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2 stores round out Seville Square

Following the $9-million Albertson's renovation, the shopping center on 54th Avenue S is now fully leased.

By SHARON L. BOND

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 23, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- Robin Cullen is tending to her new baby and rearranging stock in her new store, Noah's Ark Kid's Consignment Shop in Seville Square on 54th Avenue S.

"I live near here, and there is nothing like it down here," she said of the junior consignment collection. "There was nothing on the south side. There are consignment shops on the north side, 49th Street, Fourth Street and 16th Street, all over."

Two doors down, Michael and Jane Daswani are selling men's clothing at their new store, Supreme Fashions Inc. Daswani thinks his store is a good addition to the center because he sells dressy men's wear.

With the two new openings, Seville Square now is fully leased. The Albertson's grocery store that occupies one end just completed a nine-month, $9-million renovation. Other tenants are a Dollar Store, Beall's department store, Athletic Zone sports shop, a pediatrician's office, a check-cashing store and a hair-and-nail salon, among others.

Cullen, 38, who said she has shopped at consignment stores for years, lives near Seville Square. While picking up groceries at Albertson's one evening, she saw the empty store space. Already pregnant, she had been thinking about a consignment shop but planned to wait until her new baby was 2 to 3 years old and ready for day care before opening a shop. But she and her husband, John, liked the store and decided to go ahead.

It took about two months to get Noah's Ark ready. The store opened Sept. 8.

"I started working in the store while I was pregnant so she could come here with me," Cullen said Monday. Six-week-old Riley Montana Cullen played on her back in a crib at the front of the store.

Surrounding the baby was all sorts of baby stuff, some of it new but much of it used: strollers, plastic toys, swings, rocking chairs, changing tables, clothes and shoes. There are clothes and toys for older children. Cullen says that she stocked the store from yard sales and flea markets.

Instead of taking items on consignment to sell for others, she simply buys what she wants to stock in the store. She uses current department store catalogs for pricing, tagging her items at about half the catalog costs, depending on the wear and tear.

So far the biggest sellers at Noah's Ark have been clothing and large plastic toys, such as a house, that usually go out in the yard, Cullen said.

Supreme Fashions opened on Sept. 1. The Daswanis said they had the same sort of business in South Carolina before moving to Florida.

Daswani, 49, said a friend told him about Seville Square. He drove over from his Brandon home, checked out the traffic one Friday evening and liked the number of customers he saw coming off 54th Avenue S. He and his family moved from Brandon to St. Petersburg.

The garments stocked at Supreme Fashions are dressy suits, shirts, socks and hats. The store has some casual clothing but mostly it is what men wear to church, Daswani said. There is a small children's section. About 98 percent of his customers are African-American, he said.

Supreme Fashions looks fully stocked, but Daswani pointed out space that should have been filled with racks of suits. His shipments from New York, he said, have been delayed by the chaos caused by the terrorists' destruction of the World Trade Center.

Daswani, who said he started in the fashion business in 1969, said he goes to fashion shows in Atlanta and Las Vegas and picks from samples. His stock is then made overseas.

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