Get connected at the Alley Shoppe


Do you ever get tired of searching the web to find your “inner African vibe?” Don’t you just hate not having attire that you feel connects you to your roots?

Imagine there being a place where you can go and purchase “black soap” for your beautiful melanin skin. Or perhaps you’d like to go purchase some African-themed attire.

Well, you don’t have to keep imagining. The Alley Shoppe has it all.  Not only will you be able to purchase apparel that was made in Africa, but while you're there you’ll be sure to get a good history lesson.

Rhyeaul Cairwell is the owner of The Alley Shoppe, located at: 2029 S. Adams St.

The name the Alley Shoppe, came to be back in 2012.

“In the alley you can get anything you want; it may be illegal but you can get it. In here, you can get everything you want and need, but we’re just legal,” Cairwell said.

 Alley Shoppe has been up and running since November. However, many people don’t know much about the store. The shop specializes in authentic African goods. The store contains everything from black soap to natural hair and skin care products made specifically for black men and women, down to the dashiki, head wraps, skirts and dresses.

“Everything is real African attire, everything in here is made in West Africa,” said Cairwell.

“Many people don't seek out to buy African style clothing until black history comes around, and when they do, most of their dashiki’s say made in China. But not here in this shop, everything is real,” Cairwell said.

Cairwell partners with at least four other businesses that are also owned by black men.  According to Cairwell, he and the other black men call their partnership “group economics.”

He said that is the only way black businesses will really succeed.

“The products, and the conversations make the shop everything. I sometimes just go for the conversations alone,” FSU student, Alaja Ellison said.

Ellison said she visited the shop once when she heard about it through a friend. “One visit, turned into multiple,” she added.

 Ellison said she and Cairwell engaged in a passionate conversation about the power of being black.

According to Ellison, Cairwell is “culturally woke, and when you leave his shop, he wants to be sure that you have learned something, not just take away a piece of clothing.”

Cairwell is all about giving back to the community. He and a few other black owned businesses are planning to host a back to school drive next month.