Iris Abbey, we are delighted to announce, is a vendor at Avonlea Antique Mall in Jacksonville, Florida. Avonlea boasts the largest air-conditioned antiques mall in the region, a big plus, because this summer heat is brutal.

Avonlea Antique Mall

We took a few months to decide on the move. David’s retirement came first, then my mother’s hospitalizations. We continued to meet regularly with Mary Habres, our SCORE mentor and expert in marketing. If you have access to a SCORE office, I urge you to use their resources. They exist to help small business owners.

Mary recognized the need to showcase our wares beyond our website, which has a rather modest following. She made two recommendations: talk with the exceptionally friendly folks at Avonlea about renting vendor space, and upgrade our website.

It took us a few weeks to commit to this adventure. We debated the size booth we’d need and agreed that a small, cosy space would be fine. Unfortunately, by the time we gave Avonlea our good news the space was long gone. My dream took a nosedive.

Amazingly, less than 24 hours later, the Avonlea rep contacted us with news that a space would open up in mid-July. No hesitation this time. We jumped at it.

While waiting to move in, I went into overdrive. I checked, double-checked, and rechecked to make sure each piece of furniture was as perfect as possible. Did we have enough smalls? We needed more smalls. Time to visit a few more estate sales and, by all means, keep painting. I transformed a dark, dirty cast iron doorstop, for instance, into this bright fellow whose details now pop.

Rooster Doorstop

David began to look paler and feel terrible. He groused, but went ahead and scheduled a medical exam. The results landed him in the hospital. After 5 days, 4 pints of blood and a battery of tests, there still was no smoking gun. He left the hospital and faced other outpatient tests. My favorite had him swallowing a camera pill that took thousands of pictures as it wound its way through his body. No results on that yet.

The Avonlea rep phoned during the hospital stay and gave us the green light. Very exciting, but impossible. I was ready to weep. But we could still pull this off with a small delay.

Two days after David returned home, I bounded into my car and headed to Avonlea, a 5-mile drive, to finalize the details of our move. I sat with hundreds of other drivers in bumper-to-bumper, 5 o’clock traffic near an I-95 entrance ramp. An 18-wheeler bulled into my lane — he didn’t see me — and ripped up the driver’s side of my car. Thankfully, because we were barely moving, I escaped without injury. I’m sure if we were driving at speed, I’d still be ricocheting. After several hours, a downpour and darkness, the tow truck hauled my totaled car away. And I sobbed.

Ann Marie's Car Wreck

This was not an auspicious beginning for our new business at Avonlea, what with the sky falling and all. When we moved in a few days later, everyone was tremendously kind. I feel very relieved and excited to be ensconced there.

Here is our gorgeous green buffet with gold wax now on display in our booth:

Drexel Esperanto Buffet

So, let’s look for the silver lining. We prevailed in the face of adversity. We are getting an SUV soon. Iris Abbey has a new website, so spend a little time checking it out. A big thanks goes to Elizabeth Pampalone, the Jax Computer Chic who possesses spectacular computer skills.  We now have a booth at Avonlea Antiques Mall and look forward to helping you locate that perfect item for your home or a thoughtful gift for a favorite someone.

We have wondrous, unique things to show you.


Ann Marie and David


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