by Terry Rogers
When the owner of the Broadkill Store decided it was time to spend more time with her grandchildren, she approached Missey Mulveny who had worked at the store as a teenager to see if there was any interest in purchasing the only business located in the tiny beach town. Mulveny discussed it with her brothers, Ed and Mike Hilligoss, as well as two other couples and the five of them decided to partner in purchasing the iconic sandwich shop and store.
Today, the five couples which include Mulveny and her husband, Jeff, Ed and Debbie Hilligoss, Mike and Tina Hilligoss, Lisa and Bob Conte along with Shane and Erin McCarthy, are in the process of giving the store a fresh look, adding a few new ice cream flavors and pizza to the menu with plans to open the store in May 2019.
“The previous owners are passing down their recipes,” Lisa Conte said. “We will have the famous sticky buns and donuts that have always been so popular, especially on weekends. We are keeping the deli which will offer sandwiches but are adding pizza to the menu. There is no place that delivers pizza to Broadkill Beach, so we are hoping it is a big hit with locals and renters who spend time here in the summer.”
Mulveny explained that her mother came to Broadkill Beach when she was young during the summers as her grandparents owned a beach house there. In 1970, when Mulveny was only nine months old, the family moved permanently to the area. Conte’s family visited the beach town as far back as the 1950s before moving there while Tina Hilligoss explained that her grandparents basically had squatters rights along the beach where they built a beach house. Her family spent many summers there as well.
“Basically, most of us were born and raised here,” Mulveny said. “I remember walking in the door of the store one day and Lois said ‘Hey, do you know any kids your age who might be looking for a job?’ I replied ‘Yes, me!’ So, she hired me. This store is part of my childhood and I am so happy that we have been able to keep it going.”
The new owners plan to add a walk-up ice cream window that will offer a few additional flavors than the five varieties offered by the previous owners. They are also adding a coffee bar in the mornings that they hope will encourage locals, renters and fishermen to stop in to socialize. There will also be a small gift shop with t-shirts, candles, boogie boards, fishing rods and supplies as well as bait. A small grocery store will offer items that renters or those visiting the beach may have forgotten like sunscreen, aspirin, bandaids and other general convenience items.
“We aren’t adding indoor seating,” Debbie Hilligoss explained. “We will have outdoor picnic tables where people can sit and enjoy lunch or ice cream.”
There is not much history known about the Broadkill Store but there are records that indicate the original store was located a few streets to the north. It was moved to its present location in 1924. Tina Hilligoss explained that they discovered an article that mentioned people visiting the store during World War II. Mulveny said that her mother talked about dances she used to attend that were held in the store when she was young. Tina Hilligoss, Mulveny, Debbie Hilligoss and Conte remember spending time in the store playing music on the jukebox, playing pinball and air hockey, especially on rainy days.
One change they intend to make is the length of time the store will be open. The previous owners were only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Now, they hope to open for weekends in April and October as well as every day from May to the end of September. If weather permits, they may even be open weekends in November but since the building has no heat, that may be a challenge. The tentative opening is planned for late April to early May.