Make us your home page
Instagram

Deuces Live Sunday Market brings new hope for business growth in St. Petersburg's Midtown

ST. PETERSBURG

Jim Oliver has seen a lot in his 74 years in the Midtown area. As a kid, he shopped at the bustling Sidney Harden's corner grocery. Nearby, at the Manhattan Casino, music icons James Brown and Ray Charles jammed to packed houses.

But after Interstate 275 was built, it cut off the south side of the city, depriving it of visitors, the lifeblood of any business district. Drugs and crime took over.

In recent years, entrepreneurs fixing up old buildings and a new mayor who promised help for the struggling area have given residents hope. On Sunday, a Florida Main Street community group held the first of what they hope to be weekly open-air markets. Called "Deuces Live Sunday Market," the event got its name from its location of 22nd Street, historically referred to as "the Deuces."

"This is a very positive thing," said Oliver, a retired teacher who leads a mentor program for children. He hopes the market, along with some new merchants will restore the area to its glory days.

Large speakers blasted the Beatles' Here Comes The Sun and Katrina and the Waves' Walkin' On Sunshine. Vendors sold cakes, pies, jewelry and jerk chicken. Visitors also could buy fresh cabbage, lettuce, potatoes, tomatoes, bananas and apples. Most were only $1. (The main source of fresh produce in the area is a Walmart, which opened after a Sweetbay closed in February 2013.)

Mayor Rick Kriseman and his 11-year-old son were among those who chowed down.

"This is awesome," Kriseman crowed to someone who greeted him. The mayor, who made revitalization of the area a cornerstone of his campaign, received a rock-star reception, with people asking to take his photo or bend his ear on an issue.

"We want to make a difference," Kriseman said. "Our goal is to bring opportunity to everyone in all sides of the city."

Tony Macon, who opened his Esquire barbershop in a building where he once got haircuts as a kid, said Kriseman's efforts have been sincere.

"The city has done a wonderful job," he said of the assistance it offered the Main Street group, which he serves as president.

Macon said he's not worried about the market competing with existing businesses. The events will probably help them by bringing foot traffic.

Convenience store owner Naim Mubarak said the parking near his store gets taken up, but he expects some new customers. He said the crime rate has gone down in recent years, thanks to redevelopment efforts.

"We used to have to call the police twice a day," said Mubarak, who has been at the corner of 22nd Street and Ninth Avenue since 1990. "Now it's twice a year."

Organizers say they want to do more than just restore pride to an area where, according to a 2011 city-data.com study, 36 percent of residents fall below the poverty line. They also want to lure customers from other parts of the city, to be known as one community.

Tim and Amy White were just the types they were looking for. The couple saw the market promoted on TV and drove from Indian Rocks Beach to check it out. They said they plan to return.

"It's great that it's on a Sunday," said Amy, 43, who bought a skirt. "Saturday is a little busy."

>> Fast facts

To learn more

Deuces Live Sunday Market is produced by Deuces Live, a Florida Main Street community organization. Vendor booths can be rented at $60 for four weeks. Vendors are required to register and provide their own tents. Contact Veatrice Farrell at deuceslivestpetemainstreet@gmail.com or (727) 433-8237.

Deuces Live Sunday Market brings new hope for business growth in St. Petersburg's Midtown 04/06/14 [Last modified: Sunday, April 6, 2014 9:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county

    Water

    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.