Monday, October 25, 2010

Roses are Red - Violets are the Shell Shop

Going shelling is so much fun but if you don't like getting sandy & wet beach combing it is probably not for you. But guess what, I hit the beach today and didn't even have to put on sunscreen. There are lots of beach shops along the Gulf coast of Florida.  Most sell imported seashells, cheap manufactured souvenirs, and mass-produced t-shirts. For almost 50 years The Shell Shop in Englewood, Florida has been selling local sea shells, hand-made shell art, & sharks teeth. 
The Shell Shop located at 10 Crestview Dr & 776 in Englewood, Florida. 
I moved to Englewood 2 years ago. The more I meet people around town the more I started to realize that everyone in Englewood  is either related to, went to high school with, or is the ex- of someone I know.  Take the Shell Shop for instance. The business shares half the building with a cousin who runs his family's barbershop. That cousin & his wife are friends of mine. I met them at church. His cousin Brandi Woffard runs the Shell Shop. Her great grandma is Violet who founded the Shell Shop in 1965. Her grandma is Violet Betty. Her mother is Violet April. Brandi is ...well Brandi but her sister is Violet Betty Eve. The 5th generation is Gabrielle Violet Michelle who is Brandi's 12 yo niece.
Brandi was so nice to this lady who was on vacation from New Mexico. Brandi told her the history of the shop and shared a few sweet spots with her to go shelling.

The Family Wall
Shell Shop founder Betty Shook
Every Englewood old timer has a sharks tooth story.  It usually starts with something like "Well I'll tell you what.  I remember when the sharks teeth were so thick on the beach you didn't even have to bend over. They just jumped into your bucket." I have personally seen a 5 gallon water container at a home in Venice (the town next door) full of sharks teeth from back in the day.  There are still plenty of sharks teeth out there for the taking you just have to put a little more effort into it. Brandi told me that her grandma Betty picked up almost all the teeth they sell in the shop. 

All local sharks teeth found on Englewood beaches
Betty bought this huge Megladon from a diver.  It can be yours for $500
Lots of local gulfcoast seashells
There is always something to make out of a sea shells
Need an idea for Christmas?

Betty has authored many shell craft books - all for purchase at the shop. The shop sells other local authors as well.
They have a nice selection of fossils
Large not so perfect sharks teeth
The American spirit is alive & well in Englewood - Baseball, apple pie, & sharks teeth
Top shelf has some gorgeous horse conchs
Nice idea
This went home with me.  Brandi bought it at a garage sale and tweaked it with some shell art of her own.  I love it.

Brandi also shared with me how her grandmother Betty would take her to the beach as a kid. They would go just to pick up litter & trash. Her grandma gave her a stick with a nail on the end and away they would go on their own coastal clean-up day.

 I have fallen in love with my new hometown. I am thankful for the families like Brandi's that over the years have taken care of their little pin on the map & given each generation a love for the planet and the treasures that wash up on it's beaches.