The "Odd" Love for Tallahassee's Gaines Street

Gaines Street
Posted at 6:15 PM, Jul 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-16 09:50:59-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- Our WTXL Road Trip continues in Leon County with a look at one of Tallahassee's unique streets.

Monroe and Tennessee streets are often considered the capital city's main drags -- but it's Gaines Street that shows off Tallahassee's quirky charm.

A street that's evolved over the years into a vibrant, exciting place -- nestled between the city's two universities in the All Saints District.

Look one way, and you've got Florida State and CollegeTown.

Look another way, and it's FAMU and Railroad Square.

Gaines Street has seen major revitalization that's not going unnoticed.

"Gaines Street was never a place you'd really want to wander around, but in recent years, they've changed it," said Dennis Jones the owner of G Street Garage on Gaines. "They've added a lot of new businesses. There's been a lot of building of the apartments for students, and it's been cleaned up. It's beautiful."

Beautiful -- and, to many here, odd -- but in a good way.

"When i think of that word 'odd,' I think of diversity. I think of the unbelievable talent that's here," said Paul Rutkovsky, manager of The Plant.

"It's artsy," Jones said. "It's just the kind of place that a business like this should do well."

Jones opened G Street Garage on Gaines in March 2016. You'll find art, jewelry -- household items that seem to mesh with the street's quirky feel. He's one of the "new" kids on the block, but so far, he says he's loved the location.

"We have a lot of walking traffic," Jones said. "A lot of the businesses are all very friendly. I think all the businesses in the area have come in to meet me."

As you walk down Gaines Street, it's pretty clear, you get this odd, artsy vibe no matter where you turn. And while some of Gaines Street is seeing more of those national, mainstream companies come in, the general consensus among business owners here is to keep it local.

"These national franchises -- it's pretty boring," Rutkovsky said. "It's boring. This is where it's happening. Right here."

Rutkovsky has owned his location for about 20 years. For the past two, it's been called "The Plant" -- a do-it-yourself community spot to channel your inner artist.

"Workshop areas for woodworking, for art, for painting, for drawing, for music, for sewing. We're trying to get a sewing circle going."

In June, he opened the Gaines Street Art Alleys, a space to show off local work.

"Life is art, and art is life, and I believe everyone has the potential to explore, to create and to make a lively community," he said.

*Next, we dive deeper into Leon County's Native American history with a look inside Mission San Luis.