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Photo by: Sarah Wilson - Timothy's Gallery owners Carolyn Luce, left, and Jill Daunno, right, are saying goodbye to the business that's brought them joy for the past 26 years on Park Avenue.
Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016 4 years ago

Timothy's Gallery closes its doors on Park Avenue

Gallery to close
by: Tim Briggs

Known for its trademark cherry red doors and an eccentric fish-hat wearing ballerina named Tallulah, Timothy’s Gallery will end its quirky existence at 236 N. Park Ave. after 26 years next week.

On March 1, Timothy’s Gallery will close its doors for good. For more than two decades, the gallery has inspired and entertained countless residents of Winter Park and visitors from all over the world. Timothy’s owners, Carolyn Luce and Jill Daunno, decided that they wanted to close the gallery on their own terms, leaving behind a legacy of one of the top-25 art galleries in North America that won’t be easily forgotten.

“Our intention was joy and our legacy is joy,” owner Luce said. “It had everything to do with relationships, people buying our items for other humans. It’s a living, breathing entity.”

Luce said customers are coming in eulogizing the loss of Timothy’s as if someone or something is dying. “And it is,” she said.

The joy they created – and are now leaving behind – was something that Luce envisioned in 1990 when Timothy’s originally opened. With the company tag line of “From whimsical to wow,” Timothy’s always intended to supply its customers with quality and quirky products, whether it be a $15 trinket or a $5,000 mural.

“The one thing we always asked people who wanted to work with us was, ‘Do you know how to do joy?’” Luce said. “It’s been a labor of love, it’s not a business where the decisions were made just for business. It’s an extension of everyone who has been on that floor, it’s an extension of a 25 year friendship.”

Luce started the gallery in 1990 and her friend Jill Daunno joined her on the journey the next year. The amount of memories and joy created behind the gallery’s bright red doors over the past 26 years makes these two friends and owners proud.

Luce describes Timothy’s with a nautical “her” as the pronoun, describing the initial idea for the name as one inspired by her son, whose name is Timothy. The gallery is a reflection of Luce’s personal livelihood, one rich with family, friendship and joy.

“It’s a beautiful legacy and we’re absolutely thankful that people would love this gallery as much as we have,” Luce said.

Timothy’s is known locally for the wooden art piece out in front of the shop, a ballerina named Tallulah. Luce said that Tallulah was created in 1996 by artist Judie Bomberger as a way to lure customers to the gallery at a time when Park Avenue wasn’t nearly as popular as it is today.

“I wanted something that was going to stop people, enticing people to come into Timothy’s because it was really a dim time, so she sent me a drawing,” Luce said. “‘This is it! This is perfect!’ I thought, so we had a contest for who got to name her and she’s been there for 20 years.”

As for the future of Tallulah, Luce plans on taking the ballerina to retire with her to her mountain home in Asheville, N.C. to live on her deck. And Daunno is looking forward to her own retirement right her in Winter Park.

“I’m going to be retired and enjoying things, going out and living life with joy,” Daunno said.

For Luce and for Daunno, “joy” seemed to be the only way to describe the 26-year adventure. With tears brimming with memories of the impact Timothy’s made on its thousands of customers over the years, Luce smiled with a final thought.

“It’s just been a joy fest,” Luce said. “It really has been.”

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