St. Augustine Beach Sunshine Shop focuses on local connections

The Sunshine Shop in St. Augustine Beach is a family business in more ways than one.

First, the swimwear and clothing store at 645 A1A Beach Blvd. has a mother-daughter team at the helm.

Second, as part of the St. Augustine Beach community for nearly 40 years, the team has connected with several generations of tourists and locals alike, owner Lisa Mullins said.

“We have so many people who have shopped with us, and now their kids are shopping with us, and they’re bringing their kids. And, you know, we’ve seen multiple generations of families come through,” said Mullins, who runs the store. with his daughter and store manager, Megan Andrews.

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Mullins’ parents opened the business in 1984. Mullins and her husband bought the business in 2007, she said. Her husband handles the books and the couple’s other daughter, Morgan, occasionally helps out when she’s in town, Mullins said.

Andrews recently became a mother herself and brought her son, Deacon, 1, to work frequently for about a year with the help of a nursery set up in the back, she said. Customers ask about him and he always makes appearances at the store.

“We call it our baby shop,” Mullins said.

Customers are greeted with a bright, colorful atmosphere and a cheerful greeting from the duo, who share the same birthday and often finish each other’s sentences. The store is stocked with swimwear, clothing, jewelry, and other merchandise, and there’s a men’s section.

Visitors also benefit from the pair’s many years of experience in finding the right swimsuit for people. Andrews started helping out at the store when she was 13, hanging clothes.

The duo focus on making people comfortable and finding them a costume that makes them feel good about themselves, they said.

Even at the Sunshine Shop, there were tough times. Because of COVID-19, the company erected a wall and began renting out part of the building, Mullins said.

And there are fewer employees available on the job market, so being able to rely on each other means even more, whether it’s dealing with difficult situations or remembering to take breaks, they said.

“I couldn’t do it without her, for sure,” Mullins said. “We’re very lucky because we both have very strong personalities, that we can work together, and we know ― I’m going to cry.”

“Stop,” Andrews said softly.

“I know. I can’t cry over a photo,” Mullins said.

Over the years, their relationship grew into a close friendship, they said.

“We have such a special bond, you know. … We work all day together and sometimes we call each other on the way home, and we’ll talk until we park in our driveways,” Andrews said.

As they wrapped up a tour of their business with a few guests on Thursday morning, Andrews paused to reflect on Mother’s Day.

“It’s a day to celebrate the women who, you know, gave birth to all of us,” she said. “And that’s definitely something I appreciate more now…that I have my little guy – that I realize the sacrifices she’s made.”

“I made it look a little easy for her,” Mullins said.

“She did,” Andrews said.

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