Ocean City Today

BUSINESS Year In Review 2017

By Kara Hallissey | Dec 28, 2017
Highly rated Annapolis restaurants, Red Red Wine Bar and DRY 85, have expanded to 48th Street in Ocean City this offseason.

(Dec. 29, 2017) The Dunes Manor Hotel in addition to local real estate companies, Hileman Realty and Bunting Realty, Inc., celebrated milestone years in 2017 while many area businesses made improvements to their existing locations including the Commander Hotel, Game World, Shenanigan’s, Nick’s Original House of Ribs, Dunes Court, Park Place Hotel and Used to be Mine Thrift Store.

A number of others changed hands, added another business or moved to new locations while Dry Dock 28, Rare & Rye, Puff Cigar Lounge and Humidor, South Pole Ice Cream Roll, Chef’s Riddle, Bad Ass Bikes, DODO edible cookie dough and ice cream, Red Red Wine Bar, DRY 85, Ulta Beauty, HomeGoods, DiFebo’s and Massage Envy opened up its first location in Ocean City or in the surrounding towns.

Here are some of the resort’s 2017 business highlights:

Ocean City:

• Owner Nolan Graves added a two-story, 7,500-square-foot and New York-themed laser tag to Game World on 146th Street at the beginning of the year. The venue is perfect for birthday parties with more than 40 arcade games including Skee ball, pinball machines and an air hockey table, an 18-hole outdoor miniature golf course and 32 players can participate in a laser tag game on two teams at any given time.

• Todd Burbage and Brad Donahue, who took over the reins at Sea Rocket in January, have expanded its offerings to include pontoon-fishing charters as well. Sea Rocket is an oversized speedboat used for popular guided tours along the ocean coastline in Ocean City.

• The Commander Hotel & Suites on 14th Street and the Boardwalk completed a $5 million renovation of its rooms, lobby and public areas in March.

• During the offseason, Shenanigan’s, on Fourth Street and the Boardwalk, renovated the entryway and bar area to its popular Irish pub. The bar area is now lighter and brighter with new furnishings and a tin ceiling, which had mostly stayed the same since the 1970s.

• The dining room received modern upgrades at Nick’s Original House of Ribs on 144th Street, from new carpeting to making the room more spacious with Oak-padded chairs and recovered booths. Additional renovations included new décor, lighting and painted railings over the wintertime.

• On April Fool’s Day in 1987, 74-year-old Thelma Conner opened Dunes Manor Hotel with the intent on providing superb hospitality experience in an old-Victorian charm atmosphere. Thirty years later, her traditions continue on 28th Street.

• In the spring, Buxy’s Salty Dog Saloon owners opened Dry Dock 28 right next door to its flagship restaurant on 28th Street.

• Since May 12, Rare & Rye has offered interesting food pairings in a rustic atmosphere with an emphasis on whiskey and bourbon, which is connected to the La Quinta Inn and Suites on 32nd Street.

• Puff Cigar Lounge and Humidor on Talbot Street has been selling more than 3,000 cigars from at least 60 brands since mid-May. The lounge area encourages customers to hang out in the 12-seat room with two big-screen televisions and smoke cigars. The property also has a covered porch with several rocking chairs to accommodate those who want to smoke outdoors.

• Owner Kevin Dula opened the doors to Chef’s Riddle restaurant and lounge in May, bringing fresh breakfast and lunch dishes to Baltimore Avenue and Second Street including sandwiches, burgers, salads, and homemade mozzarella sticks.

• Unique vintage, fat tire, old school and hot rod bikes have been available for rent or purchase on 9 Somerset Street since Bad Ass Bikes opened on Memorial Day weekend.

• In June, the Crystal Beach Hotel on 25th Street and Baltimore Avenue was completed. It accommodates 63 guest rooms on four floors and includes a conference room, restaurant and an outdoor pool complete with a splash zone and tiki bar.

• Salt Air Services, a local grocery delivery company owned by Heather Marinelli, began to operate in Ocean City and Ocean Pines in addition to Fenwick Island, Bethany Beach, Ocean View, Millville and Selbyville in Delaware a week after Memorial Day. She shops for desired groceries using a form completed by the client and delivers the items to homes, rentals or hotel rooms before putting them away.

• Dunes Court on 27th Street completed a full renovation of its 49 guest rooms and exteriors in June. Upgrades to the Dunes Court’s rooms and guest experience include complimentary WiFi, eco-friendly HVAC system, 48-inch wall-mounted HD televisions, in-room irons, hair dryers, refrigerators, safes, and microwaves, raised ceilings, new faux wood blinds, complimentary ice and coffee in the lobby throughout the day and free family activities (parties, games, music, contests, snacks/drinks).

• Owner Mo Salem opened DODO edible cookie dough and ice cream at the end of July on 117th Street after adding a third Shmagel’s Bagels location in Ocean City on 129th Street in the Montego Bay Shopping Center at the end of June.

• At South Pole Ice Cream Roll on North Division Street, which opened on July 1, customers choose from a number of flavors and toppings before their custom-made order is created on ice plates. The Asian-style ice cream rolls are created using ice plates kept at 12 degrees Celsius, which turns the liquid base into ice cream while employees make the order.

• The new Hotel Monte Carlo Oceanfront on 11th Street and the Boardwalk was welcomed to the resort community by the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce and local officials on Sept. 29 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The boutique hotel has 54 rooms, employee housing, two pools, a hot tub and retail space. Visitors have the option of two double or two queen beds with fully-equipped kitchenettes in their rooms, which include a stove top, medium-sized refrigerator, utensils and dishware.

• On Oct. 26, Crystal and Rob Minger opened the doors to Shoreglass Wine Room on 118th Street in the Ocean City Square shopping center. The new bar and restaurant currently offers 16 different wines by glass in addition to homemade lite fare and a few craft beers.

• Owners Lisa and Brian Bolter expanded their highly rated Annapolis restaurants, Red Red Wine Bar and DRY 85, to 48th Street in Ocean City this offseason.

• Park Place Hotel at 2208 North Baltimore Avenue in Ocean City finished a 70,627-square-foot renovation project in November. It added a half floor to the sixth level, an entire floor for the seventh level, a new penthouse for elevator service and mechanical rooms and expanded the pool deck with a second pool and renovated the existing pool for the existing hotel.

• The Olde Tyme Family Barber Shop relocated across Coastal Highway to 143rd Street in the Resort Plaza on Nov. 27, offering full-service haircuts for men, women and children, including add-ons or specifics such as a buzz cut, bang or beard trim, shampoo, hot-lather facial, hot-lather full head shave, or a dry facial shave.

West Ocean City:

• After about a week and a half of renovations, the new and improved Used to be Mine Thrift Store opened back up Jan. 4 in West Ocean City. The store, an extension of Diakonia that opened in 2009, carries everything from clothing and furniture, to board games and various household items. Proceeds support programs across the nonprofit, which benefits more than 10,000 people and distributes more than 100,000 pounds of food each year.

• In March, Atlantic General Hospital and Health System announced that the Atlantic General Women’s Health Center in West Ocean City now offers 3D mammography, ultrasound and bone density screening, which is conveniently located in the same complex as lab services, minor surgical procedures and routine gynecologic services.

• Teri and Larry Murphy, owners of Hangover/Hydration Rescue Team in West Ocean City, assisted adults feeling dehydrated or nauseous after a long night of drinking, in addition to treating athletes all summer long.

• Ulta Beauty opened a new location in the White Marlin Mall on June 9. The beauty retailer sells 20,000 products across 500 brands and has a full-service salon offering hair, skin and eyebrow services including facials in West Ocean City.

• HomeGoods debuted its West Ocean City on Oct. 15 selling a number of low-cost essentials including high-quality furniture, rugs, lighting, décor, bedding, bath and kitchen products.


• Hileman Realty celebrated 20 years in business on Jan. 20, which is located on Cathell Road in Berlin. There are 24 sales agents at Hileman Realty and in 2016, they sold $55 million in properties. Six rental agents manage about 500 rentals in Ocean Pines, Ocean City, and elsewhere in Worcester and Wicomico counties.

• Realtor Cam Bunting started a real estate business, Bunting Realty, Inc., in Berlin 25 years ago.

• OC Tax Service kicked off its first season on Racetrack Road in Berlin after owner Mary Ann Jordan and her two sons, Mike and John Ward, have served the community on Golf Course Road since 2003. Tax services are available for individuals, families, students, corporations and small businesses. There are two notaries on site in addition to payroll services and tax consultations offered.

• An oceanfront property with 100 rooms in a residential area attracted Blue Water Development in Berlin to the Drifting Sands Motel in Ship Bottom, New Jersey, on Long Beach Island in April. A lobby and an above ground pool will be built on the property and all rooms will undergo a complete renovation including new bedding and furniture. In addition, there are plans to add a tiki bar and an event venue on the roof.

• Pediatric and mental health services have been available since August through Chesapeake Health Care in Berlin on North Main Street. The health center provides yearly checkups, medical evaluations, sick visits, walk-ins, laboratory services, school or sports physicals, immunizations, in addition to hearing and vision testing for infants to 18 year olds.

• The Berlin Activities Depot, located at 10008 Old Ocean City Boulevard, had a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new building on Sept. 16 in Berlin. The massive building includes an expansive space for gymnastics events and training, separate gym space for adults, and a one-of-a-kind ninja kid zone similar to the obstacle courses on “American Ninja Warrior.”

• Sonny Nguyen opened Main Street Nails in October at 112 North Main Street in downtown Berlin. The six-seat salon offers manicures and pedicures.

• DiFebo’s Italian Restaurant, a staple in Bethany and Rehoboth beach towns, opened its third location at the end of October, taking over the spot previously occupied by Siculi Italian Kitchen on 104 North Main Street in Berlin.

• Chesapeake Pediatrics and Adolescent Associates P.A. opened an office in Berlin, offering pediatric and adolescent care to children and teens in the Worcester County area since the beginning of November.

Ocean Pines:

• Psychic medium Jessie Bloom has been helping those looking for clarification about a situation in their life or wanting to connect with a deceased loved on Nicholas Lane in Ocean Pines since the beginning of the year.

• Therapeutic massages, facials, skin care treatments and a few unique add-ons are offered at Massage Envy on Manklin Creek Road in Ocean Pines, which opened on Feb. 16.

• From heating and air conditioning to plumbing, kitchen and bath remodeling, O.C. Home Services in Ocean Pines provides a multitude of essentials for homeowners. The company moved from Salisbury to Ocean Pines in April and offers interior and exterior home or condominium renovations including decks, porches, cabinets, windows, floors, doors, bathrooms, additions, drywall and paint.

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