May-June 2016 | SHE’S GOT THE LOOK

VETERAN STATUS: Nancy Rupert has been in business more than 30 years.



Nancy Ruppert celebrates 30 years of success at Body Double in Fenwick

Written By: Brian Shane | Photographer: GRANT L. GURSKY

Thirty years ago, Nancy Ruppert saw a niche in the swimsuit market, where bathing suits were only sold in sets. Once she began custom-making swimsuits from her shop in Fenwick Island, it changed her life.

“I met this girl at a friend’s house, and she happened to work for the Beachcomber,” Nancy said. “The next day she called and said, ‘Do you mind?’ So they came to my house and did a story on me. I had to go out and buy an answering machine. I couldn’t get anything done because my phone was ringing off the hook. People were calling from everywhere.”

Today, even though custom swimsuits are no longer available at Body Double, the shop still offers a wide selection of swimwear from dozens of brands.

Here, women of all ages can count on finding the perfect swimsuit, from young girls seeking skimpy bikinis to senior citizens needing just the right suit for water aerobics.

“It’s very rare that a woman comes in here and doesn’t hate herself in a bathing suit,” Nancy said. “I can’t even tell you how many times women, young girls, have meltdowns in the dressing room. Next thing you know, they’re in tears. And to find something that makes them feel good about themselves, and them leaving here happy, it really makes you feel good.”

 Nancy and her staff give every customer personalized service. It’s a boutique experience, where she waits on every woman who comes in, helping her pick out the best-fitting bathing suit available. Everything is sold in separates to ensure a perfect fit.

It’s that high level of customer service that’s made her so successful after all these years.

“We tell them to pick out a few things,” she said, “and once we get an idea of their taste level and see them in a suit, then we can pick things out for them. They basically don’t have to leave the dressing room. We just wait on them, find the suit that’s perfect for them, and most women really like that.”

The shop also offers a selection of jewelry, clothes, cover-ups, beach bags and more. Nancy keeps her shop open seven days a week, all year long, because plenty of beach locals still need to buy bathing suits when they take their vacations in the off-season.

For the entrepreneur who has their sights set on business longevity to match hers, Nancy has a word of advice: You’ll never work as hard in business as when you’re working for yourself.

“Most people make the mistake of thinking they’ll open their own business, so they don’t have to work as hard,” she said, opening the door for a delivery driver hauling cart after cart of boxed swimsuit orders.

“The concept here at the beach is, you’ve only got a couple months to make it,” she added, “and you better not be spending it, because you need it to get through to the next year. In a small business, no one is going to care as much as you do.”



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