152 South Park Ave., Winter Park, Fla.
Created as a resort community for snowbirds in the late 19th century, the Orlando suburb of Winter Park, with its Saturday market and picturesque Rollins College campus, is one of Central Florida’s most surprising finds. The hottest thoroughfare in the quaint town is Park Avenue, where, much like its Manhattan counterpart, shopping is the main attraction. On one corner of the tree-lined district is a red door leading to the friendliest boutique around, Be On Park, owned by longtime pals Janice Blumberg and Matina Saltsman (pictured, left). The commitment to local artisans and thoughtful attention to detail make the shop feel like a secret gallery of treasures, hidden in plain sight on the busiest street in town.
What’s in a Name?
In the late ’90s, Blumberg and Saltsman owned jewelry store Park Promenade in the same location. They sold it in 2000 and the property changed hands several times over the ensuing decade. In 2010, they realized there’s no place like home and decided to return to the original shop. They refurbished it from front to back and christened it Be On Park. “We were struggling with a name, and we said, ‘Nobody’s moving from this room until we come up with something!’?” recalls Blumberg. “We were leafing through a book by Kobi Yamada.” Inspirational gift-book writer Yamada’s simple directives—be creative, be generous, be wonderful, and be amazing—led the friends to an epiphany. “We both looked up at each other at the same time and said, ‘Just be.’?”
Sounds simple, but Blumberg says the store’s vibe is about being in the moment; every item is personally chosen with that philosophy in mind. “We wanted Be On Park to be warm and welcoming and just, well, present,” Blumberg says, patting the store’s sweet black Labrador, TaKai, on the back. The nine-person staff focuses on styles running the gamut from playful to elegant, from antique to modern. “We like a lot of the smaller, more independent designers,” she says, citing such artists as Lauren Harper and Penny Preville. “And we try to throw in lots of one-of-a-kind pieces.”
The Art of the Matter
The sole remnant from the Park Promenade days is the vaulted ceiling featuring a mural of tropical birds by Smash Design from Seattle. Today, jewels from Armenta, Konstantino, Arunashi, and Roberto Coin share the fresh, open space with works by local artists including Martha Mahoney and Stacey Barter, whose paintings are displayed thoughtfully in the nooks and niches within the deceptively expansive store. (Most of the artwork is available for purchase.)
Gifts With Your Purchase?
In addition to designer baubles, Be On Park features a selection of upscale gifts such as dinnerware, handmade stingray bags, and locally sourced organic bath products. Even if you’re not in the market for a purchase, you can pop in and admire the artwork, gape at the jewels, and chat the afternoon away in true Southern style. “We provide our customers with the unique opportunity to surround themselves with a variety of beautiful things,” Blumberg says. “While they’re surrounded in such beauty, they spend more time in our store not knowing what they’ll discover that they just can’t live without.”
Proud of your windows and display cases? Send us photos.