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.


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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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More information

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Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

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THE UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE LYNN HERRICK SHARP AWARD EXHIBITION A Group Exhibition March 31 - April 26, 2018 OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, April 6, 2018, 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop The Delaware...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

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THE FIGURE: THE INDICATIVE AND THE ALLUSIVE Group Exhibition  April 1 - August 26, 2018 Opening Reception: Friday, April 6, 2018 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop with Panel Discussion: 6 - 7 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

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THE UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE ALUMNI INVITATIONAL A Group Exhibition March 31 - April 26, 2018 OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, April 6, 2018, 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop, Artist talk at 7:30 PM The...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

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

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GUARDIANS OF THE IMAGE MAKER Group Exhibition & Programs Commemorating The 1968 Riots April 6 - June 29, 2018 Opening reception: Friday, April 6, 2018                      5 - 9 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

A needle's eye in a pond, a Greek temple in the garden, an Ottoman tent sitting on a hill—these are just a few of the inspirations for our upcoming, first-ever outdoor exhibition Follies:...

Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

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TRANSIT by Maryanne Pollock January 27 - April 26, 2018Opening Reception: Friday, February 2, 2018 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop On Art:  Wednesday, February 21, 2018 | 5:25 - 6 PM Maryanne...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

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Thursday, April 26, 8:00 p.m. Gore Recital Hall David Rose was born in Regina, Saskatchewan and there began his early musical education and violin study. At the suggestion of his first teacher,...

Cost: $15 adults; $10 UD faculty/staff/alumni & seniors; $5 students

Where:
Gore Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
Telephone: 130-283-12578
Contact Name: Megan Everhart
Website »

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East Coast Garden Center presents: The Spring Festival!  We love celebrating the Spring season, and we invite you to join us! The weather warms, plants break dormancy, and Sussex County becomes...

Cost: free

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd.
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Sponsor: Cordrey Companies
Telephone: (302)945-3489
Contact Name: Christine Justice
Website »

More information

Rosemary Castiglioni – Still lifes and interiors painted with a subtle palette; Jim Gears – Vibrant, impressionistic landscapes in oil applied with a palette knife; Richard Hoff – Detailed...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

THE FIGURE: THE INDICATIVE AND THE ALLUSIVE Group Exhibition  April 1 - August 26, 2018 Opening Reception: Friday, April 6, 2018 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop with Panel Discussion: 6 - 7 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

GUARDIANS OF THE IMAGE MAKER Group Exhibition & Programs Commemorating The 1968 Riots April 6 - June 29, 2018 Opening reception: Friday, April 6, 2018                      5 - 9 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

A needle's eye in a pond, a Greek temple in the garden, an Ottoman tent sitting on a hill—these are just a few of the inspirations for our upcoming, first-ever outdoor exhibition Follies:...

Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

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


Website »

More information

Glory of Stories introduces young visitors to art and the Museum through a story reading followed by an interactive tour of relevant works of art and a studio art project. This program encourages...

Cost: Free to Members, $5 per child and one adult free for Non-Members

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

More information

Calling all Doodles!  Pack up your owners and head for Dewey Delaware for the Annual DoodlesinDewey ~ a fun filled time on the beach at a low-key "funraiser" for Food&Friends, a DC based...

Cost: $10-25 suggested

Where:
Dewey Beach
Saulsbury St
Dewey Beach, DE  19971
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Sponsor: Food&Friends
Telephone: 301.467.5523
Contact Name: Amy Scott
Website »

More information

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
Website »

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Our thoughts and our stage turn to music, mayhem and marriage with the multi-Tony nominated "The Wedding Singer". Shows are at 8pm on April 27 and 28, and May 4 and 5.  There are 2pm...

Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
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Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-1172
Website »

More information

Night Ranger, the band that invented the power ballad of the 1980s, brings its classic sound to the SugarHouse Casino Event Center on Friday, April 27, at 9 p.m. Tickets for the band’s 35th...

Cost: $29-49

Where:
SugarHouse Casino
1001 N. Delaware Ave
Philadelphia, PA  19125
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East Coast Garden Center presents: The Spring Festival!  We love celebrating the Spring season, and we invite you to join us! The weather warms, plants break dormancy, and Sussex County becomes...

Cost: free

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd.
Millsboro, DE  19966
View map »


Sponsor: Cordrey Companies
Telephone: (302)945-3489
Contact Name: Christine Justice
Website »

More information

Rosemary Castiglioni – Still lifes and interiors painted with a subtle palette; Jim Gears – Vibrant, impressionistic landscapes in oil applied with a palette knife; Richard Hoff – Detailed...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Girl Scout Junior Not just a pretty face! With the Winterthur Garden as a laboratory, earn the Flowers badge while discovering how flowers function and recording your experience in a garden...

Cost: $12

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington , DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information & Tours
Website »

More information

A needle's eye in a pond, a Greek temple in the garden, an Ottoman tent sitting on a hill—these are just a few of the inspirations for our upcoming, first-ever outdoor exhibition Follies:...

Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

THE FIGURE: THE INDICATIVE AND THE ALLUSIVE Group Exhibition  April 1 - August 26, 2018 Opening Reception: Friday, April 6, 2018 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop with Panel Discussion: 6 - 7 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

GUARDIANS OF THE IMAGE MAKER Group Exhibition & Programs Commemorating The 1968 Riots April 6 - June 29, 2018 Opening reception: Friday, April 6, 2018                      5 - 9 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

Maker Fest Enjoy a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. This event features demonstrations from area makers showcasing...

Cost: Admission is $10 for Adults, $5 for Hagley Members and Youth 6-18; under 6 free

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Hagley Museum & Library
Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
Contact Name: Jessica Eisenbrey
Website »

More information

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

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


Website »

More information

Water is Life Kenya is hosting its annual Water Walk fundraiser Saturday, April 28th at the Newark Reservoir. Funds raised will help complete Water is Life Kenya's clean water project in Kuku, a...

Cost: 10.00-25.00

Where:
Newark Reservoir
Old Paper Mill Road
Newark, DE  19711
View map »


Sponsor: Water is Life Kenya
Telephone: (302) 894-7335
Contact Name: Colleen Leithren
Website »

More information

Girl Scout Daisy Take a step on your Flower Garden journey during this fun-filled exploration of the Winterthur garden. $10 per girl.

Cost: $10

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 180-044-83883
Contact Name: Information & Tours
Website »

More information

Discover the thrill of printmaking inspired by nature. Using spring plants and simple materials, students will explore the possibilities of organic and geometric compositions with layered shapes...

Cost: $80 Members, $100 Non-Members

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


Website »

More information

Calling all Doodles!  Pack up your owners and head for Dewey Delaware for the Annual DoodlesinDewey ~ a fun filled time on the beach at a low-key "funraiser" for Food&Friends, a DC based...

Cost: $10-25 suggested

Where:
Dewey Beach
Saulsbury St
Dewey Beach, DE  19971
View map »


Sponsor: Food&Friends
Telephone: 301.467.5523
Contact Name: Amy Scott
Website »

More information

Saturday, April 28, 2018 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm Wilmington Country Club 4825 Kennett Pike Wilmington, DE   Guests will enjoy a four course seated dinner prepared by award-winning chefs...

Cost: Call for sponsor opportunities.

Where:
Wilmington Country Club
4825 Kennett Pike
Wilmington , DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Meals On Wheels Delaware
Telephone: 302-656-6451
Contact Name: Jennifer Halliday

More information

38th Annual Rare Plant Auction® at Longwood Gardens A benefit that enriches urban neighborhoods through the power of plants. Join us at the 38th Annual Rare Plant Auction® on Saturday, April...

Cost: $125-$600

Where:
Longwood Garden
1001 Longwood Road
Kennett Square, PA  19348
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Center for Horticulture
Telephone: (302) 658-6262
Contact Name: Lenny Wilson
Website »

More information

Clark Wilson from East Liverpool, Ohio, is a favorite and master with silent films.  He is the house organist at the Ohio Theater and has recently been appointed to the Music Department staff of...

Cost: $20 Adults, $10 Students, Groups Call 302-995-2603

Where:
John Dickinson High School
1801 Milltown Road
Wilmington, DE  19808
View map »


Sponsor: Dickinson Theatre Organ Society
Telephone: 302-995-2603
Contact Name: Bob Dilworth
Website »

More information

Our thoughts and our stage turn to music, mayhem and marriage with the multi-Tony nominated "The Wedding Singer". Shows are at 8pm on April 27 and 28, and May 4 and 5.  There are 2pm...

Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-1172
Website »

More information

Saturday, April 28, 8:00 p.m. Loudis Recital Hall Cap off the day-long Steel Band Festival (in Puglisi Orchestra Hall beginning at noon) with the featured festival concert.   There is no...

Cost: Free

Where:
Loudis Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
Telephone: 130-283-12578
Contact Name: Megan Everhart
Website »

More information

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