Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tampa Street Market - Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why?

On "Big Blue" also know as the Unofficial Official Seminole Heights Blog there was a call out to us to do a basic info story on what we do and what we offer the hood. I thought it might be fun to try to fit it into a basic question and answer from our grade school days, so here goes:

Who: Tampa Street Market - Amy and Charles Haynie along with our dog Baci, daughter Ella, and any and all friends and relatives we can convince to cover the store when we are not there. We live in the hood - within earshot of the Front Porch.

What: A furniture and gift store that specializes in eco-friendly, fair trade, and local products for people that want something unique and one of a kind for their home but don't want to get a second mortgage to afford it. We build furniture from scratch but also include a fair amount of refinished and repainted antique furniture with new low VOC finishes. Saving good furniture from the landfill is an important part of our green philosophy.

Expect to find:
-unique and one of a kind furniture of our own design
-cool antique and re-invented lamps
-local art from artists like Anika Easter and Ron Pieniak
-recycled gifts from Resource Revival, Alchemy Goods, Green Toys, Green Guru and Sugarpost
-green gifts from Envirosax, Chico Bags, and Dynomighty
-eco printed cards from Tweeprints, 9SpotMonk, and Modern Printed Matter
-local jewelry from Nested Yellow
-fair trade goods from Indika, Made by Survivors, and Spiral Foundation
-upcycled clothing from Guatemala by Chi Chi Amor (and operated by local residents of SH)

What we are not (because you asked): an antique store, a thrift shop, or the Friday Downtown Market

Where: 4715 N. Florida Ave at the corner of Florida and Osborne next to Seminole Heights Antiques and Karen's Place (technically in the same historical building). Our first location was next to Cappy's Pizza in the old Covivant Gallery space which we outgrew within the first year and a half.

When: We've been open for 3 years last December with a brief hiatus in 2008 when we moved locations. The hours are Tuesday thru Saturday 11-6 and Sunday 12-5. That being said, we don't have paid help (see earlier comment about friends and relatives) so if we have to be somewhere else, say a wedding, funeral, or the like then the shop is closed. The hours are a known source of frustration for the owners and customers alike and so we try to be accomodating and have the shop covered within reason. We wish we could be open more and of course that comes from how much demand we receive. As the economy has made it harder for us little guys to stay in business we have to be creative. If you are coming from far away and are concerned or need us to stay open late, then just email Amy@tampastreetmarket.com. She has a fancy new Iphone just for answering questions like - "How late will you be open today?" or "Do you still have those blue pineapple shaped lamps I saw on the website?"

How: The business grew out of our love for antique furniture re-invention and our continual search for cool products and designs. The "street market" name comes from the idea that street markets can have just about anything but most of the time are a source of unexpected and interesting finds. We often seek out markets in cities that we visit and incorporate these new styles and ideas into our work. As our design aesthetic evolved, which Amy calls "Industrial Cottage", custom work was requested more often and now we have a unique line of our own furniture that is built custom from steel and salvaged wood.  For examples go to places like Ella's restaurant or Groovy Cats and Dogs. Trips to the International Contemporary Furniture Fair and the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York were key to increasing our interest in designing our own furniture.

Another part of the business besides the furniture is probably best described as gifts and home goods. This grew from the need for a diverse product line (not everybody needs a new dining table) and from meeting crafters and designers working with recycled materials on a smaller scale than furniture. That philosophy grew to include books about green design, cards from recycled materials, clothes from recycled materials, and fair trade items that pay good wages to artisans around the world. If it's eco-friendly, fair trade, or local then it might find a home in our shop.

Why: Some pinch-me moments have been:
-seeing a piece of our furniture in the Tampa Museum of Art on display
-getting awesome press for us and the neighborhood
-building a desk for City Council's Mary Mulhern and delivering it to a crowded City Hall
-chatting with Josh Dorfman in Brooklyn about green furniture before he was a famous Discovery Channel celebrity

One quote that is pretty over-used these days is Gandhi's "Be the change you want to see in the world." However, as residents of this often blighted and misunderstood neighborhood, we decided that instead of just complaining about how no cool shops are open here, we should "Be the change we want to see in our neighborhood." It has been the hardest thing we've ever done, we feel like we are always working, and we don't sleep much. When you see how happy people are with their homes or how much they love buying a gift that is going to help worthy organizations around the world it definitely feels worth it. We are happy to be part of a growing trend of businesses that wear their ideals on their sleeve and do what they because they love it. Thanks for supporting us and if you haven't been in yet, then let me be the first to ask "What are you waiting for?"

Charles Haynie -02/2010

For more info try our website http://www.tampastreetmarket.com/
or the blog http://www.tampastreetmarket.blogspot.com/

No comments:

Post a Comment