Downtown St. Petersburg (DTSP) has long prided itself on its unique local culture. In DTSP, there is a huge local community of shops, from boutiques to craft stores, and art galleries to handcrafted furniture. DTSP’s local shop community has something for everyone from all walks of life and varying budgets.
The ‘hipster,’ indie, vintage, artsy fashion and lifestyle trend has been on the rise for the past couple of years. Many adults, young and old, are beginning to show an interest in handcrafted jewelry and fashion. As much as stores like Forever21 and Charlotte Rousse (or department stores like Macy’s) try to keep up with the vintage, bohemian vibe that many customers are searching for, local vintage shops in DTSP have the upper hand.
Something that sets the boutiques and shops in DTSP apart from others is the culture owners have created. Instead of racking their brains for ways to create competition and treating customers like money signs, they help each other out. They recommend other boutiques to customers, and call each other to tell them they’re sending someone their way. As a whole, boutique owners are thrilled that the Central Avenue block, and DTSP in general, has generated more local customers, most of which had little idea of what DTSP had to offer.
At Bijou Boutique on the 600 Block of Central Avenue in St. Pete, the eclectic store essentially changes every week. With American, Italian and Canadian lines, the store features everything from handmade necklaces and bracelets, to sunglasses (that are truly fantastic by the way, and I know because I bought a pair!) to a variety of clothing types that range from casual to dressy. The store has two entrances, one facing Central Avenue and one that opens to the Crislip Arcade –
Sidenote: When I hear the word ‘arcade,’ I think of a place where I go with a ton of quarters and play Pac-Man for hours. Little did I know that ‘Shopping Arcades’ were a thing and totally different, they’ve been around since the 1800s! Shopping arcades are private streets or corridors usually lined with artists’ stalls or galleries. Often, the arcades have decorative or ornate gates that enticie customers from the street. The Crislip Arcade in DTSP is exactly that. It’s vintage within itself with the modern twist that the artists and shops inside create with their artwork and fashion pieces.
DTSP has so many more boutiques, including the ARTPool Gallery, across from Haslam’s Bookstore on Central Avenue. With vintage clothing, the most amazing necklaces and earrings I’ve ever seen, vinyl records, local art & photography, and unique trinkets. It’s a pool of beauty and creativity.
The boutique owners of DTSP think of it as if they’re sharing the experience of DTSP and building a presence, especially on Central Avenue. Most of all, they’re excited to be a part of the growth of these delightful boutiques in Downtown St. Petersburg, because afterall, they love the city.