Florida Keys Business
Sunday, April 8, 2012
New boutique offers varied collections

Two entrepreneurs who began with a booth at the Island Market Place flea market are off and running with Forever Summer, a shopping destination that offers a variety of clothing, furniture and jewelry.

With a diverse background that includes 15 years as owners of an advertising firm in New York City, Larry and Monica Wonnacott have turned the former Moore's Books in Plaza 103 into a cornucopia of women's clothes, antique furnishings, nautical jewelry and even books.

The store also offers items on consignment.

"We want to offer an eclectic, upscale mix," said Larry. "We will only accept high-end consignments, art and the like that will appeal to the high-end buyer."

"We opened here in September and are very happy with the support we have received from this community," Monica added with a trace of her native Jamaican accent. "We now have quite a lot of repeat business which has been the strength of our store. We are beginning to develop name recognition."

Shoppers can hardly escape the lure of Monica's hand-crafted jewelry, created in her home studio in Florida City, where the couple lives in Keys Gate.

"For the past 10 years I have been creating jewelry. Sometimes I dream of a design and wake up and immediately sketch the piece I just dreamed about," she said.

Larry tells how her avocation came about.

"When we lived in New York City, Monica would spend a lot of money buying jewelry," he said, grinning at the memory. "I said, 'Why not make your own? It's costing too much.' Now her nautical pieces made with precious and semi-precious stones sell for $20 up to $1,000."

Larry, whose background is in public relations and advertising, said he is eager for customers to know about their plan to feature a sale every month with an eye on catering to the local community.

He and Monica both agree that they have found their niche and plan to be here for the long haul.

They find much of their stock at estate sales and auctions. Local artists can find space on their walls to display their works. Besides a few antiques, the Wonnacotts are distributors for Pelican Reef tropical island furniture that they can order from a catalog.

"Everything but the clothing has come out of my brain," Monica said. "I would not have collected it if it didn't have some deep meaning for me."

Forever Summer is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. during the winter season. Come summer, the store will close on Mondays and the hours will change to noon through 7 p.m.

Call Forever Summer at 305-484-6558.

sgibbs@keysnews.com

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