FENWICK ISLAND — Tucked away in a quiet corner of Fenwick Island, Blue Heron Gifts has been supplying “functional art” and unique creations to the area for the last five years.
“We want to be different from the rest,” said co-owner Anita Worley.
Along with sister Tina Gartland, Worley has owned and operated Blue Heron since it opened five years ago, when the original intention was to showcase some of her own art, as well as provide a vehicle for Gartland’s interests, which revolve largely around interior design.
However, the pair quickly found out that running the shop was a full-time effort and Worley began to focus more on featuring an eclectic mix of artists beyond her own work.
“We have the range,” she promised.
Blue Heron hosts work from artists locally, domestically and internationally.
“We focus more on juried artists,” said Worley.
Both Worley and Gartland choose most of what goes into their shop while at a number of trade shows, where Worley explained the pair looks for the most original and compelling work. If something has already caught on and become popular or widely available, Worley admitted that they will usually pass the item by.
“We’ll have unique stuff,” she said.
The actual items that one can find at Blue Heron range from the ascetically engaging to, as Worley described them, “functional art.”
“We like clocks,” she joked, adding that most of the clocks sold at Blue Heron were not “typical beach clocks.”
In fact, Worley said that she tries as much as possible to defy the stereotypes associated with some resort gift stores by not overselling the beach and the ocean, and instead offers toys, jewelry, carvings, clocks, wineglasses and a myriad of other gifts that don’t have a single theme or demographic in mind.
“We try to have things for any age group,” she said.
Worley did add that items with a bayside theme tend to be more popular than traditional beach gifts anyway.
Though satisfied with the way things have been for the last five years, Worley admitted that she would like to see Fenwick become more of a year-round destination, instead of relying on seasonal business during the summer.
Whether or not the area sees significant changes in the pace of visitors over the year however, Worley did reveal that her business at least has seen an influx of new customers in recent months, a trend she hopes will continue into the fall.
“This year I noticed a lot of new people discovered us for the first time,” she said.