The annual Rehoboth Beach film festival is set for next month, but interest in cinema — both the consuming and creating of it — is a year-round love affair in coastal Delaware
By Mary Ann Benyo
In the aftermath of World War II, when the country was looking for a good time, Americans often found it at the movies. In Rehoboth Beach during the ’50s and early ’60s, there were three theaters downtown, underscoring how popular films were then. And “they still are,” says Richard Derrickson. He should know: His family has owned the local theaters since the late 1940s, moving and expanding them “to keep up with the times.”
Tiffany Derrickson, Richard’s daughter, represents the third generation of that ownership; she’s vice president of Atlantic Theaters, which operates The Movies at Midway, a 14-screen multiplex showing the latest releases. People may come to the area in summer for the beach, she acknowledges, “but there are times when it’s just too hot or it’s raining. Then we can have a couple thousand people through our doors throughout the day.”
The locals are there year-round. After traffic lessens in the off-season, the manager notes, the seniors come back. And she describes a steady stream of regulars, from teens on weekends and couples on date nights, to families descending on Sunday afternoons. “So, we do pretty well,” Derrickson says.
The reason for such success? “The movie-going experience is still one of the best bangs for your buck,” she answers unequivocally. “It’s great entertainment for all ages.”
Can’t Stand the Heat?
Being a coastal chef has always been challenging, but staffing needs and shifting expectations can raise the stress level
There was a time when restaurant chefs were cloistered behind the kitchen’s swinging doors, working their alchemy in secret. Frequent guests knew the name of the manager, owner or even a longtime server. The average chef remained as reclusive as the Wizard of Oz.
No longer. Today, coastal chefs regularly appear on WBOC-TV. Radio station 105.9 FM has a restaurant-focused program, “Sip & Bite,” and chefs often appear on various morning radio shows. They challenge each other to high-profile cook-offs to raise money for charities. Every cooking demonstration, wine dinner and charity event is appetite-whetting fodder for hundreds of Facebook fans.
“Chefs have become modern-day rock stars,” says Doug Ruley, corporate chef for SoDel Concepts, which owns nine beach-area restaurants.
“With the birth of the celebrity TV chef, Food Network, bloggers and foodies, I can see why.” To be sure, many look as though they should be strumming a guitar instead of filleting a fish.
Diners now expect to see colorful tattoos, piercings and hip hairstyles.
But looks can be deceiving. “If only they knew how not so glamorous it is,” Ruley says. “You don’t want to be that rock star that is playing the same old song. You must evolve with the times and must also pay tribute to the past.”
The coastal real estate market remains strong, but the lure of newly constructed homes is creating a challenge for owners selling older ones
The deep dive that coastal housing prices took following the 2008 recession is long gone. Formerly underwater homeowners have seen their housing values bubble back to the surface, finally offering the opportunity to net them at least a small profit should they sell.
But making that sale isn’t as easy as they would like because the steady economic recovery has prompted a resurgence in new construction — triggering a clash between the new and the not-so-new, especially in the highly competitive mid-range portion of the market.
“If you look at mid-level, $400,000 to $600,000, that market is extremely strong,” says Justin Healy, broker/owner of Ocean Atlantic Sotheby’s International Realty. However, “new construction is hurting the resale market. People who are shopping look at the new construction — the buyer incentives, the warranties, the new appliances. As a result, a lot of resales are selling for less.”