In 1985, while she was teaching Spanish at both Flagler College and the Mayo Clinic, Ecuador native Conseulo Lippi had an idea. Why not start a Panama hat sales business? St. Augustine would be the perfect place, she reasoned, because of its Spanish heritage.

And a shop on St. George Street would be the perfect location.

“No way,” was her husband Chuck Lippi’s reaction, Conseulo recalls. For one thing, he told his wife, he was sure she wouldn’t be able to find a location.

As it turns out, Chuck — who is well known in St. Augustine as a master arborist — should stick to trees and other horticultural miracles.

Conseulo still clearly remembers Robert Gold, then director of the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board, offering her the space at 46 St. George St., because Gold told her he was impressed with the quality of her product.