FELLSMERE — A pair of Fellsmere women are counting down the days until they can open their shop of gifts inside the small building next door to Marsh Landing — currently known as the Lilly Pad.
Debbie Cross and Karen Cheslock plan to open See & See Curiosity Shoppe in December after the renovations to the Lilly Pad are complete.
The women, who have been neighbors and friends for five years, are no strangers to enterprise. The pair have been regulars selling their wares at fairs and festivals. Such offerings include plants, handmade candles, incense, greeting cards, soaps and lotions, pet products, and much more. “We hope to keep it pretty unique,” Cheslock said of the store’s offerings, adding that they do not want it to be like the Indian River Mall. Instead, it will “cater to the country-type atmosphere.”
The women also plan to sell reprints of historic photos provided by Fellsmere historian Korky Korker.
The Lilly Pad once served as a home for newspapers Fellsmere Tribune and the Fellsmere Farmer, both of which have long been out of print.
“We will try to keep it nostalgic,” Cross said of the building and its purpose.
Cross and Cheslock are active in Fellsmere, serving in different capacities on the annual Frog Leg Festival. Cross is the festival’s treasurer, while Cheslock handles concessions.
Already, they’re making plans to keep the store open during the Frog Leg Festival while they take care of their duties at the event. Cheslock said that friends and family members alike will be enlisted to mind the shop.
The partners had been talking for more than a year about setting up a permanent shop to sell the items they had frequently carted to fairs and festivals for the last year to year and-a-half.
“We needed a home,” Cross said, explaining that every time they went to a new event they needed to haul more items. What started as filling the bed of one pickup truck, began filling multiple vehicles.
On the horizon for See & See Curiosity Shoppe is promoting ecotourism, an aspect that Mayor Susan Adams touted when she brought the planned renovations to the Lilly Pad before Fellsmere City Council recently.
“It’s in the works,” Cross said, adding that they need to work out the details on how they would go about promoting all the eco-friendly things Fellsmere has to offer.
“They don’t know Blue Cypress or the Stick Marsh,” Cheslock said of people who aren’t familiar with Fellsmere.
They plan to educate visitors to the shop about the city and its amenities.
“Fellsmere is a neat town,” Cheslock said. “We’re not just a bunch of bumpkins.”