By Paula MacDonald
Setting foot inside the South Shore Shabby Shack, visitors are immediately entranced by the magnitude of creative and upcycled treasures that occupy nearly every inch of the 2,400 sq. ft. space, floor to ceiling.
Opened in early September by Ruskin residents Dallas and Jill Smith, the Shabby Shack houses the unique creations of 24 artisans, craftspeople and antique vendors. The inventory is constantly changing, with everything from hand painted glassware to vintage china mosaics; antique furniture to old doors repurposed into “shabby chic” home décor.
What started as a hobby for the husband and wife team has become a business, combining their love for bringing new life to discarded furniture with providing a creative space for others who may not have previously had a permanent place to display their works. Spaces range in size from a display cabinet to a 10’ by 10’ space in the market.
“The response from the community has been great,” Dallas said. “We currently have a waiting list for vendors, and the market place has given many of them an opportunity for exposure to new customers that they would not find at shows or with online storefronts.”
Dallas enjoys refurbishing old furniture and doors with chalk paint to give items a unique distressed look, while Jill provides oversight in the marketing of the store. Two hard-working young women, Sarah Moore, and Jill’s daughter, Meagan Begley, help with daily operations and shop cleaning and stock.
Through Tuesday, December 23, the Shabby Shack will feature a Santa’s Store for children to shop for parents, grandparents and teachers. All items will be priced at $10 and under.
In addition to the market space, the South Shore Shabby Shack also features a classroom space that will accommodate small groups of eight to 10 people. After the holiday season, the Smiths plan to explore hosting classes that will cover such techniques as chalk painting for small furniture, vintage china mosaics and other topics.
It is located at 118-A Flamingo Dr. in Apollo Beach, just off of U.S. Hwy. 41. The Shabby Shack is open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Call 765-6708 or visit www.facebook.com/southshore shabbyshack.