ABOVE: Dudley and Janet Askew outside their shop on Donnelly Street in downtown Mount Dora.
The quaint streets of a Central Florida small town are a long way from an island in the South Pacific, but that’s exactly where the shopkeepers of one downtown Mount Dora store are headed. In a move across the globe Dudley and Janet Askew, owners of Noni at the Olive Branch, are selling their eclectic gift store and returning to New Zealand, Dudley’s native country. The couple had lived on the island nation when they first married and now plan to retire to the North Island to live close to their daughter who resides there. The gift shop had been a staple on downtown's Donnelly Street for approximately 15 years before the couple purchased it in 2014. They had moved to Mount Dora a year earlier to escape the harsh winters of Plainfield, Vermont, where they previously lived and owned a gift shop and cafe.
RELATED: Discover other local stores on the Local Shopping Guide Noni, as it’s often called by Mount Dorans, has long been known for its diverse mix of home accents, casual apparel, pottery, costume jewelry, plus bath and body products. The store is now among a small handful of downtown Mount Dora shops and eateries currently on the market. The Askews, a very active couple, plan on enjoying their retirement with a lot of biking and hiking when they get to New Zealand to take full advantage of the country’s natural beauty. “Going back to New Zealand now seems to be completing a circle which we are both happy to be able to do once Noni sells,” said Janet, adding that they will miss their Mount Dora friends and the community.
For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here. For local things to do, click here and for the area's free mobile app, click here.