Four years ago, my cousins had a destination wedding. A dreamy affair overlooking the bay of Rehoboth Beach in which the entire day felt like it was instagrammed. It was a gorgeous and magnificent fantasy which I was thrilled to be at and watch both my boys walk down the aisle in their little seer-sucker ties and khakis. Getting there was not so dreamy.
You see – Henry and I were transporting the boys who were 6 and 8 at the time (and JB was recuperating from a bout of pneumonia), my mom, my 80-year-old father-in-law who was officiating the wedding, and possibly my mother-in-law depending on whether a back injury was healed or not. The back did not heal, so we were a party of 5 ranging from 6 to 80 years old in one van heading to a wedding at the beach.
If you have travelled to the beach, you know how much crap you need to jam into the car. Now imagine 5 people, all the crap for the beach, and everything else that a gang of five needs for a wedding, rehearsal dinner, and sunday brunch. My list pretty much included everything from linens to my best makeup products and formal wear. As someone who is not easily thrown by packing, I was at a loss.
I must mention that in addition to the impending shlepping, there was this small detail: as we pulled in and unloaded on Friday, we needed to change and go rehearse with the 6 and 8-year-old junior groomsmen.
Let me introduce the reason for this long-winded walk down memory lane: Concierge By the Sea. After determining that there was no way I could FIT all of the stuff we needed into the van, I began googling linen rental for Rehoboth Beach. I started to ask my rental agent about linen services, and she mentioned that there was a brand new service available through a company called Concierge By the Sea.
After a quick email introduction, Kathleen Leebel, owner of Concierge By the Sea, quickly became my new best friend. I was one of their first clients, and Kathleen was incredibly patient in helping me with everything from the boring linen rentals to finding a hair stylist to fix my mom and I up before the wedding. If you know my mom, you know that she does not go anywhere without getting her precious ‘do done.
Being as how beach rentals do not come with a fully stocked kitchen and I was coming with my 2 little eating machines who needed to be at rehearsal ASAP, Kathleen introduced me to the best luxury of all – her grocery shopping service. All I did was fill out an excel sheet, and there were my bananas and granola and kiddie snacks.
I guess I have always been a fan of the mom-run business because Kathleen is a mom and making quite a name for herself along the Delaware Beaches. Seriously – she is a lifesaver, and I have not forgotten the time she took with me that first summer. Kathleen honed right in on my OCD, planning and orchestrating logistics of hair and makeup with snack time and driving time to the wedding. Oh – and not having to make 5 beds upon arrival with freshly manicured hands for a wedding was a blessing.
Although Concierge by the Sea seems like the ultimate luxury, Kathleen won my business that very first summer and I cannot go to the beach without her now. While I am not attending a wedding anymore when we go to the beach (and my nails are probably not going to be painted) and my kids are older and can hold out for a snack, I give my business to Kathleen.
Not only because supporting other women in business is crucial, but Kathleen’s customer service is impeccable. Have a broken chair? Kathleen and her team will bring you a new one. Want to Stand Up Paddle Board? Kathleen knows where you should go. Need to remain sane while on family vacation? Kathleen knows the greatest yoga on the beach instructor.
In four days I plan to get my boys off the camp bus along with a month’s worth of dirty clothes and linens each AND sort, launder some, and head to the beach to join all of our extended family. It will be so nice to arrive to a beach place ready to go…so I can spend my time with my reunited family!
I could just rent my sheets from a big box place (I don’t have room in the car or the THULE bag on top for them), but why? In my estimation – a friendly smile, a mom who understands, a woman running a business and making a success of it – make the transaction so much better.