Small businesses choosing downtown West Palm Beach to open boutique stores

Real estate agents point to culture change

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- - What was once considered the quiet side of Clematis Street in Downtown West Palm beach could be headed for a boom in business according to some real estate experts.

Several new, small businesses are opening or are preparing to open on the west side of Clematis Street.

Among those stores opening, Subculture Coffee Roastery.

They might be just coffee beans to many people, but for owner Sean Scott he has hedged everything on his new store.

"For here, I just thought it was right for the taking," said Scott.

A few years ago, Scott said the support for his boutique coffee bean roastery was not there. Now he feels the situation has changed in Downtown West Palm Beach.

"I think we've gone from big box back to mom and pop. I think a lot of people are interested in that. They want to know how it's made, where it's coming from and they want to know the guy that's making it," said Scott.

Scott is not alone.    

Two blocks down from Subculture Coffee Roastery, Melissa Hirsch moved from New Jersey to begin her Pure Barre franchise and picked West Palm Beach to start the store.

"There's just so much development going on down here. In terms of what's going on at City Place, Clematis again as well as there are so many young people in our city," said Hirsch.

A younger crowd moving to West Palm Beach is part of the change according to Century 21 real estate agent William Roger Cummings.    
    
"I think it's the most exciting time for West Palm Beach," said Cummings.

Working in Downtown West Palm Beach for four decades, Cummings said the amount of residential living in or near downtown has finally started to align to support a growth in small business.

"It means that people are encouraged, people are confident, people believe that they're going to be successful," said Cummings.

Scott said if he and others succeed, it could be just the start.
    
"If you can have small business succeed, things can change from being just a tourist destination to being a legitimate place to do business whether it be small or larger," said Scott.

Subculture Coffee opening Monday, March 3.

Pure Barre is already open.

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