Nestled inside Waterman’s Surfside Grille along the Virginia Beach boardwalk is a thoughtfully curated beach shop stocked with handmade jewelry, clothing and gifts from artisans across the world.
As you arrive at The Beach Nut, you are greeted by the salty air and a valet parking service to begin your customer-first shopping experience.
The owner, Mariah Standing, expresses the shop “specializes in sourcing jewelry made by hand from [nationally acclaimed] artists and all the other things women love such as handbags and shoes.”
The walls and shelves are adorned with seasonal items hand-picked by Mariah—each with a unique purpose or customer in mind. Some are so special and one-of-a-kind they cannot be ordered again.
As you stroll through the shop, you can feel Mariah’s warm and inviting presence and see her influence through the store’s products. She’s a giver. “I get so much pleasure in finding a gift for someone,” she says.
How It All Began
Mariah opened The Beach Nut with her husband 11 years ago, coincidentally on the day of their wedding anniversary.
An extension of the Waterman’s restaurant, the coastal-inspired boutique was born from her unique eye for design and fashion paired with a deep love for making others happy with their purchases.
Her career began at a local boutique in Virginia Beach that designed and handmade all of their clothing. Mariah adored the shop owner and was inspired by her creativity. It was here where her passion for fashion grew and her relationships with customers were carefully nurtured and flourished.
With merchandising experience under her belt, Mariah knew what sold in our market. She says, “I knew I had to appeal to women of all ages, especially being connected to the restaurant.” She continues, “I had to have different price points; I needed more accessible jewelry mixed with higher-end.”
LA | NYC Designer, Adina Reyter
Her dedication to well-made, long-lasting products led her to be the first local boutique to offer a unique collection of handmade pieces from around the globe, with a wide selection from the U.S. When the time came for the store’s first inventory selection, Mariah made her first purchase from Catherine Weitzman, a jewelry designer she discovered in Hawaii. Over time, an everlasting bond and friendship was forged that they both treasure dearly. You can find her pieces sprinkled throughout the store to this day.
As for why The Beach Nut is housed within the restaurant, Mariah reveals it was for the customers—a way to welcome people and make them feel good. “They’re [visiting] for a reason.” You’re happy or you’re sad. Or, you’re killing time while waiting for your table. “It is up to us to figure out what you need and then service that,” Mariah says.
The Beach Nut Experience
Unique to the area, The Beach Nut and Waterman’s duo provide a one-stop shop for gifts, cocktails and cuisine. This idea was intentionally crafted to be personable and experiential.
As for the gift shop, each item has been curated with customers’ interests and styles in mind. From classic to bohemian and sophisticated to eclectic, The Beach Nut boasts a wide selection of gifts for you and your special someone. Furthermore, shopping has been made even easier with their online store and the ability to shop through Instagram. Place your order online and you can pick up your purchase curbside without leaving the comfort of your car.
While you’re shopping, don’t be surprised if The Beach Nut team asks about your shopping occasion. They’re driven to help each visitor make a confident and exciting purchase. Mariah says she’ll have customers share pictures of themselves or the person they’re shopping for so she can guide them and recommend certain pieces in the store. Customers have shared their feedback saying “they received nice recognition from their partner or friend, and they’re thrilled with their gift.”
Proudest Moment & Biggest Obstacle
Mariah is so proud as she watches her 11-year-old daughter connect with and service customers. “It’s within her. She’ll meet a grandma and suggest a new book,” Mariah says. This inherent gene and diligent work ethic is proudly manifesting within the family.
The biggest obstacle Mariah has experienced in starting and running The Beach Nut is time. Discovering new products and keeping the store stocked takes time and dedication, and it’s paramount to the store’s success. As an entrepreneur, Mariah expresses, “people think you work 40 hours a week.” Yet, fueled by her passion, new ideas, products and services are woven throughout every part of her day, every day of the week—far exceeding a standard 40-hour work week.
Advice for Aspiring Business Owners
“My best advice would be to take an accounting class and learn how to do QuickBooks,” she says. “No matter what, you need those fundamental skills.”
Furthermore, Mariah tells us that owning your own business is a lot of work. “But when you love it, you should do it.”
Future Goals & Favorite Things
Looking ahead, Mariah teases the idea of possible renovations in the future. She excitedly tells us there will be a day when The Beach Nut changes a little bit and potentially expands. “I’d love to have more space!”
Outside of the shop, Mariah loves boating around the Chesapeake Bay, reeling in the next fresh catch with her family. She also enjoys gardening; she does all of the landscaping for their business properties. “That’s my passion, to keep my hands dirty,” Mariah says and smiles.
A humble woman with many talents, Mariah has grown The Beach Nut into a memorable and distinct coastal shop that looks forward to continuing to bestow handcrafted, quality gifts for locals and visitors alike.
How to Experience All That The Beach Nut Has to Offer
Pop in to the store! The team is excited to welcome you and show you around.