Shopping with a purpose is a tagline for this coastal retailer.

Nov. 26, 2023
Elise Lindsey
Photos: Laura Navarre

Tickled by generosity

Elise Lindsey had always dreamed of opening a seasonal retail shop in a beach community. When she and her family decided to retire to a beach home in Bethany Beach, Delaware, the timing felt just right. Helping to make this dream a reality was the “For Lease” sign she saw in the window of a local storefront.

It was 2020 and COVID wasn’t in the rearview mirror yet, but Lindsey and her husband Michael Loftus were ready to hit the ground running. And giving back was always part of the business plan.

Shopping with a purpose. The name Lindsey had envisioned for her shop had always been Tickled Pink, and it included a tagline — Shopping with a Purpose. Tickled Pink is a saying and state of mind, according to Lindsey. She describes it as “when you are so giddy with excitement to find a great treasure as either a gift for you or someone you know.”

"When you own a local business, it’s important to support any opportunity that is local. We are finding that customers truly appreciate businesses that support local causes and groups.” — Elise Lindsey

Since opening in the spring of 2021, the store’s promise has been to gift at least $500 per month during the months the store is open, typically April through November. Tickled Pink tries to support a different local charity each month, including nonprofits such as Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company (BBVFC), Delaware Hospice and Operation SEAs the Day. The store also supports local events by providing raffle prizes and gift certificates when asked.

“After three years in business, it is wonderful that our customers pop in and many times it’s the first thing they ask: ‘Who is this month’s charity?’” says Lindsey.

Proceeds from merchandise sales at Tickled Pink benefit a different local charity each month.

In July, Tickled Pink presented a check for $6,800 to BBVFC from the sale of 136 retired Bethany Beach parking meters the retailer was able to sell in its shop.

Catching on with customers. Customers have been very supportive of Tickled Pink’s efforts, according to Lindsey. “There are some that come into our shop first to see if we have a gift that they are looking for because they know the trickle up effect of a portion of that sale staying in our community. We try to make a point of thanking each customer for their purchase and in the same breath we thank them and let them know they are supporting this month’s charity.”

And, notes Lindsey, when another customer in the store overhears what charity a purchase supports, they say, “Oh, well now I have to buy something.”

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