FIND YOUR SOULFUL, AUTHENTIC STYLE AT THIS NEW SHOP
OCEAN CITY’S newest boutique is a story in finding oneself. At least that’s what it is for owner Ann Martinelli. Primitive Beach Boutique (PBB) is located at 601 E 9th Street, just down the way from the hustle and bustle of Asbury Avenue.
Ann, a former professor at Penn State University, left teaching at the top of her game looking for a new challenge that allowed her to remain true to herself, her taste, style, and work ethic.
“I’m soulful and authentic with a little bit of edge,” Ann said.
And that’s the vibe you’ll get at PBB. The shop, a converted garage with painted brick and a funky feel, is a collection of coastal finds, most of which are locally sourced. A quick lap around and you’ll find home décor, fashion accessories, jewelry, candles, and special pieces like hand painted oyster shells.
The boutique embodies Ann’s jeans-and-tee-shirt spirit with products like cool tote bags with big letters saying, “OC & ME,” clutches with hot pink, leopard, and teal pieces, stylish beach hats, delicate bracelets and necklaces, beach-inspired artwork, octopus mugs, soft tees, baseball hats, blankets, woven baskets, and so much more.
“All the items in the shop are ones I’d buy myself. It’s the bag I’d carry or the necklace I’d wear,” said Ann.
This level of simple authenticity is key for Ann and her shop.
“I want people to come into my shop to not necessarily buy a tee shirt, but to be a part of the community I’m building that I’ve felt so embraced in,” she said.
After spending over 20 years in education, Ann found herself at a crossroads in late fall.
As she strolled down Asbury Avenue in November, she realized she wanted to be a bigger part of the Ocean City community, adding business owner to her list of accomplishments. Ann and her husband Marc are already Ocean City homeowners.
“When I left education, I was a bit lost and very transparent with my family about that,” Ann said. “Ocean City is a place I used to heal myself and reinvent who I was going to be in this next chapter, while staying true to who I am.”
Ann grew up in Roxborough, PA with entrepreneurial parents, who owned “D Boys,” a home store that was ever changing with the times. Over its lifetime, the shop was a garden center, a flower shop, a home décor store and a Christmas store. Her parents, who are both deceased, worked hard to evolve the store over time, keeping it relevant. This instilled in their daughter a sense of hard work, determination, and community.
“My roots are in retail and it’s time to get back to my roots,” Ann said. “I prayed to my mom about my next step, and she let me know it was time to come home.”
Primitive Beach Boutique is home for Ann. It’s where she explores her creative side while fostering a sense of community. She wants customers to feel just as at home in PBB, to shop and explore in comfort and to feel a connection to the experience and products. A connection that Ann hopes is timeless.
“I am by no means trendy or an influencer and the store embodies that,” she said. “I’ve always lived by the mantra, be true to you. Because if you aren’t, what else do you have?”
Next time you are strolling through downtown, pop into the funky Primitive Beach Boutique. You’ll find something that speaks to you and helps tell your story of authenticity and soul.
Find this story and more in the May issue of Ocean City Magazine