Owner Tom Ibach says new proposed lease just didn’t make financial sense
From: Cape Gazette
After nearly 100 years at 1 Rehoboth Ave., Dolle’s Candyland in Rehoboth Beach is moving.
In an interview Dec. 19, owner Tom Ibach said the lease on the property expires Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021. He said Dolle’s will move roughly 100 feet to the west and be a part of Ibach’s Candy By the Sea.
Established in 1926 by Thomas Pachides and Rudolph Dolle, Dolle’s Candyland has been in Rehoboth for nearly 100 years. It’s been at 1 Rehoboth Ave. and the Boardwalk since 1927. In 1959, Pachides, Ibach’s maternal grandfather, purchased Dolle’s interest in the business. The original building, an old YMCA, was destroyed in the Storm of ‘62, but it was rebuilt with the huge orange Dolle’s sign – and has been a Rehoboth landmark ever since.
Ibach said he’s moving because the landlord has asked for double the rent and it didn’t make fiscal sense to stay. He said he thinks the landlord increased the price so much because they are more interested in selling the property than signing another long-term lease.
The lease terms were just not going to work, said Ibach, taking a break from stuffing boxes of taffy.
Ibach grew up in Wilmington, but he’s spent pretty much every summer of his life at the store. He said there are mixed emotions about leaving, but he thinks it will be a better situation financially because there will be less wasted space and less staff needed to operate.
“It’s one of those things. Six months or a year down the road you realize you end up doing the best thing for you,” said Ibach. “It is, what it is. Things will always work out.”
The production portion of Dolle’s is also located off the Boardwalk, but in another property to the north as part of the Beach Treats location. He said the lease for that space is for another year, and there’s a five-year option he plans to renew, but ultimately the plans are to move the production facility out onto Route 1, near Steamboat Landing Road.
“This is a high-rent district and a space can’t just be used for production. It’s got to be generating revenue,” he said.
As for the Dolles sign, Ibach said he plans on taking it down. He said there’s an agreement in place to allow for the sign to be up through the end of 2021, but he doesn’t want to keep it up at the old location if he’s not there.
“I won’t leave it up. It’s misleading,” he said.
Ibach said he would like to move the sign to the new location, but isn’t certain it will be allowed because it’s grandfathered. That sign was put up before the city had rules regulating signs and it’s totally illegal, he said.
“It would be nice to be able to move it,” said Ibach, who is very aware of the sign’s stature. “It’s so iconic. Every picture of Rehoboth Beach has that sign in it.”
Ibach said this past summer was a struggle because he had trouble finding help after international students weren’t allowed to travel due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“I’ve worked five straight months without a day off,” he said.
Ibach said there’s a small amount of renovation needed at the Ibach’s store to facilitate what Dolle’s has to sell, but he doesn’t expect much time between when the lease ends and the new operation begins.