Cause-driven retailing has become big business as shop owners look to give back on a global level. Many small retailers now give a portion of their profits to worthwhile charities, making both the retailer and the customer feel good about doing good. But one women’s boutique in downtown St. Augustine is looking to make an even deeper connection with customers.
Philanthropy on King Street fuses fashion with compassion, donating approximately 10% of its overall sales per year to on-the-ground organizations that make an impact in specific and targeted ways. The mission is to help individuals in underdeveloped communities lead better lives through health initiatives, education and empowerment. Much of the focus is in South Africa, the Caribbean and here in the U.S.
It becomes immediately clear walking into the shop that Philanthropy goes beyond global charity work.
In the middle of the store, which has an Anthropologie vibe with its use of natural woods and antique accents, stands something you won’t find in any other boutique. It’s a rustic representation of an old-fashioned Christian chapel.
Customers are invited to step inside and write their “prayer requests” on vintage tags and then hang them on the wooden Prayer Wall. A sign inside reads, “This wall is intended to be an open canvas for our customers to post prayer requests and praises. As the body of Christ, we are called to support and encourage each other through prayer.”
Members of the staff will even pray for customers inside the chapel if they feel so inclined. A day of shopping can quickly turn into an experience that has more of an impact on the soul.
In addition to St. Augustine, Philanthropy has brick and mortar locations in Athens, Georgia, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and the flagship store in Franklin, Tennessee outside Nashville.
Employees hinted that an additional Florida location could be on the way later this year with a storefront possibly opening up in Winter Park.
As you might expect, the shops are closed Sundays.
Philanthropy is located at 21 King Street in the heart of St. Augustine, Florida.