Dollars & Sense

Big Chill Beach Club breaks out umbrella room with a view

New restaurant at state park offers inlet and ocean views, beachfront eats

Coastal Point • Submitted: Big Chill Beach Club has a view of the Indian River Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.Coastal Point • Submitted: Big Chill Beach Club has a view of the Indian River Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.Like a summer sun rising above the Atlantic Ocean, the large yellow umbrella atop the concession building at Delaware Seashore State Parks concession stand signals a fresh start.

The umbrella is the signature piece of the new Big Chill Beach Club; it sits atop the venue’s glass-enclosed eating area. That area is surrounded by a large deck, where diners can enjoy 360-degree views encompassing the ocean, the Indian River Inlet Bridge and the Indian River Bay.

Those who would rather keep their feet in the sand can do so by taking their food back to the beach or by sitting at tables in the sand at the new eatery.

A partnership between Delaware State Parks and La Vida Hospitality Group, the Big Chill Beach Club brings to the venture the group’s experience with its other projects, Crooked Hammock Brewery, Restaurant & Backyard Beer Garden; Fork+Flask at Nage; Taco Reho food truck; and the original Big Chill Cantina.

PNC closing downtown Selbyville branch

Corner bank has existed since 1903

Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant : The PNC Bank branch in Selbyville will close June 16.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant : The PNC Bank branch in Selbyville will close June 16.Selbyville is losing one of its two banks this spring. The PNC Bank at the corner of Church Street and Main Street will permanently close its doors at 3 p.m. on Friday, June 16.

The ATM will remain on-site at 1 West Church Street immediately after the office closes, although there is no timeframe for that availability. It’s a higher-functioning ATM that can process deposits.

Why is the bank closing? Basically, PNC representatives said, people use machines more for banking, and PNC doesn’t need a two-story office building on Church Street anymore.

“Over the last several years, we have been going over an evaluation of our overall branch network,” said PNC spokesperson Marcey Zwiebel. “We’ve also just been looking at data that says the way customers use branches is changing. They’re increasingly using the convenient and alternative channels” — online, mobile or ATM banking — “for many of the basic transactions that they used to use the branch for… We’ve been taking a look at how we can support our customers when and how and where they want.”

‘Life by the slice’

Fresh ingredients, same recipe for owners of Pomodoro Pizzeria in Bethany Beach

Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert Rose and Brian Conte hold up a white spinach with ricotta, fresh garlic and olive oil pizza in their new pizzeria in Bethany Beach.It was an offer that they couldn’t refuse.

After purchasing a home in Millville By the Sea six years ago, the search had been on for the Naples, Italy-born couple turned lifetime restauranteurs in all things Italian cuisine, Rose and Brian Conte.

After the success of Café Palermo — the Wilmington-based establishment that they had owned and operated together for 13 years — the Contes had been searching for the right location to introduce the cuisine of their home country to what they were hoping to make their new home, in Bethany Beach.

But after trying to find that perfect location for more than five years, it finally found them instead, on a boardwalk day last spring.

“We just happened to be walking around on a Sunday, and then we saw it. When we saw this spot, I said, ‘Brian — this is it.’ I knew right away,” said Rose Conte of the now official location of the Pomodoro Pizzeria, next to Dickey’s Frozen Custard just off the Bethany Beach boardwalk.

Big Fish, smaller pond

Big Fish Grill makes its way to Ocean View with new location

Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: The Big Fish Grill front-of-house team is ready for action in Ocean View.Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: The Big Fish Grill front-of-house team is ready for action in Ocean View.One fish, two fish, red fish, new Fish.

Fans of the Big Fish Restaurant Group may already be keen on the group’s well-established area staples, including the classic American cuisine of the Summer House Saloon on Rehoboth Avenue and farm-to-table concept of Salt Air in Rehoboth Beach; the three Big Fish Grill locations in Rehoboth Beach, Wilmington and Glen Mills, Pa.; and the Crab House, Bella Coast Italian Kitchen, Big Fish Seafood Market; and the list going on.

But despite 10 unique operations, and nine of them in the First State, a Big Fish endeavor from restauranteurs and brothers Eric and Norman Sugrue had yet to make its way down to the southernmost Delaware beaches until this past winter.

Lord’s Landscaping looks ahead to 40th year

Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert : The Lord’s Landscaping team has been serving the community for nearly 40 years, and continuesCoastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert : The Lord’s Landscaping team has been serving the community for nearly 40 years, and continuesIn 1972, after graduating from college and moving to Sussex County, Bill Lord was not planning to open a landscaping business.

“When I first moved here, I was a teacher. I was just not destined to be a teacher. My wife Donna was. Her teaching job gave me the flexibility to try to do something I really wanted to do.”

Lord left education and answered a want-ad in the paper, and worked for a landscaper in Lewes for two years. He then decided to go out on his own and, with the help of his wife’s grandfather, Amos McCabe, was able to use for his budding business some of the property in Millville that once housed Delaware Quality Feeds.

“Amos let me use a little corner office there and a little patch of ground to store some stuff,” recalled Lord. “I’d watch out after him, do some jobs for him. He never had a son… He loved me right from the get-go. He took me hunting. I had never been hunting before, you know. I’m from Philadelphia.”

Aquacare set to celebrate 10th anniversary

Coastal Point photos • Tyler Valliant: Aquacare physical therapist Lauren Nuttle demonstrates her skills on fellow employee Elizabeth Kim.Coastal Point photos • Tyler Valliant: Aquacare physical therapist Lauren Nuttle demonstrates her skills on fellow employee Elizabeth Kim.After 10 years in its Millville location, the staff at Aquacare Physical Therapy continues to expand its “menu” of services.

“We offer both ‘surf’ and ‘turf,’” said physical therapist Lauren Nuttle — referring to the pool-based aquatherapy available at Aquacare, as well as the “land-based” therapies offered there, too.

While the aquatherapy is obvious from the name, Nuttle said, the office offers more traditional physical therapy techniques, as well as some new ones that have just come into use in the past several years.

Nuttle said she loves the breadth of services offered at Aquacare because “I don’t have to tell someone, ‘Oh, we don’t have that here,’ or ‘We can’t do that here.’” The depth of the services allows staff at Aquacare to accept a wide range of patients, Nuttle said.

She recalled one favorite patient who had suffered several broken bones in a motorcycle accident. Thanks to the availability of the pool for therapy in which his body weight was supported — a person submerged up to his neck in water feels a loss of 90 percent of their body weight — he was able to start therapy there and follow through all the way to his complete recovery.

Hockers set to open doors to local supermarket’s future

Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: State Sen. Gerald Hocker, left, and son Gerry are preparing to open their new grocery store at the former location of Harris Teeter, near Salt Pond.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: State Sen. Gerald Hocker, left, and son Gerry are preparing to open their new grocery store at the former location of Harris Teeter, near Salt Pond.On Sunday, March 26, at 9 p.m., the doors will close for the last time at G&E Supermarket on Cedar Neck Road in Ocean View.

On Thursday, March 30, at 7 a.m. the doors will open for customers one mile to the south, at the new Hocker’s Supermarket in the Salt Pond Plaza.

“It’s bittersweet,” said Gerald “Gerry” Hocker Jr., whose father, Gerald Hocker Sr., took over the Cedar Neck Road store from his Uncle Jake in 1971.

Even though Jake Hocker had the store for 18 years — less time than the 46 years Gerald Hocker Sr. has been at the helm — some longtime customers still call the store “Jake’s.”

As Gerry and Gerald Hocker stood in the new store this week, contractors swarmed like bees, and the buzzing of drills punctuated the air. Four brand new self-checkout stands at the front of the store were swathed in plastic, to protect them from sawdust.

Morning Buns: A family’s sweet dream come true

Coastal Point photos • Tyler Valliant: Lynn and Kylee Rickards pose for a photo in the new bake shop.Coastal Point photos • Tyler Valliant: Lynn and Kylee Rickards pose for a photo in the new bake shop.Kylee Rickards’ eyes light up as she describes the process of making the impossibly delicate layers of pastry that make up her croissants.

“You just keep folding them over and over on each other,” said the Culinary Institute of America graduate, who recently opened the Morning Buns Bake Shop in Ocean View, alongside her mother, Lynn Rickards. Her voice actually takes on a quiet reverence when she talks about the eight-hour process by which she transforms layers of pastry dough into buttery perfection.

“Croissants are my babies,” said Kylee, who went off to the CIA in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., after graduating from Sussex Technical High School.

The pair opened Morning Buns on Jan. 23, in a 1920s-era cottage on Atlantic Avenue (Route 26). While it wasn’t the location they had initially sought, the little house has turned out to be a perfect fit for the bakery. Its bright yellow exterior leads to an equally sunny coral and butter yellow interior, with pale green accents here and there.

On a recent morning, sun streamed through the bakery windows, glinting off the bakery case and its jewel-like contents. The sunlight gave a sugary sheen to croissants and danishes, cookies and scones. The aromas of cinnamon and coffee fill the air.

Kylee, whose studies at CIA concentrated on baking and pastries, said she arrives at the bakery each morning by around 4:30 a.m. to start on the day’s offerings. It’s a labor of love for her, and after a few years in New York and Washington, D.C., working in the quality-control side of the bakery business, she welcomed the chance to get her hands back into the butter and flour.

Millsboro Chamber hosting annual bridal show this Sunday

The Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce has couples-to-be covered this weekend, as the Chamber will host the 22nd Annual Central Sussex Bridal Show this Sunday, March 12, from noon to 3 p.m. at Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club.

“Every year, we see more vendors, new vendors who have never been in,” said Amy Simmons, the Chamber’s executive director.

Moffitt joins Weidman law firm

Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Jay Moffit Esq. has joined the Law Office of Susan Pittard Weidman. A graduate of Cape Henlopen High School, Moffitt said he is excited to be back in Sussex County.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Jay Moffit Esq. has joined the Law Office of Susan Pittard Weidman. A graduate of Cape Henlopen High School, Moffitt said he is excited to be back in Sussex County.After spending 16 years away from Sussex County, working in corporate law, Lewes native Jay Moffitt Esq. has returned, joining the Law Office of Susan Pittard Weidman.

Moffit graduated from Cape Henlopen High School in 1992 and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Delaware in 1997. Upon graduation, he matriculated to Duke University School of Law, from which he graduated in 2001.

“When I graduated from the University of Delaware, I thought it sounded like an interesting field,” he said. “It’s academically challenging, in a way, to be a lawyer.”

During law school, Moffitt clerked at Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP in Delaware, as well at Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett LLP in New York. Upon graduation, he went to work for Simpson Thatcher, focusing on corporate transactional work and corporate litigation.

“I kept in touch with some of the partners I met at Morris, Nichols after that summer. When I decided I wanted to come back to Delaware, I reached out to them, was interviewed, and I got the job,” said Moffitt, who worked in Wilmington from 2005 to January 2017.

During his time at Morris, Nichols, Moffitt focused on corporate and commercial litigation, and he was made partner in 2011.

Anteater handbags on the red carpet?

Local entrepreneur adds anteaters to swag bags for glitzy event

Coastal Point • Submitted by Delaware Public Archives : Devon Cooper, dance instructor at X-Squad Dance Studio in Selbyville, models one of the newest handbags in the collection of Jules K. The locally-owned company sent 26 handbags to be included in ‘swag bags’ offered to Oscar nominees by a promotional firm.Coastal Point • Submitted by Delaware Public Archives : Devon Cooper, dance instructor at X-Squad Dance Studio in Selbyville, models one of the newest handbags in the collection of Jules K. The locally-owned company sent 26 handbags to be included in ‘swag bags’ offered to Oscar nominees by a promotional firm.What do anteaters and actresses have in common? The answer involves handbags, swag, a local woman’s childhood love of a certain insect-eating mammal, and a big night in Hollywood.

Ten actresses, in particular — the ones who will be vying for the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress statuettes at Sunday’s Academy Awards in Hollywood — will receive handbags imprinted with an anteater pattern.

The bags, produced by Bethany Beach resident Julie Kypreos’ company, Jules K., are part of “Everyone Wins” promotional “swag bags” provided to Oscar nominees by the promotional company Distinctive Assets.

Through the Distinctive Assets promotion, packages of “swag” are delivered to the homes of nominees for Best Actress, Best Actor, Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor, as well as Best Director nominees and host Jimmy Kimmel.

Kypreos, whose handbags are sold online, said she came up with the idea of submitting her handbags for consideration while researching ways to get the word out about her unique handbags.

“I’m a start-up,” she said, adding that she recognizes that her handbags are so unique that they require some creative marketing. “No one is probably going to do a Google search for ‘anteater handbags,’” she said with a bit of a chuckle.

The swag bags include gifts for the nominees that range from a tube of ChapStick to a three-day stay at an 18-bedroom beachfront mansion in northern California, valued at $40,000. Kypreos’ handbags range in price from $370 to $395.

While all of the nominees for Best Director are men and, obviously, the 10 Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor nominees are men, they — as well as Kimmel — will also receive Jules K. bags. Kypreos said she tried to take the men’s significant others into consideration when choosing which bag to contribute for them, when applicable.

Catherine’s Quilting offers modern finish for age-old art form

Coastal Point photos • Tyler Valliant: Catherine Peterson grins at her family's new Selbyville quilt shop, where she helps finish new quilts and restore old ones.Coastal Point photos • Tyler Valliant: Catherine Peterson grins at her family's new Selbyville quilt shop, where she helps finish new quilts and restore old ones.Quilting may be an old art, but Catherine’s Quilting uses technology to transform the basic craft into a finished heirloom piece. Catherine and Tim Peterson just recently opened their quilt shop on Church Street in downtown Selbyville.

Quilting can be a very personal craft, whether it’s a long-term labor of love by a group of friends, or maybe one woman, perhaps given for a wedding or baby gift. Whether hand-stitched in centuries past, or by a machine today, each scrap is carefully pieced together for a grander masterpiece.

Catherine’s Quilting helps with the final steps, attaching the thick batting, which transforms a decorative sheet into a cozy blanket for the home.

Pa. Powerball winners claim $72M from winning local ticket

A couple from Pennsylvania started 2017 with a $121.6 million prize after matching all five white balls plus the red Powerball in the Dec. 17 lottery drawing. The man and woman, who wished to remain anonymous, purchased the winning ticket at Selbyville Goose Creek, a subsidiary of Cato Gas & Goose Creek Food Stores, located at 38452 DuPont Boulevard in Selbyville.

Bearhole Farms gives a whole new look to farming

Coastal Point • Kerin Magill: Cindy Stevens and C.J. Mears display some of the produce they have grown through aquaponic farming.Coastal Point • Kerin Magill: Cindy Stevens and C.J. Mears display some of the produce they have grown through aquaponic farming.At the entrance to a greenhouse at Bearhole Farms near Roxana sits a blue tank about the size of a small hot tub. Orange-finned flashes flit around the bottom and a pump emits a constant thrum.

“That’s the engine,” says Bear Hole proprietor Cindy Stevens. The heart of the engine, which produces a perpetual harvest of 3,000 lettuce plants inside the 1,700-square-foot greenhouse, is fish. About 350 koi, common goldfish and channel catfish, to be precise.

In addition to swimming around the tank, the fish eat... and then when that food turns to fish waste, it is released into a system of channels that run under the lettuce plants, watering and feeding the plants. It’s the perfect symbiotic relationship.

Pie expanding, Artful Bean looking for new home

As soon as the New Year, part of Bethany Beach will have a new look, with Pie restaurant owners Dan Lewis and Robin Rankin and Artful Bean owners Rose O’Hanlan and Kim Warner reaching an agreement last week that would allow Pie to expand, while the Artful Bean looks for a new home.