For the last several weeks, I have watched the former location of Kaycee's Pet Parlor on Savannah Avenue transform into a retail store called "Straight from the South."
My curiosity got the better of me and I stopped by to check it out. I met co-owner Terry Smith, a native Californian who moved to this area to work for Dixie Outfitters several years ago as an artist creating designs for the T-shirts that they manufacture.
After a long stint there, he decided to go out on his own, and create his own designs for T-shirts with his wife and business partner Tracy Hodges who is also an artist in her own right.
"I have created over 50 designs incorporating our Straight from the South trademark," Smith said. "I really wanted to capture the essence of what people enjoy doing in this area of the country, the lifestyle that is here."
I was truly surprised at the creativity demonstrated by Smith and just how much fun his designs are, particularly since he is not from this "neck of the woods," but, rather, San Diego. He truly has captured the essence of our region and what we enjoy. And he has done it in a tasteful way. From hunting and fishing to trucks and playing corn hole, he has hit it all.
Interestingly enough, Smith said most of his customers are female, and his most popular selling design has the inscription — God, Family, & Softball.
In addition to the line of T-shirts, Smith has created a number of pieces of furniture using materials such as old wood and limbs. One of the things you notice immediately are the arbors he has constructed from cypress limbs that he found on the couple's property.
"I am getting a number of orders for these, and I truly enjoy making them," he said. "I will find something interesting on the grounds like a piece of a log or something, and Tracy will augment it with things like dried flowers. She works with a local florist on occasion, and she is very talented. We have sold quite a few of the pieces that she has created."
The store is eclectic and just fun. Designs that are available for T-shirts are on the store's Facebook page.
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
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