During the Great Recession, some parts of South Tampa felt like a ghost town. Now that the economy is improving, many shop owners and Realtors believe there is a resurgence in not only South Tampa in general, but in Hyde Park Village in particular.
Rich Wills of Lakeland believed in the area enough to open Fit Niche Fitness & Apparel about six months ago.
"It's on the upswing," Wills said of Hyde Park Village. "Twenty years ago, it was the place to shop. It suffered decline. Recently, there has been a little resurgence. It's a great location and a great community."
Wills said that while some are discovering the charm of the Hyde Park neighborhoods, others are just starting to discover the ample free parking. Wills is trying to get the word out that people can use the 1,000 covered parking spaces, especially as they lose parking spaces to development in nearby parts of South Tampa.
"We encourage people to use the covered parking spaces here," he said.
Chef Rosana Rivera of South Tampa, who owns Piquant restaurant, at 1633 W. Snow Ave., in Hyde Park Village with Chef Ricardo Castro of Lutz, said she has been pleased with the business they attract.
She said it's unusual for business owners to have a receptive customer base from the moment they open their doors.
"Hyde Park is a highly supportive community," Rivera said. "They want businesses. The customer base is very supportive."
Domingo Quintero III, a real estate agent with Keller Williams South, said the Hyde Park community offers something different for people at different stages in their lives.
"Hyde Park Village has a definite draw to home buyers, but is different based on the type of buyer," Quintero III said. "For buyers with families, it is not just Hyde Park Village, but also the park. Kate Jackson Park is one of the best in South Tampa and families love to bring their kids there on the playground and the fountain. They also have an activity center and basketball courts."
He said Hyde Park Village offers fun kid-friendly events such as Christmas tree lighting, Easter Bunny visits and arts and crafts, which attracts families purchasing single-family homes.
Singles and empty-nesters have spurred on townhome and condo sales in the Hyde Park area. All of the new development and home sales means a stronger customer base for small business, restaurant and boutique owners that call the area home.
"For the adult segment without smaller children, the Village has had other events - beer tastings, Taste of South Tampa, art shows, and until recently the Jazz fest series," he said. "There is also the allure of Irish 31, CineBisto, Wine Exchange, Timpano - all great venues."