Walk up to the door of Cleanse Apothecary in Seminole Heights and you’re immediately greeted by a sign on the door.
“Yes We’re Open!” it says in big red letters.
Underneath that: “Please read these guidelines.”
The shop remained open during the shutdown — they were allowed to because they sell soap and hand sanitizer — but owners Greg Curtis and Terry Bellamy devised a stringent new business model.
During the shutdown, no more than two people were allowed in the store at once, and they weren’t allowed to browse. Customers were asked to order products over the phone and then come pick them up.
Curtis said that while business wasn’t the same with that model, they were able to hold their own. He is very knowledgeable about the shop’s vast array of personal care items and home fragrances. By asking key questions about customers’ habits and lifestyles, he was able to make recommendations for products over the phone, just as he would in person.
Now that certain businesses have been allowed to reopen, Curtis and Bellamy have eased things up a bit, allowing four to five people in the store and giving a little wiggle room on browsing time. But they will lock the door as needed to keep capacity down and require customers to wear a mask. They wear masks, and sell fabric and paper ones.
Curtis said things were picking up recently.
“People come to us because we’re not in the mall and they feel safe,” he said. He also said that he and Bellamy were concerned about things opening up.
Curtis and Bellamy, who are partners, opened the shop in 2009. Curtis’ previous career was a restaurant manager for Neiman Marcus in Chicago. He would plan the breakfast trainings for cosmetic companies, and account executives would give him products. The shop carries many of those product lines, and a vast selection of ones you won’t likely find anywhere else.
The focus is on clean and biodegradable products, organic and natural skin care lines, niche fragrances and some cosmetics. They carry men’s lines and products for babies.
And many of the things they sell are essential and can be comforting in this stressful time.
They have Barr-Co. hand sanitizer, which they keep having to replenish. It comes unscented or in scents like Fir and Grapefruit and Honey Mint. Bath salts that are specially formulated for the shop are therapeutic, Curtis said. He said that not only does taking a bath lower blood pressure and increase circulation, but that herbal scents including eucalyptus, rosemary and lavender can relieve headaches. And stress.
“Aromatherapy really works,” he said.
He said baths are also good for people with psoriasis, especially when combined with their Dead Sea salt soak.
They carry bamboo robes to wrap yourself in and super-soft fuzzy cat and dog print slippers by Tampa brand Faceplant Dreams.
The shop has a wide array of home fragrances, many of which come with beautiful blown glass diffusers. A cheeky sign nearby offering to demo the product reads: “Does your home smell from the following: Litter Box? Stinky Dog? Cigarettes? Dead Body?”
That sassy spirit is at the core of Cleanse Apothecary, whose motto is “Get Dirty, Get Naked, Get Cleansed.”
IF YOU GO
The shop is open 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. 6500 N Florida Ave., Tampa. (813) 374-0305. cleanseapothecary.com.