Local business owner Kathy Gonzales welcomes everyone down to Santa Rosa Beach for some therapy. Retail therapy, that is.

Opened July 1, Retail Therapy is a Mecca for the shopper extraordinaire, with about 60 vendors housed within 13,000-square-feet of space.

“I can’t believe how it’s building up,” said Gonzales, who says there is room for more. “It’s like a runaway train, almost,” she added with a smile.

There’s something for everyone at Retail Therapy, from funky kitchen items and handmade furniture to children’s clothing and colorful paintings.

Gonzales also has her own handmade jewelry on display at the shop. Her leather and pearl jewelry led her to open Retail Therapy this past summer. In the beginning, though, jewelry making was just a hobby for the native Brit, who moved to the Emerald Coast in 1992.

“I kind of fell into it really,” she said. “I was working at a salon and selling jewelry” on the side.

Eventually, her line of leather and pearl jewelry took off, and, “I ended up in 10 stores.”

That’s when she put down the shears and made a go at jewelry making full-time. One of the stores at which Gonzales was a vendor was Scavengers, formerly located at the far end of the now-Retail Therapy dominated strip along U.S. 98.

In an unexpected turn of events, the vendor-consignment store closed earlier this year. Gonzales and some of the other vendors were left thinking, “What do we do now?”

Though she had never been a business owner, with a little nudging and a good team behind her, Gonzales decided to open her own shop. She took a leap of faith and opened the store, turning favorite pastime to livelihood.

“I love to shop,” said Gonzales, adding that the name of the store comes from a favorite saying of shopaholics: “It’s not shopping, it’s retail therapy.”

Gonzales acquired the “empty shell of a space” and she, along with store manager Debra Thibodeau, did most of the decorating and painting work themselves over the next couple of months.

“I was covered in primer,” Gonzales recalled with a laugh.

Since opening, Gonzales has nothing but good news to report about the turnout of shoppers who come shop the thousands of one-of-a-kind and unique items.

Gonzales credits the store’s success to the talented local and out-of-state vendors.

“It’s nothing to do with me,” she said. “I owe it to them to make something of this.”

Going forward, Gonzales says she aims for the store to eventually become a place to meet up with your girlfriends, with painting classes and a monthly yard sale. 

“I just want to turn it into a social place,” said Gonzales.

She also plans to expand the offerings with more vendors, and she has space to welcome new fun and funky vendors.

For more information, “Like” Retail Therapy, SRB, on Facebook, or call the store at 267-0990. Better yet, stop in the store in the strip east of Louis Louis, Monday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.