No, there's nothing wrong with your eyes. Kathy Day and Kathleen Glass, owners of the new Cool Crystals and Rocks Emporium, are identical twin sisters.
Even their voices sound alike.
The 59-year-old Jacksonville natives started their business four years ago. Last fall, they expanded after buying three buildings at 1753 Clearwater-Largo Road and turning four spacious rooms in the main building into an upscale shop.
The emporium features everything from ancient sharks' teeth embedded in stone to fine art and jewelry to pottery made by Native American artisans as well as scads and scads of crystals and stones.
Kathy Day takes some of the store's geodes and crystals to local elementary schools and discusses how they are formed. Her next program is April 16 at Woodlawn Community Academy.
What are the price ranges and some of the featured items in the store?
Prices ranges from $1.25 for a polished stone to a $900 brass seahorse by artist Peter Vrabel.
Among the eclectic mix are marine fossils from Morocco, stones from mines in Brazil and Mexico, wildlife sculptures, gold from the Atocha shipwreck, handmade silver jewelry, white pottery made with horsehair and feathers by the Native American artists of Mesa Verde Pottery of Colorado, Navaho and Ute pottery and country scenes painted on agate, marble and onyx by artist Robert H. Evans of New Mexico.
The buildings were constructed in the late 1940s. Did they require any renovation before you could move in?
"We had to put in a new ceiling,'' said Kathleen Glass. "We ripped out carpets and put in tile flooring, did some modifications to the plumbing, put in air conditioning and a security system and painted and painted. We're still working; it's an ongoing project."
How did the business get started?
Kathleen Glass planned to start the business while living in Arizona but put it aside when her father died and her mother became ill. She moved to Clearwater in 2002 to be with her family. After the death of her mother in 2003, "I told Kathy, 'We're going into business, I want to open up here (Pinellas County), let's go,' and that's how it happened."
Kathleen ran a small store as a test market on Walsingham Road for two months in 2004. It caught on quickly.
Encouraged, the sisters rented a storefront on Clearwater Beach, but moved next to the Skinny Rooster restaurant in Largo when construction began changing the beach skyline.
"Then we decided to buy," Kathleen said. "We looked in Dunedin and other places, but when we found this place, it was a fit. It's been a long road getting here. We feel like we're finally home."
How did you pick the theme of art of the Southwest and crystals?
"I love Southwestern art and so did my parents, who had originally retired to New Mexico," said Kathleen. She and her sister have been into crystals since the 1960s.
"Our parents, Earl and Wilma Thompson, wanted this business for us," Kathleen said. "And the store is dedicated to them."
Christina K. Cosdon can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 445-4154.