Locally owned shops add charm to their communities, and the latest addition to Victoria is Peaches and Tortilla.
Painted a bright and welcoming pastel blue, the boutique offers an uncommon selection of home goods, clothing and accessories in Old Victoria.
“I’m passionate about downtown and small towns, preserving and utilizing the historic buildings, communities and areas,” said Lascena Lee Simmons, owner of the boutique. “Our downtown has so much potential to thrive.”
Many specialty shops have added dramatically to the uniqueness of the community over the course of many years in Victoria. For example, Victoria residents decorated their homes with the smart, elegant and sometimes eccentric offerings of Town and Country Hardware, owned by generations of the same Victoria family. The Smart Shop; Simon’s; Leon’s; Lulu’s; Cricket and Co.; and Melvin’s, which also sold clothing for women and children at one time, kept the ladies in high style. And the Squire Shop; Rather’s; and Melvin’s, which is still open, catered to men.
Like these shops, Peaches and Tortilla is focusing on merchandise that often is unavailable in large department stores. The boutique is located at 503 W. Stayton St. in a modern wood-frame building behind the stately, historic John Henry Clegg house where Simmons lives with her husband, Matt Simmons.
A self-described Southern belle with spice, Simmons has always dreamed of owning a historic home and opening a cafe and boutique. She wants her shop to have a vibrant yet homey feel.
Next to the door, a light blue vintage Igloo cooler is stocked with Topo Chico for shoppers. A yarn wall serves as the banister for an overhead loft, and in front of a large window, flowers drape over a branch from one of the yard’s centuries-old trees. An antique pushcart from a china factory serves as shelving, and a cabinet from the oldest flower shop in Austin serves as the checkout counter.
An iron coat rack is heavily laden with handmade straw baskets by Gaia. On the counter, vibrantly colored “life-of-the-party” straw earrings are $18, while small, beaded knot earrings are $10. Topo Chico pins, llama pens and festive “best-selling” hair scrunchies are $5-$12. Clothing brands include Lush, J. Marie, Endless Rose and Buddy Love for women and Roosevelts for men. A lace blouse by Endless Rose runs $32, while a festive embroidered top by J. Marie is $75.
One side of the china pushcart holds candles made by LuBella Candle Co., hats for men and children by Cash and Co. and Boyd’s of Texas fragrances in TX Lavender for women and Cuero for men. The bottom shelf is lined with vintage Peruvian and new embroidered throws. Wide-brimmed, flouncy straw hats in natural and fuchsia colors and lavender straw visors help fill the other side of the cart.
The Simmonses cut the tops off Topo Chico bottles and planted cacti in them for truly original boutique offerings. Also original are small canvases painted by local artist Kayla Koenig.
Large pillows made from vintage Moroccan rugs and cactus silk are propped against the wall next to goat leather puffs, and a shelf along the window is lined with wooden cheese boards and bowls. Tucked into built-in shelving are T-shirts by the Bee and the Fox, a company that sells exclusively to brick-and-mortar shops, not online stores. One of the $35 T-shirts reads, “Don’t Mess With Mama.” Baby lovies, bibs and headbands made from bamboo, wooden toys and soft alpaca fur animals round out the offerings.
Simmons is busy restocking after the grand opening, and she is expecting more than 300 pieces of jewelry and 15 spring and summer outfits soon. She said the new arrivals will be perfect for upcoming celebrations, including Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby. Also on order are T-shirts that feature Willie Nelson with a turquoise squash blossom, which Simmons plans to sell for $25.
Peaches and Tortilla also hosts events such as yoga on the lawn; pumpkin patches; and bloom bars, where guests make their own bouquets.
Simmons and her husband graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and they moved from Katy to Victoria when they found their historic home online. Matt Simmons practices dentistry in El Campo.
“My mother instilled in me to work hard and always chase my dreams,” Simmons said. “From a young age, I worked to pay for things I wanted, and you appreciate the value of something when you work for it.”
Simmons loves Victoria because of the people and the history. She encourages residents to patronize local businesses and, in the process, embrace what makes the community special, support dreams and create jobs.
This story was updated April 26, 2019 to correct the owners' names.