ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - "We put our hearts and souls into it," said, Jim Nguyen, co-owner of Old Southeast Market in St. Petersburg.
Nguyen and Tim O'Connell have been friends since the fifth grade and always had a dream of owning their own business to better their community. Now it's a reality for St. Petersburg residents
"I envisioned something like this here one day, and Jim and Tim made it happen with a host of other people who helped them," said Bob Devin Jones, owner of Bob's Cookies.
Last spring, it was just your typical convenience store in the Old Southeast neighborhood in St Pete. Now, it's a friendly neighborhood market with all kinds of interesting products.
"We wanted a nice neighborhood market where people could come gather and buy groceries. They could even just hang out, maybe have a sub or a coffee and meet their neighbors," said Nguyen.
The shelves and counters are made of reclaimed wood, which O'Connell installed. There's even a cozy white picket fence and outdoor seating area.
"I think people just like the general ambiance," Jones said.
Bob's Cookies are one of the many popular locally made treats sold at Old Southeast Market. He brings a fresh batch every day.
"One of the secret ingredients is love," Jones said.
Customers love the variety of locally made products. Everything from homemade spices and rubs, or even cheesecake. People can shop for unique gifts like soy candles, organic soaps and even some eclectic O'Berry's Succulent arrangements.
"We're really grateful for them for not only providing us, but the whole town, these unique products that they put their heart and souls in too," Nguyen said.
You can grab some local craft beer on the way out too.
"We have Cigar City, Tampa Bay Brewing Company and few others from Florida", Nguyen said.
Shoopers carry it all out in reusable grocery bags.
"We want to be a store that's good for the town and the environment. In the long run it's going to work out for us," Nguyen said.