"Time goes by so fast!" says Annette Newbill Trujillo as she talks about her 20 years in business as an art-gallery owner in Seaside.

Trujillo opened her Newbill Collection by the Sea March 15, 1993 on the first floor of an acquaintance's newly constructed townhome in Seaside's Ruskin Place Artist Colony. At that time, Ruskin Place was not built out and the live/work townhome was the fourth one constructed around the park. There was only one other small art gallery there and it closed after about a year. To date, her Newbill Gallery is the longest operating in Seaside.

"It was slow 20 years ago," admits Trujillo.

Trujillo is not an artist and had not owned a gallery previously, but felt that Seaside would be a great place for one.

A Panama City native, she met her husband there and they moved to California for two years before deciding they wanted to come back to this area to live.

She developed the home economics program at Gulf Coast Community College and taught there for three years before joining the corporate world. She also worked for a retail food chain for 16 years.

"My husband and I would come out here to eat at Bud & Alley's and we bought art here," she said. "I'm not an artist but I do appreciate and love art. I thought this would be a great place to open an art gallery."

Twenty years later Trujillo still says there is not a better place to have a small business.

"The people who come here appreciate art. It's a public that is very pleasurable with which to work," she says.

Some of the artists’ works she carries in her gallery are artists she started with when she opened.

"I believe you have to keep work fresh and not stay the same. I have been privileged to work with artists who understand that concept and that makes it easier," she said.

Trujillo represents around 300 artists, some who have been with her for 20 years. The artists' works represent a wide genre. At Newbill you will find ceramic sculptures made in Tallahassee, jewelry made by an artist in New Orleans, glass items blown in Chattanooga, wood pieces, photography, folk art, garden art, and paintings — all original and limited editions housed in her 650 square feet of space.

The locale doesn't hurt either.

"This is a safe little vacation town and it's civil," she said. "You don't have to worry about things like you do in a big city."

Trujillo has stood while others have fallen through oil spills, rain, and hurricanes. But, she says matter of factly that most entrepreneurs have a formula to keep their businesses going during those times. Hers? Work harder and cut expenses.

"My repeat business has been so good over the years," she said. "I have a varied inventory with wide appeal. It takes a while to build a business. But I can't imagine doing business anywhere else."

Newbill Collection by the Sea is closed Sunday and Tuesday during the shoulder season except for holidays and during special events. Regular hours are from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

For more information call 231-4500.