A step inside Coral Cove in Rehoboth Beach requires serious restraint. An immaculately curated and beautifully decorated boutique, every corner is filled with treasures and whimsical delights. Nestled on Rehoboth Avenue, the boutique exudes eclectic beauty and bohemian elegance. Think Anthrologie-esque collections of clothing, accessories, home décor and unique gifts. At the helm, is owner Tai Camper.
“It’s the work of many passionate, talented folks who create the magic of Coral Cove,” she says humbly of her team. If you manage to make it out the door without buying everything you touch, you’ll be happy to go back again, eager to encounter the bubbly woman behind the counter who strangely feels like a new friend.
That’s the affect Camper has on people. She grew up in Bethany Beach and graduated from Indian River High School in Dagsboro. Her passion for fashion and retail started at the age of 14 when she got her first job as a sales associate at the neighboring Rehoboth Avenue shop, South Moon Under. She spent her high school years working there and upon graduation, went to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles.
Eager to move back to the East Coast, she scored an assistant buying position back at South Moon Under, where she spent 13 years of her career. In 2017, when the opportunity to buy Coral Cove from Mary Walls-Grant arose, Camper jumped at the chance. “She was the creative genesis of the space you see today and I have been fortunate to carry on the torch for the past seven years as owner.”
What’s your favorite part of owning the shop? Most challenging?
Seeing the customer react to the space and products is the most rewarding. Sometimes, I find it challenging to find an off-switch. Even if I’m not physically at the store, I’m mentally checked in.
The shop is so well-curated and cute. Is that all you?
Our store manager Jeremy Pringle, aka, the wizard of wardrobing, brings the clothes to life, dressing the mannequins and remerchandising the clothing racks weekly. And Mary continues to share her creative talents — installing window displays and tabletop presentations. Polly, our social media coordinator, translates it to our followers and our sales staff brings warmth and positive energy. It truly is a group effort.
What does the rest of your life look like when you’re not at Coral Cove?
My husband, Justin, our 4-year-old daughter, Goldie and I split our time between Fenwick Island and Wilmington. Our family is loving summer and squeezing in every ray of sunshine, sprinkle of ice cream and Funland ticket that the days allow us.
What do you hope the future holds?
I have a fortune cookie message taped on my laptop that says, “If you’re happy, you’re successful,” and watching customers and staff react to the store allows that fortune to become a reality for me.
TAI’S LOCAL FAVS
- Restaurant Since Goldie, it’s been tough to go out for dinner, but we did sneak out for some amazing meals at Jam, Drift and La Fable this summer.
- Coffee Love a Snickerdoodle coffee from The Coffee Mill and an Iced Chai Charger from Cafe a Go-Go.
- Dessert Flaming coffee from The Back Porch Cafe — such a cozy, romantic spot to finish off a date night.
- Happy hour My patio in Fenwick Island.
- Lunch spot I rarely have time to sit down but we love to order the Poke Bowl from Twist, Brié a la Val from Lori’s or Madie’s Caddy from Frank & Louie’s. And the pre-made Curry Wrap from Good News is quick, easy and delish. If you need a mid-day sweet treat, the staff loves vanilla or cherry cokes from Snyder’s or a mint lemonade from Archie’s.