Marcia’s Place has been part of the Ponte Vedra Beach community since 1985. Her shop at Sawgrass Village not only specializes in European, Asian and American fashion, as well as shoes, handbags, electronic jewelry and original artwork, it’s considered one of the oldest, and most-popular boutiques in the area. The reason is simple: her clientele are more than customers. They’re friends.
As told to Don Coble
You opened here in 1985. How have you made it work?
We got here in 1985. We started out as a shoe store. And then in 1999, we changed the concept and added clothing.
You must have a very dedicated clientele.
We do. I want to say that 70% to 80% of our business are local people. People who have lived here a long time.
How relieved were you when the governor announced Phase I of getting people back to work following the COVID-19 shutdown?
We were thrilled. We’ve seen some people since we’ve reopened and heard from a lot of them. We are messaging them. We’re emailing. We are trying to help them as best as they would like, whether they’d like curbside pickup or they want to come in or if they want to make an appointment. We’re willing to do that.
You sound like you are just as concerned about their overall well-being. Is that right?
Absolutely. We’ve had some of our customers for a long time. We check on them. We write to them, snail mail so they have something to open. Or we text them. Whatever they like. We stay in contact with them. We do check up on them.
Having been here for 35 years, what has been the biggest challenges? Recovering from hurricanes, the economic collapse 12 years ago or COVID-19?
This one. This one wasn’t like any other. It was very unique. It’s different than 2008 (economic collapse) when there was such a decline. We have been blessed by God and we have come back from these things every time and we expect that will happen this time as well. This definitely was a unique situation for everyone. The one in 2008 was financial. It was a recession.
Is this the original location?
This is our third location. The first one we were in was by Eckerd Drugs, which then became CVS. We were there for 27 years. Then they tore down the old part of the Village and we were in a temporary space was Aqua Grill is now for three years. We’ve been in this location for five years.
How did the THE PLAYERS canceling after one round affect your business?
We had a great week. It was inexplicable. Since they moved the date (from May), it hasn’t been as busy. But this past PLAYERS maybe because it ended early, which we were very sad about, we were able to have a wonderful week.
You’ve been here 35 years. Do you plan to be here another 35 years?
Absolutely. But I’m not just getting started. We have loved being here, no matter the location. We find the people of Ponte Vedra Beach and all of our customers to be amazing people. That’s really the truth. They have ministered to me as much as I have them. It’s a great relationship. We don’t really call them customers. We call them friends of Marcia’s Place because they truly are our friends.