Throughout the seven years that my husband and I lived in Washington, DC, I longed for a handful of Pensacola staples that truly set the standard for small business experiences.
These have been and remain my favorite small businesses. To me, they represent so much about the simplicity and privilege of living in a place like Pensacola. Some of these businesses have been serving our community for less than a decade and some as long as 160 years.
No matter how old, they all have one thing in common—they are anchors in our bustling little city and they are part of Pensacola’s fabric that makes our community such a special place.
The Apple Market – I am a born-and-raised Apple Market enthusiast and some things never change. This grocer has it all—hospitable staff, homemade chicken salad, hot plates for lunch or dinner, quiches, fresh sushi, and USDA prime steaks. As of recent, they’ve also started selling a variety of potted plants, including Boston Ferns, one of my favorite front porch plants.
Another recent addition that my family loves is the Southern Craft Creamery options in the ice cream case. If you have a thing for ice cream, do yourself a favor and go by the Apple Market for a pint of the Horchata ice cream (if you’re into fruity, try the Kumquat).
When you need a quick dinner, try their salmon, green beans, and cheese grits hot plate. This is one of my family’s favorite go-to options for the days we run out of steam come dinner time.
Gray Boutique – I cannot say enough wonderful things about this gorgeous store! The ladies at Gray have created a 10/10 shopping experience. Their racks are filled with beautiful clothes for a variety of ages and price points. Everything I’ve ever purchased from Gray is of quality and proves to be a staple in my closet.
My favorite part of shopping in this store is their personal approach to every single customer. I feel like I get a fashion consult along with a little inspo to step outside the box every time I walk through their doors. They give my wardrobe a little “edge” that I otherwise would never think to pick out or put on.
If you need a wardrobe update, something for a special occasion, or just want to be reminded why apparel shopping at a brick and mortar is exponentially better than online, go to Gray, Now!
Joe Patti’s Seafood – When I lived in Washington, DC, JPS was at the very top of the list on the hometown spots I missed the most. I never thought I’d long for the smell of locally caught seafood, eternally long lines, and chaotic number calling. Absence made my heart grow fonder though. This place is unique, an absolute gem, and worth the chaos that comes with going to buy your local fresh seafood.
The only thing that could make JPS even better? If they had a satellite location next to Apple Market. Can you imagine a one-stop-shop between JPS and the Apple Market? That’s what grocery shopping dreams are made of!
Pensacola Hardware – Yes, I am likely biased because my family owns Pensacola Hardware Company, the oldest retailer in Florida. However, this store is truly unique and a must-visit because of the personal touch and great variety of product—tools, home improvement essentials, everyday household goods, grills, gourmet kitchen accessories, wedding gifts, teacher gifts, classic children’s toys, bird feeders, ornaments, doormats and my absolute favorite, Tyler Candle Company Diva Washing Detergent.
Also, the PHC is dog-friendly and the gift wrapping is complimentary. Next time you’re out and about with your furry friend, stop by and experience one of the oldest businesses in the United States.
Odd Colony Brewing Company – Last but certainly not least is Odd Colony. What a great addition to Palafox Street! We’ve enjoyed many happy hours here with the whole family – dogs and babies included! The space is open and airy and the beverage selections are always interesting and delicious. The backroom near the alley makes for a great party space if you’re looking to host an event.
This place continues to cultivate an incredible beer sampler and a warm, welcoming destination to gather.
My favorite days include some combination of errand running between these special places.
Enjoy a day out and about and try to hit as many of these stops as possible – you won’t regret it!