A Walk through Rehoboth Beach Main Street

Editor’s Note: Gail Alm shared this post about Rehoboth Beach and its Main Street Program. I think it’s worth the share as well.

Photos by Emily Wallrath Schmidt.

Photos by Emily Wallrath Schmidt.

Emily Wallrath Schmidt posted the main street post of the week about Rehoboth Beach. Titled, “A Walk through Rehoboth Beach Main Street,” Wallrath Schmidt, Associate Manager of Communication and Developement, National Main Street Center said of Rehoboth Beach, “Southern Delaware is affectionately known by many locals and tourist as Slower-Lower Delaware (or Lower-Slower, depending who you ask).  Last month, I visited Rehoboth Beach with my family for a week at the Atlantic shore.  While there, I was able to fit a visit with Rehoboth Beach Main Street Executive Director Krys Johnson into my busy schedule of building sand castles, eating boardwalk fries, shopping the boutiques, and reading under an umbrella.

Believe me, there is nothing “slower” about Rehoboth Beach Main Street!

Although a “beach town,” Rehoboth Beach is open 365 days a year, and with that has the unique challenge of catering to both year-round residents and tourists within a wide range of ages, interests and economic levels. The Rehoboth Beach Main Street area encompasses the entire downtown, from the main thoroughfare, Rehoboth Avenue, and its side streets, to the ocean-front boardwalk. It follows that businesses are as varied as their environs—souvenir shops hawking plastic shovels, painted hermit crab shells and t-shirts, coexist with candy shops,  independent book stores, trendy home goods boutiques and high-end jewelry and clothing stores. Restaurants, too, range from one end of the spectrum to the other: from walk-up French fry stands and ice cream shops to farm-to-table cafes, seafood restaurants to pizza joints, gastro pubs to cantinas, and everything in between.  A myriad of other businesses and organizations, including hotels, art galleries, REALTORs, salons, spas, theatres, rental companies also call Rehoboth Beach home.

Serving such an array of businesses could be daunting, but Rehoboth Beach Main Street (RBMS), founded in 1999, rises (like the tide) to the challenge. In addition to advocating for businesses in local issues and conducting workshops for business owners,

RBMS puts on a dizzying number of events to promote the city and draw people downtown to shop, eat and stay. Last year alone they did 33 events!

Executive Director Krys Johnson, who was unfamiliar with Main Street prior to moving to Delaware eight years ago, is now a champion of Rehoboth’s downtown and the Main Street movement.  “Main Street’s downtown revitalization is a complex process and the mission to create networks and partnerships whereby community leaders gain support and resources to help resolve important issues is work I am in total support of and passionate about,” explains Johnson.  She encourages business owners to become business supporters of RBMS, benefits of which includes having their business featured on the RBMS website and social media, inclusion in the annual print Main Street Guide Book, and access to sign and façade grants, among other things.  Johnson emphasizes that RBMS is there for all local businesses regardless of business supporter status.  The result of RBMS’s hard work and a strong local identity is a vibrant downtown with a healthy economy and notably non-existent storefront vacancy rates.

Visit Rehoboth Beach Main Street online and check out this Spotlight to learn more about Executive Director Krys Johnson! All photos by Emily Wallrath Schmidt. Read the article at http://www.preservationnation.org/main-street/main-street-news/story-of-the-week/2015/a-walk-through-rehoboth-beach.html