Photo by Kelly Nash Photography

A shining light on the 600 block of Central Ave.

There’s a little shop on Central Avenue that’s sure to brighten up one’s day no matter what the weather outside is like. Walking into Strands of Sunshine gives visitors an instant infusion of good vibes, as they find themselves surrounded by a thoughtfully curated collection of locally crafted art and goods.

Amy Marshall, the shop’s owner and curator, began making jewelry about 13 years ago, and what began as a hobby eventually grew into a business. When she and her husband, Chad, relocated to St. Petersburg six years ago, thanks to his job with the U.S. Navy, they both immediately fell in love with the city.

Invigorated by St. Pete’s vibrant art scene, Amy soon began looking for a way to showcase her pieces locally. On a whim while strolling down Central Ave., she placed a call to building management, and Strands of Sunshine was born. While she began in a small, 7×14- foot workshop on 6th Street N., the shop has grown in the past five years into the much larger location it occupies today on Central Ave.

Amy Marshall, shop owner and curator
Amy Marshall, Strands of Sunshine owner and curator. Photo by Kelly Nash Photography.

“I love how St. Pete has this big-city feel with the a small-town vibe,” Amy said. “There is something fun to do around here every night of the week. That combined with how nice people are make this a wonderful place to live. This city is also very welcoming and inclusive, and that’s important to me.”

For Locals, By Locals

Amy is a true champion in regards to keeping St. Pete local. In addition to her own pieces, which she creates right inside the shop, Strands of Sunshine offers a carefully chosen selection of handcrafted items for everyone and every occasion.

The first vendor that Strands of Sunshine added to its offerings was Smith Wicks Soy Candles, which are hand poured by Bryan and Savannah Smith right here in St. Pete. The Smiths have enjoyed expanding their business together with Strands and having a brick and mortar shop to connect with a growing audience. The popular soy candles rotate scents seasonally, and are available in glass jars, travel tins, or melts. The shop recently added a handbag line, Noelle & Lola, by local maker Hailey Pitman. Her popular clutches and wristlets have quickly become best sellers.

Award-winning Greeting Cards. Photo by Kelly Nash Photography.
Award-winning Greeting Cards. Photo by Kelly Nash Photography.

Strands of Sunshine is also known for its selection of paper goods. The shop was recently awarded the title “Best of the Bay: Best Local Shop to Get the Perfect Greeting Card”! To celebrate the win, Amy introduced a reward card for frequent card buyers. Shoppers may choose a free greeting card after every ten greeting cards purchased.

Locally made Handbags. Photo by Kelly Nash Photography.
Locally made Handbags. Photo by Kelly Nash Photography.

Shop. Create. Celebrate.

With the holidays coming up, Strands of Sunshine is a great place to find a unique and 100% local gift for someone special. In addition to finding a piece that will truly delight its recipient, buying local art is a great way to give back to and support the community.

Beyond being an eclectic and fun shopping destination, there is more than meets the eye to Strands of Sunshine. Look past the curtains hanging in the back of the shop, you will be delighted to discover a classroom and the workshop where Amy creates her jewelry. A variety of classes and specialty workshops are offered each month, from jewelry making to watercolor painting to letterpress printing.

Workshop. Photo by Kelly Nash Photography.
Workshop. Photo by Kelly Nash Photography.

The shop also hosts private parties, ideal for a ladies’ night out, team-building event or birthday celebration. Gather a few friends, bring some snacks, maybe some drinks, and have a fabulous time learning to make a custom piece of jewelry or another workshop of your choosing.

Pop in and discover this little local treasure for yourself. Strands of Sunshine is located at 633 Central Ave., and is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Call the shop with any questions at 727-823- 2878. Area artists who are interested in learning more about selling their work at Strands of Sunshine will find submission info at

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    November 24, 2017 - January 1, 2018
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