While walking down historic Canal Street in New Smyrna, you will see dozens of unique boutiques, locally owned restaurants and quaint antique stores, but what you won’t see are the familiar bright logos of national chain stores lining the street. Local businesses are the heartbeat of New Smyrna and are part of what makes this community so charming and keeps New Smyrna thriving. This week, in true beach town fashion, we are featuring a local Canal Street boutique, Bikini Co., which specializes in beachwear and bikinis.
As soon as you step inside Bikini Co., you will find rows filled with every style of bikini in every print you could imagine, dozens of sandals and beach attire, but will also find Reef. Even at his young age, Reef seems to have a solid understanding of his job to greet customers without making them feel bombarded. Of course, with his silky coat, big brown eyes and wagging tail, the golden retriever is quick to win over customers. Reef routinely serves as a distraction for kids, and even husbands, while women scour the store for a bikini.
Reef’s owner is Clay, who is carrying on his family’s legacy by opening the Canal street store.
“My grandparents started their shop (Bikini Co.) in Ormond in 1983,” said Clay. “A lot of people from New Smyrna go to Daytona Shore to get their swimsuits so we decided to open this one,” said Clay, explaining why he decided to open the New Smyrna location after college.
With sizes ranging from infant swimsuits up to the largest of sizes and in dozens of styles, Clay hopes that Bikini Co offers something for everyone.
“I just want everyone to be happy and to know they can come here and find a suit” said Clay.
In fact, making customers happy is Clay’s mission for Bikini Co.
“My Mom and my Grandma have been running the other stores for years and I feel like the reason they’ve done so well is because my Mom is the sweetest person ever. She will go out of her way to help you” said Clay. “I just want everyone to be happy and I think that’s the key.”
Bikini Co. opened its Canal street doors just two months ago, and so far, Clay and his co-worker, Vanille, are feeling right at home.
“As soon as we moved in the other business owners brought us plants- they are all so sweet,” said Clay about the community aspect of Canal Street.
For Clay and Vanille, living and working in New Smyrna Beach is the best of both worlds.
“Everywhere I go there is live music, there aren’t a lot of big stores; I can get pretty much get anything I need by walking or riding my bike- there’s even a Farmer’s Market I walk to” said Clay about living in New Smyrna.
“It just feels like everyone is on New Smyrna Beach time, everyone here is less stressed” said Vanielle, who attends the University of Florida but is home for the summer.
For Vanielle, living in New Smyrna means constantly finding new places to explore and new activities to try.
“I recently tried paddle board fishing” said Vanille. “You can just dock your paddle board and fish. It’s different but a lot of fun.”
Next time you are on Canal Street take a moment to stop by and say hi to Reef, Clay and Vanille. If you are looking to purchase property and make New Smyrna your home, please contact us to help you make your Florida life a reality!