About Us

In the early 70’s, my husband George was working for McKesson Wine and Spirits and had been recently transferred from West Palm Beach to Naples, FL.  I had to leave my job as a training manager for Cumberland Farms due to the move brought on by his transfer.

At that time, the beaches in Naples were thick with shells and I began collecting shells and making items with them to sell.  My work became so popular that I soon began getting more orders for lamps, mirrors, and novelties than my gatherings could support and I began buying the shells from shops.  Eventually I had such a large customer base that I was able to buy shells wholesale and through my dealings with the wholesale suppliers, saw a real need for importing and selling a better quality, cleaner shell.

After I had been selling shells for a couple years George joined my business.  Once the shells came in we cleaned and packaged them, and George sold them to shops.  We started out with one truck and as we outgrew it we moved the business into a 48 ft. tractor trailer showroom.  George and I had two young daughters and they started making shell crafts along with us.  (The beginning of a “family” business.)

In 1981 we moved to Ellenton in order to be more central to our customer base.  We set up two tractor trailer showrooms and my brother, Ed, came to work with us.  Our daughters worked with us until they married, moved away and both became nurses. 

With our tractor trailer showrooms we started selling from the east coast of New Jersey, down through the Carolinas, all of Florida and as far west as Mississippi.  We broke these states up into 10 established routes that George and Ed continue to visit every 3 to 4 weeks.

We set up a showroom in our warehouse in Palmetto; here we import, clean, package and sell the shells, as well as related items.  We import 40ft. containers of shells from the Philippines, India, Taiwan, Thailand and Mexico.  George travels to these areas of the world every November in order to place shell orders for the following year.

We have 7 to 8 employees cleaning, grading, and packaging the shells.  Todd is our salesman in our Palmetto showroom and he oversees the filling of orders to be shipped.  I work in the office with Sandy and Kristin overseeing the running of the business as a whole.  George and his and his assistant Mike work on one rolling showroom and Ed and his assistant work on the other.

This is our 39th year in business!

Copyright © 2008 Darlene's Shells, www.darlenesshells.com and www.darlenesseashells.com. All rights reserved.