New owners of iconic Tom’s Fruit & Gifts are ditching the original name

The new owners of Tom’s Fruit and Gifts are looking to tap into the nostalgic value of the iconic gift shop by taking over the business.

Robert and Nicole Nettles, who also own Blue Water Jewelers, bought the property Jan. 7 for just over $1.3 million, according to St. Johns County sales records.

Former owners, the Grohowski family – led by Bill, son of boutique founder Tom – officially closed at 1812 A1A S. on December 12, 2021, after more than 50 years in business.

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Although they haven’t reopened the store yet, the Nettles have created a Facebook page for their new venture, calling it “Tom’s Since 1970”. The logo features an open shark’s mouth graphic design long associated with Tom’s, which sold seashells and kitsch Florida memorabilia.

According to the Facebook page, the new Tom’s will be “an old Florida landmark with a new twist.”

In an interview with The Record Monday, Nicole Nettles said the couple are looking forward to the new venture and will reveal more details about the concept as they get closer to opening in a month or two.

Tom’s Fruits and Gifts originally started as a roadside fruit stand located across from the St. Augustine Alligator Farm on Anastasia Boulevard near RB Hunt Elementary School. It moved to its current location in 1976 and has continued to be a popular draw for locals and tourists.

Tom Grohowski died in January 2021 at the age of 99.

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