Natural, African products are staples of The Alley Shoppe
By James Thomas
Rhyeaul Cairwell is living his dream as an entrepreneur.
Opening The Alley Shoppe became a reality soon after Cairwell made a successful social media connection with a distributor in Africa.
Cairwell’s store features an extensive inventory of African products. On his docket are clothing apparel, natural hair care products, all-natural hygiene products, children’s books and movies, essential oils, all-natural air freshener and jewelry.
Convinced that he had the right concept of selling African products out of his store instead of the traditional appearances at festivals and concerts, Cairwell opened the shop in September of 2017.
It’s located at 2029 South Adams Street.
“I was already knowledgeable on African culture,” he said. “I just had to get the money to make my vision a reality.”
He is living it.
Jewelisia Fagg, a regular patron at the Alley Shoppe, said the shop is an ideal fit for the predominantly Black Southside of Tallahassee. She especially likes that she can find all natural hygiene products at the store.
She also likes the fact that customers know what they are getting before purchasing products.
“There’s a story for each product at the Alley Shoppe and the owner is sure to make sure you understand the benefit of each product.”
Cairwell has come a long way to realize his dream. He began selling product out of his home, saving his profits towards eventually opening a store front business. Having space in a building keeps him a step ahead of his competitors, he said.
“We all love the festivals but hate the fact we can’t get those products any other time,” Cairwell said. “Here at the Alley Shoppe, our culture is year-round.”
Through the Alley Shoppe, Cairwell brings good energy to the area and surrounding businesses, said a barber at King Kutz who gave his name as only as Rick.
“It’s a great place to shop for your Afro-centric and everyday products,” he said. “Rhyeaul is sure to teach you something new each time you step foot in his store.”
The Alley Shoppe recently teamed up with King Kutz, and King Konch, a food truck near the plaza, for a back to school drive in August. The event featured free food, gave free haircuts and book bags filled with school supplies for the kids.
Cairwell, who said the toughest part of being his own boss is having to be there every day, uses social media to push his business. It’s one of the most effective ways to reach potential customers, he said.
His future plans for growth includes setting up a shop nearby Florida State University campus. Ultimately, he said, he would like to have a chain of stores, starting with a location in Orlando.