Robin Tomaselli & Shelly Eppard, Baked Desserts Café
Peggy & Jason Hagy, The Berlin Coffee HouseKathy Walsh & Jennifer Davis, BustleKrissy Wheaton and Sarah Conley, Rainbow FloristMichael Anne Phillips & Donna Compher, SistersBlair Parsons, Brooke Hahn & Patty Falck, TaDa  (Photo by Maria DeForrest)Terri & Eric Sexton, Treasure Chest JewelersFAMILY BUSINESSES OF BERLIN



Written By: Nick Brandi | Photographer: Grant L. Gursky

You are cordially invited to meet the family members operating successful businesses in historic downtown Berlin, Maryland. Part I.


Sisters Shelly Eppard and Robin Tomaselli come from a long line of foodies but cite their grandmother as their greatest influence of all.

“Every Sunday, our family would gather at our grandmother’s home for Sunday dinner,” recalls Robin fondly. “Each week was similar to a Thanksgiving feast and always concluded with great desserts. That’s where our love of homemade, handcrafted food was born!”

The siblings launched Baked All-Natural Dessert Café, Fine Art & Wine Gallery on January 1, 2010 and have been getting rave reviews throughout the region ever since. What makes them different — in addition to their genuine friendliness and unignorable passion for baking — is the emphasis they place on healthy, all-natural quality.

They offer delicious handcrafted desserts, artisan breads, cheese spreads and other savory dishes using only the finest ingredients, which are also free of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and trans fats. They have a variety of organic, gluten-free and vegan options available and are happy to take special orders based on dietary restrictions. Wine and craft-brew selections, meanwhile, are natural, sustainable, organic and/or biodynamic.

According to Robin and Shelly, the bottom line is really very simple: They won’t serve anything in their warm and welcoming café that they wouldn’t serve to their own families.

Baked Dessert Café, Fine Art & Wine Gallery
4C Bay Street

Peggy Hagy and her son Jason have witnessed Berlin grow and change in the nearly 30 years since they relocated to the area. As the quaint town evolved into a major tourist destination, the Hagys realized the need for a local coffeehouse with great, fresh and local products. Meanwhile, as the Recession of 2008 had increasingly taken its toll on Jason’s landscaping business, it became clear that the time for a change had come. The Hagys officially opened their doors for business on April 1, 2009, and they have since become a staple in the daily rituals of countless locals, to say nothing of visitors.

“We try to offer as many local products as possible,” Jason says. “Our coffee is roasted in Lewes; our teas are blended in Cambridge; our ice cream is made in Pocomoke; our baked goods are made in-house; and our products are purchased from local distributors.”

Marry the quality of that local flavor to the cozy, laidback vibe of the coffeehouse and the genuine hospitality of the Hagys, and you’ll soon see why so many prefer The Berlin Coffee House to its retail-chain alternatives. Take the time to smell – and better yet, actually enjoy — the coffee!

The Berlin Coffee House
17 Jefferson St.

It was never a question of whether the mother-daughter tandem of Kathy Walsh and Jennifer Davis should open a business together but rather a question of what and when. As is turned out, the stars aligned in the winter of 2012, when the idea of a bridal shop was born and the perfect location on Main Street became available. They opened their door for business June 8 of that same year, in coordination with Berlin’s bridal-themed art stroll.

That joint vision, called Bustle, is a full-service bridal salon catering to all members of the bridal party. Walsh and Davis believe that finding your wedding dress is an exciting and joyous occasion that deserves to be celebrated, preferably with a glass of champagne, in stylish surroundings. Bustle’s décor oozes elegance and femininity while encouraging brides and their nears and dears to relax and make memories of the sweetest, most sentimental kind. They offer private champagne appointments and yummy treats, for a truly one-of-a-kind experience. 

In addition to all things bridal, Bustle has a broad selection of special-occasion dresses. From galas and cocktail parties to proms and reunions, Bustle carries unique selections that allow you to the pick color, fabric and length, for a truly custom look that is all your own. 

9 S. Main St.

Can you believe that Rainbow Florist has served as Berlin’s floral flourish of aromatic beauty and color for more than a half-century? So, naturally, when sisters Krissy Wheaton and Sarah Conley had an opportunity to take over the business in 2010, they leaped at the chance. Since then, the business has become a multigenerational family affair, with Myrna Lehner (Krissy and Sarah’s mom), Claire Wheaton  (Krissy’s daughter), Wanda Conley (Sarah’s mother-in-law) and Susan, Brooke and Brittany Wellman (Sarah’s sister-in-law and nieces, respectively) pitching in to lend a hand on all-around busy days.

From a small wrist corsage, large-pedestal flower arrangement, birthday or anniversary to a bridal or baby shower, party, bereavement, Get Well gesture, Thank You and all the way up to a grand wedding, the family behind Rainbow Florist toil away tirelessly in the fulfillment of the very highest in customer satisfaction.

“We like to keep up with the latest trends that emerge with each season, and everything we create is custom-
designed by an owner,” say Sarah and Krissy.

Rainbow Florist also creates custom silk arrangements along with gourmet baskets and balloon bouquets.
Rainbow Florist
101 William St.
When sisters Michael Ann Phillips and Donna Compher say their business — aptly named “Sisters” — is a family business, they mean it. In fact, no fewer than eight members participate in it on a regular basis, including Michael Ann’s husband, John Phillips; Donna’s husband, Kevin Compher; Donna’s daughters Atlea and Mollie; and Michael Ann’s daughters Jordan and Jamie.

“We wanted to create a general gift store in Berlin that made it possible to find the perfect item for everyone and for every occasion,” says Donna. “We also wanted to give back to the community, so we created things like our “Guest Bartender” events, which allow us to provide a platform where nonprofit organizations could raise needed income, and we donate a percentage of our total sales to these nonprofits and to other worthy causes.”

Sisters is also a rather unique retail operation in that they combine a successful bar and lounge with their retail operation. 

“At any time, you can sit in our lounge area and read, watch TV or enjoy your favorite beverage – even while you’re shopping!” Donna adds. “That’s why we like to call it the ‘unique shopping experience.’”

Launched on June 3, 2012, Sisters carries a wide variety of merchandise that includes thoughtful items for home & garden, baby, children, teen, boutique, gourmet packaged foods, jewelry, wine and beer. In addition to the guest-bartender events, they offer live entertainment on many Friday’s during the year. Pay special attention to the guy playing acoustic guitar; that’s Kevin.

Sisters Gifts, Accessories, Wine & Gourmet
113 N. Main St.

TaDa began in 1996 when Patty Falck, an artist/interior designer, told husband Steve “the good news and bad news”: The good news was that she was opening a great little boutique in Berlin; the bad news was that it would be in the front of his custom-home-building office! It was there that Patty first showcased her original hand-painted glassware, furniture, gifts and accessories for the individual and the home.

In the 17 years that followed, TaDa has seen many changes, including a full takeover of Steve's office and eventual move to a bigger location. They still specialize in what Patty calls “the girly things,” like jewelry, accessories and other personal items, as well as an array of unique objects designed to enhance and beautify the home. Today, Patty and Steve’s daughters, Blair and Brooke, run the day-to-day aspects of the store as well as handle the buying and merchandising. Like her mother, Blair is a trained and skilled artist, specializing in painting and jewelry design. Brooke, meanwhile, has inherited her dad’s aptitude for and appreciation of the building/structural aspect of art. When she's not teaching middle-school Spanish, Brooke may often be found meticulously resurrecting the original glory of some previously neglected item for the home.

18 N. Main St.

Treasure Chest Jewelers has a history as rich as the unique beauty of its products. Founded more than a century ago, it was acquired in 1977 by Air Force veteran Bill Freeman, who’d taken up a second career as a Berlin entrepreneur despite having had no retail or business experience whatsoever. But Bill was an innately clever man, so he’d learned what he needed to on the job, eventually passing along the wealth of his knowledge and experience to his equally clever daughter Terri, a (diamond) chip off the old block who eventually took over the business. After earning a degree in fine art from Towson University, Terri went on to become a Master Diamond Jeweler certified by the Independent Jewelry Organization. 

Today, Treasure Chest Jewelers is a full-service jewelry store, whether that means replacing a watch battery or 
enshrining a special occasion with a uniquely exquisite piece of jewelry. Each year, Terri travels to Antwerp, Belgium to hand-select diamonds for her customers so that their most highly anticipated moments become unforgettable memories. Husband Eric Sexton lends a hand when needed for store maintenance, while their daughters, Mary, Molly and Catie, work in the store during special events and when Terri needs a fill-in. What does Terri think is the secret to Treasure Chest’s ongoing success? “It’s our personal service and the fact that we genuinely care about our customers’ happiness.”

Treasure Chest Jewelers
20 N. Main St.


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