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New Business On Gaines Street Highlights Lack Of Affordable Locations

A shop with a brick face at the end of a shopping center.
Tom Flanigan
The newly-opened Opulent Hair Boutique in the 500 block of West Gaines Street

Much has been said about the need for more affordable housing in Tallahassee. But what about more affordable locations for small businesses? The issue may soon be getting more local government attention.

The new Opulent Hair Boutique had its grand opening Saturday, June 26, in the 500 block of Gaines Street. The shop's co-owner Carley Barnes said she was happy to get that location.

"I didn't even try to get this one! I was trying to get the one down the street. And it just so happened the real estate lady said, 'I got a gem right around the corner,' and it's amazing."

City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow, also a Gaines Street business owner, was among those at the shop's ribbon cutting.

"It's great to have these spots filling up, the energy back on the block. Gaines Street has always been a corridor for local start-up entrepreneurs and here's another one coming to the neighborhood."

But lease rates further west on Gaines are beyond the reach of most local start-ups, and many of those spaces remain vacant. Matlow says it's a matter local government may have to examine.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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