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Antique shop in Seminole Heights transports clientele back to their childhood

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Posted at 5:19 AM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 08:20:35-04

SEMINOLE HEIGHTS, Fla. — Seminole Heights is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the Tampa Bay area.

You can find relics from another era all over, but the main icon in Seminole Heights is the two-headed gator. It’s a statue in front of Southern Brewing and it’s on flags outside of people’s homes.

To discover the back story behind it ABC Action News went to “Retro Mania” antique shop, where the original artist of the gator, Justin Thomas used to sell his work.

“He came across an article from the 20s and there were roots and stories about a two-headed gator from that time and he took that made the logo and it just blew up,” explained Joe Soutter, the owner of “Retro Mania.”

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But that is not all “Retro Mania” is known for. The shop looks like every living room from the 1980s and sparks childhood memories. ABC Action News Anchor James Tully even found an item like one his grandparents once had in their house.

I mean everyday someone will buy something I remember growing up or someone in my family had, it’s like memory lane really,” said Soutter.

Joe changed the name of his shop from Seminole Heights antiques to “Retro Mania” since the word antique just isn’t cool anymore.

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“Our clientele is getting younger, and they want mid-century, retro, 80s 70s so we’re catering to that,” explained Soutter. He went on to say, “If you’re looking for a unique gift or an accent piece for your house this is a good place to start.”

Over the years Soutter sold furniture and paintings for thousands of dollars, but he said start with $20 and see where it takes you here. He plays a lot of 80s music in the store and said during tourist season he has no choice but to add hours.