Towards the end of Pass-A-Grille Way, as it moves along the content Intercoastal Waterway, sits a brightly colored and beautifully decorated home. It is an extraordinary place filled with unique and entertaining artworks, glass and jewelry.
Galene Shorter bought the mission style home in March. As of August, the two-story residence—now one-hundred years old—has now become the source of Galene's Paradise, a gallery filled with Shorter's handcrafted glass signs and nightlights, as well as works by about 20 other artists.
All sorts of unique handcrafted pieces accent the beauty of the eclectic vintage house— which some say is haunted —located at 808 Pass-A-Grille Way. Shorter says her gallery is not to be just another attraction for the high-rollers vacationers' visiting St. Pete Beach. She is also there for the locals, and keeps her prices to appeal to both visitors and neighbors alike.
"Pass-A-Grille needed a good shop," Shorter says. "A place where when a kid gets their allowance, they can shop here."
"I want to be a one-stop-shop," Shorter says.
The moment you walk up to the door, you get the idea of just how eclectic Galene's Paradise wants to be. On the front porch, in front of the entrance, is a giant golden sun painted on the doorstep. Local artist Suze Huie put it there.
Of what she keeps in her shop, Shorter puts an emphasis on "coastal, nautical and beach themes." Everything she has chosen has a playful appeal with a touch of humor. Although the entire gallery is one-of-a-kind, the one thing you can always see at Galene's Paradise is a sense of fun.
Case in point, her most popular item is a hand-made sign that says, "Without family alcohol wouldn't be necessary."
Another of the 20 artists highlighted at Galene's Paradise is Leoma Lovegrove, a Florida artist who also uses striking techniques and tropical colors. According to Shorter, Lovegrove has works sitting in both the White House and Ringo Starr's home. Lovegrove's works fill a corner of the gallery, and Shorter offers her prints from $20 to about $2800.
As far as haunting, the story of 808 Pass-A-Grille Way made its way into a 2007 volume of chilling local tales. "Ghost Stories of St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Pinellas County: Tales from a Haunted Peninsula" by Deborah Frethem, tells the story of the property that is now Galene's Paradise.
The house was built in 1911 for Judge L.C. Swedtfeger, a former Illinois bank executive. Swedtfeger presided over the meeting incorporating the town of Pass-A-Grille in February 1911. It was then he was appointed the acting commissioner of the new township.
Swedtfeger planned to run for the permanent position, but suddenly passed away on Thanksgiving 1911. Over the years, several reports had his ghost spotted in the front sitting room.
Since Galene's Paradise has only been open since August, Shorter is always busy getting everything together. A sign for the store is arriving soon, and she is trying to nail down her operating hours.
"Right now, I'm running the show on my own," Shorter says.
Currently, Shorter has Galene's Paradise open for "summer hours," which are Wednesdays through Sundays. In November, she plans to open every day.
Stop by and see Galene Shorter at Galene's Paradise on 808 Pass-A-Grille Way, St. Pete Beach. She can be reached at (727) 498-8730 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are lucky, you can visit Judge Swedtfeger as well.