FORT PIERCE -- For Becky Demanuel, scouring the world for the most unique décor to help St. Lucie County residents furnish their homes in typical Florida style is a labor of love. The Endicott, New York native turned her personal passion for style into her downtown boutique here, Chic & Shore Things, in October of 2013
“I have always enjoyed interior design and decorating,” she said. “My dream since I was in my 20s was to open a shop. I loved antiques and started buying some furniture pieces and refinished them for myself. But I always thought about having my own business.”
Although Ms. Demanuel previously spent 25 years working in the human resources field before relocating to Fort Pierce and could have easily kicked back and enjoyed the Treasure Coast retirement lifestyle, instead, she searched out the best place to share her fashion sense in the region.
“I looked seriously in Vero and I looked seriously in Stuart,” she added. “I get a lot of gratification from the people that come in, and it warms my heart. It just makes me grateful that I opened my store here.”
Today her quaint locale is divided into various sections, each adorned with paintings and other creations by local artists, as well as rare and exotic handicrafts from around the world. You can find one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, wall décor and even furniture, such as a beautiful shabby chic French dressing table currently on the floor. Ms. Demanuel calls her style of furnishings at Chic and Shore Things the “seaside cottage look” and her recent revamp of the story to turn it into a winter wonderland for the holidays has even further augmented the maritime ambiance. She loves Christmastime so much that she actually closed the shop down Nov. 12-16 to completely re-purpose the boutique for holiday shoppers.
“We transformed the store into a gorgeous coastal Christmas shop,” she explained. “There are many themed trees with specialty ornaments, holiday home decorations, many unique gift ideas and of course, a large selection of gorgeous jewelry. So please join us to catch a little Christmas Spirit and get a start on that Holiday shopping.”
The new “coastal dock” look Ms. Demanuel gave to the white-washed floors gives them a particular holiday appeal, almost if they truly held a layer of freshly fallen snow. It’s a perfect backdrop for the glittering trees filled with a plethora of specialty Christmas ornaments, most with nautical themes. Her marine-influenced ornaments range from flamingos to whales, but some of the most unique ones are designed by a friend in Virginia Beach who overlays oyster shells with molded clay images of Santa. The owner of Chic & Shore Things said the most rewarding thing for other over the last five years has been the relationships she’s developed with local residents.
“Many have become good friends,” she said.
Hutchinson Island resident Magnolia Lynch is one such customer-turned-friend who said she’s been a regular a the boutique ever since she first laid eyes on it.
“A neighbor of mine told me she would come here and find the most beautiful things,” she said. “I just fell in love with the store and now everything in my house comes from Chic & Shore. It’s now much easier for my husband: He knows where to go to find exactly what I want.”
Two of Ms. Lynch’s favorite finds at the store are a pair of seahorse candle-holders and a set of living room furniture that she and her husband could not agree on at first.
“I came in one day and I fell in love with the table, but he said it wasn’t formal enough,” she explained.
On every subsequent visit, however, the two-table set kept attracting her eye. She gave it a little time, and ultimately decided to purposely have the set delivered to her home while her husband was away. His subsequent reaction even surprised her.
“He came home and said, ‘it’s gorgeous and I’m in love with it,’ and I said it’s the same one you saw in the store,” she said. “This is unique and nobody’s going to have our coffee table or side table, All of our friends come to our house and say it’s so gorgeous. He even went back and bought the matching sofa table.”
Ms. Lynch said all of her Christmas decorations now come from Chic & Shore Things.
“I bought my white Christmas tree and all of my decorations there,” she said. “Every year I buy a different oyster shell ornament; it’s a tradition for me, and they are stunning.”
Chic & Shore Things is located at 205 N. 2nd St. in Downtown Fort Pierce just north of Orange Avenue. For more information, call (772) 342-7505 or visit the store’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/chicandshorethings.