Last February, Bradenton-based Bealls Department Store introduced a line of ladies and children's apparel that featured the casual, colorful Florida motifs of Matlacha artist Leoma Lovegrove. They've been such a hit with the store's customers that Bealls decided to expand their line of Lovegrove products to include handbags, totes, luggage, beach towels, Tervis drinkware and more. The new products were rolled out Thursday at the Bealls Department Store at Cypress Trace Shopping Center in Fort Myers.
"We wanted to share the Florida we know and love with the people who shop in our stores," noted Bealls President Lorna Nagler at yesterday's launch. "So two years ago we began searching for an artist whose work would translate well into the kinds of products our customers want and appreciate."
Although the company interviewed a large number of candidates, "Leoma had this spark that let us know right away that she was the artist for us."
Of course, the company convened focus groups and conducted extensive market research and analysis. "But when her tees figuratively flew off the shelves, we knew we really had something special with Leoma."
The expanded product line is available in each of Bealls' 74 department stores in the State of Florida, as well as online at: http://www.beallsflorida.com/online/leoma-lovegrove, which should give Matlacha Island and Southwest Florida added name recognition and a potential boost in tourism since each item sold identifies Lovegrove as an impressionist/expressionist artist from Matlacha.
During the event, Lovegrove shared her inspiration with a group of nearly 200 Bealls executives, employees, customers and well-wishers by painting live on a stage set up in the Misses Department of the Cypress Trace Shopping Center store.
"When people ask how long it takes me to complete a painting," Leoma told the group as she tossed hand-painted frisbees into the audience, "I tell them 3 and 30. Three minutes and 30 years of experience."
It took slightly longer than three minutes Thursday, but the folks who turned out for the launch were astounded nonetheless as Lovegrove worked with all sized brushes and even her fingers to bring a magenta and purple seahorse to life on the Bealls stage in a matter of just twenty minutes.
Beall’s Department Stores is a division of Bealls, Inc. Founded in 1915 as a dry goods store, the Bradenton-based company now operates more than 540 stores in 17 states under the names Beall's, Beall's Outlet and Burke’s Outlet. Besides Florida, the company operates stores in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Today, Beall's is the destination of choice for casual lifestyle and priced right apparel and home merchandise. To learn more about Bealls, please visit BeallsFlorida.com.
Leoma Lovegrove, is an impressionist-expressionist painter known worldwide for her splashy, artistic depictions of the Florida lifestyle. Located in the heart of Matlacha Island on the southwest coast of Florida, Lovegrove Gallery and Gardens is one of the most colorful landmarks in the Sunshine State. To learn more, please visit LeomaLovegrove.com.