Can't-miss shop illuminates home decorating
Walking the quaint streets of downtown Mount Dora and window browsing is a popular activity for many visitors, but one shop that always warrants a second look is Memories & Marvels.
The store appears it’s been turned inside out as a flurry of decorative wall hangings literally jump out from its white trestle porch to the sidewalk.
“You can have the best product in the world and if it’s not displayed right it’s not going to sell well,” said owner Jo Ann Handley.
Memories & Marvels offers an assortment of unusual and one-of-a-kind gifts and home accessories. The small building, front porch and backyard are packed with interesting decorative items. The shop features a lot of metal and wood wall hangings, stained glass and art tiles.
With so many different pieces to adorn a home, it takes customers a long time to absorb everything in Memories & Marvels. As a former interior designer for 30 years, Handley has a keen eye for finding these unique pieces of art.
“As an interior designer you have to deal with this stuff and I’ve always been interested in the arts,” she said. “I look for artists that do something different and unusual.”
Originally from Sarasota, Handley sold her interior decorating business there and found Mount Dora on a whim with her husband Gregory.
“We drove up here one day and we liked it,” she said. “This was going to be just a little tiny store, but it keeps evolving into bigger and better.”
The Handleys refurbished the rundown building and set up shop. The work of finding new and fresh artists is an endeavor that never ends.
“I’m always looking for new artists and new lines — it’s tough research,” she said. “I have to ask myself ‘will it sell’ and ‘will the artist be able to supply me.”