If you’ve spent any time in Downtown Delray Beach, you’ve surely found yourself in Pineapple Grove and hopefully in front of the eye-catching window of FURST, overflowing with jaw-dropping hand-made purses, handbags, and more. Lately, due to the growth on the Grove, construction has posed a problem for this purse factory, but the CRA was willing and able to help!
Ronald Furst, LLC (FURST) is a luxury handbag retail shop owned and operated by Ronald K. Furst. Furst has been designing and manufacturing luxury, custom purses and leather goods for over fifty years. Named a Legacy Business by the Downtown Development Authority, the FURST shop has operated out of Delray Beach for 16 years. The designer is also nationally recognized for his original, custom designs and FURST creations can be seen on exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and The Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC. As a notable and essential business to the City, the CRA was proud to help ensure that the business continued to thrive.
“Visibility is essential for any business and for small businesses, it is critical. So when FURST had the opportunity to do something about reviving their visibility, they seized it,” said Alexina Jeannite, CRA Community Engagement Director. “Because of the shop’s location, it had been literally stuck in the middle of a new, nearby construction project that negatively impacted customer foot traffic. Business was further interrupted, like so many others, by the temporary shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These are just a couple incidents that the FURST shop had to endure. But FURST soon realized it could turn a bad situation into an opportunity and thought it was ideal timing to revive the shop’s visibility ⎯ just in time to coincide with the opening of the newly constructed luxury hotel, The Ray, and as surrounding businesses were slowly re-opening.
Funding through the Site Development Assistance Program was used to freshen and brighten the shop’s visibility and exposure to bring more attention to the store and to the Pineapple Grove shopping corridor of the CRA District. The improvement project included the installation of modern hurricane safe windows, signage, a new front door, enhanced energy-efficient interior lighting and electrical improvements, and updated permanent interior fixtures and cabinetry to better represent the store’s offerings of luxury products as well as to accommodate a wider selection of goods.
“The CRA’s purpose is to support revitalization and economic development, and one way this is accomplished is by directly supporting and investing in the small business community,” said Jeannite. “The CRA’s funding assistance programs benefit the community, advance the overall CRA mission of eliminating blighted conditions within the CRA District, and help boost economic activity.”
According to the City’s Office of Economic Development, in Delray Beach, 95% of businesses are small businesses. The City’s local small businesses are what help make Delray the thriving community that it is, so providing resources that would aid in their growth and success is important to the CRA, according to Jeannite.
“All of our funding programs are great opportunities for small-business owners who are looking to grow and enhance their businesses,” said Jeannite. “Specifically, the Site Development Assistance Funding Program is the CRA’s most popular business assistance program, it helps defray project costs, and allows for the widest range and types of construction improvements. The intended result of funded projects is that they would make a publicly visible improvement to the area and contribute to the enhanced viability of business activity within the CRA District.”
FURST is located at 123 N.E. Second Ave. Please visit www.ronaldfurst.com or call (561) 272-6422 for more information.