The Daily Times of Salisbury
BETHANY BEACH, Del. - What was once considered junk in the back of a store is now the centerpiece of one of Bethany Beach's newest businesses.
Customers of Fish Tales were often intrigued by the random lamps and pieces of furniture found in the back of the store. Some asked if they could purchase them.
"We just had a little bit in the back of the original Fish Tales. Customers would be asking and asking for larger pieces, some pieces of furniture, if we were using them or they could purchase them. People kept asking us for more quantity, and more and more and more," said Justin Noble, manager and co-buyer. "Finally, we listened to what they wanted."
After selling sweatshirts and flip-flops on the Bethany Beach Boardwalk for 20 years, Fish Tales now has a second store that specializes in home decor.
The store offers refurbished furniture from "everywhere and anywhere," as well as lamps, rugs, pillows and table settings, he said. And Fish Tales Home Decor is the only store in town that offers Crabtree & Evelyn lotions, a product Noble calls the Yankee Candle of lotions.
"We try to sell everything for the five senses," Noble said. "We want to be known for the flexibility of the store. You can come in and get something for someone else and then themselves, for their home and for their home away from home."
Despite his store's location minutes from the boardwalk, Noble wanted to offer products appropriate for beach homes and customers' main homes. The secret, he said, is in the color schemes.
Products can have seashells on them, but because they are neutral-colored, they are suitable for a nonbeach house. The store also offers products in pop-up colors, which are very conducive to beach-themed homes.
And with a wide range of styles and selection, the offerings have been well-received since Fish Tales Home Decor first opened for business about two months ago.
"It has been overwhelming. People have welcomed us with open arms. So many people have been coming and saying that it's exactly what we needed and it's good to finally see something in town," Noble said. "Everywhere has neutral colors. I wanted to add something with color so you can say, `I've never seen that before. I have to have that.' "
Noble has worked in retail apparel for the bulk of his career. But because of the reputation the Fish Tales brand has earned through the years, the store already has an established customer base, which has helped the expansion into furniture and giftware.
Noble hasn't ruled out expanding Fish Tales Home Decor to other coastal regions, but he hasn't decided how long the store will remain open throughout the year.
Fish Tales Home Decor may stay open year-round, but it could be by appointment only in the off-season. The store is also preparing to launch an online store at the request of many customers, which will allow the retail shop to close in the winter.
But for now, it's a day-to-day process. And by the end of the season, Noble will gauge the foot traffic and make his decision.
"We're not a first-year business, but we are at the same time. It's going to be one of those things where you play it by ear and you see," Noble said. "I wish that I could see the future, but I can't. If people keep coming back they'll give me a reason to stay open."
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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