Shopping in Dauphin Island

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  Despite a serious slam by Hurricane Katrina three years ago, businesses on the west end of Dauphin Island survived the blow and are back providing services to Island visitors and a positive economic push to the community.

  Marti Harding, owner of Marti’s of Dauphin Island, sees a resurgence of business on the Island. “I think that the Island and our businesses are coming back very well after Katrina. In fact, it looks like there is even more sand on the beaches than in many years.”

  For more than 20-years Harding, a former model in New York and New Orleans, has used her behind-the-runway experience to stock her shop with clothing and accessories unlike any other found in southern Alabama.  “When I go to market I’m really out there trying to find lines of clothes that are not from the big, well known names,” she said.  “I look for things that are unique that my customers haven’t seen anywhere else.”

  It’s that uniqueness that makes Marti’s of Dauphin Island special.  From high-end dresses and jewelry, to swim and casual wear for the whole family, Marti’s caters to both tourists and regular customers from across the Alabama and Mississippi Gulf Coast.

  “People are slowly finding that the Island is back after Hurricane Katrina and that there are great places to stay and eat, to shop, and fun things to do here,” said Belinda Clark of The Ancient Mariner gift shop.

  “With the sand, the resort-style condos and waterfront rental homes, you really feel like you’re at the beach on our end of the Island,” she said.  “The Ancient Mariner is Dauphin Island’s traditional beachside souvenir shop with everything from shells and blow-ups for the kids, to flip-flops and swim suits. “We carry Guy Harvey and Columbia fishing shirts, Crocs, beach bags and Dauphin Island shirts and caps featuring unique designs found only at the Ancient Mariner.”

  The Ancient Mariner has one the Island’s few bike rental, too; pedal power is the easy and fun way to explore this small barrier island at the mouth of Mobile Bay on Island time.

  The Sand Box is Dauphin Island’s nautically themed gift shop filled with unusual items created to carry home as a reminder of a fun-filled island getaway.  “We have all sorts of ‘beachy’ stuff for play and for decorating a home,” said Sand Box owner, Shirley Kerr.  Decked out in a wrap of shells, fish nets and lobster traps, driftwood and other seaside touches, the Sand Box also features a unique line of nautical Christmas ornaments not found anywhere else for miles around.

  After a day of fishing, exploring the Island’s history or just kicking back in the sun, a stop by 1st Run Video for the latest release is in order. New DVD releases arrive every Tuesday, and the shop is also stocked with used books for the perfect beach read or late night excursion.  The shop also carries handcrafted driftwood writing instruments made from surf-smoothed materials found on the nearby beach, and special Sand Island Light House merchandise with proceeds benefiting the light house restoration.  Families will find the classic video arcade a nostalgic trip back into time with favorites such as Ms. Pac-Man, Deer Hunter and old-style pinball games, says owner Jamelle Ellington.

  Marti’s of Dauphin Island, The Ancient Mariner, The Sand Box and 1st Run Video are all on Bienville Boulevard just west of the Dauphin Island water tower, and are open seven days a week all year ‘round.

  Dauphin Island is only 33 miles south of Mobile at the mouth of Mobile Bay. 

June 01, 2008 new by baxwrtr (1 point)

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