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‘Swell’ new shop carries vinyl LPs and baked goods

Posted On: 8/4/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

‘Swell’ new shop carries vinyl LPs and baked goods (Aug. 4, 2016) When life handed Jen Ausmus and Josh Kay lemons, the couple didn’t make lemonade. They opened a record store and bakery instead. Ausmus and Kay previously owned and operated Wake and Bake, a bakery and café in nearby Delaware. But when a third-party partner pulled his financial backing earlier this year, it sent them scrambling to find a new location. Enter Shanen Cute, owner of Urban Nectar in Berlin. “We had known Shanen and we knew she had some space available and was very interested in what we were doing,” Ausmus said. “It kind of just clicked.” The new shop, now called “Swell,” started taking up a sizeable corner of Urban Nectar last month. Inside, a large, unfinished wooden cabinet holds six rows of vinyl LPs, ranging from A Tribe Called Quest to Fugazi to Radiohead, along with turntables and a smattering of 45s. On the top of the cabinet, a clear Plexiglas display case holds homemade snicker doodles, chocolate...
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Gilbert’s Provisions in Berlin open daily through early Sept.

Posted On: 7/21/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

Gilbert’s Provisions in Berlin open daily through early Sept. (July 21, 2016) When Toby Gilbert opened Gilbert’s Provisions in Berlin earlier this month, he expected to have at least one day a week off. At least until Labor Day, that’s not going to happen. The Berlin native said business has been so good that he plans to stay open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., through the holiday. “It’s been busy every day, so why not stay open seven days a week while the season is here?” he said. The shop, on 25 Commerce Street, suite B, carries charcuterie and cheeses, along with fermented goods, sea and truffle salts, and various small packaged food items. Gilbert is also phasing in his own products, starting with homemade foie gras and chicken liver pâté, and including bacon and scrapple as of this week. Fermented products such as quinoa salad and cucumber salad are going out for the first round of required lab validations soon, he added. For more information, call 410-973-2334 or search Gilbe...
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Gilbert’s Provisions open in Berlin

Posted On: 7/14/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

Gilbert’s Provisions open in Berlin (July 14, 2016) Charcuterie and cheese lovers have a new heaven in Berlin, and its name is Gilbert’s Provisions. The new shop opened last Friday on 25 Commerce Street, suite B, behind Bruder Hill, just off the town’s Main Street. Inside, customers can browse a large display case filled with more than a dozen different exotic cheeses, along with several types of prosciutto, mortadella and homemade foie gras and chicken liver terrine. On the adjacent walls are jars of fermented goods, from pickles to fennel carrots, along with several types of sea salts, crostini and local coffee. T-shirts, tote bags, magnets and other branded items are set up on a display table. At the center of the operation is Berlin resident Toby Gilbert, an acclaimed local chef and son of NEST owner Dee Gilbert. “We were packed on Friday,” he said. “As soon as I opened the doors I had people in here, and I said I was going to close at 9, but I think I was here until 11 p.m. &...
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Knit shop owner offers splash of color to benches

Posted On: 7/7/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

Knit shop owner offers splash of color to benches (July 7, 2016) Coinciding with the town’s first fireworks display, another blast of color came to the downtown last week as local yarn shop A Little Bit Sheepish helped to create a new “yarn benching” initiative. A play on the popular “yarn-bombing” movement, the benching saw more than a dozen benches wrapped in hand-knitted covers last Thursday. “Yarn bombing has been around for a long time, and it’s kind of a thing that knitters and crocheters do for fun and to bring color and joy to a town,” A Little Bit Sheepish Owner Brenda Trice said. “Sometimes you’ll find they’ll yarn-bomb trees or lampposts or whatever.” Trice said Ivy Wells, director of the Main Street program and the town’s economic and community development director, pitched the idea to her. “We loved the idea, so several of our ladies volunteered to make bench covers, and we’ve been spending the last several months planning and...
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New boutique shop Patty Jean’s opens in downtown Berlin

Posted On: 6/16/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

New boutique shop Patty Jean’s opens in downtown Berlin (June 16, 2016) After operating an online business at home for several years, Megan Cosman last Friday officially opened the doors of her brick-and-motor shop Patty Jean’s Boutique at 116 Broad Street in Berlin. The contemporary boutique was named for Cosman’s mother, Patty Jean O’Toole, whom she called a key inspiration. O’Toole worked as a pattern maker for the Lee clothing company, and would often use her daughters as models for new fashion products during boardroom meetings.   “I took a lot of fashion classes in high school and studied the hospitality industry in college, but my heart has always really been in retail and the fashion world,” Cosman said. “My inspiration is my mom and my sisters. We lost my mom to cancer when I was 12, but she’s always been a huge influence.” The concept behind the store was creating “a shopping experience for women and girls who like to have fun with style, who like to look fabulous...
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Tracy’s Barbershop in Berlin features old-fashioned cuts

Posted On: 6/9/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

Tracy’s Barbershop in Berlin features old-fashioned cuts (June 9, 2016) Like the town itself, there’s something refreshingly old-fashioned about Tracy’s Berlin Barbershop. The owner, Tracy Adkins, grew up in the town. She worked for several years as an animal groomer, before becoming a barber about five years ago. “For 13 years, I groomed dogs,” she said. “And then my hands started to hurt me, so then I decided to do men’s haircuts instead of animals. It’s a much smaller area.” She recently earned her master’s barber license and, last year, opened her own shop, a two-seater on 10019 Old Ocean City Boulevard. Anyone driving by would be hard pressed to miss the bright, red, white and blue candy-striped sign outside. “I worked for other barbers and it just seemed like it never worked out, and I always wanted my own place anyway,” she said. “After I had my son, I called Mr. Frank that I used to work with in Ocean Pines and said, ‘I’m going to open up my own...
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Don’s Seafood and Chicken aims for local, regional crowd

Posted On: 6/9/16
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

Don’s Seafood and Chicken aims for local, regional crowd (June 9, 2016) Though this version of Don’s Seafood and Chicken house is only about four years old, owners Stone and Lambertson have been in the restaurant business in Pocomoke for more than two decades and have a clear vision of what they do and don’t want in their eateries. Named for brother-sister team of Sandi Stone and Wayne Lambertson, Stone and Lambertson bought Don’s from the previous owner who operated a similarly named restaurant in Chincoteague. Stone and Lambertson operated Don’s as Don’s for a while, on the north side of Route 13 heading toward the Virginia line, before constructing a new building a couple of hundred yards away and switching to a Greene Turtle franchise about four years ago. The switch didn’t take, and the building was changed back into Don’s to fill the need for a family-owned restaurant offering homemade meals. “Without getting into all that,” owner Sandi Stone said with a wave of her hand, &#...
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Crowd gathers to celebrate 50 years of Church Mouse

Posted On: 6/2/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

Crowd gathers to celebrate 50 years of Church Mouse (June 2, 2016) Berlin’s Church Mouse Thrift Shop has done big things during its 50 years of existence, having supported scores of local nonprofits and helped countless individuals and families get back on their feet during times of need. It was no surprise, then, to see a throng of supporters present last Thursday as the little-shop-that-could celebrated its anniversary with a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony on Main Street. Following a blessing by the Rev. Michael D. Moyer, the rector’s at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where the shop operates, Berlin Councilmember Troy Purnell and Del. Mary Beth Carozza presented official proclamations to the Church Mouse. Accepting was Helen Wiley, who has run the shop for the last 10 years. “I want to thank everyone that has come out tonight to celebrate this time,” Wiley said. “I really appreciate the support, because the support I have received from this community – it’s just overwhelming.” ...
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Berlin’s Church Mouse will celebrate 50 years of charity

Posted On: 5/12/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

Berlin’s Church Mouse will celebrate 50 years of charity (May 12, 2016) For five decades, the Church Mouse Thrift Shop in Berlin has supported local nonprofits with hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations, along with providing clothing and other household items to countless people during their times of need. An extension of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, the store was originally located in one of the apartments attached to the Jefferson Street addition of Atlantic Hotel. When the Atlantic underwent extensive renovations during the early 1980s, the Church Mouse moved into a warehouse space on Old Ocean City Boulevard with dirt floors and a small pot-bellied stove for heat. A few years later it landed at 101 Main Street, where it remains today. Violet Matthews, also known as “Miss Vi,” along with Annabelle Hastings and Ruth Neville, were among the first workers there. Matthews continued volunteering at the shop until she was 100 years old, while Hastings remained well into her 90s. When she finally retired, almost...
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Fathom, Gilbert’s Provisions coming soon to dwtn. Berlin

Posted On: 5/5/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(May 5, 2016) Two new – and very different – businesses are in development in downtown Berlin. Both hope to add a vibrant, youthful atmosphere to the historic district, and both hope to open their respective doors this summer. At 14 North Main Street, in the area formerly occupied by jj Fish Studio and Fine Craft Gallery, Hunter Smith and Devon Bostic will open Fathom. The sisters, and Sea la Vie co-owners, have described the space as an “edgy” clothing store. “Sea la Vie is our sweeter side – this is going to have a saltier feel,” Bostic said. “It’s going to have fashionable, trendy clothing.” Smith said the new shop would have an “industrial” look, using the exposed brick of the old building to set it apart from other Berlin locales. Fathom will carry clothing for men and women, and will focus on current name brands, including Stance and Joe Browns. Construction is still underway and can clearly be seen...
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