Whenever there's free time, in between juggling a full-time IT position and owning three boutiques, Michelle Thomas takes the boat out with her husband, Mark.
The aquatic life is what inspired their nautical shops.
The couple opened Boater's Republic in St. Petersburg a couple of years ago, and more recently Michelle opened a women-centric shop, Ship Chic, in May at 1540 S Dale Mabry Highway.
"It's difficult to find life-on-the-water clothes that look good on women," Thomas said. "We expanded the women's section in the St. Petersburg store to include more fashionable pieces and then decided to open a whole store devoted to that."
The boutique carries clothes to go boating and fishing in, pieces to wear while dining on the water and Maui Jim polarized sunglasses.
"The whole premise is having something for no matter what you're doing in your life around the water," Thomas said. "It's a store dedicated to the Florida life."
The 1,600-square-foot shop also has a section of coastal-inspired items for gifts or housewares.
On top of that, Thomas will open a second Boater's Republic next month in Tampa, at 2122 S Dale Mabry Highway, a couple buildings from Ship Chic. She plans on a grand opening party for both new stores in August.
To stay updated on grand opening information, go to facebook.com/ShipChic.
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