Owner Matthew Peterson wants to bring a new flavor of boutique to the island.
Tucked in the Centre Shops is a new clothing store aiming to bring a new surf-style flair to Longboat Key — Scotch and Surf.
Longboat Key isn’t quite a surf destination, but that didn’t deter owner Matthew Peterson, who’s coming from a stint selling surf style in Wisconsin. He says you don’t have to be a surfer to wear the clothes, and he’s hoping to attract locals and visitors alike to the space.
“It’s something a little different,” Peterson said. “Mainly I’m just trying to be somewhere you’d stand out. It’s different than other places here.”
Surf and Scotch may be new to Longboat Key, but it certainly isn’t new. The brand has been around for about four years and originally opened in St. Augustine. Peterson then took surfwear to La Crosse, Wisconsin, where he spent about two and a half years. His parents asked if he was going to change the name when he took Surf and Scotch north, but he already had the brand’s social media going, so why restart?
“It just kind of stuck,” he said.
The store opened on Sept. 4 and so far is open two days a week, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at 5360 GMD, Suite 106. Business is slow, but it picks up when the restaurants open around 4 p.m. and it picked up when the beach parking reopened, Peterson said. Even if he’s just making a couple sales a day right now, that works for him — at least the name is getting out there before the peak of people.
“It’s non-season so it’s tough to tell, but that’s kind of the fun part, seeing what works,” Peterson said.
The store is Peterson’s passion project. He works a full-time job as the assistant manager of a Beall's store as well, and the dual jobs can be stressful but in the end, it’s his escape. He’s totally new to the area and actually lives in Tampa, but has had some warm welcomes from other businesses.
He’s hoping that getting settled in now bodes for a better season, where he can welcome more people in without stressing over getting the whole store set up at the same time.
“It’s what I like to do and it’s all me, but that’s what makes it tough sometimes,” Peterson said. “It’s a one-person endeavor. I’m putting things together and doing the buying and merchandising. It is work but also, it’s fun.”