Lake Mary Life: Walk On Water

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AS NAVY AIRMAN MATTHEW CONNOLLY PREPARED FOR TWO days of leave this past June, all he wanted to do was see his mother Tammy Swanson.

Because he was stationed in Maryland, he hadn’t seen his mom in six months. Matthew wanted to do something special to surprise her, and he knew it would have to involve Tammy’s favorite Lake Mary boutique, Walk on Water.

Rather than announce his visit home, Matthew instead told his mother that he ordered a special gift for her at Walk on Water. Tammy was preparing to leave on a mission trip to Brazil with Northland Church, so she made plans to stop by the boutique before her evening flight. What she found at Walk on Water was the best gift ever – Matthew there with a bouquet of fresh flowers.

How does a boutique become such an integral part of its customers’ lives? It’s all about the relationships, says Walk on Water owner Roxane Mann.

“When our customers come through the door, we light up. They are out friends,” Roxane explains. “When we have new customers, we love it, because it’s our opportunity to make new friends. Walk on Water is about relationships and making a difference.”

Roxane points to Kathy Hammerling, her longtime assistant, and her team of 27 associates, mostly mothers, as the key to Walk on Water’s success.

“They are absolutely wonderful, and I could never do it without them,” Roxane says. “Gods has blessed me with this team of women.”

The Walk on Water ladies are known and loved by the community because of their tireless dedication to giving back. Take the boutique’s fourth annual Friends Helping Friends 5K for SafeHouse of Seminole. This year the event raised nearly $18,000 (see page 70).

Roxane learned about SafeHouse five years ago while doing an outreach project for her son’s fourth-grade class. She got to know the team of ladies who run SafeHouse, her after doing some research on domestic violence, Roxane was floored.

“When I learned about the work of this organization, how much it helps women and children, and what SafeHouse needed, it just broke my heart,” Roxane recalls. “I’ve always been in such a loving environment, and I’ve never had to deal with anything like that. This organization touched my heart.”

In addition to the 5K, Walk on Water holds fashion shows for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, is a pick-up and drop-off location for Operation Christmas Child, and does monthly sponsorships of local community needs through the sale of specially-designed I-shirts. In October, the boutique raised money for MD Anderson Cancer Center through the sale of a breas cancer T-shirt designed by the staff and by donating a percentage of sales from various items in the store. Walk on Water supports Sanford Crisis Center, Bags Of Hope Central Florida, and The Sharing Center. During the holidays, they sponsor organizations that are focused on moms and children in need.

“We are focused on the relationships we have with our customers and are blessed to be able to carry wonderful products like Pandora, Brighton, Vera Bradley, Kameleon, and many great clothing shoe, and gift lines,” Roxane says. “We are grateful to be able to make a difference.”

Helping the community is just one way Walk on Water makes an impact. The team also loves helping customers find the perfect gifts for everyday moments and life-changing milestones. They have helped many excited dads-to-be find the perfect Pandora charm bracelet for their pregnant wives, and the staff had helped many college freshmen stock up on Vera Bradley backpacks, laptop cases, and purses in preparation for university life.

Whether you’re looking for Spartina 449, Yellow Box Shoes, Lilly Pulitzer, or Mogo brands, Walk on Water has it, plus plenty more.

Roxane attends numerous product shows around the country and it involved with a nationwide group of buyers who share tips on the latest products. She talks to her customers for feedback and stays on top of the trends.

“I’ll spend as much time on the $4 item as I will on the $40 item because I want everybody to be able to afford something in here,” Roxane says. “I want them to walk in, feel comfortable, and feel the warmth of the store.”

–Ashley Cisneros
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.

About the Author:

Ashley Cisneros Mejia is a journalist, entrepreneur and marketer. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later as an editor at Florida Trend business magazine. Ashley has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2009, as a technical writer, marketing manager, and public relations practitioner. She also founded two digital marketing agencies in Orlando. Named one of Orlando’s 40 Under 40 and honored by the Women’s Executive Council of Orlando for achievements in media and communications, Ashley earned a B.S. in Journalism and an M.S. in Entrepreneurship at the University of Florida.

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