E ach year around this time, Lois Skipper, owner of the Hen’s Nest, a longstanding Minneola store and treasure hunter’s paradise, can be seen getting ready for her annual Holiday Open House.
This year is no different, and according to Lois, customers at the event scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or until all shoppers are done browsing the store) Saturday, can expect the usual selection of Christmas goods and other items, fun, prizes and most of all, her locally renowned ‘Hen’s Nest Punch.’
“People know my famous punch, and that’s part of the fun because I make it especially for them,” Skipper said. “Whenever we have any type of food for events or special occasions, we always give out our recipes.”
Saturday’s Holiday Open House will mark the Hen’s Nest 17th annual event.
Skipper said she and her vendors have prepared the 4,200-square-foot store, filling it with holiday décor, Christmas trees and ornaments and other winter-themed or holiday gift items.
“There is so much holiday merchandise, from trees and ornaments to gifts, florals and decorative pieces, plus there will be lots of goodies and door prizes,” Skipper said.
For 16 years, the Hen’s Nest has catered to the shopping needs of the community with items Skipper calls “antiques, shabby chic and unique.”
Skipper and more than 25 vendors keep the store filled with items ranging from a large selection of quality antiques and collectibles to used, refurbished and repainted furniture, home décor, florals, vintage signs, Leaning Tree cards, seasonal and primitive items.
During the holiday season, the vendor booths are made to look as festive as possible and are filled with a variety of holiday items, decorations and spirit.
In addition, each vendor has donated an ornament to decorate a four-foot Alpine Christmas tree, donated by Skipper, that will be raffled off to one lucky customer at the open house.
Skipper said people may register for the drawing at the store on the day of the event or anytime before.
“Just stop by and register any time. You don’t have to be at the actual open house to win, but I can say it will be a wonderful time,” she said.
“People are getting their minds set and changed over to holiday mode,” Skipper said. “When bigger retail stores put their Christmas stuff out, we do it too, just to keep up with them, but we go a step further with the open house so that all our customers, whether they are regulars or new customers just having discovered the store, can mingle and enjoy one another as they shop for friends, loved ones or themselves.”
Skipper suggests that customers looking for specific items — every day or holiday related — visit the store periodically because the lineup of goods is always changing.
“Although we already have a huge variety of items, new things are coming in every day,” Skipper said.
Also featured at the store now is also a wider variety of garden furniture and decorations, along with vintage jewelry and pottery and hand painted glassware by a local artist.
“We know times are tough, so we try to keep our prices down,” Skipper said. “Most of all, it makes me feel pretty good to have been here this long. We’ve met a lot of people over the years, and the fun thing is that we keep meeting more people every day.”
The Hen’s Nest is at 127 Washington Street in Minneola, next door to the Minneola Post Office. Store hours are noon-5 p.m. Mondays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
For information, call 352-242-9484.