Rhyeaul Cairwell has created a niche business in Tallahassee.
His store, The Alley Shoppe on South Adams Street, features authentic African products. Cairwell caters to people eager to enjoy authentic African clothing and other goods.
In 2017, at the age of 39, Cairwell chose to turn his dreams into reality by moving to Tallahassee to open The Alley Shoppe. It is within walking distance of Florida A&M University.
“I wanted a location that had a Historically Black College or University, and Florida A&M University is one of the biggest Historically Black College and Universities I know so it wasn’t that hard of a choice,” Cairwell said.
Born and raised in the Silver Blue community in Miami, Cairwell lived in Jacksonville prior to moving to Tallahassee. There he sold his products out of his house and online. Cairwell had thoughts of expanding and began to want more.
“My friend had a spot in the (Jacksonville) flea market, and he let me sell items there and that is when everything started. I come from the streets and I saw this as my transition,” Cairwell said.
Cairwell said he wanted to expand the community’s knowledge of African culture and the benefits of using natural products when he opened The Alley Shoppe in 2017.
“I get all of my products including apparel shipped directly from Africa. We offer an abundance of natural products, such as oils, different kinds of butter, and toothpaste without fluoride to name a few. Health is wealth, no matter how much money you have,” he said.
Cairwell has several goals for The Alley Shoppe for the coming year.
“To get The Alley Shoppe as a brand publicized. I want to bring healthier options such as holistic medicines, different herbs, fresh fruit cups, and freshly squeezed juices,” Cairwell said.
The Alley Shoppe’s customers favor the idea behind the store and what it provides to the community. Brittany Simpson shops at The Alley Shoppe frequently.
“I like supporting Black businesses and I love their natural shea butter. I prefer to keep my skin products natural,” Simpson said.
An authentic African culture shop in Tallahassee is unique. Query Fogel, a customer, appreciates the shop’s location.
“It’s right down the street from my house and I’ve bought a couple of my shirts from here,” Fogel said.
For more information on The Alley Shoppe such as location, hours of operation, and information about the owner visit https://thealleyshoppe.org/