Terry White, owner of Brittle Cashews by Son’ni Boi & Petal, Inc., is grateful to be one of the original 17 sellers of Pier’s Marketplace.
By Joyce Nanette Johnson, Editor-in-Chief
ST. PETERSBURG – The rebirth of St. Pete Pier strengthened and stimulated the dynamic growth of the city. The 26-acre pier was designed as a first-class tourist destination where locals and visitors alike could enjoy panoramic water views, dining, entertainment, a children’s play area with wading pool, and docks. fishing.
Janet Echelman’s rippling mesh sculpture titled “Bending Arc” is a sensory experience of changing light and form. At the same time, the Discovery Center and Wet Classroom provide educational information and one-on-one experiences about the Tampa Bay ecosystem.
More importantly, the pier has generated business opportunities in its market for local entrepreneurs such as Terry White, owner of Brittle Cashews by Son’ni Boi & Petal, Inc.
“I’ve always made different types of hard candy and granola, and I started making treats about five years ago as a hobby,” White said. “It has always been a passion for me to make desserts that taste great.”
White wanted his friends and family to munch on treats made with all-natural ingredients, and his goal is to create delicious treats that his customers will find unforgettable.
White researched classic southern recipes for brittle ones and “touched” them until she came up with her personal brand. “My comments came from parents known to be excellent cooks and their taste buds are on time,” she said. “They are brutally honest.”
Positive feedback from friends and family motivated White to move forward with plans to make his business dream come true. Word quickly circulated about her tasty brittle, and soon she was invited to share her confections at events all over Tampa Bay.
She overheard a report saying the city is offering pier selling opportunities and will be holding upcoming information sessions across the city regarding the application process. She attended one of the busy sessions, completed all the processes, and received the mayor’s email acceptance letter several months later.
“When I saw the email, I just wanted to cry,” White said. “I felt so grateful and grateful.”
White believes the name of his first business, Cashew Brittle by Son’ni Boi & Petal Inc, is unique and prophetic.
“Nothing sounded, then I prayed and the name came to mind,” she explained. “Later my aunt told me that my father’s nickname when he was growing up was ‘Sonny Boy’. A friend also reminded me later that in college my nickname was Petal.
White said she put all her heart and soul into her fledgling business. Her sales are increasing and she is excited to share the story of this Southern treat with the children who stop by her booth.
“I respect my growth process because every bag of goodies that goes into a customer’s hand is growth for my business. “
White encourages other women to follow their dream. “If something bothers you, you dream about it and it won’t let go, it’s something [there] it’s up to you to investigate. Stay persistent.
She also points out that networking and getting business advice is invaluable. White received information on the start-up operations of several business training and mentoring operations, such as GOAL, a nonprofit resource from the US Small Business Administration.
“Connect with those who are experts at what you are not an expert on,” she advised.
Through Operation Startup, she learned the importance of mentor advice. White benefited from their stimulating, high-impact workshops, mentoring and networking. From the Women’s Business Center, she was invited to take a course given by Julian L. Nichols with Focus On You.
“It was a six-week post-work commitment with a 45-minute commute for me,” she said. “It was a life changing experience and it really helped me understand the concept of branding. “
White remains inspired by a compliment from a 93-year-old client who she says started her on the entrepreneurial path with a letter of encouragement that read, “The most generous and fantastically delicious Cashew Brittle.” , a giant step towards gourmet paradise.
“To be selected as one of the 17 original suppliers is an honor,” White exclaimed. “It’s great to be part of something new that adds more culture, vibrancy and opportunities for people to connect in a positive way. “
The market is located just after the Pier Welcome Center at the entrance to the pier. It is a collection of 17 independent and diverse suppliers who offer a range of products, all under the comfortable shade of a solar roof.
“The Pier’s retail stores and the Marketplace are managed by Colliers International, which is a leading professional real estate and investment management services company,” said Stephanie Addis, director of retail services for Colliers. . Addis has been a part of the pier redevelopment team and city officials, including Mayor Rick Kriseman and Deputy Mayor Dr Kanika Tomalin, since plans for the new pier began.
“Everyone agreed that they wanted to include small businesses in the plans,” she said. “We wanted it to be open to a lot of different people who have never had a brick and mortar business.”
Four briefings took place from August 2018 to May 2019, and Addis also provided personal technical support with the Greenhouse applications. A total of 70 applications were submitted and reviewed by the jetty redevelopment team.
“No credit check was done,” Addis explained. “However, we wanted to know if they had a business or marketing plan, an income statement, information about the entity, experience running a business and their start-up costs. We also wanted to know from them what they think makes their offering unique.
Addis said it was important for her to be a part of the jetty project because it holds a special place in her heart. Her daughter loved the inverted pyramid and cried when it was demolished.
“It was there that she made her first school trip to kindergarten,” she explained. “I wanted to be involved to help make it something people will love for generations to come.”
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