ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A St. Petersburg woman hasn’t let the coronavirus pandemic stop her from creating a successful business for others to enjoy in a socially distanced way.
Rachel Fry created “St. Pete Picnic Co.” in August as a way to connect with her own friends during difficult times.
“I started [it] when this pandemic hit. I’ve always wanted to work for myself, so I had this idea of doing picnics for people. I’m known for hosting parties and doing outdoor activities for my friends all the time, so it was like the perfect combo,” she explained. “I looked to see if anybody else was doing it in the area, and they weren’t, so I jumped on it right away.”
“It” is her business of luxury picnics, which takes place on Madeira Beach, at the Pier in downtown St. Petersburg and in Vinoy Park.
Fry began buying her supplies and getting tables made from pallets and got to work.
“Picnic setup includes…the table, the pillows, the flower arrangements, the water, candles, all the cutlery that you need, plates. And then there’s extra add-ons that you can add on to the picnic, such as the food and alcohol, rose petals, things like that,” she said.
Even more, add-ons can be purchased for special occasions, like number balloons for birthday parties, and even a Polaroid camera to take eight snaps guests can take home.
“Grazing boards” can include fruits, veggies, meat, cheeses, and bread. Fry said her company can provide a variety, as many vegans and vegetarians book picnics.
Business has been booming. Thankfully, Fry has her best friend, Vanessa Williams, by her side to help out.
“So right when she had the idea, we were spending a lot of time with each other. She just started throwing out the idea, and I thought, ‘if anybody could do it, it would be her.’ So I said, ‘You know I’m here to help you, if you need any help.’ I had no doubt that she could do it all on her, but it has been very crazy,” Williams said.
“Yes, I need her!” Fry laughed.
One of St. Pete Picnic Co.’s biggest advertisements is simply setting up on Madeira Beach.
“One of the things I’ve noticed is that every time we’re setting up a picnic so many people stop her or stop me and say, ‘what is this, it’s so beautiful, how can I get one?’” said Williams. “So I think a lot of her popularity has rose just from the people that are here in the area.”
Every picnic is different. Williams said she doesn’t believe her best friend ever does the same picnic setup twice.
A favorite part of the gig for the duo is being able to witness special moments with their customers.
Fry said she has seen at least 10 engagements since August and called it “the best time.”
In the future and after such success in recent months, Fry hopes to expand and branch out.
“I would love to expand. I would love to do larger parties. I have a lot of bachelorettes reaching out to me wanting to do bachelorette parties,” Fry said. “I need to get more inventory and everything like that so I can expand and do larger parties, maybe even travel to somewhere else in Florida.”