Shorty Peters said when he lost his Punta Gorda Mercantile business, an old-fashioned general store, he needed somewhere to sell his old store’s products.
The former location at 117 W. Marion Ave., next door to Tula’s Greek Restaurant, was heavily damaged by Hurricane Ian.
A busy entrepreneur, she already operated her eponymous bar, Shorty’s Place, on the corner of U.S. 41 southbound and West Marion Avenue. So she decided to move across the street to 264 W. Marion Ave., the longtime home of Cubby’s Homemade Ice Cream Shop.
She reopened it as Punta Gorda Deli Company and Mercantile, creating a rather unique type of shop. Think of it as a trendy deli serving namesake sandwiches, salads, and coffee on the right, and a cracker-barrel-shaped general store on the left.
The general store features jewelry cases, American-made Case brand knives in special cases, Southern cookbooks and how-to books, children’s puzzles and games, enamel cookware and tableware, cutting boards and charcuterie boards. We have a wide selection of gifts for the hostess.
Her partner Jane Griffin also worked with Peters at Shorty’s.
Mr. Griffin will oversee an extensive menu that includes handcrafted sandwiches, salads and desserts, while Mr. Peters will handle commercial end operations.
One of the menu items, “The Big Sexy,” features thick-sliced ham, sharp cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato, and onions on sourdough bread. It was named after Peters’ husband, Dave, who was instrumental in the.
The jams, jellies and other bottled treats on sale come from House of Webster, an Arkansas food supplier.
“I’m from Rogers, Arkansas,” she said of the city in Benton County, Ozark Islands.
Peters is personable and charismatic. She is unaffected by the fame she has earned in Charlotte County. When people think of having a drink at a local bar or eatery, they think of Shorty’s.
Peters leveraged his Arkansas roots and added a dash of entrepreneurial spirit to transform a corner store into a one-of-a-kind store.
The crowds that gathered at Punta Gorda Deli Company and Mercantile recently were both locals and tourists.
One woman spent 30 minutes considering gifts to take home, and two ordered elaborate coffees made by Peters. Peters gave detailed instructions, without reference to a cheat sheet, as he blended the coffee to please his patrons.
There were Jelly Belly candies on the shelf in front of the register, and dog treats on the shelf below.
High up on the left wall were a kerosene lantern, a shade, what appeared to be an oil lamp, and a large cutting board.
There were puzzles and games on the back left wall.
Every corner is filled with souvenirs, and the large wall in the center on the left is lined with canned goods such as pickles and olives.
Breakfast is popular at Shorty’s. Joe Osebold enjoyed coffee and a cream cheese bagel across the bridge from Port Charlotte. He sat outside and enjoyed the sights and sounds of West Marion Avenue.
There is also indoor seating.
Shorty’s is open Monday through Wednesday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Griffin can also cater for groups of 10 to 100 people.