Just about all of the Point Breeze business buzz is rooted near the rapidly gentrifying Newbold section, where craft beer vendors and a yoga studio vie for street space with Dominican and Indonesian corner stores. A few blocks west, however, Point Breeze Avenue is slowly coming back to life. A round up of neighborhood establishments proves that the “Breeze” is open for business.
Shear Talent Barber Shop
1301 Point Breeze Ave.
Tachi Williams grew up in Point Breeze. He opened the Shear Talent Barbershop in 2005 with the backing and support of his family. The shop has four full-time barbers and a long list of loyal clients.
“Some people cannot afford the higher prices,” said Tachi. “So we offer services for everyone. We offer services from $5 to $35. We won’t turn anyone away.”
Refuge For Life Vintage Boutique
1419 Point Breeze Ave.
Minerva Quillen’s vintage boutique bursts with fashions from every era. The walls are covered with paintings in heavy gold frames. The collector herself dresses head-to-toe in a white fox fur coat.
“I have a passion for clothes,” said Quillen. “I love to dress people and make them feel good about themselves. Especially in these hard times, people don’t have a lot of money but they want to look good.”
Quillen’s store doubles as her ministry. She puts giveaway cans outside the store, filled with free clothes for people who are in need.
Culture Exchange Gift Shop
1410 Point Breeze Avenue
The Culture Exchange has been hocking holiday goods from their location just two blocks south since 1987. Owner Brian Neely was born in Lebanon, Pa. but has called the Breeze home as an adult. Red and pink hearts adorn his shelves ahead of Valentine’s Day, but his store also sells a certain brand of hope.
“This place shows some of the children that there are some relatives running businesses,” he said. “It shows that we can survive.”
Point Crab’s and Seafood
1324 Point Breeze Ave.
Silver trout, jumbo shrimp, black sea bass, butter fish and blue fish are artfully arranged in the gleaming display cases at Point Crab’s and Seafood. Sung Lee and her husband bought the business in 2008 from the previous owner, who was retiring. After three years of commerce, the Lee’s saved enough money to completely renovate the store. The result is a sparkling clean and modern shop stocked daily with fresh fish.
“There is a lot of change in the neighborhood,” says Sung Lee, “and we were looking for a good business to invest in. This was a good place.”
Blackstonze Custom Garments
1210 Point Breeze Avenue
Lifelong Point Breeze resident Eric Barnes has been making T-shirts for everything from birthdays to road races for 15 years. He worked in basements and living rooms before opening up his brick and mortar store three months ago.
“Everyone can tell the neighborhood is changing,” said Barnes. “Good business is knowing how to change with it.”
-Text and images by Jessica Griffin and Jad Sleiman