PANAMA CITY — Two longtime friends created a vision to own a shop nearly two years ago and after much thought and preparation, they are now the owners of a new home décor and gift shop in downtown Panama City.
Owners Tracey Elliot and Lesli Todd opened Jute and Palm in mid-March with a vision to take part in revitalizing the community through timeless treasures.
The idea to open a gift shop formed on a lunch outing in February 2020. Elliot and Todd agreed they wanted to own something outside of their career paths and started paving the way to make it happen.
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“My husband and I always wanted to live in Panama City, but we spent a lot of time waiting because he had to transfer his job,” said Todd, a Georgia native. “So we were in prayer mode for almost a year before anything started happening, but eventually God opened the doors for us.”
The new storefront sits at 448 Harrison Ave. and welcomes customers Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Jute and Palm sells home décor merchandise collections, including candles, crafted gift sets, dining accessories, furniture, jewelry and forgotten art. Each item is tagged as either found, made or gathered, telling its own story of how it ended up in the store.
Elliot said the inventory rotates each week, so customers get a feel of something new during each visit.
“One of my favorite things to do is find things and create them into something else,” Elliot said. “I personally pick out our items to make them one-of-a-kind creations because people don’t see curated items as often anymore.”
Jute and Palm’s name comes from a last-minute decision, Elliot said. The owners thought of several names before deciding they wanted to incorporate “jute,” a popular natural fiber used to weave crafts, and something simple that followed, and they thought of “palm.”
Looking into the future, they plan to add the store’s inventory on its website, juteandpalm.com, allowing customers from outside of Bay County to shop within the store. They also want to connect with other businesses in the community and participate in events and activities downtown.
Todd said she enjoys welcoming visitors from the downtown farmer’s market on Saturdays, and it’s brought in several new and repeat customers.
“Our goal is to be community-oriented. We’ve already met so many great people since opening and hope we continue seeing that moving forward,” Todd said. “I love the downtown area, and we see great plans from businesses already here, so we know others have the best interest for Bay County.”
Jute and Palm will hold its grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Bay County and Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce in the next few weeks. Follow the Jute and Palm Facebook page for updates and announcements.