Business: Mia’s Christmas Gallery by the Sea
Owners: Jim (53) and Jane Saile, of Ocean City and Huntington Valley, Pa.
Location: 1078 Boardwalk, Ocean City
Started: 2000, purchased by the Sailes in September 2012
Employees: 20 summer, 14 year-round
By name, Mia’s Christmas Gallery by the Sea is a Christmas store, but only about 60 percent of the products are Christmas-related. The other 40 percent is giftware and shore-related items, from clam shell lamps to serving pieces, glasses, and numerous coasters and stained-glass windows.
I always wanted to own a Christmas store. When (former owner Charlie Caucci) opened up in 2000, and I rode my bike up on a Saturday morning, I told them what a nice job they did and I said (he) beat me to the punch.
I recently saw the store on a Realtors website, called the Realtor to get some background on it, met with the owner and realized it made sense to buy the real estate with the business.
Charlie wanted to sell the business — it’s his baby, it’s named after his daughter. A lot of people wanted to buy the real estate because it’s actually three commercial units.
A Christmas store on the boards, it’s the best of both worlds. … It’s a great place to work. People who come in are happy. They’re nice. They see things they’re excited about.
All the employees have stayed, and the atmosphere of the store shows in the employees’ attitudes as well.
The biggest obstacle is the cost of the real estate. You really need to sell a significant amount of product and your gross profit margins are not as great as on food.
Someone else might have put in food or T-shirts because the profits are greater there. It still makes money.
It’s amazing the people I talked to. They all said, “I love that store.” So many people told me that.
Most people don’t say, “I’m going to buy X.” They know they’re going to find a wide assortment of items that are constantly changing.
The fun part is going through the catalogs and the websites to get the inventory. Our product line is very mixed, from items that cost $2 all the way to $250. They all sell. The amount of items that come into the store is incredible.