Business owner: West King Street in St. Augustine is 'pretty happening'

West Augustine has struggled economically, but more businesses are heading into the area

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A revival or a renaissance. That's one way some people have described what's going on in West Augustine, which has struggled economically.

There, Dana Blanton is cooking up something sweet.

She, with her new shop Sweet City Cupcakes, is the new kid on the block in West King Street.

"Last Thursday was our grand opening," she smiled.

Blanton's shop is one of a handful of new businesses that are starting to dot the area called West Augustine. It's an area that is officially considered blighted.

Blanton chose to open her business here because it's just a couple blocks from popular downtown St. Augustine, and it didn't come with the swirling high-priced rent of downtown.

"The price point on this was perfect," she noted.

A sandwich shop, gallery, and another bakery opened up here within the last couple years too.

"We're growing," Steven Mendoza said. He and his brother have Bog Brewery on West King Street. 

Bog Brewery and Tap Room started bubbling up business last year.

"We're just kind of waiting for the other anchor," Mendoza said. "Present Moment Cafe has been an anchor here in the food scene. And we're not going  anywhere. So we're definitely waiting for the next anchor to come and build up the West King Street corridor."

More businesses are coming to West King Street. Behind Sweet City Cupcakes, there's another business opening up in the back of the building. And behind that, there's a donut shop coming soon called Glaze.

"I think this is great for the neighborhood," Michael Gagel said as he left Sweet City Cupcakes with a couple of boxes of cupcakes. He lives in West Augustine and said there is a stigma that new businesses have to overcome.

"There is a little bit of a stigma with this neighborhood because there's been some crime," Gagel said. "But it's a great neighborhood. I love it!"

"Some people are put off by West King street for some reason," Mendoza said. "I think a lot of people, with us being here, it's kind of opened their eyes that it's just another park of St. Augustine... that has parking!"

Blanton isn't phased by any preconceived notions that may have dusted West King Street in the past. She's focused on the present in this area, which some say is experiencing a revival.

"I think people are calling it many different things, but I just look at is as new business coming, trying to bring some more business to the neighborhood," she smiled.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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