You wouldn’t expect bead-wearing, woven tote-bag-user and owner of Qi Crystal Energy Melissa Loven to have been a part of the corporate world when she lived in California.
Today, the Gulfport resident is reinventing the shop at 3125 Beach Boulevard S., a tiny blue building stocked with Brazilian crystals, energy reading books and local art.
The storefront, once lime green, was previously Country Harvest Craft Studio.
Loven jumped at the chance to open shop last December.
“I intuitively knew this was the time to do this; I couldn’t deny it,” Loven said. “If I didn’t take this opportunity now, I’d be selling crystals at shows, or co-oops.”
Eventually, Loven plans to turn the small storage area in the back into a teaching space for grid classes and tarot readings.
“This is what I’ve always wanted to do – show how you can incorporate healing and art into your life,” Loven said.
In the 90s, the Northern Virginia native was in awe of the crystal fads.
“They were everywhere. I’d see people testing their food at the market with pendulums,” Loven said. “People have come back to that, an opening up of spirituality, and it’s needed in Gulfport.”
Burg Cookie Company Settles Down
It all started with dog treats.
St. Petersburg-based Burg Cookie Company owner Ashlea O’Connor doesn’t have a sweet tooth, but her “deep dish” cookies have struck a chord with local dessert lovers.
The cookie spot, baked into existence in January of 2021, is currently an online venture, but O’Connor is moving to a brick-and-mortar location at 1234 Central Ave. in the EDGE District sometime in May.
“I either ship them, or personally drop them off,” O’Connor said. “But I really need a storefront.”
Pre-COVID, the Tampa native was creating and selling pet treats out of her business on the go, Fido’s Food Truck.
“I didn’t really have a thing for it anymore,” O’Connor said. “I started using these aluminum pans to bake, and it was so fun and completely different.”
The final result? Thick cookies, like a deep-dish pizza with a sugary twist.
Taste for yourself at burgcookiecompany.com/shop.
The Boulevard Shop Awakens
Since March 19, 2020, The Boulevard Shoppe & Garden has been closed to the public.
The pandemic happened, and owner Drue Raylean, in her 80s, played it safe.
Artwork, eclectic knick knacks, patched rugs, all gathered dust in the small shop at 5321 Gulfport Blvd. S.
Now Cindy Heidel, the personality and salesperson of the boutique, is ready to open.
Heidel sold some things on the Neighborhood Marketplace, and occasionally opened the doors for people who wanted a chance to browse, but it wasn’t the same without the ebb and flow of the community.
“I really am looking forward to it,” Heidel said. “I forgot how much I enjoy the people.”
With vaccines in order and a collection of thrifted art and collectibles, The Boulevard Shoppe will open and eventually revamp the outdoor garden area with native Florida flora and fauna.
“We’re not downtown Gulfport, so people forget about us,” Heidel said. “But we never mark up our prices, and we have so many different, unique things.”
More at fb.com/blvdshoppe.
One Vaccination, One Quarter of Free Fabric
Fabric Smart, a Gulfport-based fabric company located at 5401 Gulfport Blvd S., is gifting a fat quarter of fabric to shoppers who can prove they’ve received their COVID-19 vaccination.
“Just a little thank you for doing your part to help end the pandemic,” Karen Donnelly wrote in her promotional newsletter.
Shop Fabric Smart’s collection at etsy.com/shop/fabricsmart.