PANAMA CITY BEACH — Pelicans, crabs, oyster shells, fish and fishermen — no, this is not a description of a day at the beach, but the sights inside The Sassy Seahorse.
“Tourists like to come in, locals like to come in, for unique and unusual items and décor,” said Jeri MacDonald, who has juggled the store with her job as a realtor since Sassy Seahorse opened May 9.
Along with Janet Mills and Kelly Rushing of Rushing Enterprises Hardwood Floors Inc., the three friends and owners have added their own twist to the Sassy barn with blue shutters and a pink picket fence.
“We’re just three friends that went together. … three sassy chicks,” MacDonald said.
Pull up a seat on the front porch in one of the custom Adirondack chairs, next to the pink flamingos.
“The lifeguard chairs are real popular,” Mills said while holding her Chihuahua, Sasha. On other days, you might find Angel, MacDonald’s shih tzu bichon.
Visiting the beach with her husband, Wanda Stoltenberg passed through on a recent October morning.
“He’s playing tennis, and I’m out browsing,” said Stoltenberg, who quickly found a connection with Mills — both retired school teachers.
“I just enjoyed decorating, and I think it’s just been a hobby,” said Mills, originally from South Alabama, who taught kindergarten for 20 years.
Stoltenberg has been coming to the beach from Kansas City for 25 years.
“We are moving here in the next few months after retiring … 22 years as a middle school teacher,” she said.
Decorating was something Mills enjoyed doing on the side, while MacDonald had a decorating business in Tallahassee for 15 years.
“I saw people like to do something with what they got,” MacDonald said.
Simple things, such as painting door knobs, or staging to get a different look, can make a difference. But if you are looking to bring some different décor into the mix, Sassy has an eclectic mix. New items are mixed in with recycled and refurbished items, antique and vintage collections, such as the vintage lobster buoys from Maine, and handcrafted items, from jewelry to wood carvings.
The shabby chic shop lets you bring the coastal feeling back home or into your condo. Custom lamps, filled with starfish, covered with oyster shells or made from a coral base, could light up your living room. Adorn couches with seahorse decorated pillows and decorate the wall with artwork or signs, such as “Surf’s Up.” Angel fish are made of drift wood and red crabs adorn dishes. Sassy Seahorse also joins in the season, with Christmas decorations, metal candy canes and tree art.
“We do a lot of our own painting and shabbying, recycle vintage furniture,” Mills said as she rubbed down a side table with sandpaper outside the shop.
If you need help getting your house ready for the holidays or any day, the trio is available for interior design consultations, decorating and repurposing of your home or condo.
“Visitors get mementos, shell and coastal items, that reflect the beach. They like the bright colors and come in and get a happy feeling. It’s not so commercial, there’s an old and new mix for a warm feeling,” Mills said.
Gift wrapping also is available.
THE SASSY SEAHORSE
What: Coastal home furnishings
Where: 2914 Thomas Drive, Panama City Beach
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday
Details: (850) 249-7220, TheSassySeahorsepcb@yahoo.com or Facebook.com/TheSassySeahorse