Though St. Louis is full of thriving local businesses, many fly under the radar, undeservedly. Here are some of our favorite smaller retailers.
So Jeff Retro (2623 Cherokee Street) offers a fun and sustainable blast from the past. The no-fuss, almost warehouse-like interior is filled with unique furniture finds and antique gems. You'll find something for every room: mid-century-modern dressers, a couch that teleports you back into your grandma's living room in the '70s, vintage paintings and more.
Nostalgia abounds as you sit on the floral-print, worn-down sofa, or swivel on '50s-diner-style, bright-pink-pleather barstools. Some items need a little TLC, but others look frozen in time.
Born in 2013 on South Jefferson Avenue, the shop landed on Cherokee Street last year. It offers sidewalk clearance items that don't break the bank. And the store posts daily on Facebook and Instagram, offering deals you can buy from your couch.
EyeSeeMe (6951 Olive Boulevard, 314-349-1122) is an African-American children's bookstore, as well as a one-stop shop for books centering on Black characters and stories. Husband and wife proprietors Jeffrey and Pamela Blair work together to engage children in reading.
They also work to boost childhood literacy in underserved regions and confront book bans, partnering with In Purpose Educational Services to supply texts that have been threatened with banning in schools, such as Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye.
Book fairs, African American reading mentorship, literacy and STEM classes all take place in the shop as well. Guests can even purchase a subscription to have new books shipped to their doorstep each week.
Abby Eilermann operates Daily Disco (2103 Marconi Avenue), a colorful, custom embroidery shop on the Hill, where she and her crew personalize beanies, jackets, sweatsuits, masks and more.
It works like this: You pick your item, color and styles, and then choose the phrase you want on it.
Personalize with your own name, or anyone's! Baby items, tea towels, customizable patches — they're all available. And if you have no idea what kind of design you're looking for, the crew has lots of suggestions.
Since opening in 2015, the store has partnered with not only individual customers but also brands including Clementine's Naughty & Nice Creamery and LaCroix. However, the shop is temporarily closed, so customers can currently order online (dailydisco.com) and pick up their items curbside.
If you find yourself coveting someone's funky, colorful shirt touting their local neighborhood, they likely got it at STL Stylehouse (3159 Cherokee Street, 314-898-0001). Jeff and Randy Vines, the identical twin owners, started the shop in 2001, and it has been growing in influence ever since.
The enthusiastic employees are immensely helpful, answering questions about customizable T-shirts. Guests can choose from a rack of plain, variously colored T-shirts, and then pick from the designs on the wall — or they can pick a ready-made shirt off a separate rack.
STL-Style has dedicated graphics for each St. Louis neighborhood, and the designs include phrases like "Fo' Choteau," "High school? Don't ask, don't tell," and "My way or Kingshighway."
The store also offers prints, magnets, books and other accessories that let the world know you're from the Lou — and you're proud.