Business Profile: High School Sweethearts Celebrate First Year As Entepreneurs
Lady Ashley Designs, a unique, one-stop gift shop, recently celebrated its first anniversary in Temple Terrace.
There was no doubt in Elizabeth Sullivan’s mind—she knew she had a purpose, and it was Lady Ashley Designs.
“Opening this shop was not just a business venture but a calling,” said Elizabeth, who owns the store with her husband, George “Randy” Sullivan.
But the gift store on Temple Terrace Highway isn’t the original.
The first Lady Ashley Designs shop was in San Antonio, TX, from 1990-2000. Named after Elizabeth’s youngest daughter, Ashley, it featured a few gifts, but it primarily offered jewelry that Elizabeth designed and created.
Elizabeth and Randy grew up in Washington, DC, dated in high school, married others and moved apart.
Then, Elizabeth moved to Virginia in 2000, reunited with Randy, and they married in 2005. She continued creating jewelry, which she sold independently in Washington. Randy retired from ONI, Department of Navy Intelligence, in 2006 and they moved to Temple Terrace to be closer to his mother.
Elizabeth said she was again called to open a shop. In addition to her jewelry, this year-old shop carries a selection of gifts for teachers, graduation, weddings, special occasions and more.
“It’s a unique collection of things you’ve never seen with something for everyone at every price range,” Elizabeth said.
The current best seller is a no-flame home fragrance. The scented wax pottery bowl could adorn any room the house, she said.
The garden area features wind chimes, garden flags and sun catchers. If you’re looking for a gift for the wine-lover, you’ll find mugs, clocks, wine bottle décor, corks and wall art. Collectibles include Circle of Love by Enesco, Disney Traditions Art from Jim Shore, Bella Boutique Collection, Willow Tree by Susan Lordi and Marie Osmond Lifestyle Collection of jewelry and scarves.
If you don’t see something you’re looking for, just ask. Elizabeth said she welcomes special requests.
“One of the biggest challenges during the first year was getting the word out and learning where to spend your advertising dollars,” Randy said.
Elizabeth and Randy agreed that the Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce has helped greatly in their success. Temple Terrace is a close-knit community and the chamber provides support to the little guy, they said.
“We’ve hosted chamber network groups and attend as many chamber functions as our schedule will allow,” said Elizabeth.
Any first year in business has its own challenges, but Elizabeth and Randy have succeeded and even spent the last year raising 10-year-old grandson Brandon. Balancing both has kept these high school sweethearts busy.
“The Temple Terrace Recreation Center has helped a great deal with their after school programs, summer camp, little league and basketball programs,” Randy said.
After parenting seven children, the couple said keeping up with Brandon ensures they stay active.
Need a seasonal décor item, items for a gift basket, a greeting card or gift wrap? Stop by Lady Ashley Designs and spend a few minutes with Elizabeth and Randy.
You’ll find them in the River Run Preserve, 7809 Temple Terrace Highway, Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.