PLANT CITY - Longtime friends Roxanne Fulwood and KeeLee Tomlinson have transformed one of the city’s most historic buildings into a holiday wonderland.
Their Sassi interior decorating shop will offer furnishings for all holidays – from Halloween to Easter. But their true love is Christmas, and yuletide decorations will be available year-round.
“Christmas will be here all year long. Christmas is our passion,” Tomlinson said.
They opened their shop Oct. 28 at 314 S. Collins St., the former home of Knotts Hardware.
Fulwood is best friends with Tomlinson’s mother, Glenda. They most recently worked at the Florida Strawberry Festival, where Fulwood was the ticket office manager for seven years and Tomlinson was the public relations and media representative for four years.
They both loved decorating for Christmas and had talked for a while about leaving the festival and opening a store.
In March, they resigned from the festival and started overseeing renovations to Knotts Hardware, making sure they preserved its historic character such as hardwood floors and exposed ceiling beams. Some of the shelving dates back to Knotts, which operated from the 1930s until 2012.
“There’s still the Knotts feel to it. We are proud of our heritage,” Tomlinson said.
Renovations took four months, and the pair started stocking their store ahead of the their opening.
Their merchandise includes Christmas trees, bedding, Lenox holiday dishes, Nativity scenes and furniture. Their stock includes some decorations that would appeal to men, such as a Christmas tree that uses a barbecue grill as its base.
They also offer holiday home decorating services.
“We will come to your home and give you your own Christmas wonderland,” Tomlinson said.
The merchandise will change with the seasons although it will always be the place to go for those wanting to get a jump on decorating for Christmas.
“We want to carry items that aren’t necessarily readily available in Plant City,” Tomlinson said.
The store is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The phone number is (813) 704-6896. Sassi, which is an acronym for Stylish and Simply Stunning Interiors, also has a Facebook page.
Fulwood said she’s happy with their decision to launch a business of their own.
“This is like a dream come true,” Fulwood said. “We both love coming to work every day.”