Madeira Way Offers Unique Shopping Experience
This version of the article may have limited photos. To see the story with all the pictures, click here.
Story and Photos By TIR Staff - Just 800 feet from end to end, Madeira Way is one of those short, quaint, historic streets filled with unique, mom and pop-type shops along the Gulf Beaches that offer a variety of goods and services not often found in a mall.
Considered the “main” street of Madeira Beach, Pat Shontz remembers what was there when her parents first ran their family-style restaurant The Apple, in the ‘60s, including the post office, a Western Auto, a seamstress, a flower shop, an office store, an office equipment repair place and a Service Hardware.
“That Service Hardware was probably the busiest hardware store on the beaches, because it was the nicest hardware store we had around,” recalls Pat who has been active in business, the community and government for years. She served as the mayor and is currently a city commissioner.
Pat recalls when Colette’s opened. “When she first came to town we owned the stores on 150th (now Tom Stuart Causeway) and she leased a store for a consignment shop. She was from Denmark, a hard-working girl … she could get things done, and she knew how to do retail. “I’ve been running the shop two years’” says daughter Nicolette Schouten about Colette’s. Her mother passed away suddenly. “When I look at things to buy, I think about if she would’ve bought it. Some things I know she would have and some things maybe not,” she says with a laugh.
Colette’s clientele is trending younger (mid-40s and up), she has a lot of repeat customers and they offer very personal service. “We offer good quality clothes, but its more reasonable than you think because we associate with other small businesses …”
She also has companies that will custom make pieces. “We do whatever we can.” And she can tell a woman’s size and know what style of swimsuit she should consider within minutes, emphasizing the personal experience they offer.
“There was a large Marine sales outfit where the furniture store now is,” says Pat. That furniture store is The Bronze Lady, an expansion from their store in John’s Pass that has been open for about nine years.
“What is unique about our store is our coastal and tropical furniture,” says co-owner Carol Brawner. They sell Stanely, Tommy Bahama, Lexington and furniture from cottage companies. “Not typical when you think of coastal furniture. We have small scale items for condos, we do design work and our patio furniture has 15 to 20 year warranties.” They also do free in-home consultations. She loves being on Madeira Way and says people like their relaxed atmosphere. “We work together as one big team and have a lot of repeat business.”
The street is also home to smaller, specialty businesses. Purple Haze Tobacco & Accessories has been offering quality tobacco and tobacco smoking devices and accessories for five years.
“We have the largest selection of locally blown smoking pipes, vaporizers, and tobacco related items in Pinellas County,” says owner Leo Caldazilla. He says the constant change of clientele due to the tourism, and a large amount of laid back smoking connoisseurs are what he likes about being on Madeira Way.
Next to Purple Haze patrons can get a slice of heaven at Nirvana Cafe and Juice Bar according to owner Rosie Reder.
“Nirvana is like your heaven,” she says, “for one person it might be sticking to a strict vegetarian diet, for another it might be really good coffee.” They offer locally produced coffee, 100 percent fresh-pressed juice, vegetarian dishes and wheatgrass.
“We have a little bit of everything with homemade sangria today and mimosas and we’re going to be featuring more Florida wines.” They host intuitive readings, wine tastings, coffee sampling, lectures and natural food classes. “We want to be a local hub for the community. They also feature the work of a local artist each month.
As the grand opening of the Madeira Beach Mid-week Market loomed ahead, Pat recalled how hard she and the other business owners had to work to make a go of it. “We didn’t have the promotion like they do today. We didn't have a tourist development outfit. We only had our little, dinky chamber commerce that usually had an office in someone’s storefront. We were a happy little group, chugging along making a living.”
“We have cute stores along there right now. I think their darling,” adds Pat.