The Wick's End Begins on Smith Island
by Shelly Hitchings
April 7, 2001
While opening a store is nothing new for Joe and Diane Vezza, the store they opened on Smith Island is something new for us. Part country store, part novelty shop The Wick’s End is loaded from ceiling to floor with gifts, housewares, furniture and knickknacks. Candles are the Wick’s Ends’ specialty. The Vezzas’ grand opening was Saturday, March 3. Turnout was good; shoppers even came by boat from Tylerton to select baskets, jellies and jams, ornaments and local crafts.
The store opened with an impressive inventory of local cookbooks, toys, garden supplies, greeting cards and most hopeful of all, a baby department. Joe and Diane say the store fills a need here for gifts and home décor. Smith Islanders have had to travel to Crisfield, Pocomoke or Salisbury for holiday gifts and raffle prizes. Now Islanders can get those things and more right here. Diane plans to refresh the stock frequently so shoppers will always find something new.
In Sicklerville, New Jersey, where Joe and Diane are from, crafts are very popular. Joe and Diane opened a store there called DJ Crafts where Diane taught flower arranging. Part gift shop, part craft supply store, DJ Crafts provided the residents of tiny Sicklerville with the supplies they needed to complete their projects. But Joe and Diane left Sicklerville for Atlantic City. Eventually, big city concerns made them yearn again for the slower pace of a small town. So, when Joe approached retirement, he and Diane decided to settle on Smith Island. The idea for the Wick’s End grew out of Diane’s interest in candle making. Why candles? "I love ‘em!" Diane started making candles for herself last October. She offered some of the candles for sale as gifts and the gift shop branched out from there. The Wick’s End is the only place you will find the 7-layer Smith Island Cake candle, which smells like sweet chocolate.
Diane will keep her prices as low as possible with layaway plans, gift certificates, free gift-wrapping and free delivery. The Wick’s End will slow down in winter but will be opened for the Christmas shopping season. Shoppers can call anytime and Diane will open the store by appointment. Patrons can order gifts over the phone to be gift wrapped and delivered by boat. Diane expects to hire part time, occasional help.
The Wick’s End is the first shop of its kind here on Smith Island. It is set up for Smith Islanders, not tourists. Before you head over to Crisfield for a toaster or a Baby Shower gift, think of The Wick’s End instead. The gifts and housewares that Diane sells are intended for us. Drop in today and buy something!
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