kitchen in May 2005, the restaurant was a bit of a gamble. Chef Matt Haley, founder of SoDel Concepts, had a solid history of success in the hospitality industry. However, NorthEast Seafood Kitchen is located in a strip mall in Ocean View, which in 2005 was just starting to experience growth. It was just a few miles from Route 1, but would residents and tourists venture inland?
They did and they do.
“NorthEast Seafood Kitchen might be the greatest SoDel success story,” said Scott Kammerer, the current president and CEO of SoDel Concepts, which owns eight coastal restaurants, Plate Catering, Big Thunder Roadside Kitchen, a food truck, and hospitality management and consulting divisions. “Today, it’s an incredibly busy year-round restaurant, and it has an incredibly loyal clientele, who support the restaurant and the staff.”
On Friday, Oct. 2, from 5 to 7 p.m., the restaurant is celebrating its milestone anniversary with happy-hour drink specials, appetizers and the debut of a commemorative video, which will be shown on the half-hour during that time period. The video was created by W. Films and SoDel Films, and was directed by Rob Waters.
For Dick Heidenberger, taking the helm of Bethany Beach’s newest oceanfront restaurant was a move that made a lot of sense.
The endeavor began back in January as a conversation with Jack Burbage, owner of the new Bethany Beach Ocean Suites/Residence Inn. Burbage is also Heidenberger’s landlord at the Bethany Beach eateries Mango’s and Bethany Blues. Once he took a look at the hotel that was still under construction and the plans for the restaurant space, Heidenberger said, he decided to jump onboard.
The rest of the winter brought a flurry of preparations for Heidenberger and partners Steve Montgomery and Jim Weisgerber, Heidenberger said. The trio quickly began assembling a team of people to bring their vision to life. A crucial part of that process was hiring chef Danny Somoza and director of operations Donna Serafina.
“The two of them really put together our playbook here,” Heidenberger said.
That playbook includes a “very innovative menu” that features the freshest ingredients possible. To that end, 99 Sea Level works with a number of local food producers — including, but not limited to: Adkins Produce of Millsboro, Bennett Orchards of Frankford, Fishkiller Lobster Shack of Dagsboro and Sea Eagle Fish Company of Selbyville, in addition to farms and seafood companies from all over the Delmarva Peninsula.
From wild-caught salmon to free-range chicken, the menu features the freshest ingredients available, Heidenberger said. And from those ingredients, “everything that is served here is made fresh, in-house,” he said.
The crowning touch on the 99 Sea Level menu is the Seafood Tower, designed to be as beautiful to look at as it is to eat. The tower comes in three sizes and features blue-point Chincoteague oysters, steamed shrimp, Broadwater clams, steamed Prince Edward Island mussels and steamed Alaskan crab clusters.
The location of the restaurant, which seats 90 inside and 100 outside, is a huge part of what makes it unique — steps from the boardwalk and the dunes, it is one of a very few oceanfront restaurants in the Bethany Beach area. The wide porch, graced with elegant columns and fitted very simply with potted palms, was cool and pleasant even on a recent hot, humid afternoon, with ceiling fans adding to the breeze from the ocean.
As soon as Emilie Bonano realized that she enjoyed marketing, she wanted to do that in a tourist location. That makes her new position as communications manager for the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce even more fitting.
What is the role of communications manager? “It’s all-encompassing,” she said. She’ll handle all press releases, newsletters, social media and email lists, but also creating, developing and selling ads for Chamber publications.
“Working for such a wonderful organization that really brings all of the tourism businesses together all in one, and being able to make this community united and getting the [word] out there for everyone” really excited her about this job, she said.
Bonano said she wanted to join a group that makes people and tourists “feel at home when they visit,” and get “the community united, and getting our tourists here going to the businesses that are members of the Chamber.”
The Chamber staff was delighted with her experience in marketing, event planning and recruiting.
From wine night every Thursday in the off-season, to group trips up to New York City and the shop’s mascot — a dog named Evelyn — Christine’s Consignments in Ocean View is not your average consignment shop.
But that just might be the reason for the store’s success. Since opening the doors in 2010, owner Christine Hinz has even been able to open up a second location in Rehoboth, catering to men’s clothing. So to celebrate the store’s five-year anniversary, she’s rewarding the customers who have made it all possible with a 25 percent off sale for Labor Day weekend.
“The whole store — everything’s going to be 25 percent off,” Hinz explained. “I’ve never done that before, and I won’t do that again until my 10-year anniversary.”
Under the tagline “A trendy to place to shop,” the Ocean View location caters to local women and carries items ranging from women’s clothing and shoes to an array of jewelry, handbags, home decor and even furniture — offering some of the top names in designer merchandise, without the designer price tags.
“I’m very selective. We love designer,” she said. “We love Louis Vuitton, Tori Burch. We get a lot of Coach, Cole Hahn. Then we have a lot of sterling silver jewelry and some gold.”