When Mark and Laura arrived in Venice, their mouths dropped at the sight of the palm trees lining the avenues of the City on the Gulf. As they took in the sights and sounds of the area, they realized no one was selling hammocks, and the light bulb went off. Mark explains excitedly, “We looked at each other and said let’s sell hammocks in paradise.” Since that vision, his goal has been to sell a hammock a day, and he has pretty much met that goal since opening Island Life Hammock Co. three years ago.
This boutique store offers hammocks from all over the world. One being Pawley’s Island hammock which was created over 125 years ago. Pawley’s set the standard for the original American hammock. In fact they are so well made, the duracord part of the hammock is animal-resistant; squirrels and their furry cousins do not like the taste. Plus Mark tells of one American-made hammock that was hung on a Banyan tree on the Island. Unfortunately, Irma toppled the tree, but the hammock did not sustain any damage from the 110 mph winds and was able to be re-hung.
Another type are the Brazilian Hammocks which are named after famous beaches such as Jericoacoara, Maharaja, and Impanema. “In fact,” Mark exclaims, “I sold one to a lady who came to the shop, and she was actually from Impanema. But I am just waiting,” he continues, “to sell one to Robert Plant, former lead singer of Led Zeppelin. The day he comes in to buy one, I can say: mission accomplished.”
The couple just recently updated their website www.islandlifehammocks.com, and they do a fair amount of business just from the website. But foot traffic is always the best for as Mark says, “The magic happens in the shop, and we truly have the nicest customers, whether they are the locals who support our business or the seasonal visitors. We just enjoy helping our customers furnish their little slice of paradise, whether it be here in Venice or elsewhere.”
Of course we all remember our Dads resting in the typical green canvas hammock on a metal stand after mowing the grass. Mark wants today’s generation to experience and treasure those same memories of yesteryear. “Every yard looks great from the hammock’s view.” However, hammocks have come a long way over the years and they aren’t just for outside anymore. Today there are even more styles and varieties to choose from. Island Life carries hanging chairs and swings that look great in your living room, den, or even the kids’ bedrooms! Mark will even make local deliveries and assist with proper installation. And like a bicycle, once you master getting in and out of a hammock, it stays with you forever.
While Mark’s passion are the hammocks, wife Laura wants our readers to know that their shop offers everything for the home with a beach house flair, all made by local artisans.
She says, “Our shop is more than just a hammock store. We offer pillows, wall art, jewelry, home decor, and even funky, colorful birdhouses.
The old recycled metal art and lit beach signs are very popular. A top seller are the Real Deal hats and backpacks made from the canvas of trucks and come via way of Brazil. Customers love the old original patches on these tarp hats and bags.”
One visitor stopped to admire the brightly colored Adirondack chairs displayed in front of the store. After a quick peak inside, she beaconed her husband to come in and check out the variety of wall art.
The Adirondack Chairs are the perfect gift for Mom or Dad. They have a lifetime warranty and will not split, rot or mildew. They are UV-protected, and come in an assortment of vibrant colors, including orange, blue, green and teal. Following a bit of light assembly, your chair is ready for a lifetime of enjoyment.
So the next time you are meandering the avenues, be sure to stop in and be greeted with a smile by Mark and Laura at Island Life Hammock Co. located in the 300 block on West Venice Avenue.