Celebrating Downtown Pensacola’s Female Entrepreneurs

Posted: Oct 15, 2019 04:18 pm Updated: Oct 17, 2023 10:06 am

 October is more than a time for getting into the Halloween spirit and preparing for cooler fall days; it’s also the National Women's Small Business Month. According to recent statistics, women own 42 percent of U.S. businesses which generate $1.9 trillion and employ 9.4 million workers, making female-owned businesses an essential part of the economy. In Downtown Pensacola, many of your favorite businesses are owned and managed by local female entrepreneurs whose efforts and expertise make Pensacola a great place to live, work and play!

Dress up with downtown shops offering fashionable and functional clothing and accessory choices as well as home décor. Shop and get styled at Scout, founded and owned by fashion designer Julia Ussery with her unique and individualized clothing selections. The Market and Mainly Shoes is a shop for women, by women offering trendy clothes and timeless accessories. Owned by two sisters, Anne Frechette and Peggy Woolverton with their mother Tish Childs, this downtown staple has been a thriving business for over 35 years. Check out Susan Campbell Jewelry for truly unique pieces, exhibiting her artistic flair and business acumen. Stop by Rusted Arrow Mercantile, where owners and founders Ruth Rose Cornelius and Samantha Breedlove offer a plethora of furniture, home décor and boutique gifts perfect for your home or loved one. And, if you’re looking for contemporary home appliances, lighting and décor, Urban Objects is another ideal option, locally owned by Sarah Gillette. If you’re looking to dress down and have a relaxing night, you’d be remiss to forget about Belle Ame’, owned by Yvette Crooke-Avera, this vibrant store offers many bathing and shower products to help you feel pampered and relaxed.


Satisfy your hunger with food offerings from female bosses. Start with Carmen’s Lunch Bar, known for its cozy interior and menu full of savory and electric flavors. Owner and founder Mari Carmen Josephs began her restaurant after winning the 2012 Pensacola Business Challenge, growing Carmen’s into an integral part of the Downtown Pensacola experience. South Market is another woman-owned dining spot for delicious options. The contemporary American restaurant offers a range of appealing classic dishes from the award-winning market meat loaf to shrimp and grits. Get a taste for Bluejay’s Bakery’s Instagrammable offerings that are as delicious as they are expertly crafted. Trained at the International Culinary Center, owner and founder Justine Gudmundson-McCain’s culinary creations include cupcakes, tarts, cake pops, macaroons and wedding cakes. For late night drinks, wind down at Old Hickory Whiskey Bar. Owned by Katie Garrett, this spot that boasts more than 650 whiskeys and cocktails in a location inspired by Pensacola’s past with past President Andrew Jackson. Be sure to try the newly opened The Kennedy, another of Garrett’s businesses inspired by American leadership that serves classic drinks from the past infused with the flavors of today. The recently opened Asher & Bee, Apothecary and Tea House is owned by Marni Woodson and is the perfect place for some natural healing with their various teas, food and herbal offerings. 

As Downtown Pensacola continues to thrive, you can be sure that these real estate professionals are working to make our downtown a more vibrant place. NAI Pensacola CEO DeeDee Davis has created a powerful team of sales and marketing associates to best serve their commercial real estate clients. Downtown Pensacola historian and realtor Deborah Dunlap has also invested heavily in and managed properties in the downtown area for more than 20 years and has been at the forefront of downtown development and growth while serving on various community boards including Downtown Improvement Board. Since 1982, Realtor of the Year recipient Sandra Ward has also specialized in commercial and high end residential real estate across the Pensacola area from her downtown office.


Shopping at Palafox Market is a great opportunity to support local women-owned businesses as well. Taste your way to hummus heaven with Hummus Lady and try Kelly Peraino’s organic creations with flavors such as Roasted Grape & Jalapeño and Citrus & Date with spicy walnuts, available at the market and local groceries. We also encourage you to try Mrs. Jones Coffee, a concentrated brew which originally began for founder Stephanie Jones as a way to quickly and conveniently prepare coffee in the early mornings. Over time she perfected her recipe and began to share with friends and family what is now a regular fixture at Palafox Market and sold locally across many Pensacola groceries. 

With Pensacola being such a strong destination for talented female leaders, we’re certain we've missed  a few people from our round-up and our local leaders show no signs of slowing down. So, here’s to the ambitious women of Downtown Pensacola. You’ve taken risks and earned success in making Pensacola a better place for everyone and continue to inspire our future leaders.