As the 600 Block of Central Avenue—between Fifth and Seventh Street in St. Petersburg—nears completion of its Phase 2 renovation, some of the city’s finest fashion entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the new clientele.
The 600 Block has come a long way since the beginning of summer, surprising passersby with new charm and endless eye candy. As shops come and go in the downtown area, residents have been starving to see something that will stay for a while.
The Trunk, an affordable boutique and styling shop in the Vitale Art Studio space at 651 Central Avenue, is one of the newer additions to Central Avenue but refreshingly optimistic about bringing more foot traffic to the 600 Block. The Trunk offers USF students a 25 percent discount, and promises to keep trendy, good quality clothes always on the racks.
Owners and St. Pete locals Aneesa Shakur and Marianne Shaffer have a helpful, hands-off approach to running their shop and styling their clients. Excluding of course the closet revamping service they also offer, in which they might get their hands on a few things.
Shakur, a recent fashion-merchandising graduate, said the already existing shop owners on Central have been very welcoming.
Also St. Pete locals, Rosey Williams and Kaitlin Crockett are working hard at getting their shop Ramblin’ Rose, at 683 Central Avenue, ready for its grand opening on September 10.
Defining their shop as a vintage boutique and curiosity shop, Ramblin’ Rose is also rentable as a creative event space, design studio and community artist cooperative. With events already booked every weekend for the next month, Williams is looking to rent out the shop for lectures, workshops and parties.
These new local shop owners, who arguably know more about the fashion necessities of St. Pete residents, have come to show that they have more to offer than just affordable price tags. The enthusiastic locals are working to make the downtown area more approachable and entertaining.
“We are very community oriented and have a very different appeal from chains and stores in the mall,” Williams said. “The 600 Block is good for great local shops and independent businesses who care about our city.”
Photos by Daniel Mutter