HOLT, Fla., June 12, 2017–Holt’s first “strip mall” opens its doors Wednesday with two new businesses and a third to follow.
While the term “strip mall” is a bit tongue-in-cheek, the property on the corner of U.S. 90 and Johnson Street, across from the Dollar General, will now be home to three new businesses: B’ Geai’s, a hair and nail salon, and Cathy’s Creations, a gift shop and embroidery service. A taxidermy shop will open at a later date.
Grand opening for the gift store and salon is scheduled for Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The grand opening will continue through Friday with an open house Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cathy’s Creations Inc. purchased the 1956 house in October 2016, according to county records. It took the Ates family about six months to turn this 2,850-square-foot home into a retail and services center.
They updated the house with tin and distressed cedar walls in the gift shop and carried it through to the salon.
The salon’s view out the back window is of a tranquil rock garden with a fountain, disguised to block the view of the soon-to-be-added taxidermy business in the three-car garage area behind the salon and shop.
According to Cathy, the decision to open these businesses hinged around her son and daughter-in-law.
“Bobbie Jo wanted to own her own salon and Matt already has a growing taxidermy business,” she said. “My hobby was turning into a full-time job.”
They thought about building something for their businesses where they live, but decided the house on Johnson Street would be easier to renovate, Cathy said.
Gifts and personalized embroidery
Cathy’s Creations gift store and embroidery services offers more than 320 items to capture the customer’s eye.
Scarves, hats, backpacks, jewelry, candles, bows, bathing suits, shoes, puppets, home accents and more are attractively arranged throughout the new retail space.
The store has a wedding corner and will set aside a Gator Corner with all things maroon and white for Baker Schools.
Stocked with a wide selection to appeal to a broad customer base, merchandise will change according to customer preferences, said Cathy. She’s tried to appeal to just about every age group, male and female.
“We have something for everybody,” she said.
The store also carries a large selection of Swan Creek candles and is the local franchise for Willow Tree figurines.
“If you need something quickly and you can’t get to Crestview or Milton, we offer something closer,” she said.
Just about everything in the store is for sale, said Cathy. The only exceptions are a few hanging and floor displays.
“It’s all about the gifts,” she said.
In addition to gifts, the shop also offers personalized embroidery in a variety of media.
Items purchased in the store, such as hats, bags, sandals and yard flags, can be personalized with embroidery or by using different applique materials, such as vinyl.
“I love to use texture in my stuff,” said Cathy.
With two 10-needle embroidery machines and one single-stitch machine, she can work on multiple projects at a time.
Cathy is a member of the National Network of Embroidery Association. She’s been sewing since age 14 and used to make all her sons’ clothes until they entered high school.
“They told me, ‘You can make our shirts, but we want to wear regular blue jeans,’ ” she said.
Cathy will be adding a laser engraver to her repertoire to provide even more personalizing on items such as wooden cutting boards and other home accent items.
“Matt and I are are attending laser school after we open,” she said.
Hair and nails
Sharing the space with Cathy’s Creations is B’ Geai’s Salon, an elegant four-station hair and nail salon.
Owned and operated by Bobbie Jo Ates, Cathy’s daughter-in-law, Bobbie Jo is one of two hair stylists. She will be assisted by Tabitha Welch, also of Holt.
A separate operating space will provide manicures and pedicures, as well as waxing, by nail technical Brandy Melton, a Certified Nail Technician Grand Master.
The salon is environmentally safe with air purifiers and filters throughout to handle typical hair salon chemical odors.
For those who can’t wait until opening day, B’ Geai’s is taking hair and nail appointments now at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or customers can contact the stylists and technician directly: Bobbie Jo at 850-305-3579, Tabitha at 850-305-4166 and Brandy at 850-902-6829.
But wait, there’s more
Coming later at the same location will be Rugged Earth Taxidermy, run by Matt Ates, Bobbie Jo’s husband and Cathy’s son.
After four years, Matt’s business has grown to the point he needed more room, he said.
Besides traditional taxidermy, Matt will offer personalized printing services using hydrographics.
Also known as immersion printing or hydro dipping, hydrographics is a process of applying printed designs to three-dimensional surfaces such as metal, wood, fiberglass, ceramics and plastic.
“He does hydrographics on just about anything,” said Cathy.