What makes a shop worth visiting? It ultimately boils down to a few elements – the overall energy, uniqueness of the products, and of course customer service. Although Downtown Saint Petersburg, Florida is almost always sunny, there is one place that surely makes me happy, even when skies are gray. I am talking about Strands of Sunshine (www.strandsofsunshine.com), which has recently relocated to 633 Central Avenue. Owner, Amy Marshall, has created an adorable place that offers handcrafted goods for you to love and cherish or to give to your favorite somebody!
The vibe in Strands of Sunshine is absolutely refreshing and Amy’s energy is electric. Perhaps it is her degree in hospitality studies, but this gal truly knows how to make you feel welcome. Plus you will meet Oscar, the sweetest Shih -Tzu Poodle. This little guy has been a part of Amy and her husband Chad’s life for nearly ten years! (Okay, I’m a sucker for any shop that has a shop dog, but this place is really worth visiting!) You see, the Marshall’s relocated to Florida for Chad’s job at MacDill Air Force Base about four years ago.
“We’ve lived in many places due to my husband’s military career – Mississippi, Italy, and Seattle,” Amy explained. “We love St. Pete for it’s nearby beaches and a great downtown, plus the people of this city are just great. It’s a big enough city that you don’t get bored, but it’s small enough that it has a friendly feel.” (I couldn’t agree more!)
While jewelry making has always been a hobby for Amy, about three years ago she decided to leave the hotel industry and open her own business focusing on her art. (There’s nothing better than an entrepreneur and St. Pete is full of great ones just like Amy! (Hmm, speaking of entrepreneurs, check out the Entrepreneur Social Club Thursday nights at NOVA 535.) Amy’s workbench is located in the back of the shop where she focuses on sterling silver, fused fine silver, and semi-precious gemstones – which are all beautifully unique. Interested in a custom piece? Just ask! She does that too!
At first, Amy was going to only sell her pieces in the shop, but her business has morphed into a fun, artsy gift shop that features over a dozen local artists! The tagline is not “Handcrafted Goods for Happy People” for no reason. You will find everything from jewelry to home accents that are all created in the area – with love. For example, you will come across Smith Wicks Soy Candles, popular local artists like Jennifer Kosharek and Coralette Damme aka The Crafty Hag, and even these adorable pillows and pouches made by Michelle Hill of Emlee Handmade. (Amy says these are “insanely cute” and she always wants to buy everything Michelle brings!) There are many uplifting artists and products to discover at Strands of Sunshine – you will be pleasantly surprised.
The environment that Amy Marshall and the other artists have created is positively special, and folks who come in thoroughly enjoy becoming a part of it. Strands of Sunshine has been carefully curated with items that Amy not only loves, but is also knowledgeable on – which leaves the customer with a personal connection to the item they purchase. To sum up her relationship with each visitor, she uses one word – grateful.
You know what I love about this lady? She is simply exciting to be around! Amy has a sense of enthusiasm about life and her shop that some people lack. She says that she gets a huge kick out of seeing her jewelry being worn “out in the wild” and thinks it is incredibly flattering to be recognized outside of the shop. (I don’t know how you couldn’t recognize her though, she glows!) Amy told a little story about how she and her hubby were at a Ray’s game with great seats and the bullpen coach recognized her and confessed he has purchased several gifts for his wife at Strands of Sunshine. (Hint hint – it is shopping season!)
Whether you are local or visiting St. Petersburg, head on over to Strands of Sunshine and take a look at the new location on Central Avenue – you are bound to find a little handcrafted token you will want to take home with you. Don’t forget to tell the owner, Amy Marshall, that DowntownStPete.com sent you and be sure to give cutie-pie Oscar some love from us!
633 Central Ave St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Business Hours: (as of November 2015)
Tuesday 11:30am – 5:30 pm
Wednesday – Saturday 11:00am – 6:00 pm
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