In the heart of Davis Islands, surrounded by restaurants and eateries, Serendipity Accents and Gifts was for 18 years a well-known place for locals to shop. When Liz Wessel bought the store in June of 2011, she gave it what she calls a "facelift." There were a few changes to its look and attitude — a fresh coat of a paint and an emphasis on fun, and sometimes snarky, items — but the essence of it stayed the same: More of a trusted resource than a store. A place where you know you can find an appropriate last-minute gift for virtually anyone. And she'll even gift wrap it for free.
Wessel has two main rules for the store's inventory: Items should only be found there and have a price point below $50. There are a few exceptions like the sterling silver jewelry and Knock Knock products but most of the items at Serendipity fall in the exclusive and inexpensive categories.
Many of the gifts also have an innovative and clever twist. A zippered toiletry case with a striped fabric cover and a retro image of a housewife reads "It's a girl thing." A tobacco leaf and vanilla-scented candle is a decorative souvenir for a bachelor pad. A "piece of cake"-shaped post-it block doubles as an office desk decor piece, and for a fool-proof hostess gift, vintage-looking stationary is always a favorite.
Between the illustrated iPad covers, houseware items, kids' games and even pet accessories, there's barely any empty shelf space in the store. For those willing to take a little time to explore and try their hand at serendipity, this is the perfect spot.
— Natalia Galbetti is a freelance writer and director of sales and marketing at k.hendrix in St. Petersburg. Follow her on Twiter at @NatiGalbetti.