When an email for a “closing sale” at Ruxton’s Ellie Boutique entered my inbox, I thought maybe a line of clothing was closing out or some other “closing” was the horizon, so far from my mind was the possibility that Ellie would be shutting its doors for good.
The boutique, owned by Wilmington, Delaware residents Steve and Margaret Smith, has been through many iterations: The Wilmington Country Store, The Pink Crab and, since 2009, Ellie. But a version of the boutique, owned by the Smiths, has been in the Ruxton shops for over 30 years.
“They were really upset about the closing,” says store manager Bridget McConkie. ”Margaret cried when she told me.” The reason for the shuttering: Lilly Pulitzer approached the owners about opening a “flagship” store in Rehoboth Beach and the offer was too good to pass up. Accepting the offer put the couple’s store ownership at six. “It was too much,” Bridget says.
As fate would have it, the Ruxton store’s lease was up at the end of the month, giving the Smiths a reasonable option, which they took.
The couple owns The Wilmington Country Store in Greenville, Delaware, two Ellie Boutiques, one in Greenville and one in Philadelphia, The Pink Crab in Annapolis and now one in Rehobeth Beach, too. The address at the new Rehoboth store is 235 Rehoboth Avenue.
As one would expect, they are having a great big closing sale — prices marked down up 80 percent — and lots of well-wishers coming by to say farewell to a neighborhood staple. “Lots of people vacation in Rehoboth, so I’ll still see a lot of our customers,” says Bridget who has already been installed as the manager at the Rehoboth store.
No word yet on what will go in the space next, but according to Bridget there have been inquiries, mostly from other boutiques.