Text: Tiffany Evers // Photos: Kelsey Walters
The closing of Little Drug Company on Canal Street in New Smyrna Beach sent a wave of shock through our community, with so many locals genuinely upset they would no longer be able to enjoy the classic ice cream parlor they’ve been going to since childhood. A historic building filled with so much history and so many memories.
So, when plans of its reopening surfaced and the brown paper went up to cover the windows, everyone was talking about it. What would open next? The space would soon reopen with side-by-side businesses under one roof! The original soda fountain counter is still located on the east side of the building and has been revamped and reopened as The Little Griddle, paying homage to the past.
The other side of the building is now home to Wild Oats and Billy Goats. A whimsical and colorful art gallery and artisan boutique offering paintings, sculpture, pottery, jewelry, candles and body products, as well as fabric, metal, wood and paper art created by local and regional artists.
So, you’re telling me I can order lunch and shop while I wait? What a perfect pairing. Count me in! Just like everyone else, I had to see this for myself. I recently met the owner, Weatherly Morgan, to get all the details and these new businesses.
A couple days after meeting Weatherly, I headed out of town for my annual Thanksgiving trip to Georgia. My parents, along with my brother and his wife, met my family and I at a vacation rental for a week of connecting and cooking. My sister-in-law was flipping through the last issue of the mag and couldn’t believe she saw an ad for Wild Oats and Billy Goats! She exclaimed, “This is the store we go to! In Decatur! The one with all the donkey art!”
Turns out my family has been shopping at her other boutique in Georgia for years, and my mom, who is in love with all things donkey, has at least five pieces of art she proudly displays in her home. I absolutely love this about our small town and now I know exactly where I will be headed to find my mom’s Christmas present this year!
Q & A with owner, Weatherly Morgan
Q: How did you come up with the name of your company?
A: I was searching for a name that had both a fun, whimsical side, as well as a serious side. I was scribbling words in two columns that fit both of those, and marking through those I didn’t like. At the end of the process, Wild Oats & Billy Goats was left. Billy goats bring to mind gleefulness and whimsy, while wild oats are more organic and serious. The name really says who we are.
Q: What inspired you to open your first boutique?
A: My background is in the hospitality industry, but I was a collector of folk art, and always admired artists that were self-taught, and came into the art world by discovering their own natural talent, often later in life. An old historic drug store building came available in Decatur, so I took the space, and started by contacting my favorite local artists, many of which are still part of the gallery today. When the Little Drug Company space became available in NSB, it was the perfect space for us to expand. This is actually our second Wild Oats and Billy Goats location. The gallery was founded in 2010 on the square in Decatur, Georgia and in May 2022, we expanded our family of artists to historic Canal Street in New Smyrna Beach, where I know live with my husband, Bill and son, Bennett.
Q: Tell me about your new location on Canal Street.
A: Our NSB location hosts about 100 local and regional artists, curated to fit the relaxed beachy vibe of the area. We have original paintings, handcrafted jewelry, turned wood items, blown glass, photography, pottery, metal art, handcrafted candles and body products. New art comes in every few days, so there is always something new to see. As our other location, our goal is to always have something for every budget.
Q: What sets you apart from other boutique shops in our area?
A: We offer hand-crafted goods, so shoppers can always expect to find unique one-of-a-kind items. All of our artists do custom work, so if the perfect piece isn’t already in the gallery, we work with our artists to have the perfect piece created for our customers.
Q: Any plans for more growth in the future?
A: Right now, we are busy with the recent opening of Little Griddle, the original fountain part of Little Drug Company, which has been renovated and brought back to life. We are thrilled to be a part of this project. People can come in for breakfast, lunch or an ice cream treat, and then spend some time enjoying local art. We hope to be a part of the NSB community for many years to come.
JOIN THE HERD
With the current expansion, they are always looking for new artists and makers to join their Florida herd. Are you a Florida artist looking for a spot to sell your work? If you’d be interested in joining their community of artists, fill out the form online: WildOatsAndBillyGoatsNSB.com/pages/join-the-herd You will be asked things like: Do you create art full-time, part-time, or as a hobby? What are your goals for selling your work? What do you hope to achieve by joining the Wild Oats & Billy Goats community?
A bit of History at The Little Griddle
The Little Griddle is housed in the Victoria Building on Canal Street in the historic district of New Smyrna Beach, FL. The building first opened as a theatre in 1923 hosting both Vaudeville shows and movies. In 1963, it became the home for Little Drug Co, and operated as such until 2021. It was then renovated and became the home for Wild Oats & Billy Goats, a handcrafted artisan gallery, sharing the space with the former fountain portion of the drug store, now know as Little Griddle.
Specialty coffees, fresh pastries, sizzling bacon, farm fresh eggs, fluffy waffles & pancakes and all your morning favorites.
Juicy burgers, hand-crafted sandwiches, fresh salads, old-fashioned sodas, southern brewed tea and daily specials.
Hand-dipped and soft-serve ice cream treats, including sundaes, floats and banana splits. Yummy!
Wild Oats and Billy Goats
The Little Griddle
All photos by Kelsey Walters, property of East Coast Current