SPRING HILL — Among a half-dozen decorative signs in the front window, a driftwood-weathered "Welcome to THE BEACH" stands out. Through the door at Spring Hill Souvenirs and More, "beach-y" abounds.
Aquamarine and sand colors set the tone for seashells displayed on pedestals, dangling from wind chimes and threaded as necklaces. Alligator faces decorate wall clocks. Collectable bottles hold tiny pebbles of pastel-hued sea glass.
Ronald and LeeAnne Foust, owners of Spring Hill ReScreen for 22 years, learned of the need for such a store from their screen customers. Many of them were new buyers of pre-built homes with lanais poised for upgrading.
"New (to Florida) people always ask, where do you get souvenirs to decorate?" LeeAnne said.
The couple's local search found little beyond postcards, except for Boyett's Grove and Tourist Attraction at Spring Lake.
In launching their own retail shop, the Fousts scoured offerings at such tourist meccas as Tarpon Springs and St. Augustine. They roved trade shows as far away as Tennessee.
A considerable number of items at Souvenirs and More meet the customer demand for traditional vacation mementos, but some striking decorative pieces are otherwise hard to find locally or at such reasonable prices.
A giant trumpet shell, $24, is a worthy tabletop centerpiece. A trio of conch shells, $7 each, make an impressive lanai-side focal cluster. And LeeAnne Foust makes shell-topped nightlights that sell for $10.
Scenic, wall-size, hanging murals can transform a lanai into a tropical beach. In fact, one customer primped for a camera in front of a sandy beach scene, framed by a swaying palm and replete with blue-water background. She intended to show it off as evidence of her Florida visit. Murals, 10 feet high, are available in several widths for $80 to $150.
As for pricing, LeeAnne Foust said, "We know what things cost in Tarpon (Springs), but we know Spring Hill isn't Tarpon."
The biggest challenge in opening their retail shop, she said, was reworking what had been a used-book store. Leftover books were donated to local aid agencies. Ronald Foust tore the shelving and built new. Both shopped for furnishings, decorated and arranged displays.
At Spring Hill Souvenirs and More, the shop is picking up walk-in customers from nearby Tito's Pizza and Papa Clyde's Ice Cream, all in the west side plaza of Kass Circle, off Spring Hill Drive.
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If you go: Spring Hill Souvenirs and More is at 1219 Kass Circle. It is open 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Phone (352)701-0727.