A Store with Heart
There is a sweet little spot near historic Longwood you have to check out. Near the corner of 434 and Ronald Regan next door to Citizens Bank sits Masellis Treasure Chest waiting patiently for your arrival. Though we have officially exited the Christmas shopping season, put this shop on your list for frequent flight gift browsing for home accessories, furnishings, and decor. This quaint little spot is owned and run by a woman who knows the value of community and wants to share that love of community while providing customers a chance to explore the beauty she loves with a chance to take home a little piece at a time to beautify their own lives. Judy, the proprietor, is a self professed collector from very early in life, holding a long love of hunting for the unique and collectible. And like so many seek to do, she has pulled this dream from the other side into her reality.
When you go, take your time. This is the perfect spot for a two hour, post Saturday brunch exploration. This is no box store. This is a shop that lives up to its name, and where you will be greeted warmly with, “Let us know if we can help you.” It’s shelves harbor bounteous treasures and a story for almost each piece including the historical background and often the personal journey of the item with its previous owner.
With a smile that beams with genuine charisma and joy, Judy tells me about the heart she puts into her shop,”I like to think of myself as a bargain shopper but with a twist, because when I look for inventory I’m looking for special items…Items that I can sell at the best price possible for my customers. Not only antiques. I want my shop to have something for everyone. I carry not only fine glass, crystal and rare china such as Haviland Limoges, Royal Worcester, Copeland Spode but also Nascar items, aluminum postcards, wicker furniture, vintage accessories and a large selection of vintage costume jewelry.” When Ivonne Morales-Serrano and I stopped in we found a beautiful vintage Chinese coin necklace, Italian shawl, and cool praying hands earrings. Lisa also carries the original Franciscan Desert Rose pattern Jackie Kennedy also used as one of her official patterns in the White House.
Lisa’s pre-dream job, vocation was grounded in 25 years of accounting. She confided to me she got flat, burned out. “It got to where my brain would ache when I would think about going back to my job the next day.” Her 12 hour day, daily tasks revolved around spreadsheets, ledgers, payroll, taxes, and in her words the stress was “cumbersome, and I really began to be miserable, and I knew I needed to make a change.” After speaking with her husband about the deadend she was feeling in her position, he supported her desire to make a new beginning and told her to give her notice. Lisa credits her chance to start the shop to her husband Michael Masellis and his loving support of her dream.
I asked her what moved her to make her love her new work. “Well first I just really wanted to look at what this kind of a business would be like. I wasn’t positive that this is what I would do.” But after exploring and considering her other talents she took the plunge, “There were other things I could do to make a living building off my accounting career, but I didn’t find the same joy in those endeavors as I found, even in just exploring the idea of the shop and my merchandise.”
Their two income home went to one income as she began to build up inventory.
Like many small entrepreneurs Lisa did her research before she started out. She did start to sell on EBay in 2007 where she became a power seller and top rated seller. Lisa showed no hesitation when I asked her about what she believed was the key to her success, “Customer service, absolutely. Even in my eBay business I would always send a hand written thank you card. I wanted the buyer to know how much I appreciated their business. I wanted them to know they could always contact me directly with questions, concerns and to resolve any of their needs.” She is still active on eBay and has a 100% rating on the over 1,500 items she’s sold since 2007. She found confidence in her early selling on eBay for her eye toward the unique. Today the phone number on Lisa’s card and store flyers goes straight to her phone. She is always available to her customers.
Judy’s eyes sparkle with passion as she speaks about her shop and the contents she proudly displays. She likes to carry something from as many different parts of the world as possible, even as far reaching as India, Bulgaria. She even has Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, as well as Dooney and Burke. “I carry a wide variety with intention, because I want everyone to be comfortable to shop here, not just the person who is willing to spend several hundred dollars on china.”
You will also likely notice some very cool bohemian style, fabric bags in the store. I asked Judy about them and she told me quite casually, “My Mom makes those. She’s been sewing I since she was a girl.” She turned a sweeping and graceful hand toward a peddle powered antique Singer Sewing machine, “She learned on a machine like this one. She still sews and I sell her bags, pillowcases and other items she stitches together.” These hand sewn bags and pillowcases are not only unique but very “in,” and possess a vintage flair, clear support for where Judy likely got much of her eye for the unique and stylish.
The pride Lisa takes in her store is felt in how clean and orderly she keeps her displays. All her items are easy to see and catch the light from her shops’ many windows. The walk ways she states are intentionally kept wide because she wants even people with mobility challenges to feel free to enter and enjoy her treasures with her. “Some people may say I’m giving up too much space for the walk room, but you know the space is not so much important to me as my customers are and I want everyone to feel welcome and have access here.”
Lisa loves the chance to make her shop space beautiful, and welcoming for her customers allowing her to engage her creativity. After so many years in accounting I asked her if it were hard to fall into the creative side of herself, ” You know strangely, no. Because the weirder, quirkier the better, and getting to share all that with customers requires me to figure out how to display these items. And I love to find the unexpected. This job allows me to continually find the unexpected and share that beauty with customers everyday…which is good since I’m open, seven days a week. Just hearing myself talk with you about how much I love this place, lets me know I made the right choice, so thank you for giving me the chance to talk about what I love!”