Written by: Mariah DePass
October 23, 2017
If you’re travelling throughout the southside of Tallahassee, you’ll notice that a lot has changed. Just recently in June, the Winn-Dixie on Paul Russell Road and also the Walgreens on South Monroe Street closed down. Amongst all of the closings, the abandoned building that previously housed the Chosen Generation Worship Center at 2025 S. Adams Street, is now the renovated home to a strip of new businesses. Those businesses include, Smoke City, The Alley Shoppe, and a barber shop.
Smoke City is a store that sells vape, hookah, pipes, and tobacco. The Alley Shop is a black owned business that sells African print book bags, African shea butter, dashiki apparel, jewelry, soap, toothpaste, and more.
The owner of The Alley Shoppe is Reo Cairwell, a 37-year-old entrepreneur from Miami. Cairwell said that when he saw the location across the street from the Marathon gas station, “it was a mess,” but he thought that it would be the best location for his African themed shop.
Cairwell and his wife, Niesha Deloatch, just move to Tallahassee less than a month ago to expand their business which was first established in 2015 at a flea market in Jacksonville. Deloatch said that they were able to use FAMU’s homecoming in order to network and let people know what their business is about.
“I didn’t think it was going to be so many people,” said Deloatch in reference to FAMU homecoming.
Cairwell said, “My goal is just to enlighten as many people as I can about our culture and the products.”
He said that he has two friends who live in Ghana that ship him raw shea butter and black soap from their farm.
When asked if he was intimidated by all of the developmental changes on the southside, he said, “The only thing I’m afraid of is not providing for my family.”
Although many major corporations have closed down on the southside, there has been an increase of black owned businesses such as Trap House Apparel, Lady Luck, and C-Line. Cairwell said he is working on a partnership with another business owner on South Adams Street and they’re planning to do something else on the same street.
He said, “It’s called group economics where one black owned business can support another black owned business and from that support, we can create our own and have another black owned business. We can do that again for another year or two so now we’re creating more jobs for people here like the college students. I know some college students who be ready to sell dope, sell their body, whatever, just to eat. We need unity. We need to create our own and make sure our youth and our future generations are okay. So let’s do it.”
According to www.floridajobs.org, Florida experienced a gain of 62,400 jobs (0.7%) since Sep 2016. These businesses are scheduled to open up on the southside of Tallahassee before the end of 2017 and hopefully bringing more jobs to the community.