(April 10, 2020) Several owners of small boutiques from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, to Salisbury, have banded together to help one another get through the coronavirus pandemic.
“Instead of worrying about competing against each other, we have come together to spread the awareness of ‘Community Over Competition,’ or in this case, ‘Community Over Covid-19,” Taylor Harman, owner of Magnolia Rifle in Fenwick Island, Delaware, said.
Harman and her mother, Pam, have teamed up with more than a dozen other local business owners, making a photo collage to spread their message across social media.
“We just wanted to come up with some way to unite all the stores and show togetherness, and that we’re all in it together,” she said. “Basically, the thought behind the idea was that some of us have online shops that are allowing us to keep our doors open right now, like myself and a few others, but a lot of local stores don’t.”
Harman posted on Magnolia Rifle’s Facebook page on April 3, a photo of 12 business owners each holding up a sign that shows they would overcome the adversity that is the coronavirus.
“The idea behind the post was, if you weren’t following those shops, to give them a follow, a like or whatever it may be, and just opening new customers up to these other stores that maybe my followers don’t know about or vice versa,” she said. “Because, these stores that don’t have online stores right now are either forced to quickly make an online store or really quickly figure out new ways to keep the cash flowing in order to keep the doors open.”
Magnolia Rifle is a bohemian-style women’s clothing and accessories boutique that also offers baby clothes, decorations and gift items.
Harman, who was raised in Ocean City, knows how important it is to support local businesses and is encouraging as many area residents who can afford to, to help raise funds for these boutiques.
The first step, she said, was creating the Facebook group and raising awareness of the businesses that have joined her.
Now, the boutique owners are collaborating with one another to help teach some of them how to create a Facebook Live post, or where to apply for certain grants or even just promoting each other.
“People support local restaurants and the people who own the restaurants or work in the restaurants can shop locally, and we’re really big in the community with giving back,” Harman said. “So, the more people that are shopping local, the more we are able to give back as well.”
For more information on Magnolia Rifle, visit its Facebook page or website, https://magnoliarifle.com.
The group has already helped some owners improve their stores’ social media following, like Patty Jeans Boutique, a clothing store with locations in Berlin and Ocean City.
“We were contacted by Taylor Harman from Magnolia Rifle and we always had a deep relationship with local boutiques,” Co-owner Pam Houck said. “All of us are having the same issues and same problems – like online ordering, your rent’s due, you have bills to pay, employees. We can be stronger together if we all join forces in support of each other, rather than if we all did our own separate thing.”
One of the first tips Houck and co-owner Megan Cosman received was creating a Facebook Live post.
“Megan and I are not social media savvy,” Houck said. “So, through them supporting us, they said, ‘You girls have to do a Facebook Live,’ So we did our first one [Monday] night … the first one I’ve ever done. I think this whole community behind us is cheering us on.”
The online message was a huge success, she said, once they figured out how to maneuver the camera. This came at an important time for the company, which was planning on opening a second Ocean City store on 67th Street this Easter weekend. They were forced to wait until the pandemic loses strength.
“It’s just keeping everything in the community,” Houck said. “I’ve always felt living here that any time there has been anything – a local fire that devastated a family or an illness that has hit a family unexpectedly and hard and put them in financial troubles – we as a community have always rallied around each other to create some sort of fund raising.”
For more information about Patty Jeans Boutique, visit its Facebook page or www.pattyjeansoceancity.com.
For long-time businesses owner like Michelle Bruder, who runs Bruder Hill & Bruder Homes in Berlin, it just ties together that connection of local businesses coming together.
“I’ve been so blessed here in Berlin,” Bruder said. “I’ve been here for 18 years with my business and pretty much everybody here in this community has always tried to help each other. Taylor reached out to me last week and I thought it was a great idea.”
Bruder Hill & Bruder Homes offers everything from clothes to furniture. Bruder has been sharing ideas and grant applications with the other members of the group.
“We went live on Instagram and we ended up getting a lot of orders,” she said. “I got that idea from one of the girls that previously did it herself.”
Bruder loves the idea because it supports area businesses, which helps boost the local economy.
Bruder said the group is working to create a large fundraiser that would benefit each store involved.
“We hire local people,” she said. “We keep local people on and keep them working. When you keep it in the community, you give back also. When you keep it local, you make your community much, much stronger.”
For more information about Bruder Hill & Bruder Homes, visit its Facebook page or https://bruderhill.com.
• Bleached Butterfly, Berlin
• Body Double Swimwear, Fenwick Island, Delaware
• Bomshell Boutique, Ocean City, Salisbury and Rehoboth Beach
• Bruder Hill & Bruder Home, Berlin
• Coral Cove, Rehoboth, Delaware
• Heart of Gold Kids, Berlin
• Hula Sue, Rehoboth, Delaware
• Indigo Octopus, Fenwick Island, Delaware
• Ish Boutique, Ocean City and Rehoboth, Delaware
• Magnolia Rifle, Fenwick Island, Delaware
• Patty Jeans Boutique, Berlin and Ocean City
• Water Lili – Bethany Beach and Ocean View, Delaware