Beach Classic: Bethany Shoppers Hit the Rhodes

Rhodes 5&10 is more than your average five-and-dime. If you ever need a rubber spider with your newspaper and beach chair, there's no reason to go anywhere else.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Diane Ternahan makes sure that shoppers have access to everything they could ever  need.
photograph by Rob Nicholson

www.humbledeyesphotography.com

 

Jim Johnson of Dover and his son Jimmy dig through a mountain of flip-flops. Jimmy’s mom, it seems, has broken one of her flip-flops, the only footwear she has with her. It’s causing a glitch in their day trip.

Though prices start at $1.99, the guys don’t want the bottom-of-the-line, plain Jane flip-flops; Jimmy’s mom prefers footwear with a bit more flair.

So while mom waits in the car, they keep looking, working deeper into the pile, checking sizes and trim on dozens of pairs until they settle on a $7.99 olive drab set with striped green trim in a size 7. “Perfect,” says a triumphant Johnson. “Exactly what I was looking for.”

For nearly 40 years, that’s the way it has been at Rhodes 5&10 in Bethany Beach. A beacon for beachgoers and a haven for homeowners, it has provided retail rescue for those in search of everything from sun blocks to building blocks.

The vibrant storefront on Garfield Parkway is a landmark. It’s the go-to spot for tired teens looking for a cold Snapple, weary grandmothers in search of the latest Stephen King paperback and huddled masses yearning for discounted sweatshirts.

“We try to stock a little bit of everything,” says Diane Ternahan, whose father, Arnold Rhodes, opened the store in 1969.

Indeed. In front of the store, passersby are greeted by a $10.99 inflatable shark. Wacky noodle floats are stowed in a cardboard carton the size of a washing machine. Hand-printed signs taped to beach chairs extol the virtues of different models, such as Lays Flat, Over 30 and Big Kahuna.

Inside, between the sandy linoleum floor and drop ceiling, there are three types of flyswatters and 10 varieties of flashlights. You’ll find toothbrushes, tampons and tweezers, as well as ice cube trays, ash trays and serving trays. There’s an ATM for those who want a spot of cash, a key-cutting service for customers who need extras for visiting guests and cool reggae music in the air.

Near the bubble blow and rubber cobras, there is an entire hermit crab department, where fishbowls are filled with 99-cent snail shells. Mini-aquariums are lined up like colorful beach townhouses on one shelf. Mesh cages are stacked on the next shelf higher up.

The store opens for the season on St. Patrick’s Day. It closes just before Halloween. In season, Rhodes opens its doors promptly at 7 a.m., before the sun is in full force. The doors don’t close until at least 10 p.m. but frequently remain open until 11 p.m.

“It depends on the people in town,” says Lisa Stroud. “If they keep coming, we stay open.” Stroud began as a cashier at the store when she was 16. She quit working for a while after she got married, taking a nine-year hiatus from Rhodes. But the years melted away the moment she stepped over the Washington Post doormat at the threshold to begin her second stint at the store. “It was like I’d never left—except there was even more stuff,” she says.

This year, regular patrons are mourning a significant loss at Rhodes. Christianne Belleville Baker, the blond cashier who greeted morning customers with a smile and a charming, French-Canadian accent for 23 years, died in May, only one week after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was 53.

“There are a lot of people who have known her for years and they ask about her the first time they come in the store for the summer,” Ternahan says. “It’s sad to have to tell them that Chris passed away.”

Ternahan and her husband, Bob, also are the owners of Fish Tales, a funky, eclectic retailer of sportswear, gifts and toys just down the parkway. But she has no plans to sell the five-and-dime, now or ever. “It’s very important to keep it all in the family,” she says. “This is a family-style community, and the store is in keeping with that.”

The inventory accommodates folks who forget to pack something on vacation—razor blades, rain ponchos, beach towels, or rubber spiders and snakes—as well as year-rounders and homeowners dashing in to replenish staples such as paper towels, toilet paper and trash bags. Then there are the items shoppers might not think about until they need them, and need them big time: baby pacifiers, bathing suits and Krazy Glue.

Stroud can only recall one request for merchandise so far this season that she was unable to fill. “Someone wanted those little wooden tongs you use to pull toast out of the toaster,” she says. “We usually have them, but we were out and have had a problem getting some more.”

Determining the mix of merchandise isn’t as hard as it may seem, Ternahan says.

“The customers pretty much tell us what they want,” she says.

Shoppers can fortify themselves for rainy days with Yahtzee, Scrabble and other board games for indoor fun. There are toy dinosaurs, baby dolls and teething balls to amuse the little ones. A pirate combat set is equipped with a dart pistol, plastic cutlass, earrings and eye patch.

For vacationers who want to take a reminder of Bethany Beach home with them, there’s an aisle packed with such keepsakes as sea shells and salt-and-pepper shakers.

Joan Gann of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is shopping with her daughter-in-law and grandson. She had visited Rhodes for the first time the day before. She knew immediately she would become a regular customer.

“I love to shop, and this is a wonderful store for me because there are so many things to choose from,” she says.

Gann stands beneath a line of gently swaying wind chimes, contemplating Bethany Beach refrigerator magnets shaped like flip-flops. One is pink with little circular designs and the other is yellow with tiny flowers.

“It’s so difficult to decide,” she says. “They are both absolutely adorable.”

Like the Ganns, it isn’t unusual to see three generations of customers at Rhodes, though they aren’t necessarily related. Teenage boys in baggy surfer shorts peruse a revolving rack stocked with comic books. A sun-burned, middle-age man in a baseball cap heads for the WD-40. An elderly woman in bright red lipstick and a terry robe picks up a bottle of nail polish remover.

Tim Cullinane of Baltimore has been shopping at Rhodes since he tagged along with his parents at age 12. Now 36, he, his wife and their 2-year-old daughter are shopping for postcards.

“I used to come here for the comic books,” he says. “Now I come here for batteries for my digital camera and to listen to the great reggae. I hope this place never goes away and that Annie will be shopping here with her family when she is my age.”

There are occasional suggestions that Ternahan perk up morning business by selling coffee along with the store’s array of newspapers.

But the morning crush is lively enough without dispensing caffeine, she says, thank you very much. The five-and-dime will, of course, continue to sell coffee filters and insulated cups for customers who brew their own.

“Sorry, no coffee,” she says. “This is enough.” 

D

 

 

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Cost: Free

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View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
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Cost: free

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More information

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View map »


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Website »

More information

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View map »


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More information

Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities. Undertake three Mesozoic Missions spanning 150 million years and mimic dinosaur...

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More information

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Cost: Free with Museum admission

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2301 Kentmere Parkway
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View map »


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Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
820 N. French Street
2nd Floor, Carvel Building
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

February 3 – 25 Group Show featuring still life paintings in oil by Rosemary Castiglioni; gestural animal paintings by Gay Freeborn; and plein air landscapes from Zion National Park,...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities. Undertake three Mesozoic Missions spanning 150 million years and mimic dinosaur...

Cost: Free with Admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
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Newark, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-658-9111
Website »

More information

Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities at the Delaware Museum of Natural History's newest special exhibit. Undertake...

Cost: Adults: $9 Children (3-17): $7 Seniors (60+): $8 Under 3: FREE Members: FREE

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Between 1917 and 1944, the Society of Independent Artists (SIA) hosted annual exhibitions for its members. Famous painters and Sunday painters were able to exhibit their work in enormous open shows...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery will host bariatric support groups on Tuesday, Feb. 7 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 27 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Medical Staff...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Road
Seaford, DE  19973
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Telephone: 302-536-5395
Contact Name: Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery
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Tutto Fresco has live entertainment every Friday night from 6:30–9:30 p.m. Call for details. http://tuttofrescode.com/

Where:
Tutto Fresco
514 Philadelphia Pike
Wilmington, DE  19809
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Meeting every Friday, Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, 640 s. State Street, Dover, 7:30 pm., Private Dining Room #3 in the basement. For those who have, or think they may have a gambling problem....

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
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JOHNNY WINTER ALL STAR BAND The Johnny Winter Band has been wowing audiences everywhere with incredible music played by Johnny's band and guest artists. Join Paul Nelson and The JW Band in a...

Cost: $20 ADV + $22 DOS + FEES

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
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Now in its 8th year, the PAWS for People Conference/Annual Meeting is designed for those who love their pets, are pet enthusiasts or who want to learn more about the world of Pet Therapy. This...

Cost: $45 through 2/14; $50 after that date; $5 discount for PAWS members.

Where:
Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
1600 Rockland Road
Wilmington, DE  19803
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Sponsor: PAWS for People
Telephone: 302-351-5622
Contact Name: Clarice Ritchie
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February 3 – 25 Group Show featuring still life paintings in oil by Rosemary Castiglioni; gestural animal paintings by Gay Freeborn; and plein air landscapes from Zion National Park,...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities at the Delaware Museum of Natural History's newest special exhibit. Undertake...

Cost: Adults: $9 Children (3-17): $7 Seniors (60+): $8 Under 3: FREE Members: FREE

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Website »

More information

Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities. Undertake three Mesozoic Missions spanning 150 million years and mimic dinosaur...

Cost: Free with Admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Newark, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-658-9111
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The Wilmington & Western Railroad's Hockessin Art Festival is a fundraising effort to benefit the railroad. Over 25 artists will be displaying and selling limited-edition...

Cost: $3 for art show admission; $5 for train fare (children under 2 are free)

Where:
Hockessin Memorial Hall
606 Yorklyn Road
Hockessin, DE  19707
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Sponsor: Wilmington & Western Railroad
Telephone: 302-998-1930
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Are you interested in learning more about what volunteer opportunities the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation has to offer? Consider attending our Volunteer Open House at our shipyard in Wilmington, DE from...

Cost:

Where:
Kalmar Nyckel Foundation
1124 E 7th St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Between 1917 and 1944, the Society of Independent Artists (SIA) hosted annual exhibitions for its members. Famous painters and Sunday painters were able to exhibit their work in enormous open shows...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

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DCM Guests will experience, engage in, and take home different STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathmatics) activities run by Science Ambassadors from the Charter School of Wilmington...

Cost: $8.75

Where:
Delaware Children's Museum
550 Justison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 302-425-4890
Contact Name: Joe Valenti
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

Build a hydraulic-powered machine while learning about pressure, water, and power. Families work together to solve science mysteries and engineering challenges. Activities are included in regular...

Cost: Adults: $14, Children 6-14: $5, Children 5 and under and Hagley Members: FREE

Where:
Hagley Museum and Library
200 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery will host bariatric support groups on Tuesday, Feb. 7 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 27 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Medical Staff...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Road
Seaford, DE  19973
View map »


Telephone: 302-536-5395
Contact Name: Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery
Website »

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An evening of entertainment and hope at the 2017 Wilmington Heart Ball. Each year, community members, medical professionals and corporate leaders come together to celebrate the lifesaving work of...

Cost:

Where:
Chase Center on the Riverfront
815 Justison St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Join us for an unforgettable evening of entertainment and hope at the 2017 Wilmington Heart Ball.  Each year, community members, medical professionals and corporate leaders come together to...

Cost: $175

Where:
Chase Center on the Riverfront
815 Justison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Sponsor: American Heart Association
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We are a mixture of some of the best and hardest working musicians in the Philadelphia area specializing in a mashup concept, fusing the music of The Allman Brothers Band and The Grateful Dead....

Cost: $10 + FEES

Where:
World Cafe Live- Wilmington
500 North Market Street
Wilmington, DE
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Mo Lowda & The Humble is a three piece Indie-rock group from Philadelphia, PA. The band has created a unique musical style combining various genre's ranging from garage rock to jazz fusion;...

Cost: $10 + FEES

Where:
World Cafe Live- Wilmington
500 North Market Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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