PHOTOS: Metro Inclusive Health opens inclusivitea in St. Petersburg

ABOVE: (L-R) Metro CEO Lorraine Langlois, Kori Stevens, Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, Mayor Rick Kriseman, Brian Bailey and Mya Valentine open inclusivitea. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.

ST. PETERSBURG | Metro Inclusive Health welcomed supporters to the grand opening of inclusivitea Sept. 14, its new retail location, wifi cafe and health center in the Grand Central District.

Formerly Metro Retro & Retail and located beside Metro’s LGBTQ Welcome Center, the 3,800-square-foot space provides access to the organization’s more than 100 programs and services. A portion of the building was even converted to discretely offer HIV and STI testing.

“With this new concept, we have the potential to significantly impact the rising HIV rates in our area,” Metro Inclusive Health CEO Lorraine Langlois shared ahead of the opening. “The location and educational resource will make access to prevention available to more people in our community than ever before.”

Billed as “part adult and pride retail experience,” Metro promises exclusive items, a “progressive sex shop with a selection of highly rated adult toys” and even “purposefully kitsch swag ranging from Lizzo and Cher on candles to Bea Arthur and Dolly Parton on cutting boards.” All sales will support Metro’s mission.

The space also includes a large media wall, allowing Metro to host educational and cultural events in addition to rotating artist installations. Workshops, podcasting and other community-focused gatherings are expected and encouraged, complemented by Metro’s selection of tea, coffee and snacks.

“Our goal is to eliminate barriers to care whenever and wherever possible,” Metro Chief Marketing & Experience Officer Brian Bailey says. “inclusivitea creates an opportunity to reduce the stigma surrounding discussions about sexual health so that our experts can engage folks in a well-rounded experience regarding sexuality and safer sex practices.”

Langlois, Bailey and other members of Metro’s staff welcomed St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin and more to the grand opening. In lieu of a ribbon cutting, the four “spilled the tea” over a warm mug surrounded by Metro’s supporters.

“Metro has played such an important role in helping us become a healthier city for everyone in this community,” Kriseman shared with attendees. “If you’ve heard me speak before you’ve heard me say [that] our vision is to become truly a city of opportunity where the sun shines on ALL who come to live, work and play.

“We want the sun to shine on us healthy,” the mayor continued. “For us to be healthy, and for everyone in this community to feel like no matter where they are, who they are, who they love and who their true selves are, that this is a place where you can be yourself, and you can feel comfortable being yourself, and you feel loved here in St Petersburg.”

Watermark was on hand to help welcome inclusivitea to St. Petersburg. Read more about the space here and view our photos below.

Photos by Ryan Williams-Jent.


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