In today’s world businesses open and close in the blink of an eye, however, one business in Matlacha has withstood the test of time. This month, Island Decor and More is celebrating its 50th year in business on Pine Island.
In the early years, the building served as a fish house and ice house and later was purchased by the Long family who converted the business into a shell and sea life shop. Working together with her six children, Mrs. Long dragged for starfish and sea shells which would be cleaned and sold so that she had a means of supporting her family. As the family grew so did the business and the Longs sold sea shells both wholesale as well as retail. In 1997, Woody Long decided to do away with the wholesale end of the business and focused on retail sales only. It was at that time that he purchased the building in Matlacha.
In August of 2006, Island Decor was then purchased by Judy Bicking who is partnered with Sue Collins, a long-time employee of Island Decor.
“I have been working at Island Decor for 13 years and we have continued to make a concerted effort to listen to our customers and bring in merchandise they want,” said Collins. “With these uncertain times, as businesses have slowed, our goal has been to continue to meet the needs of the community and one way we are doing this is by shifting price points, yet maintaining high quality in the items we sell.”
Collins also said that one important factor at Island Decor is striving for a fresh look and bringing in items that reflect the island lifestyle. Having since evolved from just selling sea shells, Island Decor offers much more to shoppers. This is reflected in a variety of products which include not only greeting cards and one of the areas largest shell collections, but everything from clothing, wall art and furniture. One of the newest features at Island Decor is the used book section.
“The book section has been a big hit for many of our customers. They can bring in old books in good condition and get credit toward other books in the store,” Collins said. “We have a good selection of leisure reading and many about local nature and history. The credits don’t have to be used right away or just for books and some of our customers save them up for a later time to purchase items other than books as well.”
In the used book section, customers will find paperbacks for $2.50 and hardcover novels for $5.
In keeping with growth, Collins said several new items will be added to the shelves this fall.
“Right now we have ordered more wall art which will be shipped this fall. Primarily they are metal sculptures depicting local wildlife. We also will be adding to our selection of etched wine glasses,” Collins said. “In addition to keeping a good supply of the familiar palm tree pattern, this fall we will be adding another series that depicts herons as well.”
At one time, the ice house portion of the building was dedicated to clothing, however, it now serves as a showroom for a new line of furniture.
“The This End Up furniture collection has really taken off. It is strong, durable and built to last, yet at the same time, reflects the island lifestyle.” said Collins. “We have many different pieces on display and customers can come in and select cushion fabric to match their home decor and each piece will be made to order.”
According to Collins, the average turn around time for This End Up furniture orders is four to six weeks.
Bicking and Collins are both Pine Island residents and have been very active in the community as well. During the past five years, they have hosted several fund raisers to benefit the Pine Island Food Pantry and have sponsored art contest for local children.
In celebration of its success, Island Decor is offering special discounts throughout the store from now through Labor Day weekend and is open every day beginning at 10 a.m.
For more information about Island Decor, call 283-0808 or visit them at 4206 Pine Island Road in Matlacha.
Maintaining its connection to the past, Island Decor in Matlacha also continues to grow with the times. Among the new items on display at Island Decor is a new line of furniture from This End Up.