Laura West moved from New York to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1995. Two years later, she opened a home decor and interior design boutique, calling it Mineral City.
“Mineral City is the old name of Ponte Vedra Beach,” West said. The name was changed because a mining company there, the National Lead Company, wanted to develop the area as a resort. And the name “Mineral City” sounded like anything but. “I like history,” West said. “So, I said, ‘Oh, that'd be such a cool name for a home decor and gift store.’”
Some visitors would come in looking for rocks and minerals, she said, yet she has never sold either, which she finds amusing. She admits she probably should have thought the name through.
Those who did know of her products, however, soon became regulars. She expanded her inventory and moved to a larger space in 2008.
Since then, because of the economy and ease of online shopping, West downsized to a smaller space, where she focuses less on retail and more on custom interior design. After 21 years working six-day weeks, West has finally been able to shorten her store hours and have a quality life with loved ones.
“Before, people would come in, get great ideas and go find the product online,” West said. “I had to get smarter. I'm like a travelling gypsy. I pack up all my merchandise, go out on my design job, and create a custom, beautiful environment. Every house is different. This is what I really love.”