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January 2023 Newsletter

Happy New Year from RBMS!

The board, committee chairs, and staff of Rehoboth Beach Main Street wish our members, volunteers, and subscribers a Happy New Year! In this issue we highlight RBMS’ accomplishments of 2022 and share a look-forward to 2023.

In 2022 we ended the year with 164 business members: Two Blue Partners, 12 Yellow Partners, 29 Green Partners, and 121 Basic Members. We have 23 Individual Members, 16 at the $100-or-more level, 2 of which at the $1,000 or more level. Thank you to all our members! We could not have done all that we accomplished in 2022 without the financial assistance of our Partners and Members.

RBMS also could not have accomplished all that we do without our volunteers—5,000+ volunteer hours in 2022! These individuals serve on committees, create and maintain the downtown flora as part of the Rehoboth in Bloom group, serve as Ambassadors to our business members, and staff our many events.

We published 11 issues of the RBMS Newsletter, February through December. The newsletter issues included:

· Business Showcases featuring 63 members

· 98 mentions of members in other sections of the newsletter, including promotions of members’ upcoming events and specials

· 108 Congrats and Thanks to new and renewal members.

Our newsletter subscriber group grew from 913 at the start of 2022 to 1,346 in December. Our Open rate is typically more than 60%, which is about 20 points higher than the industry average. Thank you to our readers—and special thanks to our regular and guest reporters!

The RBMS Website was updated—we added a Carousel to the Home Page featuring RBMS Blue and Yellow Partner members, we listed all businesses in the Business Directory, added a page that identifies the membership level of all RBMS business members, and added pop-ups to promote our Blue Partner members.

Social Media was hopping, with more than 200 business-member posts on Facebook and Instagram from January through December!

Finally, we’d like to share highlights of the events sponsored, co-sponsored, and collaborated/participated in by RBMS in 2022. These events included those that follow.

RBMS sponsored a two-night Italian Meatball Showdown in March, with competing meatballs from Nicola Pizza, Ava’s Pizzeria & Wine Bar, DiFebo’s Restaurant, Lupo Italian Kitchen, and Sazio.

In April the Gumbo Crawl was co-hosted by RBMS and the Purple Parrot Restaurant and Bar, with participating restaurants Aqua, Blackwall Hitch, Café Azafran, Cooter Brown’s, Dalmata, Dos Locos, Federal Fritter, Freddie’s, Mariachi, Port 251, Purple Parrot, Rehoboth Ale House, Rigby’s, Sunny Bay Café, and Zogg’s.

The Oldies Dance, also in April, was a fun, successful fundraiser for Rehoboth in Bloom.

RBMS held a July–August competition for the Cottage and Town Awards. Winners announced in September were Jim Williamson and Nicholas Somers (Best Renovation/Restoration); Bellmoor Inn and Spa (Best Landscape Design/Redesign); Bob Suppies of Drift (Best Commercial Construction); and Robin Dole, 503 Jones Lane (Best New Construction). Honorable Mentions for Renovation/Restoration were awarded to Sam Cooper for Coopers Cottages and Tom Kelly for the Lincoln Street Cottage (formerly on Rehoboth Avenue).

RBMS celebrated downtown companies that have been in business for 25 years or longer with an event on September 7 at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand. We identified 93 long-running businesses, including five that have been in business for more than 75 years. A true testament to downtown business!

In October we released Rehoboth Beach Then and Now—A self-guided walking tour on the Built Story mobile app.

The first annual RBMS Fashion Festival was held in November at the Convention Center. Participating businesses were Beach Essentials, Bombshell Boutique of Rehoboth, Boutique W, Brashhh, Carlton’s, Cashmere Garden, Charm City Running, Coral Cove, Grace, Pineapple Princess, Quiet Storm, Something Comfortable, South Moon Under, The Pink Turtle, and Top It Off. The Fashion Festival also included a boutique (holiday) shopping area with participating businesses Bad Hair Day?, in2soles, The Lion’s Den Candle Company, and more.

In December RBMS participated in The United Way of Delaware’s “Winter Wonderland Resource Fair/Coat and Toy Give Away.”

RBMS also convened the annual Community Unity Dinner in December at the Convention Center. The all-you-can-eat pasta dinner was provided by the Big Fish Restaurant Group and many other downtown restaurants. The evening also featured an Ice Cream Bar, the Cape Jazz Band, Nutcracker Ballerinas from the Sussex Dance Company, and of course Santa & Mrs. Claus! Attendees congratulated the RBMS Citizen of the Year Drexel Davison of Bad Hair Day? and Rehoboth in Bloom, which received the RBMS Champion Award.

RBMS had a first-time float in the annual Rehoboth Beach Holiday Parade, hosted by the Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Department. We were cheered on by parade watchers up and down Rehoboth Avenue!

An RBMS-sponsored Holiday Stroll was held on December 10: Residents and visitors were invited to check out our merchants’ holiday window displays. The day also included a strolling Santa and Mrs. Claus, Holiday Carolers, and a photo station. Many downtown-strollers had their pictures taken with the Clauses, Snowmen Terry Kistler and Christopher Berg, and Elf Dan Slagle.

Rehoboth Beach Main Street and the Rehoboth Beach Homeowners Association (RBHA) co-hosted the second annual Wreaths Across America ceremony on Saturday, December 17. (See story below.)

Finally, Rehoboth in Bloom volunteers were busy throughout the year, beautifying downtown Rehoboth Beach with gorgeous planter displays and gardens, and in November began the creation of a new Canalside Garden on the western side of the Rehoboth Beach Museum. There are many people to thank for the work on this garden, including RBMS board member and RiB chair Cindy Lovett and many RiB volunteers; Bob Arner and Diane Cutler of Rehoboth in Bloom for their planning help; Senator Ernie Lopez and the State of Delaware for the major funding; Dogfish Head, whose contribution will pay for all of the plants for fall and spring; the City of Rehoboth and Liz Lingo for supporting our project; and especially RSC Landscaping for