St. Pete Greenhouse

What is the Greenhouse?

WHO WE ARE

The Greenhouse is St. Petersburg’s front-door to business growth, providing business owners and entrepreneurs with the education, resources and assistance necessary to thrive in the local economy. Comprised of an expert team from the City of St. Petersburg and St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, along with a wide network of partners, we are committed to the economic growth and development of St. Petersburg’s economy.

We offer a comprehensive list of services for St. Pete’s small business community that include, business consulting and mentorship, a professional network impactful signature programs, workshops and more.

HOW WE HELP 

Navigation: The Greenhouse’s professional staff, also known as Navigators, are trained to deliver business assistance in a personalized manner. This concierge approach centers around relationship building, process navigation, and results-based solutions to help your business grow and thrive. 

Connection: Connections are essential when launching and growing your business. Community building programs and events offered through The Greenhouse -and its partners- link St. Pete’s entrepreneurs to the local ecosystem. 

Awareness: Locally owned businesses are the fabric of St. Pete and create local character and prosperity. We promote our small business community through storytelling and advocacy of St. Pete and its entrepreneurs. 

Capacity Building: The Greenhouse provides a variety of technical assistance and capacity building services, helping you access the tools, skills, knowledge and resources necessary to start or expand your business. We offer free and low-cost workshops and cohort-based training programs that are purposefully crafted for our business and entrepreneurial community. 

Coordination: Lack of coordination allows viable funding opportunities to leak through the cracks. The Greenhouse administers local business initiatives and grant programs that are needed to help your business to start and grow. 

Examples include: 

  • Storefront Conservation Corridor Program
  • Commercial Revitalization Program
  • Grow Smarter Job Creation and Talent Attract Program
  • South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area (CRA)
  • Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Program

GREENHOUSE HISTORY

The Greenhouse was built in 1901 as the Domestic Science and Manual Training School. It is the oldest surviving school building in St. Petersburg, as well as, the first vocational training school for children in Florida. The Domestic Science and Manual Training School was a state-of-the-art facility, offering classes in military science, physical education, industrial arts and domestic science.

Built and designer by contractor, Charles F. May, the building was designed in the Masonry Vernacular style with Italianate elements and influence. In 1998, the Domestic Science and Manual Training School was designated as a local landmark, and was later listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

In addition to its role as a vocational school, the Domestic Science and Manual Training School building served as a community and educational center for St. Petersburg residents through 1925. At that time, the school was relocated to Mirror Lake, and the building was converted into office space.

From 1925 through 1930, the offices at the former Domestic Science and Manual Training School were utilized by the local Chamber of Commerce. After 1930, the Veterans of Foreign Wars occupied the space until 1947. Then, from 1947 until 1956, the building became the location of the State Welfare Board, followed by the Child Guidance Clinic from 1956-1960, Welfare Offices (1960-1975), the Office on Aging and Public Works (1975-1979), and the Neighborly Center (1979-1981).

In 1981, the City of St. Petersburg gained ownership of the Domestic Science and Manual Training School building, which was known from then on as the “City Hall Annex.”

In 2013, the City joined in a partnership with the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce to expand outreach and resources available to entrepreneurs and small business owners. The Business Assistance Center was rebranded as “The Greenhouse” by former Mayor Bill Foster, who wanted to showcase it as “a place to grow.”