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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


‘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 chip cookies and espresso shortbread. To the left, a large, industrial coffee maker brews Baltimore-based Zeke’s coffee.
Ausmus said opening the shop has been a “slow progression.”
“We slowly brought in a coffee bar and records, and we’re trying to build on the food offerings and menu,” Ausmus said. “[Cute] is doing pop-up chef nights, and we’re trying to fill in the gaps with breakfast and lunch and our own pop-up nights.”
Ausmus makes all of the baked goods from scratch inside the kitchen at Urban Nectar, including cookies and banana bread. She plans to add éclairs and cream puffs sometime soon, and said eventually she wants to use more local, organic ingredients as well as offer more lunch fare.
On Tuesdays, Ausmus also sells rotisserie chickens with rotating sides at Swell, while Kay runs a vinyl night across the street at Burley Oak Brewing Co.
So far, she said the shop’s marketing has depended mostly on word of mouth.
“It’s been slow, but that’s what we want to be – more word of mouth,” Ausmus said. “We’re not trying to blow anything up, we just want to provide things that we enjoy and be able to grow from that.”
Weekday hours can vary, but for now the shop is open Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Rotisserie chickens are available Tuesdays from 4-8 p.m.
After Labor Day, the shop will be open daily, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information, visit Swell at 10019 Old Ocean City Boulevard, inside Urban Nectar, or online at