July 2009

Fresh Produce • Funky island boutique offers more than tourist trinkets.

Author: Kate Hanzalik | Photographer: photography by anne

Whatever happened to the old Java Joe’s coffee shop in Coligny Plaza? Ask George and Kim Mischik, owners of the newly expanded Fresh Produce boutique, and they will tell you just how busy they have been with the takeover. CH2 had a chance to see what the buzz is all about early in June on a busy Sunday afternoon.

“We took over Java Joes on December 1, started renovations right away and completed it on February 1,” said Kim Mischik, comfortably seated on a plush paisley ottoman near six enticing shelves of Vera Bradley bags in every shape, size and color. “We just jumped at the opportunity to expand. We added a few new products. We expanded our Vera Bradley line. We used to only have four cabinets; now we have an additional two, and we spread everything out a little bit more, which makes shopping easier for everybody.”

Cozy pink plaid chairs, hand-painted pastel walls and a periwinkle stairwell are also among the many pleasantries of this truly eclectic shop. Comfort and style seem to be the vibe all-around. Choose from relaxed-fit clothes or more formal gear. Scour racks of shorts, long and short dresses, and tops from Fresh Produce brand, a Colorado-based clothing company, whose pale cotton relaxed-fit styles are akin to Anthropologie and Free People. And, you’ll be tempted by the array of designs from the Vera Bradley Patchwork Collection of visors, beach bags and plastic totes.
Sizes for everything range from six months to three-X, but they skip over the 7-14 age group. As Kim, a mother herself, says, “At that age, it’s kind of hard; those kids want to shop at Abercrombie.”

Opened in 2004, the Mischik’s shop is a considered a “handpicked store” of the Fresh Produce brand, so it is similar to a franchise, but is distinguished by the fact that it is locally owned and operated. “We make it fun. And I have a great staff; they are real hospitable with everybody and that makes it a great shop,” said Kim.
It’s certainly not your average tourist shop; in fact, the only Hilton Head iron-ons sold are cute little pastel onesies. Customers will get a kick out of the gotta-have-it electric pink and green party napkins with playful inscriptions such as: “I can handle any crisis; I have children” or “So many men, so few can afford me.” Coveted Tyler candles with their highly recognizable panther lids line one big wall. Lots of kid stuff too—funky Sassafras brand backpacks for kids, Doodah-brand toys, UPF 50 baby hats. Also worth mentioning are the MSC-brand polka dot coozies, bath toys, flip-flop notepads, and handmade black and white polka-dotted Little Miss O’s Hair Barrettes.

There is an impressive array of bathing suits, as well. “We have Fresh Produce and then we have the Sunset Swimwear which is a nice cut. Our bestselling top is the tankini and the swim bottom skirt that has a bottom built into it. That’s great because it kind of fits all ages, I like it too. I have kids so it makes it easy on the beach,” said Kim. As for specials, she added, “We always have a sale rack going; everything is 50 percent off.”

Locally handcrafted She’s Crafty jewelry pieces are also among the many items for sale, including belts with handmade buckles, funky necklaces and rings. The store also carries eco-friendly jewelry called Smart Glass, including sterling silver rings, necklaces and bracelets made from recycled glass, including a cobalt blue [piece] made from a vodka bottle, brown amber made from beer bottles, one from a sake bottle, and one from a Coca Cola bottle.

Whether you are a tourist looking to enjoy your day or a local looking for beach essentials, this shop is just right.

“Once you walk in here it just puts everybody in a good mood,” said Kim. “It’s colorful; it’s a fun environment to be in; it’s definitely stuff you are not going to find back home…you are not going to go back to Ohio and see a store similar to this.”

Fresh Produce is located at Coligny Plaza, 1 North Forest Beach Road. Store hours are Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call (843) 842-3410.

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