Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue | Raynetta Mobley

Raynetta Mobley founded successful braiding salon 12 years ago

ST. PETERSBURG — Raynetta Mobley loved yellow butterflies. To see one meant a beautiful day was here.

Ms. Mobley wove exuberant colors into the dresses and caftans, tie-dyes and jewelry she bought on other continents or made herself, now visible through the window of her shop, Simply Natural Braid Salon and Boutique.

Ms. Mobley started the business at 1622 Central Ave. in 2000, and has run it with several of her sisters. The store reflects her eclectic tastes and singular approach to people and life.

Customers, including men, came in to have their hair braided or to browse Ms. Mobley's international clothing and artifacts from her travel to Africa or Europe. Ms. Mobley welcomed them with rocking chairs, jazz in the background but no television, and conversation that gravitated toward the spiritual.

"When you went there, it wasn't frivolous talk," said Debra Woodard, her aunt. "I have never been there when people were gossiping. You left there with a feeling of being exalted by people who cared about you."

Ms. Mobley came from an entrepreneurial family. A sister Drucella runs a hair products business, her brother Milton a barber shop.

"Raynetta was a real inspiration to a whole host of young entrepreneurs I would send her way, and use her as an example of what you can accomplish with drive and ambition," said former Deputy Mayor Goliath Davis.

• • •

Ms. Mobley was born in Barwick, Ga., and moved to St. Petersburg with her family at age 5. She graduated from Gibbs High School, then worked at Allstate Insurance for 25 years. In the mid 1990s, she ran an African-American art gallery, then closed that in 2000 to open Simply Natural.

"She started the shop when braiding salons were thriving," Woodard said.

Friends thought of her as a counselor. A favorite expression: "Go for it, you can do it."

She ran an African booth for the St. Petersburg International Folk Fair, was active in Unity Temple Church and spoke to community groups.

Ms. Mobley kept a journal filled with inspiration, said Rosa Newton, her sister. When doctors diagnosed her with late-stage breast cancer in January, she stayed upbeat.

As she weakened, even the prospect of death seemed to inspire her.

"She would say, 'A lot of people are going to get healed from this,' " her sister said. When friends and family visited her in the hospital, Newton said, "She would end up comforting them."

Ms. Mobley died June 6, in Hospice House Woodside. She was 61.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at or (727) 892-2248.

. Biography

Raynetta Mobley

Born: March 13, 1951

Died: June 6, 2012

Survivors: sisters, Drucella Ndoye, Malissia Adams Daneshpoor, Rosa Bush Newton, Sonya Bush Ankomah, Tonya Y. Bush, and Linda Jones; brothers Milton James Mobley, Johnny Jones, and Lorenzo Jones.

Raynetta Mobley founded successful braiding salon 12 years ago 06/18/12 [Last modified: Monday, June 18, 2012 9:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pence breaks tie, Senate takes up health bill


    The Senate has voted to move ahead on health care legislation aimed at dismantling the Obama health law.

    Vice President Mike Pence (R) and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus arrive on Capitol Hill, Tuesday in Washington, D.C. [Getty Images]
  2. Rubio helps GOP secure votes to proceed on health care debate


    WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans secured enough votes to proceed to debate on health care proposals, with Marco Rubio of Floirda joining in.

  3. Ex-Buc Booger McFarland becomes ABC college football analyst


    Former Bucs defensive lineman Booger McFarland is continuing his broadcasting rise by joining ABC's studio coverage for the upcoming college football season, ESPN announced Tuesday.

    Former Bucs lineman Booger McFarland (No. 92) will become an ABC studio analyst this college football season.
  4. Trump's political speech to Scouts inspires parental outrage


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's fiery speech at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia has infuriated parents and former scouts.

    President Donald Trump waves to the crowd of scouts at the 2017 National Boy Scout Jamboree at the Summit in Glen Jean,W. Va., Monday. [AP Photo/Steve Helber]
  5. Florida woman says she buried puppy in park because she couldn't afford cremation

    Public Safety

    When Ashley Duey's 6-month-old puppy was hit by a car, she was devastated.

    It took her four hours to say goodbye.

    Ashley Duey, of Polk County, is trying to raise money to have her pet cremated. She tried burying her puppy in a park, but city officials said it was against the law. (Facebook)