Q: Tell us a little bit about Soleciety. Where did the idea for a sneaker boutique come from?
Soleciety specializes in harder-to- find sneakers. This could range from Jordan originals from the ‘90s to sample shoes that never actually hit production. I have always had a special place in my heart for sneakers. I used to travel all over the country to go to various sneaker conventions. Some were horrible, with no A/C, long lines and not a lot of vendors. I had an idea with a couple of friends at the time that we could easily do these events in Tampa and do them better. I started throwing sneaker conventions, [called] Bay Area Soleciety. After much success with the events, opening Soleciety was the next step for me.
Q: You originally opened Soleciety in Wesley Chapel and moved the store to downtown about a year ago. Why was downtown the right location?
At the time we opened in 2014, I looked into downtown and didn’t feel it was ready for retail. You could say it was a ghost town. Fast forward to last year, our lease was up in Wesley Chapel. There was finally some life in Downtown Tampa and some major plans for development coming. We wanted to be a part of the growth and be in a more centralized location for our customer base.
Q: It’s no secret that retail has been one of the last business sectors to get going downtown. What have been some of the challenges and benefits to being among the first retailers to set up shop in Downtown Tampa?
The most challenging thing about being among the first retailers is the lack of shopping and sightseeing for visitors coming from out of town. When traveling to other cities, you see their downtowns, and a lot of them are already developed and thriving. Tampa is still in the redevelopment stages. However, we hope more retail shops continue to make the move to grow our downtown quicker, and we’re excited to be one of the first.
Q: Where is your favorite place for coffee in the urban core?
I like to mix it up. However, a new coffee shop just opened up called King State, and it really has been my go-to lately. I like to start o with a double shot of their Tanzanian espresso and finish with an iced vanilla latte.
Q: Where is your favorite place for a drink downtown?
I usually like to hit up our neighbors The Local or Franklin Manor, and I love a good pickleback.
Q:What is your favorite downtown hidden gem?
I’m not sure if you’re even allowed on the Cass Street drawbridge, but it’s a cool little piece of history. I like to go down there, look at the ever-changing graffiti and catch great views of the city.
Q:Where do you like to take guests from out of town to show of Tampa?
A stroll down the Riverwalk is always a good vibe with the views. Curtis Hixon and Julian B. Lane parks never fail with events going on, and historic Seventh Avenue is always fun to people watch.
Q:I would think that style is pretty important to you. Other than Soleciety, what are your favorite Tampa shops and boutiques?
It all depends on what piece I’m looking for. Luckily we have a lot of dope options here in Tampa. Every shop is unique. Some of my favorites around Tampa are SPOT, Reach TPA, All City Gallery X Greater Goods and Social Status.
Soleciety | 202 E. Cass St. Tampa, FL 33602 | solecietyshop.com