ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Nestled on the south side of downtown St. Pete is Midtown, a 5.5 square mile historic community.
"You may refer to this community as the ghetto, you may even call it the worst area of the city," Elihu Brayboy said.
He and his wife Carolyn call it opportunity. Opportunity to rebuild, restore, and renew Midtown to it's glory days. Just as it was when they were growing up.
"We knew the people who built these buildings. We were a part of their lives. We were the little kids coming into the stores," Elihu Brayboy said.
The Brayboy's bought four properties and invested more than $800,000 along 22nd Street South. What used to be a barbershop is now an ice cream parlor, consignment shop, and art gallery.
The former Haden's grocery store will soon open as the Chief's Creole Cafe. Just a block away the Brayboy's first real estate purchase is now home to their daughter's beauty shop and son-in-laws fitness center.
Their next project, the historic Marriwether building where they plan on putting in low-cost housing and more shops. "I feel there are a lot of people who helped us achieve our goals and I think we need to pay it back to the community," Carolyn Brayboy said.
A vision that came to Carolyn in 2008 after conquering her biggest restoration, rebuilding herself. "I had diagnosis of intestinal cancer. It was stage three," Carolyn said.
Now cancer free for seven years, she and her husband are on a mission to beat Midtown's cancer, empty lots and decaying buildings. "We thought it was important to salvage that history," Elihu Brayboy said.