When the Howell’s Landing boat ramp is all fixed up in a few weeks, anglers might want to build a few extra minutes into their trips there, giving themselves time to stop in at a new business that has opened on the hill just south of that fishing hole on River Road.

They won’t find bait and tackle at the little shop, but they might snag a toy or T-shirt for the grandkids back home, a tasty mix they can whip up for dinner or a snack, or perhaps a picture frame to hold a picture of their biggest catch of the day.

Tootie Pie’s is already open, though, so there’s really no need to wait for the ramp fix. And for the next few days, you’ll find an array of Valentine’s Day goodies, including helium balloons, candles, and there’s even a Valentine’s Day-themed door hanger. If the door’s not open when you get there, just call the owner at 850-209-8998. It’s likely she’s just a few steps away and can be there in a matter of seconds.

Owner Brandi Foster is the busy mother of two energetic pre-school daughters. She named her business after the kids, combining their family nicknames, “Tootie” and “Pie-pie” to create it.

While she does a good bit of her business online, through her Facebook page and such, Foster has filled the physical shop with merchandise that in-person customers can browse and buy.

Foster, daughter of locals Cliff and Andria Thames, opened her place in June of last year in the compact, rustic-styled and tidy portable that’s perched on a hill just in front of her dwelling and not far from the Three Rivers State Park entrance. But due to an illness in the family that required almost all of her attention at time, the shop went into idle mode for several months. She’s just getting started again, she said.

The location leaves her in an advantageous position to grab the attention of tourists to that area, but it’s also close enough to the U.S.90/River Road intersection to make short work of a shopping trip by locals.

It features a wide variety of whimsical décor and useful things for the home, toys, sippy-cups and t-shirts for kid, gift items for friends and family, and more.

Foster said she tries to stock as much locally-created merchandize as possible. She has a selection of brightly-colored hair bows, for instance, that a Panhandle woman created.

The shop is very well stocked but not cluttered, and it has a decidedly down-home yet modern and southern vibe. There’s a basket of rolling pins in a corner, for instance, and a selection of cloths, coffee cups for the kitchen, candles and bagged mixes for shrimp and grits dishes and other fare. Across the way there’s decorative picture frame for sale that reads: “God made all creatures beautiful. He just spent a little more time on Southern girls.”

The store’s atmosphere echoes one of the slogans on one of her t-shirt lines. It’s casual yet refined.


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