Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star
By Jane Smith
Would you go into business with your mom?
That’s what Tammy Deery did about 14 years ago. A dental hygienist, Deery had an idea and took it to her mother, saying, “Mom, let’s open a shop.”
Neither Deery nor her mom, Sandy Hedges, had retail experience. Even so, their shop, The Fancy Flamingo, has survived the ups and downs in the economy and a few hurricanes at its Ocean Plaza location at the foot of the Ocean Avenue drawbridge in Boynton Beach. Oh, and there was the promise of a downtown.
The beachy boutique features women’s resort wear by Lulu B, long-sleeved T-shirts sporting the words “Ocean Ridge” on the back, jewelry and clothing with sea stars, mermaids and other ocean motifs.
The shop’s items range in price between $10 and $70, with the most popular price point between $40 and $50.
The Fancy Flamingo’s location near the ocean makes it convenient for people who want remembrances of their vacations and find the shop by doing an Internet search for “Boynton Beach” and “gifts.”
“People just want to be able to take a souvenir home when they return to the North,” Deery said.
The store uses social media, with a Facebook page and an Instagram account, to spread the word about its wares. The Fancy Flamingo also counts on word-of-mouth advertising from happy customers and referrals from fashion shows.
Early on, a customer associated with the Little Club in Gulf Stream asked whether the shop did fashion shows. Deery chalked up another first when she began hosting fashion shows for “real women.” One year, the shop did 13 shows in one season. That was too many, both women agreed.
Hedges calls the shop her “happy place.” The 700-square-foot store has interior walls painted a greeny turquoise, called Island Style from Benjamin Moore. Deery described the paint shade as a “bright, cheerful color.”
She credits her mom for keeping the customers coming through the doors. “They all like my mom,” Deery said.
Hedges remembers the customers’ names and their children’s names, where they are from and where they live now. “We go over and above with customer service,” she said. Plus, the store offers free gift-wrapping, helpful for husbands who come in with their wives’ wish lists for birthdays and holidays.
Mom and daughter like being in a plaza where customers can get out of the cars and take a short walk to their store.
“Our customers are not mall shoppers,” Hedges said. She thinks the shop could use more space, but worries about sustaining sales in the offseason. Ú
The Fancy Flamingo, Ocean Plaza, 640 E. Ocean Ave. No. 20, Boynton Beach; 735-8848; 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays during season; www.facebook.com/thefancyflamingo.