Jane Bicknell is ready for her first season as a downtown merchant.
She’s the new owner of the store formerly called The Tabletop, which she has renamed Luxurious Interiors, 205 W. Venice Ave., near Kilwin’s.
It has a completely new look but the same team. While retaining many popular items, during the summer Bicknell began adding exciting new lines.
“My future for the store is to continue offering environmentally friendly items and match the needs of our customers,” she said. “I am having a lot of time in the store meeting and talking to the customers finding their interests and needs.”
Growing up in Birmingham, England, Bicknell’s working career in England began at McDonald’s, where she eventually became the new store’s opening manager.
She joined Laura Ashley as a store manager at just 22, then became a regional manager before moving into the interior design division.
In a complete change, for 10 years she worked for a Middle East ruler controlling his retail division based in Kuwait. Her territory covered Bahrain, Oman, Dubai and other divisions, with the responsibility of bringing American and British brands, including The Cheesecake Factory and Starbucks, into the Middle East.
For two years she and her husband traveled this country, settling in Venice last year and acquiring the store this year.
Although she liked the original store as it was, she could see from her experience there was a lot of potential for growth and opportunities to bring new products to Venice.
“I am intent upon putting my touch on this store and creating a place where the local community can purchase unique items, not having to travel to Sarasota,” she said. “One of my first moves has been to introduce unique Italian Murano glass centerpieces, vases, jewelry and decorative items for the home.”
Because she’s passionate about the environment, customers will find a range of products on that theme, including biodegradable straws and paper items.
Additional lines are linked to charities, including ones building wells in Uganda, fighting cancer and supporting animals represented by mugs, cups, bar accessories, glasses, coasters and more.
There are new cushions, pillows, photo frames, bathroom lines, cooler bags and coasters.
To encourage men to accompany their wives to shop in the store, she has begun introducing men’s gifts for the office and bar.
“We have a special new range of quirky artwork to keep up with the modern trends, plus European products and gift ranges.” Bicknell said. “There are aerators to assist with medical issues, improving the quality of life.
“We are a store focused on personal service. Do ask us for details, as some products need explanations.”
She is planning some events for the locals to enhance shopping and will be serving mulled wine.
There will be special product launch events as more new items arrive, and next year she will be increasing her homeware lines.
Luxurious Interiors, 205 W. Venice Ave., is open 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Sunday. Call 941-485-0319.