Sitting on the corner of Railroad Avenue and Gaines Street, Connection World lives up to its name.
The store not only specializes in urban wear, but also sells everything from beauty supplies to beepers. Storeowner James Wooden said he gave the store its name because he wanted to “connect everything in one shop.”
A seasoned businessman, Wooden, 42, dabbled in the restaurant business and ran a convenience store in the 1980s before coming to Tallahassee from Miami. He saw retail as a welcoming challenge and wanted to cater to young people, who sometimes can’t afford the brand names they want to flaunt.
“I knew this was the best place to put up a store,” Wooden said. “You get all walks of life and it’s a great location for an urban store.”
Though there are several stores in Tallahassee that offer similar products, Wooden isn’t worried about having competition.
“The only competition I have is me,” he said. “Some people say this won’t work. I’m going to prove them wrong.”
Connection World has only been open for two months, but Wooden said his store is already thriving .
“I think being here for just two months, it’s doing much better than I thought.”
Customer service is one aspect of the store Wooden takes pride in, and it is reflected in the flow of dedicated customers.
“When you walk in that door, you become a part of our family,” he said.
Corey Lewis, 31, of Tallahassee said the friendliness of the staff is just one thing that sets Connection World apart from similar stores.
“The people here are real,” he said.
Lewis said he used to shop at Empire, which is located in Governor Square Mall, but now frequents Connection World because of its convenience.
“They have better deals and stay open later than the mall,” Lewis said.
Reggie Smith, 21, a student at Tallahassee Community College, said name brands were what attracted him to the store.
“I wear a lot of FUBU and Akademiks,” Smith said. “I also come here to get facial soaps and cosmetics.”
Wooden said this is just the beginning for Connection World. He said he is looking to expand the shop to cater to mature women and in 10-15 years he hopes to be a nationwide franchise.
“I believe in taking chances,” he said. “I don’t want this to be thought of as just a hip-hop store.
Rahkia Nance can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.