The 1901 pop-up shop was but for a long weekend of operation. Read the recap here. The space’s new tenant, to be inked officially today or tomorrow, is Roberto Torres, of Black & Denim Apparel, a Tampa-hatched and American-made menswear brand.
While the clothing business lives on, Roberto’s latest venture at 1901 East Seventh Avenue will be a concept similar to the Oxford Exchange, albeit on a distinctly Ybor scale and with Ybor style. The Blind Tiger Cafe (website coming soon) will integrate Tampa’s best local brands and small businesses in one place, unlike any of its neighbors in the historic district.
Buddy Brew Coffee, TeBella Tea, Piquant pastries, and locally-made apparel and accessories (including Black & Denim and Fortenberry) will all be on tap. Rather than simply aggregating and selling others’ product, Roberto is focusing on each brand’s expertise, process, and quality, both in daily delivery and in a program of classes, impromptu tastings, and memberships for regular customers. Later, the plan is to tread slowly into the world of local craft beer and offer small deli sandwiches delivered daily from Sunday’s Delicatessen, also in Ybor City.
“Cafe, Tea, & Textiles” is the tagline, incorporating each element into a destination that will hopefully accommodate locals, visitors, and fledgling entrepreneurs.
That last part will be fed by Cowork Ybor, a connected but separate space devoted to shared office and meeting space, that for a monthly membership fee, small business owners or freelancers (or anyone really) can use the space and enjoy unlimited Blind Tiger beverage offerings.
Much to my excitement, Roberto plans to spare no expense at key decision points, even if it means a new standard above the status-quo for Tampa. In fact, that is the goal. It will be friendly, and accessible, but it will deliver quality not seen on Seventh Avenue for some time.
His passion for local extends to the consultation of Schiller’s architectural salvage, which will provide much of the interior decor and design. From an outsider’s perspective, I have been impressed by Roberto’s breadth in development of a comprehensive vision. He also has a knack for relationships, hence his strategic partnership with each of the other local players.
He has asked me to help him in two ways: create local buzz ahead of the two spaces’ planned mid-October launch, as well as document the transformation of the 1901 and 1903 storefronts. Look for more details in the coming weeks here, as well as on the Blind Tiger’s new website and blog, which will go live shortly.
To read more about the concept and space, see these recent articles about The Blind Tiger and Cowork Ybor: