One local business owner is on a mission to change this.
The south side is home to both local residents and students attending Florida A&M University.
Within the last three years the south-side community has seen the closures of popular shopping stores, including a Walgreens, a Winn-Dixie, and a Harvey’s supermarket. After the closure of the area’s Harvey’s, which was the first of these recent closures, many local residents considered the area a food desert.
Students like Jazmon Arnold, a junior psychology major from St. Petersburg, is growing more and more upset with the food and entertainment options provided in her community.
“I live here on the south side because it’s close to school and the student housing is pretty affordable,” said Arnold. “I hate that I have to drive across town if I am up late studying and want a bite to eat or if my friends and I want to go hang out at a bar for an hour or so. The options here are so limited I’m thinking of just moving, like my sister did when she grew tired of this.”
The owner of Cool Cutters barbershop, Sunny Anderson, plans to bring more quality entertainment and food options to the south side.
Cool Cutters is located at 3030 South Monroe St. in the same plaza the now-closed Winn-Dixie used to be.
Anderson plans to open a late- night sports bar next door to the barbershop. The sports bar will offer food, alcohol and sports on TV monitors.
“I like the slogan ‘Let’s make America great again,’ and I think a lot of [black] people fear that slogan because they don’t know when America was great for them. That’s just a lack of knowledge of history. When the dollar circulated 36 thousand times within the black community, that was when America was great for black folks,” Anderson said.
“I’m a felon, I’ve sold drugs before and I know what it does to the community. I am also an entrepreneur, and I want to be sure we have positive examples for the next generation. We’re gonna build our neighborhoods back again,” Anderson added.
Other residents are excited about the prospect of a late-night bar in their community. Dino Johnson, a local resident who often frequents Cool Cutters, is looking forward to the new addition.
“Yeah, I think it’s gone be great. You always want to have stuff in your own community,” Johnson said.