Creativity with class at Relish
Louise Bolger | Sun
Rhonda Grote shows some of the unique
items shoppers can find at Relish Vintage and
Resourcefulness is the ability to think creatively, to generate ideas and to identify alternatives. It really doesn't matter if you're wearing a three-piece suit and have salt and pepper hair or your dress was designed in 1960 and you have flaming red hair, resourcefulness is resourcefulness.
Despite critics, Pine Avenue in Anna Maria has become not only one of the most creatively designed streets in Florida, but also one that is mixing repurposed homes among new construction. One of the street's sparkling achievements is the 1935 Sears Cottage that was moved to its present location and is home to Relish Vintage & Artisan Boutique opened by Rhonda Grote in April of last year.
Eight years ago, Grote took the plunge of a lifetime by moving to Bradenton from Ohio to marry the man she fell in love with on vacation. Her move to Florida gave her freedom from her previous life in the corporate world to discover her real love of vintage and up-cycle fashion. For eight years she collected, repurposed and sold her fashions on line, but when the beautifully restored cottage was available to rent, Grote jumped at the opportunity to showcase her collection of traditional pieces in an authentic vintage cottage.
What Grote has displayed in the bright open space is unique not only to Anna Maria, but possibly to the world. Have you ever seen cuff bracelets and necklaces made with discarded license plates or how about typewriter key rings made from old standard typewriters or rings made from vintage coat buttons? Need a winter coat with a fur collar or little mink stole like your mother used to wear? Relish has it. Vintage evening dresses, day dresses, jeans, shoes and handbags will bring back a few memories. But some of the really interesting fashions are the ones that Grote calls eco-friendly fashion that she has saved from obscurity and restored with her own little flair.
In addition to her up-cycled fashions, Grote also carries jewelry like Marleigh & Me, prints by Lori Kee and handmade clutch purses by Layla Copeland, as well as other local artists and artisans. One of my favorite items is the Sassy's pillows made with old jeans in different designs, all with a pocket. There's hundreds of other items – dishes, baby clothes, handmade soy candles, blankets, tablecloths – with inventory changing almost daily.
Grote attends large estate auctions and buys in bulk. Her prices range from $16 to $60 with a few higher prices on special items. Down the road, she hopes to offer more baby and men's clothing, as well as special jellies and jams. You can also pickup a copy of Grote's book "Simple Cheap & Chic Entertaining When You're Tired Busy & On A Budget."
Drop by on Wednesday nights between 5 and 6:30 p.m. for wine and discounts at Relish's Gal Pal Parties, and pay special attention to the bag Grote packs your vintage treasures in. People bring her paper grocery bags and get $1 in store credit for every 10 bags. She stamps each bag with a Relish logo, stamps holes and ties it all up with scrap fabric for a handle – the ultimate in recycling.
Grote is nothing if not full of imagination and vision. She has the ability to imagine what may be nothing more than a of pile of rags to the average person becoming a recycled work of art. Whether you're a local or visitor, take the time to walk up the curved wooden walkway to Relish's arched front door, where one of a kind reclaimed items, lovingly collected by the lady with the big smile and flaming red hair, are waiting.
Relish Vintage & Artisan Boutique
505 Pine Avenue
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday:
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
All major credit cards accepted