Taffy. Popcorn. Souvenirs. Beach necessities.
When Maureen Hamilton opened her new store in Ormond-by-the-Sea, she had her customers in mind. Her store, Thinking of You, opened last week at 1644 Ocean Shore Blvd. Open Wednesday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and closed Tuesdays, the store is named after her last business, but Hamilton is hoping to cater to beachgoers this time around.
At her first store in New York, Hamilton sold upscale children’s clothes. When Hamilton began her first Thinking of You store in 1996 as a gift shop in Gainesville, she wrapped every item purchased. However, she decided in 2016 that it was time for a change of scenery and moved to Ormond where discovered she could work within close distance of the beach.
“What do people need when they’re at the beach? They need to hydrate,” Hamilton said. “So it’s still just thinking of what people need.”
By being across the street from Al Weeks Sr. North Shore Park, people can walk to Thinking of You for their needs after a long beach day, allowing the shop to act as a convenience store for beach necessities, Hamilton said.
Inspired by the name of her past shop, Hamilton said she wishes to continue the name “Thinking of You” as a way to show her care for each customer who enters her store. It acts as a convenience store by offering typical beach day needs, including water, sunscreen and umbrella rentals. It also offers salt water taffy, varieties of popcorn, soft pretzels, smoothies and coffee.
Hamilton wishes to use the small size of the shop to make her customer’s shopping experience simple.
“You take a housewarming gift or something and make it kind of simple,” Hamilton said. “You’re not going to get lost or spend hours in it.”
The store also gives back to the community. Hamilton, who is a member of the Ormond-by-the-Sea Lions Club, has a side table in her store — with legs sculpted to depict lions — where she places items people have donated. People are welcome to take items and donate others in return, if they wish. There is also a drop box for donations to benefit the Lions Club.
Hamilton is continuing to expand what her store offers.
“It’s still kind of blank, but we’re working on a lot more artwork, and all the artwork will be for sale,” Hamilton said. “So it’ll just change. It’ll evolve.”