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Pier Marketplace vendors mark success one year after opening

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Vendors at St. Petersburg open-air location increase sales, plan for expansion

The St. Pete Pier Marketplace celebrated its one-year anniversary this summer, and the first year has been extremely successful for the vendors who set up shop there each weekend. A year later, 15 of the original 17 vendors have renewed their leases, three have been added, and two vendors will soon open brick-and-mortar locations in the Tampa Bay area.

As three examples of successes vendors have had since they opened at the Pier Marketplace:

  • Lily Rose Jewelry Co., which sells handmade jewelry, has more than doubled its sales and has plans to open its first brick-and-mortar store later this year.
  • InSparkleMe Bling Apparel has also expanded and is now selling hand-made items at Westshore Mall in Tampa and Skyway Marina Mall in St. Petersburg.
  • Island Flavors & Tings has seen a 15% increase in traffic to its restaurant by the same name, thanks to the increased visibility from its Marketplace location.

InSparkleMe Bling Apparel and Island Flavors & Tings both started as part of 1Pier by One Community, a collective of black businesswomen.

Despite launching during the pandemic, the retailers’ performance shows that the right product, price and location still works for in-person retail. Colliers, which acts as an advisor to the City of St. Petersburg in the leasing and management of the Pier district, believes the quality of the vendors and the unique nature of their products have been keys to the Marketplace’s success. 

“We are very mindful of the tenants we choose, as well as the mix of tenants, and we feel that is one of the reasons the Marketplace has been so successful. The overall interest in the Pier, as well as the prime opportunity it offers for social distancing, has also helped tremendously.”

  -Stephanie Addis, Addis, Director, Retail Services, Colliers

The Marketplace focuses heavily on handmade goods, specialty foods and unique local products, with items ranging from regionally inspired art to natural skincare products.

Helena Josephs of Island Flavors & Tings sells mango bread and rum-infused cakes at the Pier. Josephs has operated her restaurant in Gulfport for more than 25 years and participated in weekend markets and festivals over the years. This is her first permanent vending opportunity, and it’s doing better than she imagined. Josephs is selling out of her desserts every weekend.

Keisha Long-Watson of InSparkleMe Bling Apparel has also seen an increased demand for her products since selling at the Pier. Long-Watson says she’s running out of products on certain days and having to restock T-shirts on a regular basis. Selling at the Pier has also introduced her apparel to an entirely new demographic and boosted online sales. 

“This opportunity has opened all sorts of doors for me. I know for a fact that if it wasn’t for the Pier, my business wouldn’t be where it is today. I count it a blessing to be a part of the Pier Marketplace.”

  -Keisha Long-Watson, Owner, InSparkle Me Bling Apparel

Sarah and Joe Simoncini of Lily Rose Jewelry Co. are also grateful for the opportunity at the Pier. The Simoncinis previously sold their handcrafted jewelry at festivals and markets, but nothing has compared to the success they’ve seen at the Pier.

“Our best festival each year was Reggae Rise Up, and now every weekend is like a mini Reggae Rise Up. The traffic at the Pier has also boosted our online sales. It’s like nothing we’ve seen.”

  -Sarah Simoncini, Owner, Lily Rose Jewelry Co.

The Simoncinis will open a 1,200-square-foot brick and mortar store in downtown St. Petersburg later this year. The store location is just two blocks from the Pier, which the Simoncinis believe will provide the perfect synergy to send customers from the Pier to the new location to shop their unique selection of crystals.

“Many of the most successful local retailers offer both online and in-person sales to create a more meaningful experience for shoppers. We are seeing this firsthand at the Pier. Vendors with an online presence are doing very well outside of the Marketplace.”

  -Stephanie Addis, Addis, Director, Retail Services, Colliers

The Pier Marketplace is open every Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


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Stephanie Addis

Director, Retail Services

Tampa

Stephanie joined the Retail Team in Colliers International Tampa Bay Florida in October of 2015. Stephanie specializes in Landlord and Seller Representation and is an expert in project leasing for neighborhood and community shopping centers throughout the west coast of Florida.

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