BROOKSVILLE — Through the door at the Pearl Porch, there's an itch to try on something. Or everything.
A silk-like fleecy sweater cape, a striated rock pendant, a sophisticated, shiny handbag to hang from an arm, if you're setting aside for the moment the fluffy boudoir slippers.
The Pearl Porch is a refocus from its predecessor, the Paper Porch, with goods now highlighting women's apparel, jewelry and gifts. Colleen Eppley acquired the shop last year, which is attached to the popular Mallie Kyla's Cafe and Westover's Flower & Gifts, just east of the city center.
"Genuinely authentic, exclusive and superior merchandise," says Eppley, with brand names tripping off her tongue — Bourbon and Boweties bracelets and necklaces, Brahmin and Spartina handbags, Noelle sweaters, Simply Southern and Everly junior lines.
Best seller B&B jewelry, "contemporary with large natural stones that make a statement," might also be described as delightfully clunky and funky, announcing to the onlooker, "Look at me!" Polished stones range from tawny to turquoise, rosy quartzes in between, a cut above department store countertop offerings. Prices are in the $20 to $30 range.
The shop dedicates a nook to freshwater pearl baubles by TJ Savage of Tampa.
"She designs original work for us," said Eppley, noting the items aren't available elsewhere locally.
In the apparel alcove, sweater knits, $30 and up, take a fashion turn to irregular and knee-length hemlines, pouffy and contrasting yarns, knotty and lacy trims, leather and metal closures. Their wearers won't want to hide them at a night-out's coat check, nor are they likely to see themselves across the dining room.
"We carry more different things," said Eppley.
While mothers and their young adult daughters are drawn equally to tops and tunic lengths, juniors zero in on the Simply Southern T-shirts sporting cute to inspirational maxims, emblazoned socks to match.
This being mermaid country, the water sprite motif is carried out on spacious waterproof totes, sparkly ball caps and snazzy bottle holders, from $10.
Having grown up in Hernando County and having worked at Mallie Kyla's for 20 years, Eppley, 49, knows local tastes. She greets repeat customers by name and asks names of new shoppers.
When stocks are sold, Eppley brings in not more, but new, buying at the Atlanta Gift Mart.
"Things always change," she said, "so we always try to keep up with what's popular. We try to keep up with trends."
Those Bourbon and Boweties costume jewels are currently "it."
Contact Beth Gray at [email protected]