Everyday Elegance Arrives at Agapanthus
In December 2013, Tioga Town Center welcomed the opening of a dazzling new gift store called Agapanthus (from the Greek, meaning “flower of love”). Featuring bath and body products, accessories, jewelry, tableware and home accents, with an in store and online wedding registry, a trip to this beautiful boutique reminds us that life can be made elegant through our everyday surroundings.
With an extensive background in business and management, co-owner and manager, Paula King offers women from 25 to 65 a visual feast of personal accessories, items to accent their homes and workplaces, and to give as gifts for special occasions.
“Shopping is a social and sensory experience,” she explained. “What we provide is an evolutionary combination of an exciting brick and mortar setting, as well as a user-friendly online service. Our choice of merchandise is geared to enhance the quality and enjoyment of daily life, without necessarily going to huge expense.”
Agapanthus represents a business expansion for Paula. She and her business partner in Ocala, Carmen Greiner, started the highly successful Ocala Traditions in 2007. Paula said, “We’ve developed a wonderful, loyal clientele in the Ocala area where we are fortunate to share our ongoing celebration of life, beauty, family and friendship.”
What makes Agapanthus unique in the Gainesville market is that it carries some lines for accessories and jewelry, for instance, that haven’t been available in the area before now. Lines like John Medeiros and Crislu costume jewelry have the look and feel of fine jewelry with each gem prong-set, fashioned by diamond cutters and guaranteed for life. The Rowallan accessories line features amazing leather travel jewelry cases and handbags at affordable prices. In terms of tableware, Juliska offers freezer to oven to table stoneware that’s practical as well as elegant. Other featured brands include Vietri, Good Earth Pottery, Kate Spade, Simon Pearce, Waterford and Vera Wang. The store also features a baby corner and a special line of dog collars for man’s best friend.
Paula commented, “Our line of recycled aluminum serve ware by Mariposa exemplifies what we call ‘relaxed elegance.’ It’s versatile, skillfully designed and made by hand using ethical practices. Plus, it’s on trend with the women of today who may be looking for a more casual, no-polish style of decorating and entertaining.”
Agapanthus offers the versatility that families need these days, providing an insightful response to customers’ desires. “Today, consumers are much more attuned to where and how things are made, and they insist—rightly so—on quality and relevance, along with value,” Paula explained. “We want them to have a ‘feel good’ experience in our boutique–even if they’re just browsing.”
The emphasis on customer service is genuine at Agapanthus, where staff members are knowledgeable and attentive. Paula added, “Once we’ve established a rapport with customers, we go to great lengths for our customers to maintain their satisfaction over time through excellent customer service. We earn their trust by finding beautiful solutions for them, doing many little things, such as keeping their enclosure cards on file, shipping, gift wrapping and customizing their choices with monogramming. It’s important to us that a gift from Agapanthus is one that leaves a lasting impression.”
For those with a marriage ceremony on the horizon, Agapanthus has Aggie Lane, a wedding gift registry within the boutique, where couples can register for gifts and tableware in both the store and online. Paula noted, “We feel it’s essential to see, touch and understand the quality of things you’ll be living with for years to come, but combined with the convenience of online ordering.”
Paula and husband Charlie King have been residents of Ocala for over twenty-five years and have two grown children, Chris, 30, and Caroline, 26. Paula has been actively involved as a volunteer in the community, serving on many charitable boards, including being the founding chairperson of the Marion Cultural Alliance. In her early career, she worked in manufacturing, sales, and licensing in a variety of products. After managing a medical practice for 18 years and her children were grown, she decided to follow her passion into the retail setting with Carmen Greiner, whom she met through her volunteer work.
She commented, “I was raised in a modest but beautiful home by a mother from a European (Greek) background and a southern dad, so the combination meant a lot of family traditions and wonderful hospitality. That’s where I learned the importance of beauty, everyday. Using your beautiful things adds that accent of elegance that takes entertaining with family and friends to another level. If they’re not for you, then who are they for?”
That particular care and attention to detail is more than evident in the lovely, eclectic setting of Agapanthus. From contemporary-chic to time-honored formal, there are treasures sure to tempt the most discerning consumer palette.