Director of Urban Affairs Nikki Gaskin Capehart congratulates Lennise and Omar Germany for being the first featured restaurant at the new SPC Deuces Den.
ST. PETERSBURG — What started as an idea on their vision board became a reality for Lennise and Omar Germany because their dream restaurant, Livy O’s, is now serving up home-style cooking at the new SPC Deuces Den at the Midtown Center.
From shrimp creole salad to the Titan Cuban sandwich and lemon pound cake, get ready to enjoy their delicious cuisines from 8-6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to noon on Fridays.
The SPC Deuces Den, dubbed after its location on St. Petersburg’s 22nd Street, locally known as “The Deuces,” is an innovative approach to facilitating collaborative work among small minority businesses. The Den offers aspiring restauranteurs a place to sell their cuisine to the public at no cost to the vendors. Every semester, a new food vendor will rotate in to serve fresh food for customers to purchase.
SPC Downtown and Midtown Center Provost Dr. Tashika Griffith believes this space is more than just a café — it’s also a business incubator for small minority businesses. SPC is working with the City of St. Petersburg’s Urban Affairs to identify and attract these restauranteurs.
“This concept is very important to the college and is our way to engage with community members,” Griffith said. “Unfortunately, south St. Petersburg is labeled as a food desert. So we’re hoping to showcase not only Black, small businesses, but also offer fresh food options.”
The café incubator is a win-win for the community and start-up businesses, allowing owners to expand their businesses without the burden of a costly overhead. It will also provide residents another fresh food option in the neighborhood. Griffith hopes it will also plant the seed for visitors to imagine their educational futures.
“In an effort to serve the community, it’s important for them to feel comfortable. Some people may feel intimated about coming to college or believe it’s not for them,” Griffith said. “My hope is that, as individuals come into our doors, they can see themselves as students at SPC.”
Dreams do come true
From the moment they first met, the Germanys always aspired to break generational boundaries in their family. They may not have expected that they would have a café on a college campus serving up a healthy taste of home one day. Now they do, and they are setting an entrepreneurial example in their family.
“I never thought for once in my life I would own a business,” Omar Germany said. “But now, that’s all our kids talk about — owning their own business.”
Livy O’s started as a family-affair catering business, with the couple making meals and packing them in traditional to-go containers. Six and half years later, this power couple employs more than 20 families and specializes in private chef services, cooking classes, corporate and private catering, and so much more.
It’s a full-circle moment for this dynamic duo. The Germanys are the first in their family to go to college, build a successful business, and now they are serving meals to SPC students as they pursue their dreams of economic prosperity.
Fostering economic mobility
Wealth inequities have affected both large and small businesses in Midtown and throughout St. Petersburg. Since the closure of the local Walmart in 2017, Midtown has become a food desert once again, leaving residents without easy access to fresh, affordable and nutritious food. High poverty levels have deterred major retail grocers from opening stores in the area.
As a leader in engaging businesses, government, and the community, SPC’s Deuces Den reinforces the college’s commitment to investing in the economic growth and stability of south St. Petersburg by connecting with local businesses and the community to promote economic mobility for minority entrepreneurs.
Welcome to the Titan family, Livy O’s!