Karen Kane, owner of Karen Kane Interiors and Bed Bath and Kitchen, is no
stranger to adapting to business conditions.
up at Orange Blossom Mall on Okeechobee Road. When it
closed in the 1990s, she moved back to the downtown, right
in the thick of things on North Second Street at Avenue A.
Like other successful businesses, Kane draws repeat customers
who know she offers a collection of unique products
at various price levels, making it easy to shop in one place.
She has long-term employees — with her for 35, 27, and 9
years — who understand what her clients and customers are
In contrast, some businesses opened more recently, knowing
the area was struggling with a recession and that their
advisors were warning them to be careful.
Mandy Green and Dale van der Lugt, niece and aunt respectively,
opened Sentiment, a gift boutique specializing in
candles and gift baskets, in August 2009 on Orange Avenue
at North Second Street because they firmly believed in their
own instincts. They said they knew it was right for them even
though their small business adviser was urging caution.
“We respected their advice and we were careful with our
planning, but we both felt the time was right for us,” Green
said. The two women grew up in Fort Pierce, and choosing the
downtown for their location was a natural for them, she said.
Green credits strong and creative networking, joint promotions
with other stores, word of mouth, a unique collection of
unusual items that appeal to a variety of tastes and wallets, the
use of Facebook, and a monthly newsletter for their success.