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Lewes, Delaware
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April 6, 2012     Cape Gazette
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Cape Gazette FRSDAY, APEIL 6 - E~ORDAY, APRIL 9, 2012 37 Artisans collective barn fills with pottery, crafts, pet supplies By Molly MacMillan Behind the transformation of mollymacmillan@capegazette.com the barn and working overtime to renovate the space into a mar- Storefronts are filling faster ketplace is Joe Brinton. He's also than sawdust can be swept from owner of the barn and the neigh- the floors as artisans and retail- boring Brinton's R.V. and Batter- ers move wares into a large barn ies Unlimited, and now the mas- near Five Points in Lewes, prom- zermind behind the collective of ising an original approach to sea- artisans. side shopping. "I wanted to make individual Beach Bumz owner Theresa Jennett is also the general manager of Unique Boutiques. shops so craftspeople would have an outlet for their work 365 days a year, not just at craft fairs," Brinton said. Building partitions to create nearly 30 shops for local vendors to sell their wares from is only the first step in renovating the space inside the barn, he said. A second phase will create 10 more storefronts in a smaller section, but already, the spots are going fast. "We are close to filling up in here," Brinton said of the large marketplace area's first phase of construction. Collaborating with Brinton to bring his vision to life, Unique Boutiques General Manager Theresa Iennett is also the owner of Beach Bumz, the largest retail shop adjacent to the main mar- ketplace of the barn. Nearly 85 percent of her mer- chandise is handmade, she said. A lifelong crafter, Jennett said she makes much of the merchan- dise in her shop including dress- es, soaps, hair clips, painted signs, key holders and wash cloths. "I'm a fidget; I have to keep do- ing things," she said, gluing shells MOLLY MACMILLAN PHOTOS ARTISTS, CRAFTERS, D~GNmTARIES and shop owners attending a ribbon cut- ting are (I-r) Lisa Smyth of Beach Beads; Candra Tyler of Candra's Designs; Jeffrey Stickle of P&l's Pottery; Brenda Butterfield of Pottery With Love; Kathy Lehman of Silpada; Teresa Jennett of Beach Bumz; Elena Taney of Green Home Goods; Joe Brinton, founder of Unique Boutiques; Beth Mosley; Bill Shewsbury of Bill's Eclectic Corner; Mary Brinton; Theresa Cornell of Jack's Dog House; Jo Rhodes of Frangi- pani Gallery; Roseann Smith of Pottery With Love; Dave Hines of Tout de Suite Patisserie; Tammy Miller of Beadsby Tammy; Sussex County Councilwoman Joan Deaver; Pam Bessinger of P&J'S Pottery; Margie Eckert; Ann Dulaney; and Patty Burkentine of Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce.They cele- brated the grand opening of Unique Boutiques, a collection of more than 30 store- fronts featuring arts, crafts and collectibles from local vendors. to a frame behind the counter in As the spaces fill with new her shop. "This all came about merchandise, the variety of prod- because every time I made or- ucts is growing, ]ennett said, as ders, and I got the stuff, it was will other aspects: A book ex- junk. I thought, 'I can do better change is under way in a far cor- than this."' ner of the marketplace. The book With Brinton's dream ofamar- exchange is the brainchild of ketplace for crafts and Iennett's Brinton, Jennett said. A farmers creative ideas and tactile skills, market is also in the works, to be- the collective continues to gin on Thursdays in May. evolve and grow into its home. Continued on page 38 _m hhh, the aroma of freshly baked bread. And cookies. And muffins and pastries. And cakes, doughnuts and pies. Just the thought of it brings to mind a small-town bake shop populated with smiling folks ea- ger to fulfill your every need, no matter how gooey. Rehoboth Beach is fortunate to have talented hometown bak- ers who rise in the wee hours to knead, proof, frost, pipe, deco- rate and sprinkle their Way into our hearts. And one of these lo- cal bakeries even provides a few other things as well. Like onions. Anddishwashing deter- gent. And antifreeze, hot sauce, flowers and greeting cards. You can buy a lottery ticket and make a bank deposit. But the bakers still toil through the night to concoct personalized goodies for their loyal cus- tomers. Journeyman baker Nancy Stout has been with Giant Food for 26 years. She grew up near Washington, D.C., and Rehoboth Beach was her perennial vaca- tion destination. During one of those vacations, she spotted a sign out on the highway: "Giant Food Coming in 1999!" With her marriage over and nothing tying her to D.C.. she knew that Re- hoboth Beach would be the per, fect place to bring up her kids, Scarlett and Robert. When her district manager listened to his ans wering machine that night, Nancy's voice anxiously in- quired, "What do I have to do to get that store?!" On Jan. 2, she got the call. By March 1, she had sold her house, and on March 20,1999, she stood smiling behind the bakery counter of the brand-new Re- hoboth Beach Giant Food. Over the years, Nancy's love for small-town Rehoboth has translated into helping people mark special occasions. "I've baked christening cakes, birth- day cakes, graduation cakes and wedding cakes - all for the same kids," she coos. "I've made cakes for dogs, a Phantom of the Opera cake, a vegan cake (with a Hawaiian theme, yet), and even a Paint Splatter cake." (House painters have birthdays, too. Use your imagination.) Rehoboth being Rehoboth, Nancy has also crafted her share of festive cakes for gay and les- bian partners. With the recent passage of Delaware's civil union laws, she's made herself the go-to girl for rainbow-hued civil union and anniversary cakes for families, friends and happy couples alike - many of whom use the occasion to cele- brate upwards of 50 years to- gether. "This may be the Giant, but it's still a neighborhood bakery," says Nancy. And she makes a point of telling me that she doesn't do all this alone: Store Manager Mike Long is, in her words, "one real cool dude" who keeps everything running smoothly. Next in line she cred- its Sharon, the bakery manager ("my sister from another mis- ter") for "taking care of business while I get to decorate cakes. She calms me down." Twenty-two-year-old Ben (he's been with Giant since he was 14) is her eyes and ears out at the counter, and hard-work- ing Philip helps her with heavy equipment and freight deliver- ies. Mary is another Smiling face who takes pride in helping cus- tomers choose flavors, colors and decorating styles. Thirteen- year Giant veteran Brenda ("she's my rock") makes sure that yummy creations are pre- pared fresh and on time. Bakery clerk Shameka also gets up close with the customers and loves to decorate as well. "She's gonna be me when I finish with her," winks Nancy. "I'm grateful to be here. How many people can say they smell great when they finish work? When I get up early and there's a little snow on the trees, it's like my world is sprinkled with powdered sug0r." She loves to tell about the guy who. stared at her from out in the store as she decorated cakes. Turned out her stalker was none other than plumbing contractor SUBMITTED PHOTO THIS HOMETOWN BAKER loves sugar and spice and everything Re- hoboth, Harry Caswell. Seems that the burly entrepreneur was fasci- nated with the mechanics of cake decorating. As an anniver- sary gift, his wife Lynn arranged for Nancy to give Harry a short course in cake decorating. Turned out he was a natural. The good news is that he and Lynn were thoroughly gratefifl for Nancy's generosity. The bad news? "He got so good that I lost a customer." Bob gesbek is a notorious foodie and can be reached at Bob@RehobothFoodie.com.