Find a mod melange at South Tampa's Poppy Boutique

Published July 15 2015

When coming up with the concept for her first store, owner Ericka Carruthers wanted to build a place in which she and her friends would feel comfortable shopping and spending time. A place full of pretty and inspiring things that they couldn't live without. A place that could be a one-stop shop for their wardrobes and their homes.

The result is a mix of department store and boutique that come together as the Poppy Boutique.

The South Tampa store's setup is reminiscent of an apartment — the HQ of your super-cool girlfriend who has impeccable taste, to be exact.

Up front are living room spaces (prices vary) featuring gift items like a Kate Spade glitter cup ($20) and bow tie-shaped paper clips ($12) as coffee table decor. On the way to the dark wood, modern bar cabinet ($450), racks of clothing display pieces like a wildflower maxi sundress ($64) or a silk jumpsuit ($69) simply demand attention.

In the back, a seating area with sleek printed chairs (prices vary) faces a large sales rack. And next to the fitting room, the accessories section is a glitzy haven, featuring just one of each style of earrings, necklaces, headbands and belts.

The shop has been operating since 2010 and since opening its doors, Carruthers is proud to say it has been a place where girlfriends can meet and enjoy perusing together. Opposing styles like a black one-piece swimsuit ($89) and a colorful printed string bikini (top $49, bottom $39) are placed next to each other to encourage customers to try on something they usually wouldn't. "Just because" affordable gift items like "nag notes" sticky notes ($3.75) and a heart-shaped umbrella ($27) are scattered throughout the store for a little burst of amusement.

For no additional cost, groups can book the boutique for a "sip and shop." Carruthers provides the sparkling wine, and customers can privately browse after hours. — [email protected]