PANAMA CITY — Stepping through the gates at Little Village in St. Andrews is like walking into a bazaar.
“The premise was to walk in here and feel like you were in any little village anywhere in the world. To kind of escape,” said manager Beth Davis, taking a break from hanging sarongs in a kiosk on a recent sunny morning. “We carry Fair Trade, recycled and eco-friendly items from small villages around the world. And some of it even comes from our own little village here in St. Andrews.”
Sandi Wolf opened Little Village on 12th Street in February. The house and grounds overlook Lake Ware and shelter under oak trees, providing a serene environment for art and meditation.
“I had looked for something in St. Andrews for many years, but I couldn’t afford what was on Beck Avenue,” Wolf said. Then a realtor told her about this location, and, “As soon as I saw it, I thought ‘I don’t know what I’m gonna do with it, but this is it.’ It all worked out, like it was waiting on me to find it.”
Expansion plans for Little Village are coming to fruition already, as Finn’s Island Style Grub opened a new grill at the village this week. Yoga classes meet on the new deck every Thursday and Friday morning (cost is $5 per class). Next are plans to host an “artists colony” on weekends, gathering artists beside the lake who will actively create art or craftwork while the public watches and shops.
“We envision it being like Jackson Square in New Orleans, with artists painting, making jewelry or whatever,” Davis said.
Walking through the village now, one finds art, cypress tables and chairs, tropical plants, garden accessories, bottle trees, wind chimes, jewelry, tapestries, angel figurines, mats and carpets, Buddha fountains, terrariums, birdhouses, bamboo, recycled metal objects, organic body oils and lotions, hemp clothing and accessories, and much more.
“It’s so pretty here, and peaceful,” said Lindsey Carins, who works the smoothie bar inside the main building, but on this morning was decorating air plant hangers. The air plants are her favorite items in the village: “I love them so much.”
There are places to sit in the shade of oaks and look out over the lake, and places to sit in the sun and close your eyes while sipping on a Hey Jude, one of the specialty smoothies.
“It’s definitely a nice spot to come and stay for a while,” said artist Ryan Ivy, who was doing some touch-up work on the kiosks last week. “The oak trees, the coolness during the summer, the wind coming off the lake there, and the view. People tend to stay longer than they anticipated.”
That’s what happened to Wolf, also. Originally from Tuscaloosa County in Alabama, she came to Panama City Beach one spring 34 years ago, “got a little sand in my shoes,” and never left, she said.
- Where: 2808 W. 12th St., Panama City,
- Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
- Details: Facebook.com/LittleVillagePC or call 215-8780