Ocean City business owner Robert Taylor turned the destruction caused to his business by Hurricane Sandy into an opportunity to transform his store into something new and different.

Taylor is the second-generation owner of "Alma Taylor, the Bag Room," an embroidery shop on the corner of Seventh Street and Asbury Avenue in Ocean City, which was opened by his mother, Alma Taylor, in 1980.

The store was completed destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, he said, with water rising about 4 feet high, destroying more than $70,000 in machinery and forcing Taylor to gut the interior of the building. Realizing he had to start over, Taylor decided to remodel his store as vendor marketplace renamed Gatherings on Asbury, a similar, but smaller version of Stainton's Gallery of Shops in the 800 block of Asbury, made up of six cubicle-type spaces, which he will rent out to specialty vendors.

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The Bag Room will be one of its vendors.

"I didn't need all that space for myself," Taylor said.

The remaining five spaces are still available for rent, with prices to be negotiated, ranging from about $200 to $600 per month, varying depending on the size of the space and the time of year, meaning February's rent will be about half that of July, he said. Vendors also will get their own storage space in the back of the building.

Taylor said he is looking for vendors who are "complimentary to one another, but not competitive," such as local artists and specialty shop owners.

"People who want to test the waters of the Ocean City market, but aren't willing or able to pay $20,000 for rent and $20,000 for help," he said. "This way you can be in a cubicle in a prime area of Ocean City for less than $3,000 for the whole summer and then if it works out and you want to try to get a store on your own, great."

Ocean City resident and mosaic artist Michele Pasciullo, a vendor in Stainton's Gallery of Shops where she sells her homemade crafts, said what is most attractive to her about the marketplace business model is that there aren't overhead costs and the vendors bring business to one another.

"It really helps with the foot traffic," she said. "If I had my own storefront, maybe people would wander in, maybe not, but this way they're seeing my stuff regardless."

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For information

Call Robert Taylor at 609-938-0691 or email him at wksp2@yahoo.com.

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