Eric and Jennifer Ashley opened their Del Sol color-changing shop on Sixth Street and the Boardwalk in May, offering a unique product for adults and children.
“Every single thing in the store changes color with the sun,” Jennifer Ashley said. “Even on a cloudy day 80 percent of UV rays come through the clouds, so it will still change colors.”
The Boardwalk shop sells footballs, volleyballs, Frisbees, keychains, hair accessories, flip flops, jewelry, nail polish, sunglasses, beach towels, nail stickers, tote bags and a range of clothing, which will all change colors when out in the sun.
Customers can also purchase T-shirts, dresses, beach cover ups, tank tops and three-quarter-length shirts.
“We carry licensed Disney, Marvel and Star Wars products, as well as Ocean City shirts,” Ashley said. “All clothing is preshrunk, double stitched, and you can wash them without the color coming out – no bleach.”
Del Sol carries 36 changing nail polish colors, and offers free nail painting from 10 a.m. to noon every day for kids 10 and under. In addition, customers can buy three colors and get the fourth free. All nail polish is chemical free and has not been tested on animals.
“We have a worker dedicated to painting nails and the kids love it,” Ashley said. “They love going up to the lights and watching the color change. We play Disney music while it’s going on.”
All sunglasses are polarized, anti-glare, scratch resistant and have a lifetime guarantee if they are stolen, lost or damaged. Customers pay a small shipping fee to replace their sunglasses.
“Everything we sell has a guarantee on the color change for the life of the product,” Ashley said. “We’ve had people come in and tell us their shirts from 10 years ago still change colors.”
The Ashley’s were born and raised in Ohio and have been coming down to Ocean City for 20 years. In May, they decided to uproot their family and move to Berlin.
“We love Ocean City and kept seeing the same stores,” Eric Ashley said. “Del Sol is huge at cruise ports and we loved the product after seeing it in the Cayman Islands [nine years ago]. We kept coming to Ocean City and wondered why there is no Del Sol? We wanted to bring a unique, quality product and shopping experience.”
To draw attention, employees hand out free color-changing rings on the Boardwalk.
“We entice them with the rings. They come in and are wowed,” Jennifer Ashley said.
“Our biggest challenge is educating people on Del Sol,” Eric Ashley added. “Getting them in the store for the first time is the biggest challenge. Once they come in, they don’t want to leave and we have repeat customers.”
Ashley completed all the renovations inside the store, including new flooring, a replaced ceiling, different lighting, new walls, and new storage and dressing rooms.
“The store offers an upscale look at reasonable prices,” Ashley said. “There isn’t another store that looks like this on the Boardwalk. We both value customer service and quality products [that] set us above the rest.”
Customers who spend $50 will receive a free color-changing tote bag valued at $20.
“We are the most fun store on the Boardwalk, and we have seen parents more excited than the kids,” Jennifer Ashley said. “It’s a fun, interactive store in a unique environment with a color-change guarantee.”
Del Sol, on Sixth Street and the Boardwalk, is open every day from 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The owners plan to stay open full time through October, and will have variable hours during the offseason. Phone orders should be available during Christmastime.
For more information, call the store at 410-390-7213 or search “Del Sol (Ocean City, MD)” on Facebook.
Note: A version of this news article first appeared on OC Today.