HUDSON — Lana Black has been a real estate broker in Pasco County for more than 30 years, and she's never had a problem selling a house. But once a house is sold, many clients have the added burden of dealing with home furnishings.
"Some of my (older) clients may be going into assisted living or to live with their children," Black said. "Or they are downsizing and moving to a smaller place. ... I often hear, 'Now that I sold my house, what can I do with all this stuff?' "
Black's solution: Treasure Trove Mini-Mall & Consignments. Black started the business four years ago, mostly to offer her services to handle estates. It began with a 400-square-foot room, which quickly moved to a 4,200-square-foot facility. About two years ago, Treasure Trove moved to its newest location in Point Plaza, northwest of the intersection of U.S. 19 and State Road 52. The store boasts 29,000 square feet and is filled with all sorts of "treasures" — a blend of antiques, furniture, jewelry, dishes, artwork, musical instruments, holiday decor and other items. In fact, one could decorate a room or an entire house by shopping at the store.
"Everyone seems to love it," Black said. "It helps my clients who need help handling estates ... and it helps numerous vendors and consignors who needed an outlet to sell their items."
The store is also home to Black's realty business, Aqua Sea Realty. And it has a Mermaid Room, available to rent for meetings and parties. There is a special wedding section (Ooh La La Salon), a red hat section and even a "man cave" area where folks can sit on the sofa and watch TV while their spouses shop. In addition, shoppers can buy soft drinks and snacks (sandwiches and other lunch items are offered on weekends) and sit at one of the cafeteria-style tables. Also, with the exception of December, Treasure Trove holds estate sales on the last full weekend of each month.
Treasure Trove has about 100 vendors and 600 consignors. Shoppers come from all over — as far away as Ocala, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Zephyrhills.
Much of the store's success, Black says, lies with the relationship vendors and shoppers have with the store manager, Darlene Brush, who has been with Treasure Trove for four years.
"She is a great manager," Black said.
Brush fills many roles at the store and is often found on the floor, assisting and chatting with customers. In fact, she knows many of the regulars by name. She is often seen working the cash register, getting furniture ready for pickup or even cleaning a spill on the floor. She has also been busy this month decorating for the holidays.
To many of the vendors, Brush is also a friend.
"Darlene always comes through for us," said Heidi Hanna, owner of Heidi's Doll Closet and a Treasure Trove vendor for three years.
"They are all my people," Brush said. "They are a big part of the store."
Treasure Trove has several special events scheduled during December. Four themed Christmas trees, with decorations, will be raffled on Dec. 18, with proceeds benefiting food pantries and the SPCA. Also, Santa will visit on Dec. 16, 18 and 23, and children may receive free toys and candy. (Parents should bring a camera.)
Black says she doesn't take pay from Treasure Trove, but does it more as a community service. She said that since she is "nearing 70," she knows how difficult it is for older residents who find themselves needing to downsize.
"Selling the house is easy," she said.
Black admits the Treasure Trove is something she enjoys.
"I love it," she said. "It's a fun place to be, and our patrons feel that way, too."