The boutique scene in Downtown St. Pete is about to heat up. In early March, Verve Boutique will open their doors in the ever-growing EDGE District, introducing both men and women to popular clothing brands not currently represented on this side of the Bay. The new store will focus on elevated street style, meaning, “everyday wear that is comfortable, but that you can still transition easily if you want to go grab dinner or cocktails with your friends,” says owner Susie Wheldon.
Verve Boutique will occupy 2,350 square feet of space that was previously home to Paper Street Market, who closed their doors on Christmas Eve. The shop will carry brands that you would typically find at a department store such as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. For women, you’ll be able to find premium denims, tees, wovens, knits, and maxi dresses offered by well-known brands such as McGuire, Current/Elliot and Flynn Skye.
While there are quite a few women’s boutiques located downtown, finding clothing for men is often a struggle. Aside from Jackie Z Style Co., Tommy Bahama and John Craig Clothier at Sundial (and a few consignment shops), men’s apparel is more or less nonexistent. Wheldon plans to fill the void by offering a variety of casual clothing for men, including jeans, t-shirts, and shorts from brands like The Kooples, Hudson, and Joe’s Jeans.
Prices will be comparable to what you would pay in a department store — jeans will start around $150 and shirts will have a price tag of $50 and up.
Located at 915 Central Ave., Susie Wheldon’s Verve Boutique is not the only downtown clothing store opening in the near future. In the next month, two additional women’s boutiques will open up within 3 blocks of Verve. The popular Ashe Couture Boutique will double their space by moving to 1023 Central Ave. — about 300 feet away from their current location on the 900 block. Additionally, at 648 Central Ave., a combination beer/wine bar and boutique called Bartique will open in a storefront recently vacated by Foolish Pride Tattoos.
However, Wheldon does not view the nearby boutiques as competition. “It’s great that a few boutiques have popped up in this area. People love being able to park their car and walk from shop to shop.”
Although Wheldon has only had the space for one month, the concept for Verve has been in the works for much longer. In 2011, Susie’s husband, Dan Wheldon, an IndyCar driver and two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 and 2005 winner of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, tragically died in a crash at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Now, after being a stay at home mom for the past eight years, she has decided it is time to fulfill her dream of owning her own business.
The idea for a high-end boutique came to her over the summer. A few months later, before even securing a location, a friend convinced her to make a trip up to New York City to attend Coterie, a fashion trade show held at the Javits Center. After meeting with designers from all over the world, she was able to finalize a list of brands that she wanted to carry at Verve.
In addition to offering an outstanding selection of casual wear for men and women in Downtown St. Pete, Wheldon is also looking forward to giving back to the community by offering the best customer service as possible. “I want to create a really personable experience for my shopper. I want people to visit the store because they know that they can always find something they’ll love here,” she says.
The grand opening for Verve Boutique will be held on March 9th — the same weekend as the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. For more information and to stay up-to-date on Verve Boutique, make sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram.