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Lewes, Delaware
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October 10, 1997     Cape Gazette
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October 10, 1997

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48 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, October 10 - October 16, 1997 BUSINESS & RE0000,L ESTATE Rehoboth'00, Mill Outlet now operating at new location Three generations help keep business running in expanded showroom By Rosanne Pack Staff members of the Mill Outlet don't take the business of bedding lying down. They are quick to point out that you spend one-third of )'our life between the sheets, and they should be the most suitable sheets tbr you. "'They don't have to be the most expen- sive sheets, but what you sleep in should ,,et as much time and thought as what you wear." said Mary Colburn. "And we have a information and a huge selection here." A Rehoboth Beach landmark, the Mill Outlet was located downtown for almost 20 years before making a move to Lighthouse Plaza on Route 1. The new space is approx- imately twice as large as the last location on Rehoboth Avenue. "'We moved in here Oct. l l, 1996, so we're coming up on our first anniversary in the new location," said Tom Schultz, "and we are glad to say that most of our longtime customers followed us out here." Schultz, general manager of the Re- hoboth store and one in Ocean City, said that the new store allows for more spacious displays of the large inventory, but the bright new appearance does not mean that the standard Mill Outlet bargains are not still available. Something for everybody "We still have all the promotional items, we have something for everybody's pocket- book," he said. "We don't want people to think that they can no longer get the great buys that they could find in the old store." And when shoppers come in, they will find several experienced employees, most of whom were with the store for years. For some employees, working at the Mill Out- let is even a family affair. Nancy Mathews, Mary Coiburn and Shannon Colburn repre- sent three generatiqns, and they might be the only grandmother-mother-daughter team working in an area retail store. Mathews started in the original Mill Out- let location in 1979. Her daughter Mary has been in the store for seven years, and her 16-year-old daughter Shannon has joined the family ranks among the linens, towels and decorative items. With Shannon back in school, the family influence is slightly reduced, but weekends may still find them out in force, greeting the public and helping them dress their bedrooms, baths and din- ing rooms. Mary Colburn, store manager, loves the new location and the opportunity it allows for showcasing their wares. She said that most of the customers who have shopped with them for generations feel the same. "Some who used to walk to us from their homes in Rehoboth Beach are sorry that we moved, but most have adjusted now, and they appreciate the ample parking and the room in the store," Colburn said. "We have 11 display beds, our decorative items can be arranged with the coordinating lamps and linens, and we can hang more than 200 bath curtains!" The bath curtains are just part of the in- ventory that leads Schultz to say that the Mill Outlet has the largest selection of lux- ury home textiles in the area. "Our bedding and bath choices include sateen sheets, ensembles of silk and 100 percent linen and the best known names in the industry," he said. "Our labels include Fieldcrest, Martex, Wamsutta, Laura Ash- ley, Ellen Tracy, Royal Velvet and Charis- ma. In addition to more than 200 shower curtains, we have more than 100 styles of bedspreads and comforters." In sheets, threads count Mathews said that the biggest change in the bedding business since she started is the availability and popularity of high thread- count sheets. The higher the thread count, the softer the sheet. "We used to have sheets with a top thread count of 180, and now they go to thread counts of more than 300," she said. "Of course they are more expensive, but I tell people, you will use these sheets for eight hours a day while they are on your bed, and Rosanne Pack photo In Light House Plaza, the new location of The Mill Outlet has almost all the comforts of home. Mary Colburn (left) and Lori Anderson can't resist trying out some of the merchandise in one of the bedroom displays. they will last you for 10 years or so. People think nothing of spending money for clothes that will not last them nearly as long; spending money on sheets is very cost effective. "And nothing is more important than a good night's sleep; everything else depends on it." Lori Anderson said the knowledge she has gained while working at the Mill Outlet is almost too much. Although she is one of the younger employees, she has been with the business for several years. "Once you learn about the quality sheets and towels, it's like you're not satisfied with anything but that," she said. "Some- times I wish that I didn't know so much." Along with the growing appreciation of high thread-count sheets is the popularity of jersey knit sheets. New nighttime knits "The jersey knits are big now," Colburn said. "It's like sleeping in your favorite soft T-shirt; they are so comfortable. "The trend started with Oprah Winfrey. She had some, and fell in love with them and talked about her jersey knit sheets on her show, and now everybody is buying them." The jersey knits are now available in col- ors and come with coordinated comforters and accent pillows. "A lot of people are like I am," Colburn said, "as soon as the flannel sheets come off in the spring, the jersey knits go on and then the flannels are back for fall and winter." The mother-daughter team of Mathews and Coiburn have waited on many genera- tions of shoppers. Parents who got their children off to college and first apartments with linens from the Mill Outlet come back with grown children and shop for the grand- children. "We keep saying that we are going to start a registry," Colburn laughs. "Maybe after we're really settled in this new store, we'll get that organized." With the beach location, Colburn said that the Mill Outlet gets a lot of business from those who rent properties and from Continued on page 52 I Denise Moore nance costs for these areas. Prospective buyers should find out if the condo fee includes utili- ties, and if not, how high the utili- ties run on a monthly basis. Deter- mine whether the building is ca- ble-ready and has adequate securi- ty. Check the association's bydaws and the master deed for restric- tions on how you can use the property before you buy. The by- laws are written to serve the inter- ests of all owners and the commu- nity. Be sure you understand how the condominium documents may affect your lifestyle and your abil- ity to resell the unit in the future. Make note of the condition of the surrounding property, If it looks as if the roof next door might need to be replaced, keep in mind that all owners share in re- placement costs for common ele- ments. For this reason, it's impor- tant to look at the finances of the condominium. For example, if there is no budget to cover roof re- placements, you may be affected by a special assessment placed on all unit owners to cover the costs for a new roof. A well-managed condominium association.budgets for major re- pairs and has reserves for emer- gency replacements. When re- viewing the financial status of the association, check to see if the maintenance fees are current for the unit you are buying. Other- wise, unpaid fees may become your responsibility. Some condo- minium developments lease their common facilities instead of own- ing them. If this is the case, future increases in lease payments could affect your monthly condominium fee. Make a point of visiting the complex on your own and ask res- idents how they feel about their home, the neighborhood, the con- dominium fee and the responsive- ness of the condominium associa- tion to meeting their indik, idual needs. The majority of condominium associations are well-run, but you should review all the condo doct- ments before you sign a purchase agreement. If you decide to buy, you may wish to become actively involved in the activitieslof the as- sociation by attending meetings or by becoming a member of the board of directors to better protect your interests. Denise Moore is a Realtor with Century 21 Rehoboth Bay Realty. She can be reached at 945-7600. If you choose a condominium as your first home, it's important to balance benefits against potential liabilities and restrictions. Condo- miniums appeal to people wishing to break into the housing market and to couples whose children have left home, the "empty, nesters." They are atso popular as second'homes at resorts, rural towns or at the seashore. Whether it's an apartment in a high-rise, low-rise or townhouse development, any condominium purchase entails Special consider- ations. A condominium includes a resi- dential unit and shared common facilities such as hallways, laun- dry rooms, storage areas, proper-" ty, roads, parking lots, paths, walkways, a roofdeck, clubhouse, swimming pool or tennis courts. REALTOR FOCUS In addition to the mortgage pay- ment, there is generally a monthly condominium fee to cover mainte- Condo purcnas have spe:q:ial considerations