Shell Point Cottage
You might have noticed our sleepy little South Shore is growing by leaps and bounds and traffic lights. Well, several local businesses are growing with our community, including Shell Point Cottage.
If you’re not familiar, Shell Point Cottage lives in the colorful 1925 Victorian-style building that sits on Shell Point Rd. almost at the corner of 41. It’s been various businesses over the past decade, including an ice cream shop and restaurant, but in November 2014 it became home to Shell Point Cottage.
“I loved this building for years,” Sarina Correa, owner and one of three managing partners of Shell Point Cottage, says. “I would see it every time Sebby [Sarina’s son] and I were heading to Little Harbor Resort to hang out on weekends. I would always say to myself ‘I’ll do something with that building one day’.”
But, the challenges were big. Although Sarina had been a life-long crafter, furniture re-finisher and she created Pixie Dust Paints (also a Ruskin-based company), a line of paint additives that turns any paint into chalk paint, she was also working full-time (and still does) in finance. Additionally, she was newer to the South Shore area, having recently moved to Ruskin from Tampa.
The stars suddenly aligned and the timing was ideal when Sarina’s mother, Lola Foster, decided to spend “the season” in Florida, traveling back home to Oregon in the off season to see the grand kids. In Oregon, Lola was a retired florist, a furniture refinisher and craft artisan.
With Lola here much of the year there was now someone to ‘man’ (or, woman) a shop. Coincidentally, the 1925 Victorian-styled building, that Sarina had long loved, became an option. Sarina learned that the old building had sat empty for many years and there was space to lease. Bringing old things back to life was her specialty, so they took the plunge.
In the fall of 2014 Sarina, Lola and Dina Bastian (a partner I’ll tell you more about later) were on their way. They leased a tiny 700 square foot part of the building, breathed charming life back into it, and Shell Point Cottage came into being.
A Humble Beginning
On November 4, 2014 Shell Point Cottage opened its doors. It was a bitter-sweet date as it happened to be Lola’s 42nd wedding anniversary. She lost her husband in 2012.
Upon opening, The Cottage sold hand crafted items from local consignors and Lola also sold her painted furniture and did flower arrangements for weddings.
“We really didn’t have time to run a full-time store,” Sarina explains, “so the consignment model was a good fit.”
But, things grew quickly.
Growth Happened Fast
November 4, 2014: Shell Point Cottage opens its doors, in 700 square feet, with consignment vendors.
December 2014: Shell Point Cottage hosts its first Holiday Gift Market (now grown into a regular Market at the Cottage series of seasonal markets – more details below)
January 2015: Shell Point Cottage expands from 700 to 1500 square feet.
July 2015: Shell Point Cottage leases the entire first floor and expands to 3200 square feet.
October 2015: Shell Point Cottage welcomes Amber Bailey and her Trunk Show Ladies Boutique to the cottage. Amber moved her Trunk Show Ladies Boutique from the Winn-Dixie Plaza in Apollo Beach to inside Shell Point Cottage, adding an entire clothing section to the Cottage.
July 2016: Shell Point Cottage goes under complete transformation. Shelly Motler moves her South Shore Boutique Embroidery and Gifts location from Apollo Beach to the Shell Point Cottage.
The Cottage blossomed. After they were able to lease the entire first floor, they were also able to offer many more and different types of products and begin to offer arts and crafts classes.
The expansion also presented the opportunity to bring most everything in-house. While Shell Point Cottage no longer rents space to consignment vendors, with the exception of The Shabby Nona and The Rustic Roost, both of whom rent entire rooms in the Cottage, they do still carry many of the original vendors’ and artists’ products.
Dina Bastian: The Right Partner at Just the Right Time
It’s funny how people come into our lives at just the right time. One of the original consignment vendors was Dina Bastian. Dina, who works in health-care by day, had also been making incredible hand-crafted items such as wreaths, jewelry, signs, fabric pumpkins, ornaments, primitive decor and selling them in her Etsy shop, The Country Primitive Shoppe (Dina Bastian’s Etsy Shop), as well as consigning them at Shell Point Cottage.
As it turns out Dina had 25 years business experience and lots of know-how in product and purchasing. She eagerly shared all of her knowledge and know-how with Sarina and Lola and immediately became an important piece of the Cottage’s success.
Sarina and Lola welcomed Dina, a Ruskinite, as their partner in Shell Point Cottage. Today, Dina is a managing partner at the Cottage and makes many of the items sold there.
“Her experience and product knowledge are what got us where we are today,” Sarina says of Dina.
Fast Forward: July 2016
In July of 2016 Sarina, Lola, and the entire Shell Point Cottage and South Shore Boutique team embarked on a massive renovation, turning the once rustic boutique into a Coastal Casual Boutique. They were seeing growth in their customer base, including many tourists from Little Harbor Inn and Resort in Ruskin, Florida. They reviewed their customer research and feedback and knew ‘coastal’ was the way to go.
Lots of changes happened in the renovation. First, it was an opportunity to create a better flow in the 1925 building’s funky little rooms. The team organized ‘mini-shops’ within the shop so customers can now see products in amazing displays with better context built around them.
“We wanted customers to be able to take in all that we had to offer,” Sarina says. “We realized if items were too jammed together it turned customers off. They couldn’t enjoy or really see individual items.”
Today, Amber’s Trunk Show Ladies Boutique clothing is in one area, home décor and lovely scented items, such as soaps, bath products and candles, are displayed in another. You’ll also find two entire rooms of home furnishings as well as many nods to Sarina’s love of pugs throughout the store.
Sarina and her fiancé, Johnathan Stafford, also built an incredible ‘Creative Bar’, which now anchors the main room of the Cottage. By day, it’s a formidable display area and acts as the checkout point, as well as a comfortable meeting spot (it’s not uncommon to see customers hanging out around the Creative Bar). By evening it’s where they hold all of their art classes.
By moving art classes to the Creative Bar (formerly held in some of the back rooms), Sarina and team were able to re-arrange things so Shelly Molter could move her South Shore Boutique from Apollo Beach Boulevard to inside Shell Point Cottage (or next door depending on how you look at it). South Shore Boutique is accessible from both inside the cottage and has its own main entrance.
South Shore Boutique’s products are complimentary to the Cottage. Shelly offers gift items, all of which can be custom embroidered, which Shelly does on site.
Shell Point Cottage Today: A Mix of Wonderful
The Cottage today is a welcoming and fantastic array of products, classes, markets, people and comaraderie. Inside you’ll find super-chic clothing, painted furniture (you’ll want a bigger house so you can buy more); cool art classes, beautiful hand crafted items, home decor, beautiful embroidered gifts, and a magical place to shop for Christmas.
Here’s a look at Shell Point Cottage:
Home Decor and Handcrafted Items
Dina’s Primitive Shoppe Hand Made Crafts
Trunk Show Ladies Boutique inside Shell Point Cottage
South Shore Boutique Embroidery and Gifts
Shell Point Cottage Arts and Crafts Classes
Sarina, Lola, Dina and other members of the Cottage artisan family offer a huge variety of classes, none of which require artistic experience or skill. A few of the recent classes included a sea turtle wall art class, Gyotaku fish rubbing, wreath making and a mermaid shell art class.
There will be several upcoming classes in January including: the hugely popular Sea Turtle Wall Art Class, the Mermaid Shell Art Class, a French Faux Clock Class, and a Valentine’s Day Wreath class. Additionally, Sarina’s fiancé, Jonathan, is designing the elements needed to host an Octopus Wall Art class (similar to the Sea Turtle class), beginning in February.
Shell Point Cottage Classes can be found here:
New classes are added all of the time. Sarina suggests you follow the Shell Point Cottage Facebook Page where new classes and events are posted regularly.
Shell Point Cottage and South Shore Boutique at Christmas: A Magical Place
Shell Point Cottage – More Than Just A Coastal Boutique
If you’ve not yet visited Shell Point Cottage I suggest you do. It’s the kind of place that’s hard to describe with only written words.
Yes, it is a shop that offers gifts, home décor and clothing, but it’s also a neighborhood meeting place. Most weekends you’ll find the stools around the Creative Bar occupied with customers hanging out and chatting.
You are also as likely to find Lola, Dina, Sarina, Amber, and Shelly catching up with neighbors and friends at the Cottage as they are likely to be helping customers – most of whom become friends.
102 W. Shell Point Rd., Ruskin, Florida – (813) 330-6511
Holiday Hours: Monday – Thursday 10-4. Friday Extended Shopping hours 9-7 and Saturday 10-4 Note: Shell Point Cottage will be CLOSED between Christmas and New Year.
Regular Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10-5. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
The Shell Point Markets at the Cottage 2016-2017
The very first Holiday Market at the Cottage in 2014 was meant to be a one-time event, but customers loved it so much the outdoor markets have become a mainstay of the Cottage’s events. Today, Shell Point Cottage hosts regular ‘Market at the Cottage’ events. 2016-2017 line up includes:
THIS SATURDAY – December 10th: 10AM-3PM. 3rd Annual Handmade Holiday Market at the Cottage
January 21st – February 25th – March 25th – April 29th
Find Shell Point Cottage and South Shore Boutique Online:
The Shabby Nona Facebook Page