Seaside Retailer - July/August 2023

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THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR BEACH, COASTAL AND NAUTICAL RETAILERS | JULY-AUGUST 2023 seaside retai ler BEACH | COASTAL | NAUTICAL HOTHOLIDAYTRENDS! Getfestiveornaments,decorandmore thatcapturestheseason,p.68 + Inside: 32 Getting in on outdoor trends 50 Candles that capture the sea 60 Maximum impact store ideas The new owners of Ocean Magic Surf Shop in Jupiter, Florida, have taken the surf shop retail experience to new heights. COASTAL Connections CONFERENCE OCT 22-24, 2023 MARGARITAVILLE RESORT ORLANDO Margaritaville Resort Orlando Oct. 22-24 the Magic Experiencing Check out the Conference Preview on page 26!


Introducing our newest columnist, Michael Hale.


News from Dune, C&F and more.


How to apply the 80/20 rule to your store.


Unlock employee potential with team meetings.


Make plans to attend these future industry events. EVENTS COVERAGE

from past and upcoming industry shows. RETAILER REFLECTIONS What not to do when holding a sale in your store. PRODUCT SHOWCASE


Experiencing the magic


CONTENTS 4 SEASIDE RETAILER JULY-AUGUST 2023 Coastal Connections Conference Preview ......................... 26 Find out what’s in store for retailers this October in Orlando. Style Trend: Backyard dreams 32 Help customers create beach-inspired outdoor spaces. Outdoor Living Q&A: Jackie Hirschhaut, ICFA 42 Take advantage of the outdoor living upward trend. Hope in the eye of the storm ................................................ 44 The Islander is receiving support in its rebuilding efforts. Product Trend: Encapsulating the Sea ............................... 50 Candles help deepen customers’ connection to the beach. Presentation: Creating beachy vibes 60 Find inspiration with these store design ideas. Product Focus: Happier holidays 68 Spread holiday cheer with these trending holiday products. Starfish Award: Junebug’s Beach House ................. 106 Animal rescue is part of the sale at this Maine shop. Features
Fresh merchandise ideas
AD INDEX Easily locate an advertiser’s ad and website. In Every Issue 6 8 14 16 88 90 100 102 104 JULY/AUGUST 2023 | VOLUME 4 | ISSUE 4 18
for your seaside store.
Ocean Magic’s new owners are taking the retail experience
new heights.
18 32 50 Stay up-to-date on the latest retailer and wholesaler news and events coverage at
CONNECTIONS TOPIC: EAST COAST HOT SUMMER TRENDS Ophiuroidea: St. Michaels, MD 76 Turtle Central: Bald Head Island, NC ............................ 80 Pauline’s Gifts: Gloucester, MA ........................................84

Filling an important role

From the very beginning, when Seaside Retailer launched, it has always included expert columnists. Our avid readers have become familiar with Taking Stock by Natalie Tan; Customers Count by Tom Borg; and Retailer Reflections by Cathy Donovan Wagner.

These experts in their field add a lot of wisdom to each issue through their experiences in working in and with the retail industry. I am truly thankful for the valuable insights and advice they provide.

And after four years of sharing her expert merchandising advice through the column Taking Stock, Natalie Tan has made a career change and has stepped down as a columnist. We are very appreciative of the wonderful tips she has provided beach, coastal and nautical retailers over the years and wish her the best in her new endeavors.

When you turn to the Taking Stock column in this issue, you will see a new face. However, if you were an attendee of the January Coastal Connections Conference or happened to be at the Inis Huntington Beach store grand opening last year, which his firm designed, he may already be familiar.

We are pleased to announce that Michael Hale, founder of Retail REHAB, will be continuing the Taking Stock column with his unique take on visual merchandising that has helped so many travel retailers and destination retail environments.

Over his 30-year career, he has worked with clients ranging from large corporations to small business owners in the travel retail industry. His clients have included Inis, Princess Cruises, Lowes Resorts and Sheraton Hotels and the gift shop at the Empire State Building, to name a few.

“Travel retail and destination retail environments have a unique ideology and Retail REHAB understands that,” Hale says. “A retail space is an extension of the guests’ experience and the property’s brand image. Tying all of that into effective space planning and product placement helps lead his clients to success.”

We want to give Hale a warm welcome to Seaside Retailer magazine, and we look forward to a great future together. If you’d like to hear more from Hale and get the opportunity to win a free one-on-one consultation with him, I encourage you to register for the Coastal Connections Conference, Oct. 22-24 in Orlando. He will be presenting an hour-long session titled, “Visual Merchandising Tips and Tricks.” One attendee will win a free consultation with him after the session.

With his specialized background and experience, Seaside Retailer couldn’t have found a more fitting person to continue the Taking Stock column, and we look forward to him putting his mark on this important contribution to the magazine.

Karen Carr Publisher & Creative Director 330-591-2575

Kristin Ely Executive Editor & Conference Director 858-684-7744

Katie Turner Business Development Manager 219-206-1140

Caroline Risi Managing Editor 610-209-9881

Jamie Winebrenner Sales Manager 330-269-5875

Lee White Sales Manager 609-415-0200

Debby Clarke Ad Production Coordinator 856-816-6346

Gabby Pagura Accounts Receivable 330-368-2047

Brooke Bilyj

Contributing Editor

Kristen Hampshire

Contributing Editor

Mary Elizabeth Williams-Villano

Contributing Editor

Tom Borg Columnist

Michael Hale Columnist

Cathy Donovan Wagner Columnist

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With his specialized background and experience, Seaside Retailer couldn’t have found a more fitting person to continue the Taking Stock column.

Dune Jewelry founder opens gift boutique

Holly Daniels Christensen, founder and CEO of Dune Jewelry, an experiential jewelry company famous for using sand and earth elements from thousands of memorable and iconic locations around the world, opened her first gift boutique in Norwood, Massachusetts. A grand opening party was held July 6, 2023.

The boutique is located in the same building as Dune’s jewelry studio where each piece of jewelry as well as accessories are handcrafted.

“I am thrilled to open my shop in Norwood, next to Dune’s design and manufacturing studio,” says Christensen. “It’s a beach-themed boutique that is committed to presenting a collection of products that inspire mind, body and spirit. We also strive to highlight goods that are environmentally friendly and sustainably sourced.”

Christensen adds that in addition to an array of Dune jewelry, “the store carries a wide variety of products, including luxurious soy candles, True Ocean natural bath and body products, Barefoot Dreams throws and socks, Kitsch eco-friendly haircare, handmade olive wood kitchenware, literature and journals, artisanal coffees and teas, and so much more — there are great gifts for men and women.”

Social Media takes center stage at Coastal Connections Conference

The Coastal Connections Conference has announced Crystal Vilkaitis, owner of Crystal Media, a leading digital marketing company for the retail industry, will present a session during the event, Oct. 22-24, at the Margaritaville Resort in Orlando.

Vilkaitis is a world-class social media expert and powerful speaker who helps retailers shine online and bring their unique brilliance to the local and global masses. Fueling retailers with confidence to grow their visibility and results, Vilkaitis is on a mission to help Main Street businesses thrive.

She founded Crystal Media in 2012, where she’s worked with thousands of retailers to increase traffic, sales and profits using social media. She’s shared the stage with industry giants like Martha Stewart, Gary Vaynerchuk, Bethenny Frankel and Jim Kwik, and hosts the show Rooted in Retail, covering retail-centric topics like marketing, money, mindset and more.

The session, titled, It’s Your Time to Shine Online!” takes place Monday, Oct. 23, from 2 to 3 p.m. During the session, Vilkaitis shares the proven framework for more meaningful and consistent social media results.

Attendees will learn how to stop being the best-kept secret and start operating their social media with a plan. Like many retailers, you might be stuck in the same routines — posting the same kind of content to the same people and you’re probably getting the same ol’ results.

In this session, get ready to jumpstart your social selling mindset and finally create meaningful and real results through social media! You’ll adapt how you currently think about social media and leave with the actual framework you need to confidently commit to making a change to your strategy. Gain clarity on:

1. The real reasons why your social does/does not work

2. The easy Daily 5 process (5 steps, 5 minutes or less/day)

3. What will motivate you to stay consistent

4. How to get your team involved

5. The most effective ways to PLAN

“Seaside retailers should attend the Coast Connections Conference to connect with like-minded retailers, learn about the latest industry trends and discover new ways to leverage social media,” says Vilkaitis. “My session will empower attendees to have more confidence in their social media efforts by demonstrating how to effectively drive real results like increased traffic and sales, while saving time and hassle. Attendees will leave feeling inspired and motivated to take action on what they learn, equipped with the practical tools and tips they need to succeed!”

“Knowing how to use social media effectively is critical in today’s competitive retail world, but many retailers are intimidated,” says Kristin Ely, Coastal Connections Conference director. “Crystal’s unique approach helps retailers overcome their fears and show up online consistently leading to more traffic and more sales. This is a can’t-miss session for coastal retailers.”

Check out more on the amazing speaker lineup and events that are part of the Coastal Connections Conference on page 26. Early bird rates are still available. Register by visiting RETAIL NEWS 8 SEASIDE RETAILER JULY-AUGUST 2023
Crystal Vilkaitis, owner, Crystal Media

C&F Enterprises welcomes Rightside Design to family of brands

Leading home and gift company, C&F Enterprises, says it is thrilled to welcome Rightside Design to the C&F family of brands.

Rightside Design’s captivating line of coastal home decor is a perfect complement to C&F’s existing market presence in the coastal gift and decor market and will offer customers an additional aesthetic in pillows, table linens and other decorative accessories.

The addition of Rightside Design solidifies C&F as a go-to company for all things coastal, including upscale home decor to fun vacation souvenirs, according to a press release by C&F.

“Rightside Design’s elegant aesthetic adds additional depth and variety to our already expansive array of coastal designs for the home,” says Colleen Hall, vice president of marketing for C&F “We believe this line will not only appeal to our current customer base but

also introduce new customers to the C&F brands. We look forward to helping tell Rightside Design’s story.”

Rightside Design has been designing small-batch, limited-run products that connect its customers’ homes to the natural world around them as a family run business for the last 12 years.

Founder Lynn McKernan will continue leading the brand and design process for the line, employing her unique design sense. She’ll work alongside current C&F business and operations teams to expand the line’s market presence and facilitate continued growth. The extensive selection

of outdoor pillows currently offered by Rightside Design aligns well with C&F’s current expansion initiative in the outdoor living category, according to McKernan.

No stranger to the coastal market, C&F will integrate Rightside Design into its infrastructure and leverage the existing C&F sales force. Rightside Design will sit alongside C&F Home and Beachcomber’s Coastal Life in showrooms starting this summer.

“We are confident that this collaboration will produce incredible products that will truly capture the spirit of coastal living,” says Jimmy Fang, executive vice president of C&F Enterprises.


Caloosa WaterWear opens wholesale showroom in Boca Raton, Florida

Caloosa WaterWear, a performance clothing brand based in Boca Raton, Florida, has announced the opening of its new wholesale showroom in Boca Raton, Florida.

The new wholesale showroom features a wide range of Caloosa WaterWear’s signature apparel, Ultra Comfort Shirts, fashion T-shirts and tank tops, drinkware, accessories and more. Buyers will be able to see and order the latest styles in person, making the purchasing process even more streamlined.

“We’re excited to open our new wholesale showroom and provide our retail partners with a physical location to see our products and place orders,” says Rebecca Fordham, founder of Caloosa WaterWear. “We believe this showroom will strengthen our relationships with our retail buyers and allow us to continue to grow our brand.”

The new showroom is conveniently located in Boca Raton, just minutes away from popular shopping destinations and major highways. With its bright and modern design, the showroom creates a professional and welcoming atmosphere for retail buyers to browse and select products, according to Fordham.

In addition to showcasing its products, Caloosa WaterWear’s wholesale showroom also features the Caloosa Design studio where the products are designed and printed on-site. This allows for buyers to easily customize their orders and to see firsthand the different printing techniques available.


The Hippie Fish Boutique spreads more happiness with expansion

The Hippie Fish Boutique on Dauphin Island in Alabama has moved to a new location at 1814 Bienville Blvd., and building and store owner Kim Stevens says the bigger, higher visibility store will be ready for the season.

With spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico, the new, elevated building replaces a rented store on a side street that needed significant repair.

Dauphin Island has aways had a special place in Stevens’ heart, as she visited the island for the beach, boating and birding with her family, when she was a teen and with her own children. For as long as she could remember, Stevens wanted a little shop on the island. The first store was an abandoned, run down bait shop that she rented and renovated.

“With all its flaws I saw the potential. I saw my shop,” she says of her first store. “Over the years we added a little here, rearranged a little there and kept trying

to make it a warm happy place for our team and our customers.”

She adds, “Meeting and working with local artists and being a local allowed us to create a unique Dauphin Island feel, which made me happy, and I looked forward to passing this ‘happy’ along to our many visitors and friends,” she says.

Stevens will continue passing on the good vibrations at the new location. The store is on a main thoroughfare with a much higher traffic count and is near several condos.

“Our new layout has increased shopping square footage and additional storage. The floor space has allowed us to add several new product lines and the additional storage allows us to have more product on hand,” she says.

Stevens says the store’s customers are 6 to 80 and beyond. “We want each of our customers to take home ‘a happy,’” she says. “By carrying custom Dauphin

Island designs featuring local artists, and unique Dauphin Island pieces, we hope they find that special item and remember the time at the Hippie Fish and their time on the island.”

The boutique’s merchandise includes original T-shirts offering unique Dauphin Island features, custom-designed Hippie Fish shirts, artwork from local artists, candles, name-brand and locally made jewelry, custom soaps and unique home decor items.


Following the 80/20 Rule

There is a well-known principle called the 80-20 Rule (aka Pareto Principle). It depicts that 80% of outcomes are driven by 20% of causes. When we take that principle into observation for retail sales, it remarkably applies.

In general, most retailers see 80% of their stores’ revenue driven by 20% of their products. What does this mean and how you can use this theory for increased sales?

Let’s observe how it applies in your retail store. Take last year’s numbers to get an accurate full-year report. This can also be done seasonally as needed.

First, review your “by item” sales reports to see what items your top performers by revenue are.

Second, if you have a total of 100 SKUs, you will take the top 20 items. You can scale up as high as needed following the 20/100 ratio. For example, if you have 500 SKUs, you’d pull up the top 100 items; 1,000 SKUs, you’d pull up the top 200 items; 2,500 SKUs, you’d pull up the top 500 items, and so on.

Third, add up the total revenue for the

top 20% of your items.

Fourth, separately multiply your total stores’ sales by 0.8 to determine what 80% of your total sales are.

Fifth, compare the two figures to see how close you are.


To take this vital information and put it to best use, we focus on the top 20% revenue producing products. Let’s call them key items.

• Are these key items in the right place in your store?

• Are they on featured walls? Easily accessible? Visible?

• Am I giving these key items ample space in my store?

• Do I always have proper stock levels of these key items?

• Are there additional colors, sizes or variations that I can bring in to help drive these key item sales even more?

The key takeaway is that we don’t have to be over-assorted, we just need to be properly assorted. Focusing on key items that produce most of your revenue, is a tried-and-true strategy that works!

In general, most retailers see 80% of their stores’ revenue driven by 20% of their products.
Michael Hale, CEO of Retail Rehab, transforms retail spaces and helps drive up profits.
WANT TO LEARN MORE? Hear Michael speak about visual merchandising tips and tricks at the Coastal Connections Conference taking place Oct. 22-24 at the Margaritaville Resort Orlando.

The power of daily team meetings

Aclient of mine who runs a great business says one of the reasons is that she holds “morning huddles.” I asked her how her “15-minute morning huddles” contributed to the success of her business. She explained that having a team meeting first thing in the morning gave everyone the up-to-date information they needed to work together more efficiently and effectively throughout the day. According to online sources, huddles can also prioritize urgent tasks, build trust, create workplace connections and clarify roles and tasks. Meaningful team meetings can be a very powerful tool in helping your business meet the needs and expectations of your customers. As situations arise, mini-meetings and brain-storming sessions that quickly solve problems can also be used very effectively.


Often gift shop employees feel stymied in their ability to communicate their feelings and viewpoints to the owner or management. Sometimes employees can feel like second-rate people because they are not given an opportunity to be heard. Many gift shops lack a structure to ensure that meaningful meetings are held on a regular basis.

To ensure that the meetings are effective, it is important that some preparation be made before each one. Ask yourself some key questions. What are the challenges that need to be addressed? What is being done about the issues that were discussed at the last meeting? What is going right? Why? How can we make things even better? By asking these kinds of questions, you are building a framework to give communication within your company a place to grow and develop.


By holding meaningful and actionoriented meetings, you make it easy for your employees to communicate with each other as well as with management. Many times, it is not a “generation gap” that prevents teamwork within a gift shop, but a “communication gap.”

By following through with a plan for communicating, you are insuring a clearer, more effective form of constant communication in your store. As a result, by keeping miscommunication to a minimum, you will have a happier and more productive group of employees.

Regular meetings held with a purpose can keep the lines of communication open with your employees and in turn result in better customer relations. What are you waiting for?

Borg is a retail
of “True
Business Brilliance.” Contact him at: 734-404-5909
Meaningful team meetings can be a very powerful tool in helping your business meet the needs and expectations of your customers.
consultant, speaker

The new owners of Ocean Magic Surf Shop in Jupiter, Florida, have taken the surf shop retail experience to new heights.

Felipe “Flip” Oliveira has been in plenty of executive boardrooms throughout his 20-year career in corporate sales, but none of them quite as cool as the new “board room” inside Ocean Magic Surf Shop, in Jupiter, Florida.

More casual than corporate, this cozy hangout — which houses surf, skate and skim boards and other hard goods inside the beach-inspired store — showcases how Oliveira is bringing a fresh perspective to surf-centric retail.

Newcomers to the coastal retail industry, Olivei ra and his business partner, Jason Brown, took over the 37-year-old surf shop three years ago in the midst of the pandemic when, after working at the same tele communications company for several years, they

decided to go into business together. Drawn to the surf shop’s long history and driven by their “mutual love for the beach and anything ocean-related,” Ocean Magic seemed like the perfect fit for their entrepreneurial venture, Oliveira says — not to mention, “more fun than making sales calls all day.”

With no previous retail experience, Oliveira immersed himself in surf retail — spending 10 to 12 hours in the store every day for the first 40 days after purchasing Ocean Magic from founder, Don French. Since then, the new owners have been making changes to expand the shop’s longstanding legacy in Jupiter, Florida.

“As part of the process of buying [the store], I came here 10 or 15 different times as a shopper to scope it out and

get a feel for it,” Oliveira says. “I talked to the customers, and I kept hearing the same story over and over: ‘I came here as a kid, and it’s ingrained in my memories; and now I bring my kids here and they’re going to bring their kids here.’ I thought, that’s just fantastic. I want to be a part of this, and I want to grow this.”

Here’s how he’s built the business with consistent month-over-month growth since taking over Ocean Magic Surf Shop.


Oliveira and Brown took ownerswhip of Ocean Magic in November 2020, at the start of the Christmas rush. During that critical shopping period, Oliveira began


observing opportunities to improve the operation.

“I noticed that the lines were literally wrapped around the building, wall to wall, because they only had one register,” Oliveira says. “I thought, well, that’s a problem. I found myself walking that line all day, talking to customers and handing out free gifts just to ease the tension of that long line.”

Since then, Oliveira added two more registers to reduce long lines and wait times. He also introduced new pointof-sale software, replacing the store’s antiquated pen-and-paper methods with a streamlined system that tracks sales and inventory management.

After analyzing customer’s shopping

patterns, Oliveira began rearranging the store to make the surfing and skating gear, apparel and accessories more shoppable. For example, he noticed that many customers came just to buy sandals, which were previously located at the front of the 5,000-square-foot store.

“We moved those to the back,” he says, “so now they’re walking through the store, a lot of them for the first time, and saying, ‘Oh look, there’s other things here that I like.’ So, it’s been a good move.”

Oliveira also refreshed the displays throughout the store. Instead of merging all the product lines together on the racks, as the previous owner did, Oliveira saw an opportunity to highlight bestselling brands like Billabong, Roxy and

Quiksilver. For the first time in Ocean Magic history, clothing brands received their own dedicated displays.

“After looking at the numbers, these brands have been so good to us and performing so well,” he says. “It was a shame not to give them their own beautiful space on our wall with a beautiful buildout.”

Meanwhile, Oliveira and his buyer are constantly freshening up the inventory by introducing new brands. For example, he added Vuori clothing lines for men and women after trying on a pair of shorts and falling in love with the brand’s comfortable fit.

“It’s almost all I wear now,” he admits, noting that Vuori is “completely crush-

“We’ve been able to do such great things for local charities, and it feels really, really good to be able to pour back into the community like that.”
Felipe “Flip” Oliveira, owner of Ocean Magic Surf Shop, has created a surf shop experience with business partner Jason Brown that is breaking the mold. Photos: Robert Holland

ing” sales at his store. Customers similarly can’t get enough of the handmade clothing from Mora Girls, a boutique brand that Oliveira recently began carrying. “We cannot keep it in stock,” he says.


When Oliveira realized that the tax prep business next door to Ocean Magic’s flagship store wasn’t renewing its lease, he jumped at the opportunity to expand into the adjacent unit. The goal, initially, was storage. “We needed a space for back stock in order to build a foundation for a thriving website,” he says.

The expansion into the next-door suite doubled Ocean Magic’s total square footage to nearly 10,000 square feet — providing even more storage space than Oliveira needed. What better way to use the extra space, he thought, than to create an experience beyond the products?

Oliveira says the general rule for retail is that every square foot of the store should have merchandise in order to justify that space, “and it makes logical sense to do it that way.”

But, he says, “We thought, let’s do something different. Let’s create a huge, open space dedicated to hard goods — surf, skate and skim — and leave it very beautiful and open, complete with a couch, Xbox, food and drinks so people can just come and hang out, like surf shops used to be.”

Oliveira dedicated roughly 3,500 square feet to this community “board room,” as he calls it, to give customers an

is also a hangout for

inviting space to hang out and connect with other surfers. He also makes the room available to local charities and nonprofit organizations as a meeting space.

Groups like Christian Surfers and Wahine Warriors, a nonprofit that supports veterans and foster kids, meet regularly in Ocean Magic’s board room.

Devoting this much square footage to serve the community, without charging fees or expecting direct sales in return, helps set the shop apart.

“It was a risk, obviously, but the payoff has been huge,” Oliveira says. “We’ve been able to do such great things for local charities, and it feels really, really good to be able to pour back into the community like that.”


Although Ocean Magic caters to the local surfers and skaters, Oliveira says the store also serves beach-loving families and tourists outside of that “core” crowd.

“We welcome everybody here,” he says. “The ages [of our customers] vary tremendously; we have little kids in here all the time, and even grandmas shopping for their families.”

While building out the inventory with more of the surf-related brands and products these shoppers want, Oliveira is also looking for new ways to serve his customers beyond the typical transaction.

For example, Ocean Magic was already renting surfboards when he and

Brown bought the business. Since then, they’ve been expanding that offering by adding skim boards, boogie boards and even electronic bikes to the rental options.

Now, they’re starting to rent other items and experiences — going where traditional surf shops typically don’t tread. Ocean Magic recently started offering a beach rental package that includes chairs, umbrellas, totes, coolers and practically anything else that people might need at the beach.

“We’ve structured it so at the end of the rental period, if you like any item that you’ve rented, you can use that [rental] money toward the purchase of a new one,” he says.

For the second phase of this beach rental program, Ocean Magic will partner with local resorts to deliver these packages directly to consumers this summer — making a day at the beach even more carefree.

“One of the biggest struggles is having to lug all these things to the beach and then lug them all back to the car, so we want to eliminate that,” Oliveira says. “What do you need? We’ll bring it and set it up for you. You rent a cooler from us; we’ll fill it with ice. What do you want to drink? We’ll get that for you, too, and then come back and tear it down and take it off your hands, so we’re going to simplify that process.”

In this way, Ocean Magic is making itself indispensable for beach-goers.

Ocean Magic’s “board room” surfers and a meeting space. Ocean Magic carries a variety of boards for purchase or for rentals.


Growth has been part of Oliveira’s vision for Ocean Magic from the beginning, as he brought big plans for growing the business beyond a single storefront. Last year, he found the perfect opportunity to expand into Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens, about a 17-minute drive away from the flagship location.

“We thought the mall would be an interesting place, but it couldn’t be just any mall,” he says. Gardens Mall, an upscale shopping destination owned by the Forbes Company, was pristine enough to capture his attention, and close enough that he could quickly get from one store to another. Located just a few doors down from luxury

brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Coach, Ocean Magic stands out to mall shoppers who wouldn’t typically visit its other location, which sits four minutes away from the beach, surrounded by seafood restaurants and salons.

“In a mall with all these very highend stores, being an ocean-themed store that’s very affordable catches people’s eyes,” Oliveira says. “There are a lot of people walking into our store who would’ve never been captured otherwise at our flagship store, so it’s been a good move in terms of brand awareness.”

Spanning only 1,900 square feet, Ocean Magic’s mall location covers a much smaller footprint, which requires careful product selection to make use of limited space. “We have to be judicious with the brands we decide to carry there,” Oliveira says, “and that’s in a continuous state of flux as we’re learning about the customer base.”

Since opening in Gardens Mall in August 2022, Oliveira has observed different product preferences at each location. The bestselling brand at the mall has been Vuori Men’s followed by its Women’s

“Our people are the lifeblood of the organization, and we have to take care of those who take care of us. So, we've increased salaries — in some cases, more than doubled them — and brought in health and dental benefits.” — FELIPE “FLIP” OLIVEIRA

line, while the dominant brands at the flagship store have been Billabong Women’s followed by Roxy and Quiksilver. “It’s been surprising to us,” Oliveira says. “We’re always watching and making adjustments as needed.”


Beyond physical changes, the key ingredient in Ocean Magic’s growth is its people.

“The most important change we’ve made is with our personnel,” Oliveira says. “Our people are the lifeblood of the organization, and we have to take care of those who take care of us. So, we've increased salaries — in some cases, more than doubled them — and brought in health and dental benefits.”

Ocean Magic has shifted toward fulltime employees as Oliveira tries to lay a stable foundation for long-term growth. He realized that the company was investing a lot of time training part-time workers with a high turnover.

“I thought, let’s pay these guys more and get full-time committed employees who are going to stay and grow with the company,” he says. “In order to do that, you have to lay the foundation for that growth.”

Now, with 16 full-time employees and growing, Oliveira realizes that these

investments in his team pay off in multiples as the company continues to set new sales records every month — marking consistent month-over-month growth since Oliveira took over.

“We’re super thankful for that, and it’s onward and upward from here,” Oliveira says.

Billibong Women’s, Roxy and Quicksilver are the dominant brands at the flagship location.

Experience the Coastal Connections Conference

Calling all coastal retailers! Registration for the Coastal Connections Conference is open and early bird rates are still available. Not only will you have the opportunity to meet with and learn about top beach, coastal and nautical brands in a laid-back setting ideal for making connections, what sets the Coastal Connections Conference apart are the educational and networking opportunities.

The event kicks off Sunday, Oct. 22, at 3 p.m. with a keynote presentation from Dane Cohen of Management One. Cohen’s session, “Mastering the Inventory Game” provides out-of-the-box ideas and proven tools that will make managing your store’s merchandise

less work, more fun and even more profitable.

Following the keynote session, hiring and retention will be addressed. Attendees will hear what other coastal retailers are doing to create a loyal hardworking team in their retail operation.

Immediately after the panel discussion, attendees will have an opportunity to unwind and make connections with other seaside retailers from across the country during the Welcome Party from 6-7 p.m. Live music, delicious food and beverages and great conversation will all be on tap.

On Monday, Oct. 23, sessions will cover a range of topics from “45 Rewarding Ideas in 45 Minutes,” to “Putting Experiential Retail

“The Coastal Connections Conference is a great opportunity to learn from industry experts and network with fellow retailers who share similar challenges.”
— Sam Chang IBCaribbean, Boca Raton, FL
Eight educational sessions will cover inventory management, employee retention, building relationships, social media, experiential retail, visual merchandising and more.
“I have been to other retail conferences over the years, but having one specific to the coastal retail industry made this one a must-attend event. I look forward to the next one!”
— Kim Hannon, Ophiuroidea, St. Michaels and Grasonville, MD
“We brought back so many practical tips and formed valuable relationships that have already yielded great results.”
— Christine Crawford, Beagle Bay Knot Works, Huron, Ohio

Education isn’t the only thing on the menu. Attendees will enjoy evening parties and a generous welcome bag filled with goodies.

into Action,” “Creating Coastal Connections” and “It’s Your Time to Shine Online.” See page 28 for a full list of speakers from prominent retail organizations and consulting firms.

A special awards ceremony honoring Seaside Retailer’s Starfish Award winners from the past year will also be held Tuesday.

The Boardwalk Chat, a series of short sitdown interviews with vendors exhibiting at the next day’s The Boardwalk event will close out the day’s educational sessions.

Retailers will continue making meaningful connections with retailers as well as wholesalers exhibiting at The Boardwalk during The It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere Party that evening.

During the final session at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, Michael Hale, founder of Retail Rehab will share, “Visual Merchandising Tips and Tricks.” Immediately following, attendees will gain exclusive entrance to The Boardwalk, featuring over 30 of the most sought after beach, coastal and nautical brands.

Attendees will also receive a welcome bag filled with products from leading beach, coastal and nautical brands to consider carrying in their store. Several product and service giveaways will also be held throughout the event.

The early bird rate of $495 is available until Aug. 31. Don’t delay, register today for the only retail conference for seaside retailers!

Take a stroll on The Boardwalk

Coastal Connections Conference buying event is designed to build relationships.

While education is an important aspect of the Coastal Connections Conference so are opportunities to connect with wholesalers and brands that can enhance coastal retailers’ store offerings. During the Boardwalk, Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., attendees will have the opportunity to explore exciting new products and get to know vendors in a fun, relaxing and casual environment.

With The Boardwalk Chat taking place in advance of The Boardwalk, attendees will get to know vendors even more closely before the doors to The Boarwalk open, giving them a chance to learn about the products being offered in-person from the comfort of their chairs. All vendors will have the opportunity to sit down with Conference Sales Director and Seaside Retailer Publisher Karen Carr Tuesday afternoon for a short chat to discuss trends, top-selling product offerings and other pertinent topics.

“It was a great way to learn about each brand and what they offered. It made meeting them at The Boardwalk event more efficient and personable,” said January attendee Cici Davis, of Cinnamon Bay Resort, St. John, Virgin Islands.

Boardwalk participants also appreciated the opportunity. Returning exhibitor, Victor Armendariz of Wild Republic, had this to say about the entire experience after the January event: “What I found most advantageous was The Boardwalk Chat. Having an opportunity to address a room full of current and potential buyers is fantastic.”

The It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere Party takes place directly after The Boardwalk Chat giving attendees and vendors plenty to talk about over cocktails, appetizers and live music.




For more information and speaker bios, visit


• Early bird rate: $495 (until Aug. 31)

• Nonprofit and ZAG early bird rate: $445 (until Aug. 31)

• Standard rate: $595 (until Sept. 29)

• For information about group discounts contact us at



• Special rate of only $179/night available for conference attendees

• Extend your stay before and after and still receive the same great rate

• For reservations, please visit hotel or call 855-995-9099 and mention Coastal Connections Conference

Kathy Cruz Savvy Shop Keeper Anita Cereceda The Islander Pauline Bresnahan Pauline’s Gifts KEYNOTE: DANE COHEN Management One Dave Foos Clarkston Consulting Cathy Nagle-Ervin Retail Training Tools Steve Schultz Flip Flop Shops Kim Springsteen-Abbot Lady Grypon’s Coastal Collection Crystal Vilkaitis Crystal Media William Hill Margaritaville Resort Orlando Scott Hamblin Crowder’s Gifts & Gadgets/ Sunshine Ace Hardware Patrick Keiser Heart on Main Street Elie Johnson ZooTampa at Lowry Park
Michael Hale Retail REHAB
Holly Daniels Christensen Dune Jewelry


Registration and Badge Pick-up

12:00 - 3:00 p.m.

won’t want to miss. Come ready to participate! Panelists: Pauline Bresnahan, Pauline’s Gifts; Anita Cereceda, Islands Gift Shop; Kathy Cruz, Savvy Shop Keeper; Elie Johnson, ZooTampa; Patrick Keiser, Heart on Main Street

Keynote: Mastering the Inventory Game

3:00 - 4:15 p.m. Don’t let your inventory get the best of you! You’ll leave this session with out-of-the-box ideas and proven tools that will make managing your store’s merchandise less work, more fun and even more profitable. Speaker: Dane Cohen, Management One

Afternoon Break

4:15 - 4:30 p.m.


12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

1:30 - 2:00 p.m. Seaside Retailer honors past recipients of the Starfish Award recognizing each winner for their contributions to charitable causes and conservation efforts in their communities and beyond.

Starfish Awards Presentation

Session II: Build an All-star Team

4:30 - 6:00 p.m. Hiring and retaining good employees doesn’t have to be difficult. Learn what steps to take to create a loyal and hard-working team in your retail operation so you can worry less and rely on your employees more. Panelists: Kathy Cruz, Savvy Shop Keeper; Scott Hamblin, Sunshine Ace Hardware; William Hill, Margaritaville Resort Orlando Gift Shop; Kim Springsteen-Abbot, Lady Gryphon’s Coastal Collection Shop

Welcome Party

6:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Mingle with seaside retailers at the Coastal Connections Conference Welcome Party! Join in on the fun with cocktails and appetizers and get to know fellow attendees.



8:00 - 9:00 a.m.

Session VI - It’s Your Time to Shine Online 2:00- 3:15 p.m. Get ready to jumpstart your social media mindset and learn how to create meaningful and profitable results! Don’t miss this informative session that will cover easy-to-implement tips and strategies to see your social media soar to new heights. Speaker: Crystal Vilkaitis, Crystal Media

Afternoon Break

3:15 - 3:30 p.m.

3:30 - 5:00 p.m. Get the inside track from top beach, coastal and nautical wholesalers about their latest product offerings, industry trends, buying advice and more during informal sit-down interviews with the vendors who are exhibiting at Coastal Connections Conference’s Boardwalk event. Panelists: The Boardwalk Vendors

Session VII: The Boardwalk Chat

Session III: 45 Rewarding Ideas

9:00 - 10:00 a.m. in 45 Minutes

Get your pen and paper ready, because you’re going to want to jot these tips down. From app recommendations that make your life easier to display tips that will turn profits, you’ll leave with 45 takeaways that you can put into practice immediately at your retail store! Speaker: Cathy NagleErvin, Retail Training Tools

Morning Break

10:00 - 10:15 a.m.

Session IV: Putting 10:15 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.

Experiential Retail into Action

Find out how you can elevate the shopping experience inside your brick-and-mortar store with fresh new ideas and perspectives that will help you build a loyal customer base and increase sales. Panelists: Steve Schultz, Flip Flop Shops Holly Daniels Christensen, Dune Jewelry; Dave Foos, Clarkston Consulting

Session V: Creating Coastal 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Connections Continued

Back by popular demand! The Creating Coastal Connections session was an attendee favorite at January’s conference. Retail panelists and attendees will share ideas, best practices, challenges and opportunities in a lively discussion you

It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere Party 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Unwind after a day of learning at the It’s Five O’clock Somewhere party. Take this opportunity to continue making meaningful connections with retailers and wholesalers while sharing ideas and experiences. Enjoy cocktails, appetizers and live entertainment!


Breakfast 8:00 - 9:00 a.m.

Session VIII: Visual 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.

Merchandising Tips and Tricks

Learn how to create a store layout that captures the coastal vibe while creating opportunities for increased sales. This how-to session will give you new inspiration and actionable takeaways to super-charge your displays! Speaker: Michael Hale, Retail REHAB

Closing Remarks

10:00 - 10:15 a.m.

The Boardwalk 10:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Explore exciting new products and get to know some of the industry’s hottest brands in an exclusive buying experience with a fun and laid-back vibe. A perfect opportunity for building relationships with vendors and getting a head start on placing orders!


Retailers and wholesalers can help consumers conjure up the coast with decor for outdoor spaces.



Some shoppers want a patio or deck where the sound of wind chimes helps them remember being awash in coastal breezes, while others want an outdoor living oasis replete with pillows and furniture in sea-themed hues and designs. Whatever the decorating goal, there has never been a better time for retailers to offer consumers everything they need to create the beach-themed outside living space of their dreams.

Bethany Trading Co. in Bethany Beach, Delaware, carries a broad range of outdoor items covering everything from fun beach toys for kids to home decor, says Manager Victoria Daza. Popular outdoor decorating styles for this year are shells, nautical and coastal, she says, with beautiful coastal colors and prints from local artist Gretchen Spraul finding favor.

Outdoor items the store carries include garden flags, bird houses, wind chimes, wooden beach signs, metal yard birds, surf boards for walls, stepping stones for gardens and cast iron accessories to accent gardens and walkways such as birds, ducks and mermaids.

“We carry all sorts of coastal and nautical items, from brass bells to ship wheels, fun decorative hooks to fun metal outdoor wall art, and I can’t forget our very popular Door Mates that are very cute with a little adult humor written on them,” Daza says.

The materials and items that do best for Daza are nostalgic 32 SEASIDE RETAILER JULY-AUGUST 2023 STYLE TREND: OUTDOOR LIVING
Bright coastal colors and sea life themes appeal to customers at Sunshine & Sweet Pea’s Coastal Decor.

metal signs and wood beach signs in coastal colors and assorted sizes. Home and garden flags and yard decor items are also popular, she says.

“I like to arrange our home decor by style and color,” she says, adding that about a third of Bethany Trading Co.’s offerings are outdoor accessories. “They always do great in the spring and summer.”

The store has a dedicated area for outdoor accessories where all the items are set up on displays.

“The designated area is well known to our customers year after year,” says Daza. “I feel that everyone local or visiting knows us for our yard and home decor, I can’t say one more than the other. Although, if I had to pick, it would be vacationers.”


For Steff Speirs, owner of Sunshine & Sweet Pea’s Coastal Decor in Virginia Beach, a range of garden items, includ-

Outdoor accessories make up a third of Bethany Trading Co.’s merchandise. They are popular with both visitors and locals.

ing shells, wind chimes and outdoor art pieces sell well.

The store is arranged by color, and style trends this year include shells, sea life, mermaids, nautical and latitude and longitude items. Also, goods with inspirational sayings have stayed popular with a wide range of customers.

Brights dominate at Sunshine & Sweet Pea’s. “My customer base and my store always tend to go more toward teal and bright colors. Customers tend to shy away from darker pieces,” Speirs says.

Popular materials and finishes include wood, driftwood, shells, metal, ceramics, rustic and whitewashes. Non-canvas art, including surf boards, pallet wood and round wood pieces are also emerging as in-demand. Canvas and matted, framed

art is not popular currently, she says.

Outdoor merchandise is displayed all the way through the store, and appears both inside and outside.

coastal and nautical outdoor accessories.

Speirs says outdoor items’ sales at Sunshine & Sweet Pea’s starts in March with the warmer weather and will fade off around late September.

“I want to expand more on outdoor, but it’s maybe 15% of my business currently on accessories,” she says. Her customer base for outdoor items includes vacation homeowners and year-round residents.


The C&F Enterprises brands of C&F Home, Beachcombers Coastal Life and Rightside Design offer a range of beach,

“For the home, our popular outdoor textile categories include pillows, throws, and table linens in coastal, beach and nautical colors and imagery,” says Colleen Hall, vice president of marketing, C&F Home, Beachcombers Coastal Life and Rightside Design. “We also have garden decor and wind chimes in coastal and nautical themes for our garden centers.”

Hall says for 2023, “We’re really excited about the launch of our boating throws in C&F Home, which are lightweight woven indoor/outdoor throws. We’ve always been strong in the outdoor pillow market, particularly with our coastal motifs, and these solid throws can sit alongside those popular items, or on their own.”

She adds, “The category expansion allows us to continue growing in the outdoor living space, which has become a key selling point in home buyers as consumers continue to try and find re-

"My customer base and my store always tend to go more toward teal and bright colors. Customers tend to shy away from darker pieces.”
— Steff Speirs, Sunshine & Sweet Pea’s Coastal Decor

laxation through connecting with nature. We believe one can find a relaxing outdoor retreat wherever one lives, whether someone has a sprawling backyard, or an apartment balcony with the right accessories.”

The company’s most popular outdoor decor items this year include its coastal motif outdoor pillows. Wind chimes are C&F’s most popular outdoor hard good.

Blue and white “continues to be our top selling color combination for beach, coastal, nautical and everyday alike,” notes Hall. “It’s a classic combination that can be dressed up or down depending on the layering of textures and accompanying accessories.”

She adds, popular prints include seashells and coral, sea birds and turtles.

There are definite variations in tastes and styles, however. Hall advises, “You have to think of the coastal customer in smaller segmented customer groups, not just one catch-all category.” For example, she says, coastal can be broken down

into a subset of styles all their own such as tropical boho, or coastal farmhouse. Additionally, the popularity of certain beach, coastal and nautical styles and imagery can vary from region to region.

“East Coast and West Coast aquatic life is very different, so our customers in those regions are looking for ocean or river wildlife specific to their areas of the country.”

Likewise, she says, as you move up and down the East Coast, the wildlife is area specific in demand. “I might be able to sell one manatee towel to a store in Rhode Island, because, come on, who doesn’t love manatees? But, I’m really going to sell that icon down in Florida.”

Native sea life aside, coastal colors and product textures have universal appeal, Hall notes, with outdoor pillows continuing to be strong year after year.

Pillows are popular, and Rightside Designs (left) and parent company C&F Home Enterprises (right) fulfill the outdoor space ambitions of a wide range of customers.


Building on its pillow success, C&F recently added Rightside Design to its portfolio. Lynn McKernan, Rightside Design’s vice president, product design and development, says while the brand offers a variety of housewares, it is the outdoor pillow collections that customers are primarily in the market for.

Core to the line is indoor/outdoor higher-end pillows featuring embroidery and designs that complement the pillows already offered by C&F. For example, there is an octopus outdoor embroidered pillow in happy colors such as corals.

Rightside Design is launching a new collection of greens and neutrals “with more of a silvery sage green, silvery blues etc. that will appeal to most coastal buyers that can easily work with most decor pieces,” says McKiernan. “Also new are collection add-ons in colors that work well for us, such as the navy and white nautical and the sea glass color series.”

She has observed an uptick in buyers

“looking for higher end goods with impeccable quality that lasts.” Additionally, more customers are looking for corals, neutrals and greens. Octopus and shorebird designs are trending.

McKiernan designs to demographics. “The Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic regions very often buy the navy and white, nautical and neutrals, blue crabs and shellfish patterns. The Southeast coast and Florida do quite well with bright corals, turquoise and indigenous species such as lizards, tropical fish, palms etc. The West Coast buyers are trending with gray and white, pale pink canyon colors and Pacific blues,” she says.


Since 1998, Beaver Dam Woodworks in Honey Brook, Pennsylvania, has been handmaking a wide range of outdoor

hard goods for the patio, yard and garden, including lighthouses that are available in sizes from 2 feet to 12 feet tall and bear the likeness of many iconic lighthouses, from Cape Hatteras to Cape Cod.

“We do a vast array of nautical lawn decor, lawn accessories, bird feeders, nautical furniture and much more,” says Owner Amos Kauffman.

In 2023, the company launched the surf table and chair set, folding surf end table, corn hole games, lighthouses with storage and poly planters.

“By far the most popular items for 2023 are the surf table and chair set and the surf end table,” he says.

Blues and whites are the colors in

Beaver Dam Woodworks’ surf table and chair set are new popular 2023 items.


1 10 6 3 4 2 7 9 5
1 | Beaver Dam Woodworks: Seagull bird feeder made from high-quality materials,; 2 | Wind River Chimes: Handcrafted Corinthian Bells wind chimes in Sky Blue,; 3 | Bamboo Source Tropical Decor: Decorative starfish strand with stones and driftwood,; 4 | C&F Home: Sea turtle pillow with coral,; 5 | Rustic Marlin: Welcome sign with an iconic, rustic lobster design,; 6 | My Word!: Adoornaments weatherproof “Life is Better at the Beach,” outdoor sign,; 7 | HS Seashells: Handcrafted CayCay & White Clam Heart Wreath with intricate caycay shell design.,; 8 | Bliss Hammocks: Hammocks in attractive colors and styles for decorating and relaxing,; 9 | Tom the Turner: Wooden fish house number sign,; 10 | Rightside Design: Stylish and artful indoor/outdoor pillow in an octopus design,
These outdoor accessories will create beachy vibes in customers’ backyards.

most demand, and while Kauffman hasn’t noticed a dramatic difference between what items sell in the North versus the South, he says demand in the South is intense currently. The company’s products are also popular in lake regions.


Pleasant Street Designs Inc., DBA My Word! has introduced new and fun art on existing bestselling products such as Adoornaments, Skinnies, Porch Boards and Stand Out-Signs.

Jen Heamer, national sales manager, says they are “great accents to any home as well as the perfect gift to remember a special vacation or place. Most of our outdoor decor is actually 100% weatherproof too and printed with fade-proof ink so they are made to be outside yearround in any climate,” she adds.

The company offers a wide range of both indoor and outdoor decor to accent beach and lake homes, and its products

are designed, produced and shipped in Massachusetts.

Most popular this year are Adoornaments. “They were introduced last fall and retailers have loved them,” Heamer says. “They are a perfect 19-inch size for the front/side doors of a home with beautiful designs, and are a great replacement for wreaths, as they will last longer and are much easier to store.”

What sells varies significantly from region to region, according to Heamer. “Turtles always seem to sell well for us in the South, and then across the country it is shells, lighthouses and beach designs. We are based out of the Northeast and our retailers here love lobsters, shells and lighthouses.

She adds, “Down South they love the flamingos and turtles. Out West it seems to be more sunsets and beach scenes, at least for our products.”

Customers also love the sentiment and humor of My Word! products, especially those featured on the company’s

Skinnies signs, according to Heamer. Whether offering outdoor merchandise depicting manatees and flamingos in Florida, crabs and lobsters in Maine, or stunning sunsets in California, decor products for the perfect backyard oasis are always changing and evolving.

For retailers seeking to awaken the imaginations of local and visiting customers, the tide for selling outside coastal decor is turning toward customer satisfaction and sales.

My Word! outdoor signs are weatherproof.


Creating outdoor living spaces has been on an upward trend since the COVID-19 pandemic led to Americans spending more time at home, and that trend isn’t slowing down. In fact, Americans are poised to invest more in outdoor living spaces in 2023 than they did the previous year.

An independent survey conducted by The International Casual Furnishings Association (ICFA) shows that 54 percent of Americans plan to purchase new furnishings and decor for their decks, yards and patios this year.


QA &

Jackie Hirschhaut is vice president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance and executive director of its outdoor division, The International Casual Furnishings Association (ICFA). More information is available at

After two years of pandemic living that motivated many residents to invest in improving the spaces around their homes, there is significant interest in continuing to upgrade their outdoor living setting. The findings also confirm that consumers will spend an average of nine hours per week outdoors in 2023, up from seven hours per week in 2022, according to the study conducted by Wakefield Research.

In 2023, more than one-third will prioritize upgrading their outdoor lighting, and more than one-quarter reported they will add shade items including umbrellas, pergolas and awnings, as well as decor including pillows, cushions, and rugs. Not far behind is the desire to add firepits or fireplace features, flooring, seating/sofas, water features and outdoor kitchens and bars.

“In addition to shopping for new pieces of furniture, consumers ranked lighting and accessories as the easiest ways to make their outdoor living spaces more stylish,” says Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance and executive director of its outdoor division, ICFA. “These easy-to-add enhancements make it more conducive to spending time outdoors, which people are doing more and more each year, as work from home becomes more normalized and the home has new and different meanings in our lives.”

Hirschhaut shares more with Seaside Retailer about how coastal stores can enhance their outdoor decor and accessories offerings to meet the growing demand.

Seaside Retailer (SR): What prompted ICFA to conduct a survey on outdoor furnishings purchasing habits?

Jaclyn C. Hirschhaut (JH): ICFA has been tracking consumer attitudes about outdoor living annually for about 15 years. The category has experienced steady sales growth year after year,


reaching a new high over the past few years as a result of the pandemic.

SR: What were some key findings of the survey?

JH: More than half of the respondents plan to purchase new products for their outdoor space this year. Accessories and accents top the shopping list of desired products, such as lighting, shade items, pillows, rugs and replacement cushions. Fire pits and fireplaces are a key addition while a growing number of consumers plan to create an outdoor kitchen or bar area.

SR: How can retailers apply these findings to help make informed purchasing decisions on outdoor decor and accessories to carry in their store?

JH: In 2023, retailers should approach their visual merchandising with attention to accessories like umbrellas, rugs, decorative toss pillows and accents. I’d recommend expanding the variety of their accessory assortments in limited depth.

SR: What trends are you seeing in coastal outdoor decor and accessories?

JH: Mixed materials are a favorite combination in the acces-

sory category, while naturals and various shades of blue are the most popular colorways.

SR: What seems to be the driving factors behind these trends?

JH: Professional designers continue to pave the path of seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor space. Decorating magazines and television programming, too, are a source of inspiration for shoppers.

SR: What types of items should seaside retailers be carrying this season to capitalize on these trends?

JH: Seaside retailers should look to build their selection of accessory items — rugs, pillows, planters, wall art and umbrellas — that will transform a utilitarian setting to a personal space with special touches.


Hope in the eye of a storm

When Hurricane Ian made landfall on September 28, 2022, in southwestern Florida, it was the strongest hurricane to hit the state since Michael in 2018. As a gateway to southwest Florida and a major tourist destination, the Fort Myers Beach community suffered significant damage. Among the businesses impacted were three stores owned by independent retailer Anita Cereceda, and because of the shoreline, only one, The Islander, can be rebuilt.

Cereceda, who also lost the contents but not the structure of her 1926 cottage home to 8 feet of storm water, is far from alone in her journey toward reopening The Islander. The tight-knit Fort Myers Beach community was devastated by the hurricane and recovery for retailers is moving slowly.

Among the chaos, the Heart on Main

Street team, in partnership with Indie & Main, made Cereceda the first grant recipient for the organization by presenting her with a check for $10,000 to help in the rebuilding process. And the Dallas Market Center will host her later in the year during one of its shows.


With her many years in retail, Cereceda has strong vendor relationships. So, when Sue Larmon, territory manager with the One Coast, Mud Pie Sales Division, told her to answer a call from someone named Patrick, she took note.

“She said, ‘I know you’ve got a lot going on. I can’t tell you anything because I really don’t know the details. But I want you to answer the phone or return

the call when somebody named Patrick calls you from Heart on Main Street,’” Cereceda says.

“So, the next day, lo and behold, I got a call from Patrick. He introduces himself, tells me about the Heart on Main Street program, and what he’s been doing. And then he proceeds to tell me that I was chosen as their first recipient of a $10,000 grant. I was absolutely blown away,” she says of her conversation with Heart on Main Street Executive Director Patrick Keiser.

Keiser presented the check in person at the store site. “Then I got to actually meet him, which was wonderful, and Sue, my sales rep, met me there too,” she says. “It was all very emotional and lovely, and I was just so grateful. And quite

“Anita isn’t just a retailer in Fort Myers Beach, she is a staple in the community.” — PATRICK KEISER, HEART ON MAIN STREET
The Islander in Fort Meyers, Florida, is rebuilding after Hurricane Ian thanks in part to a gift from Heart on Main Street with funds from Indie and Main.

honestly, now I’ve been following that [Heart on Main Street] page and listening to the podcast and it has helped me tremendously, being inspired by it all.”

to talk to her community, and thousands of people tuned in to watch.”

Keiser says despite losing three businesses and her home, she kept talking about the sunny days ahead. He said she informed her community on news and progress from federal recovery efforts, and that she spoke about best practices in dealing with insurance companies and what to look for in other companies offering to help to avoid scams.


Keiser says the group couldn’t have found a more deserving recipient. “Anita isn’t just a retailer in Fort Myers Beach, she is a staple in the community. When I first started looking into her businesses and her story, I was brought to her Facebook page, which has been a source of inspiration for the town over the past seven months. She consistently went live

Cereceda has a long history in the Fort Myers Beach retail community. After her father retired from the Sysco food company in 1985, he opened the Pier Peddler with her mother. With both parents gone, Cereceda took over the store, and it would have celebrated its 38th anniversary had it not been destroyed in the storm.

In 2003, she opened Local Color. “It was just a beautiful, wonderful, artsy store and it was also completely demol-

ished. This is a building that was built to hurricane code. It was built in 2003, but it went down into rubble. There was virtually nothing left to recover,” she says.

Cereceda opened The Islander in 2017. She will use the $10,000 grant for a cash wrap area and its computers, phones and furnishings.

“I talked it over with my store manager and told her that I wanted to be reminded every day about the generosity of others and pay it forward! The smallest acts of kindness help every day. The Heart on Main Street donation will be our starting point,” she says.

Cereceda is unsure when The Islander will reopen. The store is located at the south end of the island in the Santini Marina Plaza Shops, which is a concrete block structure.

“The structure survived, but all the businesses in the plaza were demolished by storm surge. So, the water just kind of rushed through, and everything [had] glass fronts. You can imagine what the

“The smallest acts of kindness help every day. The Heart on Main Street donation will be our starting point and something every employee knows about and is reminded of daily!”

plaza looks like. It was just completely demolished,” she says. With the hurricane glass in, and a new roof on the plaza, she says “there’s a little bit of hope there. That’s wonderful.”


Keiser says that Heart on Main Street wants to help as many retailers as possible. The organization will continue to be there for retailers affected by natural disasters but will use other funds it raises to invest in programs like grants and mentorships, Keiser says.

“We also have a significant focus on education and have been hosting monthly webinars for retailers, and we will have an in-person education event this summer. We plan to have in-person education events during each show season,” he says.


Cereceda waited out the storm at her sister’s home about 20 miles from the

beach. At another time of crisis for the family, one of her sisters said that hope can be a strategy, an idea Cereceda has embraced. “From that moment on, I’ve had a little piece of paper somewhere that I would see that says, ‘Hope is a strategy.’”

Cereceda also finds a beacon of hope from her fellow retailers. She met the owner of Babe’s in Lakeland, Florida, while attending trade shows, and the woman has been posting images and videos from Atlanta Mart.

“It just has lit me up. I feel like I’m living vicariously through her. And so that’s been a high point. I sent her a message on Facebook and thanked her for it,” she says.

For Cereceda, these small signs of hope are a strategy to get through times of difficulty.

“You know, you just have to pay attention, and quite honestly, you have to make a conscious effort with it because it does not come easily,” she says.




Candles are a huge business in the U.S. with the National Candle Association reporting that retail sales for candle products are estimated at $3.14 billion annually. Customers have more than 10,000 different candle scents available to them, according to the association, and they come in many shapes and sizes to boot. Moreover, very few products can keep your customers engaged in the store as much as candles can, and once they start popping lids, and taking whiffs, odds are, sales will follow.

Gary Briggs, co-founder of Vermont-based candle company, Aunt Sadie’s Inc., says candles are usually in the top five or 10 top selling categories for retailers. He suggests retailers carry a variety.

“Retailers should look for different containers, different designs and different wax bases. We find that devoted candle shoppers have their definite preferences so it’s important to offer [them] options.”

Price point has also been an increasingly important factor. “It’s fine to offer higher end/more expensive candles if you have a customer base that will support that. But offering various price points will increase your chances of a candle sale,” Briggs says.

Aunt Sadie’s candles are made from high-grade paraffin wax, lead-


1 | Rockport Candle Co.: Sea Captain candle,

2 | True Ocean: Seacandle aromatherapy,

3 | Old Whaling Co.: Coastal Calm soy candle,

4 | Aunt Sadie: Galveston, Texas, candle,

5 | Lucette + Mo: Adrift coconut wax candle,

6 | Inis: The sparkling scent of Inis in a candle,

7 | Bluffton Candles: Georgia on my Mind candle,

8 | Sugared Mango: Siren’s Song coconut wax candle,

9 | Wild Delights: Manatee paint can soy candle,

10 | Slippery Elm: Longshore handpoured soy wax candle,

REFLECTIONS Lead your customers by the nose to their happy place with these beach-themed candle scents. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

free wicks and the scents are a combination of essential oils and additives to help performance. The company’s Kate Nelligan licensed line of candles is popular with seaside retailers.

“Kate’s images are colorful and whimsical and she licenses her designs with a number of different manufacturers so it’s possible to build a theme around her designs that includes multiple product types. And all our Kate Nelligan candles feature the free name-drop personalization option.”

Aunt Sadie’s offers free name-drop personalization on many of its beach/ nautical-themed candles. “It really helps our retailers sell candles during summer months, which aren’t always the strongest candle selling months.”


Rockport Candle Co.’s products are created in the quaint coastal town of Rockport, Massachusetts. Fragrances are inspired by favorite seaside memories to

Deciding factors

There are many considerations when determining what candle brand to carry in your seaside store, but Lavinia’s Haven Owner Lavinia Schiavon says these four factors are the most important:





Quality and safety: Ensure that products are of premium quality, using safe and non-toxic materials to provide a positive customer experience.

Variety: Look for a diverse range of scents and products to cater to different customer preferences and ensure a well-rounded selection.

Packaging and branding: The visual appeal of candles, personalized labels, and interest to the target market.

Price point: Find a balance between quality and affordability to meet the expectations of our customers while maintaining profitability.

help people feel close to the beach or the sea and to help them share those happy memories with loved ones, according to Owner Christina Wilcox.

“Our sense of smell has a very strong connection to our memories and emo-

tions, like the beach roses at Grandma’s summer cottage, or the suntan lotion we used as a teen, or the freshly squeezed lime in our favorite vacation cocktail, which help us feel loved, happy, relaxed, connected.”


She adds, “Shoppers are also attracted by our unique candle names, like Cocktails by the Sea, Fog Horn, or Salty Sea Breeze, and love bringing home a consumable product that won’t bring clutter into their home.”

Bon Secour Candle Co.’s candles are hand poured in small batches that are made from 100% soy wax. “Our best sellers are definitely scents that remind visitors and locals of their time at the beach, soft sea breezes, sun, sand and

clean beach towels,” says Tara Giffort, owner.

The creative names that relate to the Gulf Coast area are also a draw for seaside retailers, and “the price point is perfect for their customers to grab several as gifts for their dog sitters, house sitters, family and friends,” she says.

Lavinia’s Haven candles are crafted with meticulous attention to detail and premium quality ingredients, according to owner Lavinia Schiavone. “Our scents are carefully curated, capturing the essence of the beach and ocean. Each fragrance is designed to evoke a specific mood or atmosphere, creating a memorable sensory experience for our customers.”

The candles are made from 100% soy wax made in the USA and the cotton wicks allow for a cleaner burn that minimizes carbon emissions, according to Schiavone. They are also crafted to maximize burn time.

“Our candles have garnered a loyal

following with customers returning for their favorite scents time and again,” she says. “Offering our brand can help build customer loyalty and increase repeat business.”


“Retailers who carry Slippery Elm brand candles often comment that they love the names of the candles, which create an emotional connection with the consumer,” says Scott Goodrich, president of Wyx Brands, makers of Slippery Elm brand candles. The clean, fresh fragrances and fast shipping time are also pluses, he notes.

Slippery Elm launched new coastal-themed fragrances in its primary candle line, and for 2023 it added a High Tide series candle line, “which puts those fragrances into nautical-themed candles designed specifically for coastal retailers.”

The company also redesigned the labeling of its 6-ounce candle tins to match that nautical theme, “giving store

Bon Secour Candle Co. offers small-batch, hand-poured candles.


owners a perfect giftable souvenir option to place on the shelf alongside our High Tide glass candles,” says Goodrich.

He has also seen an increase in requests for custom candles from store owners. “It has been fun to collaborate with our store owners to create something special just for their store,” he says.


Customization is a popular feature for Sugared Mango. “Customizing the

scent to their area has been the trending theme,” says Owner Danielle Sterling. “We have had several retailers choose names relating to their areas or custom scents made just for their clientele. The customers dare to be different and not find the exact candle on their shelves as the competitor down the street.”

Bluffton Candles launched Bluffon State of Mind, Georgia on My Mind, Charleston, Beaufort, and Happy Place candle varieties in 2023.

“Before we offer a line of candle for a store, we research what their branding is all about and work on the scents based on their branding,” says Angie Evangelista, candle maker. “Our retailers and partners are happy with our products — not only the products, but the story behind them.”

The brand exists not only to create candles, bath and body products that evoke memories of Bluffton, South Carolina, “we spread hope and joy in people’s hearts when they are going through

difficult times through our products.”

The company also donates to various charitable causes and is moving to a larger space where it can offer candle making events to the public.


Wild Delights launched the Wildlife Collection as a way to capture the magic of amazing wildlife native to coastal places like Florida and the Carolinas.

“This has been a unique selling point for retailers in locations with wildlife attractions, like turtle or manatee season,” says Christina Gray, owner. “Every candle features a story about a native animal with a curated scent to match the area they live. For example, our bestselling Florida Manatee Candle smells like fresh Florida springs, spicy citrus, and seagrass.”

Gray says the candles serve as a connection point through scent to beautiful coastal places people live or visit “which lasts long after the trip is over.”

The Wildlife Collection from Wild Delights offers candles with a native animal story.

She adds, “Coastal retailers like the uniqueness of our designs and the sustainable packaging of our classic Whiskey Rocks Glass Candle. The glasses become a special keepsake as they can be reused for drinks after the candle is gone, and our sustainable tube packaging looks clean and polished on shelves and in customers’ homes.”


Backyard Candles uses elemental designs to create its true-to-life aromatic collections, according to Justin Healy, owner and founder. The company’s bestselling coconut shell candles “offer a unique tropical appeal, are a waste product, so upcycled, and great for the environment — and they float, making them great for your bathtub or a floating centerpiece.”

The company plans to introduce laser engraving. “Private label has been huge for us recently — allowing for your own logo and changing the fragrance name to better appeal to your demographic.”

Alternative options

Small Town Dusk, a family-owned business in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, uses traditional candle making techniques to create fun and unique taper candles that come with a built-in battery-operated LED flickering bulb on a timer. They are hand-dipped in real beeswax for a realistic look and feel.

“We provide customers an alternative taper candle option that is safe, realistic and flameless, while not compromising decorative design, ambiance or quality,” says Joel Boyer, co-owner. “Our seaside retailer customers like carrying our line because it offers customers an alternative to real burning candles. Our candles provide not just ambiance, but also a decorative touch. Retailers incorporate our candles into seasonal and everyday home decor displays.”

The company expanded its beach line in our 2023 catalog after customer requests, adding dolphin, sea horse, starfish and sea turtle designs.

“These designs are great for both beach stores and aquariums,” says Vanessa Boyer, co-owner.

Sea Love’s line of premium soy candles was inspired by “our fond trips around the beautiful USA.” “We wanted to translate that beauty into complex fragrances, creating moments of beauty and joy inspired by coastal living,” says Stacy Miller, founder.

“Each candle label is embossed with our signature seaweed with a name to complement the scent. Each has an eco-friendly seeded dust cover that can be planted for blooms,” she says.

The company’s new premium soy candles have an improved look and feel,



according to Miller. “They are poured into a reusable cocktail glass, and as soon as you pick them up, you will feel inspired by the heft and elegance.”

Old Whaling Co.’s candles are handcrafted in Charleston, South Carolina. The company uses a blend of soy and olive wax which founder and owner April Budney says leads to a longer burn time than traditional wax candles. “Additionally, our candles include a lead-free cotton wick.”

Customers are drawn to the eye-catching, bright and colorful packaging. The company just debuted new candle packaging. “Our 12 oz. glass candles feature the same soothing aromas with a fresh look,” Budney describes.


Budney suggests buyers consider a variety of details when choosing a candle line to carry, including product appeal, quality and originality.

“Candles are meant to be displayed and are used to enhance an environment and set a mood so their packaging and fragrance should support that desire,” she explains.

When trying to find the right line to carry in your seaside store Goodrich suggests, “Start with finding an aesthetic that really matches your store and will have a high appeal to your customer’s taste, remembering that for most, this is more than just a candle, it’s a design element for their home.”

Customer service is also key. “We get business because people fall in love with the aesthetics and the fragrance options of our candles,” says Goodrich. “We keep it and grow those relationships over time because we execute flawlessly on order fulfillment and customer service.”

You can help your customers find the perfect scent that captures their memories and fits their decor while also providing options that are eco-friendly and safe.

Backyard Candles offers 65 indoor and four outdoor scents in real coconut shells. Candles from Old Whaling Co. are made from soy and olive wax for a longer burn.

Tips from the presentation pros:


Don’t forget that you are an extension of someone’s experience of the area, of their vacation.

FRATALIA Loggerhead Marinelife Center

The last thing your customers will remember is their experience in your store.

WILLIAM HILL Margaritaville Resort


Have fun with it! People want to buy when a store is a performance, so treat it like a Broadway show.

Creating beachy

Find inspiration for your beach, coastal and nautical store to create a better shopping experience.


There’s more to being a successful seaside retailer than just the merchandise you carry. How it is presented determines whether a customer will want to come into your store and whether or not that merchandise gets noticed. During the January 2023 Coastal Connections Conference, attendees heard from experienced seaside retailers and design and merchandising experts on ways they could maximize store space, attract customers and increase sales.

Michael Hale, owner, founder and creative director, Retail REHAB, Los Angeles, kicked off the panel discussion titled “Maximum Impact Store Ideas.” He called upon his 30 years of experience in making retail spaces more functional and productive. His company designed the striking new Inis store in Huntington Beach, California, that opened in March 2022.

The Inis showroom immerses guests in the scents and sensations of the sea, with 1,200 square feet of space and floor-to-ceiling windows with views of palm trees and the Pacific Ocean. Decor like the blue floors, white walls, soft cloud and sky felt ceiling detail and signature sea graphics reinforce the Inis brand energy. Hale shared the details behind the design along with other beach, coastal and nautical design inspiration.

Hale started off by saying that a seaside store should have a casual, playful feel. “all five senses should be engaged — sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.”

For design ideas, Hale suggested looking at home-decorating magazines and restaurants and not just other retail shops. “Accentuate the colors of your merchan- 60 SEASIDE RETAILER JULY-AUGUST 2023 PRESENTATION

dise,” he advised. “Google ‘beach paint colors,’” he said. “Materials like wall coverings, graphics, fabrics and paint go a long way toward creating a sense of place. You can put a big graphic over a slatwall.”

The speaker told the attendees to ask themselves the following questions:

• Is my store fun to explore?

• It is accessible with clear paths?

• Is it well-stocked?

• Is it clean?

• Do I have what my customers are looking and asking for?

• Can I see my customers as they navigate?

Hale said to also ask what your top-selling SKUs are and if they are in the right locations.

He talked about space planning, which he said is a strategy that helps retailers validate space on the sales floor by category (or item) based on historic sales analysis.

“If, for instance, jewelry accounts for 20% of your sales, allocate 20% of your floor space to jewelry,” Hale said.

He also suggested taking into consideration adjacencies for cross-merchandising, theft issues and architectural elements like location of a fitting room or point-of-sale area.

Your customers might come to your area just once a year, Hale said. “Don’t forget that you are an extension of someone’s experience of the area, of their vacation.”

Hale will return to the next Coastal Connections Conference, Oct. 22-24. Read more in the sidebar on page 66.


Kate Fratalia, vice president of retail at Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Juno Beach, Florida, shared how how the center holds special events throughout the year such as “going-away parties for sea turtles when they’re returned to the ocean. At the end of the party people end up in the gift shop.”

Located at the largest sea turtle nesting grounds in the world, the center cares for sick and injured sea turtles. Under her leadership the center has expented from one retail store to five retail operations.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s five retail operations let customers know their purchase supports the sea turtles. Photo: Robert Holland


The shops let customers know that their purchases go toward helping the turtles, Fratalia says, and stock items from “blue vendor” retailers that give back a portion of their profits to the cause of sustainable seas. “Customers will spend more for conservation-related products,” she said.

For design ideas, “think about where you love to shop,” suggested Fratalia. “What is it that you like about it?” She added, “You’re asking people into your home, so make it clean and inviting.”

Like Hale, Fratalia reminded attendees that “the last thing your customers will remember is their experience in your store.”


William Hill, manager of the Margaritaville Resort gift shop, completely overhauled the 1,700-square-foot space since he started there in June of 2022, transforming it into a high-end boutique.

“In resetting the store, I remembered the adage ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have,’” said Hill. He talked about how grocery stores are laid out, with the milk, eggs and meat at the back. “People come in for the staple items, but to get to them, they have to walk through the entire store. So put your high-

demand items at the front but also at the back.”

“People want to buy where they stay,” added Hill. “Why would they buy a beach towel from me when they can get one at 5Below for $5? Because mine says Margaritaville on it.”

Hire people for their personality,

At the Margaritaville Resort gift shop, high-demand items are displayed in both the front and the back of the store. Photo: Tony Laicacona

he advised. “Make sure they approach customers, walk and talk with them and don’t just hang out behind the counter. Have them act like personal shoppers.”

Hill will share more on his employee strategy at the next conference.

Hill’s main advice: “Have fun with it! People want to buy when a store is a performance, so treat it like a Broadway show. Tell a story. And don’t be afraid of failure — be terrified of regret.”

More in store

Michael Hale, owner, founder and creative director for Los Angeles-based retail consulting firm, Retail REHAB returns to the Coastal Connections Conference, Oct. 22-24 at the Margaritaville Resort, Orlando, for an in-depth session designed to take your store’s visual merchandising to the next level.

During Visual Merchandising Tips and Tricks, Tuesday, Oct. 24 from 9-10 a.m., Hale will help attendees learn how to create visual merchandising presentations that capture the coastal vibe, while creating opportunities for increased sales. This how-to session will give you new inspiration and actionable take-aways to super-charge your visual merchandising strategies and visual displays! Hale defines visual merchandising as the use of techniques and strategies to entice your guests shopping behavior. In this can’t-miss session, Hale will cover: The use of color theories in visual merchandising; Strategies with appropriate stock levels; Strategies with product placement/accessibility;

• The use of display props;

• Strategies with fixture placement/store layout;

• And, how to create your own Visual Merchandising Guide.

Hale will also be giving one attendee a free one-hour on-site consultation. The winner will be drawn after his presentation. For more information and to register, visit

Margaritaville Resort Orlando overhauled its gift store in 2022.
Photo: Tony Laicacona

Happier holidays

The winter holidays may be months away, but souvenir-seeking customers on vacation are only in your store once a year, and they are thinking ahead. You can capture their attention with a holiday display and offerings that will have them thinking about both good tidings and good tides.

“Carry Christmas ornaments all year long. Keep your store well stocked during the peak travel season, not just the holidays,” advises Karen Sotomura, president, Joseph K. & Co., a wholesaler of souvenir Christmas ornaments. “Most people will not be buying the ornaments as a form of decoration, they will buy it as a keepsake of their vacation in your town, resort, no matter what time of year they are visiting.”

Sotomura notes that people are “spending well” on their vacations. Joseph K. has started carrying higher price point items. “I let the customer decide how much they want to spend and never assume they are looking for low-price point souvenirs only.”

David Beaupre, CEO of Beacon Designs, a custom brass ornament maker, has also noticed quality is resonating with customers. “We are witnessing a trend toward higher-quality products that are made in America.”

The company’s 2023 ornament collection includes the Coastal Wreath Namedrop and the Beach Chair with Wreath Namedrop. “We strive to offer our customers a diverse selection and these new products were inspired by our top sellers,” he says.

Dune Jewelry & Co. has also noticed higher-end holiday goods trending. “People are back to life again, and while our day-to-day habits have changed, we’re showing up for important moments with significance,” says Holly Daniels Christensen, founder and CEO. “I expect to see gifts with higher perceived value and sentiment, rather than gadgets and trinkets.”

Dune is launching its 7th annual Snowflake Ornament for Christmas in July. “We have some serious collectors looking forward to the launch,” she says. “A lot of people will get our Snowflakes customized with sand from their summer vacations 68 SEASIDE RETAILER JULY-AUGUST 2023 PRODUCT FOCUS: HOLIDAY
Retailers can help customers enhance their joy this holiday season with ornaments, decor and fashions that take them back to the beach.

with the beach name or date engraved on the back.”


Cape Shore continues to see sea glass, driftwood, shells, and very natural looks trending with its coastal customers. “We have also seen a rise in the vintage/nostalgic look,” says Tara Merrill, sales and marketing manager. “Whether it is resin or blown glass, customers are gravitating to that look. We have especially noticed this in our ornaments.”

The company added a few nostalgic ornaments to its line, including Coastal Santa and Beachy Snowman “and they have quickly become top sellers,” says Merrill. “Customers love their sophisti-

cated, vintage look.” In 2024, the company will be adding Coastal Angel and Shell Turtle as well as Mermaid on Rock.

Merrill recommends offering customers a variety of choices, including balls, resin and metal ornaments. They can be displayed on a tree if there is space or just adding a string of lights or a bit of garland can help attract customers. “It really draws customers in,” she says.

Kurt S. Adler has added new styles of mini pirate characters, jellyfish, turtles and flamingos to its ornament lineup.

“There are also new sand sculpture ornaments, a glass beach house, colorful mermaids and nautical boats,” says Michael Adler, account executive. “The coastal colors are a lot of corals, blues

and sand colors.”

The company is also seeing trends in larger decorative table pieces with its Fabriche Santas, nutcrackers and gingerbread beach house, which all come in beach, coastal and nautical stylings.

Fancy That Gift & Decor is noticing a similar trend. “Our customers are responding to our larger-scaled pieces,” says Carmen Mendelson, president. “There are lots of choices when shopping for ornaments, but larger, door greeter or tabletop statement pieces are more limited.”

This year Fancy That expanded its coastal tree skirt, stocking and pillow offerings. “It’s a good category for us and there is not enough variety currently in the market,” notes Mendelson.

A Kurt Adler pirate nutcracker holding a parrot and sword.
“We have also seen a rise in the vintage/nostalgic look. Whether it is resin or blown glass, customers are gravitating to that look. We have especially noticed this in our ornaments.” — TARA MERRILL, CAPE SHORE
1 | Pumpernickel Press: The Seashell Menagerie greeting card,; 2 | Beacon Design: Seashell collage ornament,; 3 | Cape Shore: Mermaid ornament,; 4 | Dune Jewelry & Co.: Sand-customized snowflake ornament,; 5 | Impulse Souvenirs: Die-struck soft enamel mermaid ornament,; 6 | Joseph K & Co.: Beachy Santa ornament,; 7 | HS Seashells: White tibia ornament,; 8 | Sincere Surroundings: Crabby coastal holiday sign,;
These holiday products can provide year-round cheer in your seaside store. 1 2 4 6 5 3 9 10 113 FESTIVE 12 8 11 7
9 | Printed Hues: Custom nautical chart ornament,; 10 | Old World Christmas: Beach house ornament,; 11 | Cottonseed Marketplace: Wood ornament,; 12 | Kurt S. Adler: Santa with flamingos,; 13 | Fancy That Gift & Decor: Christmas pillow,


According to Abbey Grooters, marketing director of wooden home decor and gift wholesaler, Sincere Surroundings, Christmas no longer encompasses the traditional red and green that most of us grew up with.

“Our coastal holiday collection is filled with unexpected pops of color creating the perfect blend of shoreside hues and the nostalgic colors of Christmas,” she says. “Everyone loves bright color, cute turtles and humor. You’ll find these themes throughout our Nautical Holiday Collection.”

She says it’s never too early to stock up on holiday products. “Consumers are making holiday purchases earlier

than ever before. Hosting a Christmas in July event featuring your new Christmas items is a fun way to launch those Holiday items and test what products consumers are resonating with.”

Caloosa WaterWear Founder Rebecca Fordham says her brand is known for its coastal and holiday designs. “The color blue is very important for holiday 2023 in general and it complements coastal retailers even more,” she says. “Baubles and orbs are trending for holiday this year, as well as anything nostalgic.”

One of Fordham’s goals when she started Caloosa WaterWear was to create what she describes as the “Florida Ugly Christmas Sweater.” Customers come back each year to refresh their holiday

look, she says. “This year, we’ve designed an anchor wrapped in Christmas lights as a nod toward the bauble and orb trend.”

She sees old glass buoys emerging for coastal regions. “Think of selling them as ornaments for trees, or stack them into the shape of a tree,” she says. “Also look for nautical icons wrapped in vintage Christmas lights. Consider a citrus and fig pattern for this holiday season and beyond. These fruits are symbolic of prosperity and work especially well in

Sincere Surroundings offers pops of color in its Nautical Holiday Collection.
“Consumers are making holiday purchases earlier than ever before. Hosting a Christmas in July event featuring your new Christmas items is a fun way to launch those Holiday items." — ABBEY GROOTERS, SINCERE SURROUNDINGS

Christmas trends at ZooTampa

In an interview with ANDMORE, Elie Johnson, director of retail for ZooTampa at Lowry Park, shares some product trends she is seeing for the upcoming holiday season.

“For Christmas here at ZooTampa, we do really well with beach-themed Christmas items like manatees with Santa hats; beachy ornaments, including Santa riding a sea turtle or Christmas trees made out of sand; nautical nutcrackers and plush animals with winter or Christmas themes. Gnomes, snowmen and Christmas signs still seem to be trending this year.”

Johnson, tries to order items for the holidays as early as possible “to avoid missing out on the most popular items.”

“We do not have a ton of warehouse space, so I often order early but delay the shipment. This allows me to secure the items I want, but not have to store them for months,” she explains. She says she relies on vendors as a guide to show her top trends for the season.

Additionally, she says, “going to trade shows to see new items and how others display them is really helpful. I also work with my marketing and events teams to see what themes we will have for the event season so I can try to find merchandise that aligns. If penguins are going to be featured for Christmas, we will theme our Christmas shop heavily with penguin merchandise. Then if we do not sell through all of these items, I can repurpose them in our shops.”

the southern regions.”

Pumpernickel Press, which makes unique sculptured embossed greeting cards, has seen a slight shift in its coastal Christmas designs. “These days, we’re seeing interest in designs we call ‘transitional’ — classic styles, but with a contemporary twist,” says owner Bob Harju. “Clean lines and patterns, but still retaining many familiar elements that evoke a particularly nautical sense of nostalgia.”

Popular color palettes for the company currently include soft neutral tones, along with warm accents like teal and gold, says Harju. Newer introductions include Sea Shell Menagerie, Joyful Seashell Wreath, Nautical Christmas and Coastal Tree.

Harju’s biggest piece of advice to retailers is, “Variety is key!” He says, “Even within a single design genre, you will still find a wide range of diverse customer interests, backgrounds and tastes. Offering a range of artwork, styles,


and color schemes to appeal to a broad audience base is more vital than many retailers realize.”


Customization should not be overlooked, and Impulse Souvenirs’ sales manager, James Melley says, “Custom ornaments, from embroidered to wood, can always capture a destination’s memories with unique art.” He adds, “Ornaments continue to be a major year-round collectible. Sea life, Santa in a coastal theme and tropical designs are always a big hit.”

items that can live longer than the holiday time frame. Plaids and fruit patterns can work into general winter and not be so overly holiday.”

At Old World Christmas, “capturing a person’s memories so that they can memorialize them on their tree or throughout their home is our main goal,” according to Neal Applefeld, president and CEO. “This year we have everything from Santa sunning himself to a seahorse to a beach bag and beach house – all great reminders of activities throughout the year.”

Adler suggests having someone with nice handwriting on staff who can personalize items in the store for customers. “Families, loved ones and friends love the in-store personalization experience to gift one another.”

In addition to ordering ornaments with the destination name-dropped, Sotomura suggests having the year printed on ornaments that you buy early in the season. “People want to remember the year they vacationed in the area.”

“Christmas ornaments with a name drop are important year-round,” notes Fordham. “This year, consider bringing in stockings and other items that can become collectible as well. Also look for

Christmas with a conscience

He also reminds people that ornaments can serve more than one purpose. “Ornaments are not just for hanging on the Christmas tree. People are getting really creative in how they display ornaments. We see ornaments put in wreaths, used as gift tags, displayed on mantels under cloches — the creativity is endless. We’re also seeing ornaments sold year-round for decorating homes and for putting away as holiday gifts.”

He concludes by saying, “Don’t underestimate the sentimental value and happiness an ornament can bring.” And when it features a customer’s favorite beach location, or sea animal or icon, those feelings become even more special.

Pilgrim Imports’ fair trade copper ornaments come in a variety of popular sea creatures and are big with aquariums and sea turtle rescue organization gift shops says owner Martin Huennekens.

He is seeing a trend toward more realistic looking designs “not a whale that looks like a cartoon.” He says it is because “people care about the creatures in the ocean. People are thinking about them.”

And in that same vein, Pilgrim Imports has eliminated plastic packaging in its operation.

“This to me is huge and no one should care more about it than anybody by the seaside because so much of our disposable plastic ends up in the ocean,” says Huennekens. “People are becoming more and more aware of this so why not as a retailer be right at the forefront?”

He suggests retailers take the time to look at their suppliers and determine “who is doing something meaningful.”

“Ornaments continue to be a major year-round collectible. Sea life, Santa in a coastal theme and tropical designs are always a big hit.”


Try to find unique items that other stores in the area don’t carry.


The coastal-inspired boutique Ophiuroidea has developed quite a following with residents and visitors of Maryland’s Eastern Bay over the last 13 years. Named after a species of starfish that is complicated for some to pronounce, people often refer to the shop as “The O.”

What started out as one location in St. Michaels 13 years ago, led to the opening of a second store in 2019 in the nearby Kent Narrows’ town of Grasonville.

Now Hannon is taking her unique mix of coastal selections westward, with a new location across the bay in Annapolis, Maryland, where she will display her coastal offerings alongside other artists and vendors in a co-op called Local by Design.

“It’s a cool concept,” says Hannon. “I know there are other places like it around the country but there aren’t that many around here.”

The new space has two floors, and Hannon plans to dedicate the upstairs to clothing. She is also considering offering private shop-


ping experiences where a group of friends can come and spend a happy hour in the store together.

At the two East Bay stores, Hannon carries some of the same products while others are ZIP code protected. Both stores, she says, are driven by tourists, but the Kent Narrows location has more local visitors.


Hannon has noticed some trends emerging in summer of 2023, particularly with her clothing offerings. During the pandemic, customers were all about the casual wear because they weren’t around many people, but that has changed this summer.

“People are starting to get a little more dressy stuff for going out,” she says. While dresses are selling more than they have in the past few years, they are still on the casual side with versatility to be dressed up or down for day or evening.

Cabana Life is a popular dress line at the stores with colorful prints that also protect people from UV rays.

While the cooler start to summer has affected sales of clothing designed for warmer, humid temperatures, Hannon expects that to change once the summer heat hits.

In home decor, Hannon says, “Candles are always good, but a lot of what we’ve been selling lately are rechargeable.” The can-

PHOTO: AARON LOCKWOOD Maryland’s Ophiuroidea stores carry decor and accessories that won’t be found in other area stores.
Ophiuroidea St.Michaels,MD

dles she carries from Flame Illusion and Radiant last longer than ones that take batteries, according to Hannon.

Artwork featuring crabs and herons is always popular in the store.

“Pillows are good for us. People are always looking to spruce up their decor and pillows are an easy way to do it,” notes Hannon, who says Rightside Design is one of her biggest suppliers.


To keep her stores fresh and original, Hannon attends various events throughout the year, including Surf Expo. This year she attended her first Dallas Market and she also attended the inaugural Coastal Connections Conference, where she says she found four or five new vendors, including Kay Hova Art and Home, which creates waves and seascapes on serving boards, glassware and other items.

“I was super excited to try them,” says Hannon. The brand also ties in well with entertaining, which is a popular category at The O. The stores stock cocktail mixes and candies featuring the store logo.

see if she will carry their artwork. Faire is also a source for new product lines.

Hannon tries to find items that are unique and cannot be found in other stores in the area. Wooden watches and jewelry by Wooden Element are among the interesting finds at The O. Animal tracking bracelets from Fahlo have also gained popularity over the last couple of years.

The O also carries jewelry from Ocean, Dune, Jackie Gallagher Designs, Melissa Lew and others.

Name-drop merchandise isn’t a huge category at The O, but the stores do sell dish towels, cotton towels and magnets that have the location on them.

“I’m also in the process of adding a clothing line, and name-drops will be part of it,” says Hannon.

“If you can’t find a gift for somebody, food is always a good option,” she says.

She just ordered a product called Mixed Craft where liquor is infused in a small bottle. She also carries Bittermilk, which makes bourbon mixes.

Hannon also carries work from local artists who often come into the store to

Sea glass jewelry is also popular. The O also carries a variety of sea glass jewelry and mosaic art. Hannon has a fondness for sea glass and organizations that work to protect the waterways and shorelines where it is found.


Hannon was honored by Seaside Retailer magazine with a Starfish award in 2020 for her work in promoting sea glass and beach conservation. Today she is still

“Pillows are good for us. People are always looking to spruce up their decor and pillows are an easy way to do it.” — KIM HANNON

helping out as much as she can with local beach cleanups.

Hannon also organizes the Eastern Shore Sea Glass & Coastal Arts Festival in St. Michaels every spring and fall. “We have over 90 artists from around the country to display their wares,” she says.

The festival also offers shard identification where people can bring their finds and talk to experts about what age the glass might be or what it could have

been originally. She hopes to be able to include an educational component soon to the festival, but due to construction at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum where it is held, the last couple of festivals had to be pared down.

Hannon continues to work with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, but she retired from her role as president of the North American Sea Glass Association after 10 years. Founded in 2006, the

organization is now the International Sea Glass Association.

Her passion for sea glass began early on after she opened The O, when some local sea glass artists came in to see if she would be interested in selling their creations.

“I was like, let’s try to do a festival about it and try to get people to know a little more about it, and that is how it all evolved,” she says. COASTAL CONNECTION JULY-AUGUST 2023 SEASIDE RETAILER 79
Kay Hova, Bittermilk and Rightside Design are among the interesting brands that set Ophiuroidea apart.


Custom merchandise gives customers a special way to remember their trip.


TurtleCentral BaldHeadIsland,NC


ummer is in full swing at The Bald Head Island Conservancy and its gift shop, Turtle Central. This leading organization in barrier island conservation located between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean, is celebrating 40 years of operations in 2023.

On June 16, BHIC celebrated World Sea Turtle Day with a big celebration that included visitors lining up for to get glittery strands called mermaid hair in their hair, and to have their pictures taken with an employee dressed up in a sea turtle costume. The festivities also featured an appearance by the mayor, and some hands-on educational opportunities for the kids.

For 40 years, BHIC’s vision has been to live in harmony with nature and foster barrier island conservation, education and preservation. What started as a few locals looking to preserve a beautiful island environment and protect its nesting sea turtles has become an organization dedicated to protecting marine life, conducting impactful scientific research

and providing environmental education to the island community and beyond.

And in 2023, the gift shop expanded its footprint with a Hatchling Hut right as guests and locals get off the ferry to the island.


“We started working last year on getting a presence on the harbor because we are so far down the island that a lot of people come over and they don’t know anything about us,” says Pam Smith, retail manager. “So we came up with a proposal and went to a real estate company that has a large deck and a big presence as you step off the boat and asked them about having a space on their porch.”

“We ended up doing a build-out under their porch that turned out really nice.” The new building is called the Hatchling Hut and it carries sea turtle merchandise, and commemorative merchandise featuring the 40th anniversary logo on it.

The Hatchling Hut also gives out stickers with a QR code that takes users to the BHIC website where they can sign up for programs, the annual Turtle Trot Race and learn about the wildlife on Bald Head Island. The Hatching Hut opened on Memorial Day and an official ribbon cutting was held June 21.

STORY BY KRISTIN ELY PHOTO: AARON LOCKWOOD Products featuring designs celebrating BHI’s 40th anniversary are popular at Turtle Central this season.

The Turtle Central gift shop at the conservancy also carries the 40th anniversary merchandise, but that’s not all the customers go for, according to Smith. From its humble beginnings in 1983 selling T-shirts and turtle statues, the store is now a fully stocked gift shop with multiple categories that allows just about any visitor to find something to take home from their visit.


Plush toys are always a big hit, particularly brands that are sustainable and are made from recycled water bottles, Smith says. The store also carries plush from Marinelife Rescue Project, which supports animal rescue and allows purchasers to create their own story of rescue, rehab and release with their own plush patients.

Kids also go for the wide selection of toys, plush and books, including those by Usborne and Peter Pauper Press. They also like Madd Capp puzzles that feature

large turtles or sharks.

For visitors young and old, “Namedrop T-shirts, hats and sweatshirts are still our mainstays,” she says. Turtle Central added custom-designed sweaters and tumblers from Town Pride this year, and Smith says the tumblers sold out “They did all these really cool graphics on a map on a tumbler that wrapped around and it turned out so nice.”

The tumblers featured a map of the island and little icons representing the island such as an alligator, a sea turtle swimming up to the beach, a deer in the maritime forest, a golf cart, a ferry and a lighthouse.

Other custom items the store carries include T-shirts with a golf cart on them and the phrase “riding dirty,” and one featuring a turtle heading out into the

Home goods is a strong category for Turtle Central gift shop. Photo: Andrew Miller

water with the moon shining over it saying “Lights out for sea turtles.”

Anything with a alligator, turtle, map or nautical chart sells. The store also has some humorous shirts showing sharks on bikes or labs in golf carts and some popular themes with a sea-life twist, including an American flag turtle and a tie-dye turtle.


Smith says the store added more custom work this year for the 40th anniversary, including a turtle in a martini glass that says “Cheers to 40 years.”

“We are trying to think of all kinds of new things we can tie into our 40th anniversary,” says Smith.

For sea turtle enthusiasts, red flashlights are also an important buy. Smith explains that if a regular flashlight is used for watching turtles on the beach, the turtles will confuse it for moonlight and will head toward the flashlight instead of the ocean.

“It’s a big initiative to try to have all the beach-facing cottages turn their lights off at night, or they will head toward the dunes and not toward the

Retailer magazine, Salty Britches chafing lotion.

“One of our products that are selling really well are Goodr sunglasses. They are lightweight and I can’t keep them on the shelf,” she says.

ocean,” Smith adds. “Sea turtles dig the dark.”

Items for the home are a tried-andtrue category. “We’ve always done well with home goods, like candles, custom dish towels,” says Smith. The store also carries hand-made and hand-painted pottery from local artisans that sell well.

Big name brands also fly off the shelves, such as Scout bags and Michelle McDowell Designs apparel.

Body sprays, lotions and facemasks do well in the health and beauty category as well as a brand Smith found in Seaside

True Ocean’s health and beauty products and Fahlo’s animal tracking bracelets are also big sellers at Turtle Central this season. Lifestyle products like Pura Vida bracelets and Sand Cloud towels are also available and are popular.


In 2021, Turtle Central was awarded the Starfish Award for its charitable efforts from Seaside Retailer. That year, the store hit a milestone of reaching $1 million in sales, and in 2022, the store’s contribution to the BHIC jumped from 26% to 40%.

Smith says she’ proud that her contributions help BHI’s mission. “At Turtle Central and the BHI Conservancy, we are proud to celebrate 40 years on Turtle Time!” COASTAL CONNECTION JULY-AUGUST 2023 SEASIDE RETAILER 83
“We are trying to think of all kinds of new things we can tie into our 40th anniversary.”


Customize products to commemorate locations, and don’t be afraid to try new lines.



America’s oldest seaport is celebrating it’s 400th anniversary in 2023, and one of it’s wellknown and respected gift shops, Pauline’s Gifts, has risen to the occasion. Not only is it the largest retailer of American and decorative flags on the north shore, the gift shop also carries quite the selection of custom merchandise specially made for Gloucester’s big 400th anniversary.

Owner Pauline Bresnahan explains, “I try to have anything that I can have personalized, so a lot of the products this year are with a company that can personalize with Gloucester. Because we are in an anniversary year, it has been huge for me this year.”

Custom-designed hats, T-shirts and sweatshirts with special anniversary designs are selling rapidly. Bresnahan herself, a decorative artist for more than 40 years, has had a hand in some of the designs.

Last year, she started selling Gloucester caps with embroidery bearing the seaside

city’s 1623 founding date inside a fish, and this year, she added embroidery on the back of the hat says, “400 Years Feeding America.”

She also started putting the tag line on T-shirts, “so that is where my focus was this year was with my own designs,” she says. “That is my trend this year, and it is a big one.”

She kids that her daughter is a graphic designer “so I get inhouse work done pretty reasonably.”


Bresnahan says the start of summer has been a busy one with not only customers but community activities. She proudly displays the Starfish Award she received from Seaside Retailer magazine in 2022 on a shelf so “right as people walk in the door, they see it.” The award recognized the store’s charitable efforts, for holding collection drives for U.S. service women through Operation Troop Support.

Since then, she was asked to be in a commercial for a local bank and asked to do a live broadcast for the city of Gloucester’s Fourth of July Parade. People all over the world with connections to Gloucester will be able to view it, and it will be broadcast in local nursing homes for people who aren’t able to make it to the parade.

STORY BY KRISTIN ELY PHOTO: AARON LOCKWOOD Custom products featuring Gloucester, Massachusetts, are a growing trend at Pauline’s Gifts.


For the past 10 years, Bresnahan has also spearheaded a flag donation program. “We collect donations for the 175 flags that are displayed on the Boulevard in Gloucester, which is where the Fisherman’s Memorial Monument is located.”

The flags fly from Memorial Day to Sept. 11. About seven years ago, someone asked Bresnahan if she could put

names on the flags, so she contacted a local veterans’ agency and was told that the names could be added between the grommets.

“We started doing it and people just love it,” says Bresnahan. “It’s really not a memorial, it is a celebration of the people that love that display.”

Some people do it in memory of people and others do it as a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift.


Beyond Bresnahan’s local and national pride as evidenced through the products and services the store provides, the gift shop also sells a variety of other merchandise, with ornaments and jewelry being extremely popular.

“I’m always willing to try new things,” she says. That was the case in January when she attended The Boardwalk buy-

ing event during the Coastal Connections Conference.

“I don’t do a lot of big shows anymore. It’s just overwhelming, and for me The Boardwalk was the perfect size,” she says. “It was just wonderful.”

Some of the lines she brought in from The Boardwalk included apparel from Bali Queen, an entire jewelry display from Dune Jewelry & Co., and True Ocean health and beauty products.

“They were three lines I hadn’t had before and I brought them in,” she says. They were products I probably wouldn’t have ever seen had I not gone to The Boardwalk.”

Not long after the putting out her new-found product lines, she says, “I

“I’ve been blessed to be in a great community that really supports their local stores.”
Nautical gifts and decor are always a staple at Pauline’s Gifts over the last 24 years.

sold a lot of all their products in just one day, and I am just a small 1,000-squarefoot-store, so I thought that was pretty interesting.”

Pauline also gets to nearby shows, New England Made and Cape Cod and the Islands Gift Show. When she is able to get away, she also attends Las Vegas Market. Her 1,000-square-foot shop also holds displays of greeting cards created by local artists, jewelry, nautical gifts and driftwood art.

Bresnahan says that none of the store’s success would be possible without the local community. “I’ve been blessed to be in a great community that really supports their local stores,” she says.


Next year the store celebrates its 25th anniversary. Bresnahan made a significant investment in the building and parking improvements at the store.

“I’ve noticed a huge increase in people stopping at the same time,” Bresna-

han says. “I was able to do it and finally bit the bullet and made the investment, and I can’t believe how much it has changed.”

Bresnahan is gearing up for her store’s next Woman to Woman donation drive to benefit Operation Troop Support in September, and she was touched to have recently received a thank you note from one of the women serving overseas. “Those are always the best gifts,” she says.

She’ll also be returning to the Coastal Connections Conference in Orlando Oct. 22-24 participating as a panelist on an interactive question and answer session titled, “Creating Coastal Connections” session.

This informative session is an interactive group discussion where the audience can learn about and discuss ideas, best practices, challenges and opportunities in coastal retail with the panelists. COASTAL CONNECTION JULY-AUGUST 2023 SEASIDE RETAILER 87
Nautical gifts and jewelry are popular merchandise categories at Pauline’s Gifts.

OCT. 22-24


Aug. 1-4

Atlanta Apparel Atlanta

Aug. 5-7

Biloxi Mississippi Wholesale Gift Show Biloxi, Mississippi

Aug. 5-8


Las Vegas

Aug. 6-8

Miami International Mart Show Miami Gardens, Florida

Aug. 6-9

Las Vegas Apparel Las Vegas

Aug. 11-13

GTS Greensboro Expo

Greensboro, North Carolina

Aug. 13-15

Shoppe Object New York, New York

Aug. 15-16

Super Zoo Las Vegas

Aug. 20-23

ASD Market Week Las Vegas

Aug. 22-25

Dallas Apparel & Accessories Dallas

Aug. 27-29

Trendz West Palm Beach, Florida


Sept. 7-9

Surf Expo Orlando

Sept. 8-10

Norton’s Gatlinburg Apparel, Jewelry & Gift Show Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Sept. 8-10

Carolina Children’s Market Fort Mill, South Carolina www.charlottechildrens

Sept. 10-11

Michigan Women’s Wear Market

Livonia, Michigan

Sept. 12-13

New England Made Boxboro, Massachusetts

Sept. 12-13

Mid-Atlantic Merchandise Mart


Sept. 13-14

Northern Michigan Show Gaylord, Michigan

Sept. 19-21

Dallas Total Home & Gift Market


Sept. 20-21

Midwest Market Days Chicago River Grove, Illinois

Sept. 20-21

TMC – The Merchandise Centre Chicago/Shiller Park, Illinois

Sept. 20-22

Trendz West Palmetto, Florida


Oct. 4-7

Las Vegas Souvenir Show Las Vegas

Oct. 10-14

October Atlanta Apparel Atlanta

Oct. 13-15

Crescent City Apparel & Jewelry Show Slidell, Louisiana

Oct. 14-18

High Point Market High Point, North Carolina

Oct. 22-24

Coastal Connections Conference Orlando www.coastalconnections

Oct. 29-31

Ocean City Resort Gift Expo Ocean City, Maryland

SAVETHEDATE Coastal Connections Conference
Surf Expo SEPT. 7-9

Shoreline at Surf Expo to debut at September event

Surf Expo, the premier watersports and coastal lifestyle trade show, enhances the buying experience for both watersports and outfitter retailers with the debut of its new Shoreline offering during the Sept. 7-9 edition.

Shoreline at Surf Expo will feature products dedicated to technical apparel, equipment and gear any enthusiast needs to transition from a day on the water to stretching out on land, according to show organizer Emerald.

“From the trails to the lakes and beyond, Shoreline at Surf Expo supports the natural evolution of the waterman’s lifestyle with gear, apparel and accessories that will take consumers from coastal shoreline activities into camping, hiking, climbing and other recreational activities found along rivers and lakes,” says Roy Turner, Emerald senior vice president and Surf Expo Show director.

Shoreline is positioned to become the hub for industry-leading retailers and brands focusing on fishing, boating, wakeboarding,

technical apparel, outerwear, camping, watersports hardgoods as well as essential gear and accessories. The newest floor category complements Surf Expo’s extensive product offerings — Surf, Skate, Paddle and Bluewater — by targeting the business associated with outdoor amenities and recreation found in lake towns across the country.

Eric Marvin, founder of Elakai Outdoor, is exhibiting outdoor games within the new Shoreline category. Some games include cornhole, bocce ball, croquet and more. While this is Marvin’s first year participating at Surf Expo, he says the new category aligns with his business “Our products can be used on the beach, by the lake or near the ocean. Exhibiting at Surf Expo is a natural fit for who we are as a business and what the Shoreline category is all about,” Marvin says.

Shoreline will also create a seamless connection with Surf Expo’s Bluewater category, which showcases notable inshore and offshore apparel and accessory products ranging from

lifestyle and technical apparel to footwear, outerwear, sportswear, T-shirts, sunglasses and much more.

“Blending the inshore and offshore worlds under Surf Expo’s one roof exposes buyers and sellers to this growing crossover market within the coastal lifestyle industry,” Turner adds.

Shoreline & Bluewater exhibiting brands include: Ronix Wake/ Radar Skis, Columbia OCS, MANG, Bimini Bay Outfitters, Burnside Sierra Pacific Apparel, Elakai, Fahlo, Kracken Adventure Bikes, Intracoastal Waterway, Kanga Coolers and others. EVENTS COVERAGE 90 SEASIDE RETAILER JULY-AUGUST 2023

Atlanta Apparel enhances at-market experience

Atlanta Apparel’s “JuneFest” kept the energy high, June 6-9 at AmericasMart Atlanta, throughout four market days featuring enhanced at-market, festival-themed amenities and events alongside sourcing from 750-plus showrooms and temporary exhibits.

“Atlanta Apparel continues to raise the bar through its unmatched at-market experiences, Southern hospitality and notable line listings,” said Caron Stover, ANDMORE’s senior vice president, apparel. “There were many reports of strong order writing, especially across the game day category, and all market events were well-attended and extremely popular.

This June, Atlanta Apparel showcased its 350-plus permanent showrooms and 400-plus temporary exhibits, with an emphasis on southeastern categories, such as game day, as well as apparel, accessories and young contemporary.

Atlanta Apparel also continued to augment its at-market sourcing experience for

buyers, with hallmark hospitality and a full schedule of “JuneFest” events, education and amenities.

“This was a fantastic show for us; Town Pride is only two years old as a company and we opened many new accounts,” said exhibitor Tamara Moran, owner of Town Pride. “Buyers were coming to see our game day collection and ended up placing orders for our general town collections as well. The southeastern region responded so well to our line. Atlanta Apparel works very hard to generate some great energy, and the coffee, drinks and food all make a noticeable difference. This market was just an overall really fun experience.”

Exhibitor Lorelei Miller, sales manager and account executive of TCEC, added, “Our booth has been busy since we opened with buyers sourcing game day and outerwear. Atlanta is where we gauge reaction and figure out the next direction of our lines, and we are looking forward to continuing to connect

with all the new accounts we brought in this market.”

Returning buyer Lori Taylor, owner of The Ivy on Pine in Fitzgerald, Georgia added, “I have been sourcing at Atlanta Apparel for three years and we come to all five markets per-year. We find everything we need in Atlanta, from apparel to accessories, and we even discover new lines every market.”

The next Atlanta Apparel market runs Aug. 1-Aug. 5, with temporary exhibits running Aug. 1–3, and showrooms open by appointment on Saturday, Aug. 5. More information is at EVENTS COVERAGE 92 SEASIDE RETAILER JULY-AUGUST 2023

Las Vegas Market expands decor at summer show

Home decor resources continue to expand this summer at Las Vegas Market with four updates bringing a range of fresh accents and accessories to the 150-plus resources throughout Buildings B and C at Las Vegas Market, July 30-Aug. 3, 2023, at World Market Center Las Vegas.

“On the heels of a very successful Spring High Point Market, leading brands are looking to Las Vegas Market to tap into a West Coast clientele,” said Dorothy Belshaw, ANDMORE executive vice president and chief

growth officer. “Summer 2023 updates, which total more than 42,000 square feet of new and expanded permanent showrooms, reflect the depth and breadth of decor resources available to retailers and designers at Las Vegas Market this summer.”

Building C welcomes two new showrooms: Balta Rugs (area, outdoor and kids’ rugs) in 4,500-plus square feet; and FGA (preserved trees and floral arrangements) in a new 900-plus-square-foot showroom.

Three expansions — CHANDRA (handcrafted rugs); D.V. KAP Home (decorative pillows and textiles); and Uttermost (decorative mirrors, art, lamps, accessories, botanicals, lighting, rugs and accent furniture) — allow for line extensions within existing showrooms in Buildings B and C.

Las Vegas Market charter exhibitor Uttermost’s expansion is 11 years after the brand’s debut in Las Vegas. President Mac Cooper, says, “Our REVELATION brand has averaged 40% growth since its debut in 2015,

yet our presentation space in Las Vegas hasn’t expanded in several years. By moving our cafe and Salt & Light presentation to the new space, REVELATION can show more of our great new additions.”

“We have been looking to expand for a few years now and have been waiting for the right space to suit our locational and product needs,” said Peter Sivas, director of marketing for D.V. KAP Home, which has a line with over 4,000 SKUs. “This new location allows us to tap into a new type of customer who might not have had the opportunity to experience our product.”

Complementing the permanent showrooms are 30-plus decor brands located in temporary exhibits in the Expo at World Market Center Las Vegas.

Home decor is offered on 15 floors in Buildings A, B and C plus the Gift and Home Temporaries in the Expo. A full list of exhibitors is at exhibitor-directory. EVENTS COVERAGE 94 SEASIDE RETAILER JULY-AUGUST 2023

IMC Unveils new vision and brand identity: ANDMORE

International Market Centers (IMC) has announced that the company is unifying its physical marketplace business with the Juniper digital offerings and rebranding as ANDMORE, a premier omnichannel wholesale marketmaker.

This business transformation follows a year-long initiative to redefine the company’s vision, align all channels under a single brand experience, and offer more ways to seamlessly connect wholesale buyers and sellers through physical and digital platforms.

“Today marks an important milestone as we embark on a new era for our company,” said Bob Maricich, ANDMORE CEO, during the June 13 announcement. “ANDMORE captures our spirit of innovation and focus on doing MORE to support our customers by enhancing and extending the value of our physical markets for both buyers and sellers across the furniture, home decor, gift and apparel industries.”

ANDMORE’s modern visual identity captures the creative and vibrant nature of the industries ANDMORE serves. In addition to the new name and branding, ANDMORE will introduce a host of innovative features and enhancements to its upcoming markets and digital offerings.

The first product introduction under the ANDMORE name is a new buyer mobile app, which launches in preparation for the summer markets in Atlanta and Las Vegas. The @Market app includes pre-market planning tools, a personal QR code for quick badge pick-up, the ability to capture and organize images with notes, turn-by-turn directions to help buyers make the most of their time at market and a comprehensive, post-market recap for easy follow-up and ordering.

“ANDMORE is more than a name or a brand. It is both a promise and a challenge that gives us the space and flexibility to continue to find new ways to provide exceptional value to our partners and customers,” said Maricich.

GTS launches show in New Orleans

The Golden Triangle Show has announced it is launching a new show in the vibrant suburb of New Orleans, at the Harbor Convention Center in Slidell, Louisiana.

The Crescent City Apparel & Jewelry show will be held Oct. 13-15.

GTS launched the show in response to another long-running show organizer in the area, Helen Brett Enterprises, closing, according to Bobby Siddiqui, show director.

“They did shows in New Orleans for 65 years,” says Siddiqui. “So many of my exhibitors urged me to look into keeping a strong wholesale show there, since they had many existing customers.”

The event offers a Cash & Carry option for many of its product categories. To register and for more information, visit EVENTS COVERAGE 96 SEASIDE RETAILER JULY-AUGUST 2023

Pure Sea Glass: Discovering Nature’s Vanishing Gems

This definitive reference for beachcombers is also a beautiful addition to any coffee table. The book surveys the history of glass manufacturing, explains the weathering process and offers tips on how and where to find the best pieces. More than 200 exquisite photographs bring to light seaglass’ luminous beauty.

Author: Richard LaMotte


Margaritaville: The Cookbook: Relaxed Recipes For a Taste of Paradise

Warm sun, cool drink, and nowhere to be — that’s Margaritaville! It’s a celebration of relaxation, and Margaritaville: The Cookbook is filled with recipes that combine the flavor of island living and the spirit of Jimmy Buffett’s iconic song. The first official cookbook from the world of Margaritaville features favorites like Volcano Nachos and the Cheeseburger in Paradise, alongside more sophisticated options. With its mix of recipes, stories and photographs, it is sure to put you in a Margaritaville state of mind! The book is also loaded with recipes for a blissful island cocktail hour. Authors: Carlo Sernaglia and Julia Turshen; Website:

Haven Point

An instant national bestseller about the generations of a family that spends summers in a seaside enclave on Maine’s rocky coastline, this work of fiction explores what it means to belong to a place, and to a family, which holds as tightly to its traditions as it does its secrets over seven decades of a changing America, through wars and storms, betrayals and reconciliations.

Author: Virginia Hume


You Are Here: Beaches: The Most Scenic Spots on Earth

This beautifully curated collection of amazing beaches all around the world evokes awe-inspiring, attainable travel adventures. Whether you’re planning a getaway or just want to visit some of the world’s most beautiful outdoor destinations from the comfort of your couch, You Are Here: Beaches is the perfect wanderlust inspiration.

Publisher: Geoff Blackwell


for the little Minnows

Flock of Gerrys- Gerry Loves Tacos

Gerry the Seagull & his musical animal friends (Tuskadero Slim, Crabirita, DJ LlamaRama, Mr Big on Bass and Salty Raven) try new foods, form a band, make a new friend & sing “The Taco Song” to help Octo and his Octo’s Taco truck.

Author: Season Kaz Sparks


Twinkle Twinkle Little Mermaid

Based on a nursery rhyme, Twinkle Twinkle

Little Mermaid features a mermaid and adorable sea creatures. For ages 0-5.

Author: Janet Beaulieu

Website: www.littlemermaid

These page-turners will make book worms out of beach lovers of all ages!


When cash is tight it’s easy to fall into the trap of running a store-wide sale. After all, what would attract customers more than “Everything is 20% off!, right? I’m here to tell you … don’t do it!

This plan will backfire on you! When you run a store-wide sale, you actually give your control away to your customers. They get to choose what they want to buy, at the discount you’ve picked.

And they will choose to buy your top sellers, not the older inventory you wanted to move out. You are then left to deal with the aftermath: Sold out bestsellers (which you now have to reorder) and

ruined profit margins, and no one even looked at the old stale merchandise you really wanted to get rid of.


When you have a store full of merchandise and a bank account running on empty, it is imperative that you take control of your inventory and your cash flow. The answer? You must take specific markdowns on specific inventory using specific timing. There’s a science to running a successful clearance sale. And as a seaside retailer, you need to know them.

You have to control what your customers buy and at what markdowns they buy it, so that you can realize your goal — more cash and less of the inventory you don’t want in stock. I get that sometimes you need cash fast. But there

is a right way to accomplish that, and a store-wide sale is the wrong way. You can’t afford to run a sale the wrong way, because you’ll end up in a worse place than where you started.

When you run a sale, your main target is not your Thumbs (your top customers, who don’t mind paying full price for new merchandise and personalized service). Instead, you must talk to and sell to your Pinkies. Your Pinkies are your sale customers. They love a deal, the hunt of a bargain and the thrill of a discount. Pinkies are essential to every successful retailer because they help us move out old merchandise, putting cash in our pockets!


To enter the next season in a good place with your inventory and your cash flow, start planning how to move out that old inventory, and create more cash:

Instead of giving customers a discount on everything, only discount specific merchandise, starting with anything that’s more than a year old — nothing should celebrate a birthday in your store. This way of thinking will ensure healthy turnover of merchandise and a fresh look for shoppers.

To move out old, stale inventory, you can’t do a short flash sale. Your clearance sale should last for several weeks.

The purpose is to move merchandise out permanently. You’re not marking things down and then back up if they don’t sell. Keep marking them down until they’re gone.

We guide all our clients through this process with step-by-step instructions for moving out the most old inventory while putting more cash in your pocket. Don’t hesitate to reach out for support!

CATHY DONOVAN WAGNER guides retailers to grow their sales so they can pay themselves and their staff. Watch how here:

You can’t afford to run a sale the wrong way because you’ll end up in a worse place than where you started.

On our radar

Looking for something new to offer? Here are some fresh ideas.

Wood Stove Kitchen

Sangria Mixer will spruce up any bottle of wine and can be topped off with fruit or seltzer.

Town Pride

This retro nod on a classic crewneck sweater is made in the USA from recycled cotton.


Handcrafted earrings containing sand are a reminder of the shore.

Leo George

Dream big with this starfish bracelet that inspires wearers to pursue their passions.



Make bath time fun with the Rainbow Burst Bath Bomb - Palm.

The Grecian Soap Company

Ultimate lip care gift set is available in mango, piña colada, raspberry and strawberry.

Stuffed States

Florida state stuffed plush has a sunny disposition and a zest for life.

Remember Florida fondly with this wood sign featuring the lovable manatee.

Marilyn and Louise

The Beach House milk chocolate bar takes candy to tropical levels.

Ocean Jewelry

Ensure the echoes of the ocean are always close with this exquisite conch shell.

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Winner: Junebug’s Beach House

Location: Kennebunkport, Maine

Owners: Elysa Cooper and Tricia Zerhusen

Retail for rescues

Pets love their people unconditionally, and ask for relatively little in return, just shelter, food and affection. For retailer Elysa Cooper, co-owner of Junebug’s Beach House in Kennebunkport, Maine, giving back to vulnerable animals through her Love Four Paws initiative is an obligation, but one that is based on love.

As part of the program, the store, which opened in June 2012, partners with artisan makers to offer gifts, such as tote bags, beautiful watercolor dish towels and cuff bracelets with pet-themed artwork and sayings. The cuff bracelets have been offered since 2016 and are the store’s most successful fundraiser. Once the merchandise is sold, 100% of the proceeds benefit local animal rescue organizations. So far, a little over $30,000 has been raised. The store even did a special fundraiser for pets displaced by 2017’s Hurricane Harvey.

ALL IN THE NAME. Even the name pays tribute to Cooper’s devotion to animal rescue causes. Junebug was the nickname of her terrier mix June, who the retailer rescued along with her sister May. At one pound each, the six-week-old dogs were the sole survivors of their litter. “June had the rougher start. So, when we were thinking of a name for the store, we thought, she deserved to have a store named after her,” Cooper says.

Cooper recused the dogs from an adoption event at a store she had in North Carolina store, where there was a yard for such efforts. With no such space at Junebug’s, the idea of fundraising with special merchandise was born.

CARING CUSTOMERS. Loyal customers have contributed to the program’s success. “The support of our customers and followers has been what has made our fundraising so successful,” Cooper says.

She tries to change up the fundraising selections. “We’ve done everything from jewelry to T-shirts to tote bags to artwork and tea towels, all with a pet theme or a rescue theme.” The store’s motto, “The best things in life: dogs and the ocean” appears everywhere from the backs of the shirts to signs and frames.

“Rescue is super important; I mean I’m a serious dog lover. I didn’t have human children, they are my children, and if I won the lottery, that’s what I would do, I would rescue dogs,” she says.


Starfish Awards recognize retail stores in our industry that are making a difference through charitable donations and efforts. Is your store worthy of an award? We’d love to hear from you! Complete an entry form at

Profits from the “More Dogs, Less People” tote and other merchandise are donated to animal rescue organizations. PHOTOS: HEIDI KIM
There are so many dogs out there that need homes, that need medical care, and you know if we can do a little something to help, it’s really just our passion.”
— Elysa Cooper
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