Also, Burley Cafe rebrands, former video store needs tenants, Wine Bar moves
By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(Feb. 22, 2018) Two new businesses, Attics of My Life and Bird of Paradise, are opening soon inside the former Donaway Furniture building on Main Street in Berlin.
Most recently, that space was occupied by the Bayside Gazette sales office, which moved to Ocean City in January, and Nest, which closed.
Berlin Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells said both new retail shops would open in March.
She said Bird of Paradise, owned by Sister’s co-owner Donna Compher, would be “an outdoor, backyard shop with flower pots and bird feeders and outdoor furniture and décor.”
Attics of My Life will sell repurposed furniture, art and home décor, and will offer classes, Wells said.
“Right now, they’re both in there painting and getting their shops ready for opening,” she said.
Meanwhile, Maryland Wine Bar recently moved from a stand-alone location on Main Street and instead took over the existing bar inside Sisters. On What Grounds coffee house expanded into the old Wine Bar.
“Very excited about the new, larger location for the Maryland Wine Bar,” Wells said. “It was so popular you’d have to get there early for a seat, now there’s more room at the bar and the extra comfy seating area is a bonus.”
She said the new location would feature live music every Friday and karaoke on Saturdays, from 7-9 p.m.
Other recent business activity in downtown Berlin includes the reopening of Burley Café on Jefferson Street.
“The restaurant was a partnership between Bryan Brushmiller and John Fager, because when the Berlin Coffee House left there was an empty spot, where [Fager] wanted people from the Atlantic Hotel to be able to go somewhere and get coffee and breakfast,” Wells said.
Burley Café had operated as a partnership with Brushmiller, owner of Burley Oak Brewing Company, and the Brooklyn Baking Barons, Chris Poeschl and Tony Lanuza.
“The Baking Barons are moving to Nashville, so Bryan just wanted to update the café, add booths and he painted a mural,” Wells said. “And they needed to change the menu, because, obviously, Chris and Tony were gone, so they got all that squared away and now they’re open again.”
Wells said the café would “still have the same vibe,” but would feature a menu more akin to happy hour fare, including flatbreads and sandwiches.
“A lot of it’s still the same menu, they just expanded it a little bit. Instead of a restaurant feel, it’s more of a coffee house and bar type feel,” she said.
Wells said Brushmiller also is reviewing offers from potential new tenants inside the former Downtown Video store.
“He’s had several people who want to open there, but he’s taking his time and being very careful on the new shop that will be in downtown,” Wells said. “They’ve already torn the whole inside out – that place needed a good cleaning. It was very old in there and hadn’t been updated in about 20 years.”
Across from Burley Oak, on Old Ocean City Boulevard, Burn Wood Fired Pizza is expanding from a mostly carryout shop into a full restaurant, with beer and wine sales and live music.
“It’s currently in the works – they’re just redoing the restaurant,” Wells said.
Additionally, Wells said Realtor Cam Bunting has listed the former PNC building and received several offers.
“She has several people she’s working with for the purchase of that building – it will not be a bank,” Wells said, adding she did not know what would become of the space, but had a few ideas.
“In a perfect world, I would love for it to be some kind of cultural establishment, maybe an extension of the museum, or an art co-op where artists can rent space inside and be able to have their art displayed and have studios,” she said.
“I’d like to see more art downtown,” Wells continued. “When JJ Fish left, he was the outlet for artists to be able to sell their stuff downtown. I think the arts council does a great job featuring artists, but I would love for that [building] to be an art co-op.”
A mixed-use building on Gay Street is undergoing construction and could have tenants by this summer, Wells said.
Elsewhere in town, she said, a new Concord Pet food store is opening next to Food Lion and Atlantic General has opened a larger thrift shop in the former Save-A-Lot building.