Butler Town Center is adding a squeaky-clean shopping experience to its retail roster.
Buff City Soap, a handmade soap company, is expected to open in early 2022. The store, which will be located at 3830 SW Archer Road, joins over 150 existing stores and restaurants within Butler Enterprises and is part of the area’s ongoing development.
The new 3,000 square-foot building will serve as Buff City’s twelfth Florida store. Like its locations in Daytona, Orlando, West Palm Beach and more, Gainesville’s site will sell natural, plant-based products.
Buff City specializes in vegan-friendly, cruelty-free soaps, handcrafted daily in each store. The products are a “high-quality alternative to commercial soap products riddled with harsh chemicals, detergents, sulfates, and animal fats,” according to a press release.
With more than 30 original scents, such as fresh cotton, lavender and magnolia, Buff City customers can customize their products with the help of in-house artisans. The hands-on opportunity is something John Dickerson, marketing director for Butler Enterprises, said he anticipates guests will enjoy.
“Buff City offers an experience that we haven’t seen in our community,” he wrote in an email.
Buff City is one of many businesses Butler Enterprises added over the last few years. The conglomerate, made up of Butler Plaza, Butler North and Butler Town Center, is expanding, with new businesses already opened or scheduled to arrive for this long-term growth.
Already the largest retail center in North Central Florida, Dickerson said Butler Enterprises has no plans of slowing down.
“The next few years will be very exciting for us,” he said. “Our customers will continue to see the expansion of Butler Town Center as we plan to break ground on several new buildings in that area.”
Despite temporary store closures and halts to projects at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dickerson said Butler’s development ventures are back on track. The announcement of Buff City adds to plans for Jeremiah’s Italian Ice in Butler Plaza this summer and a Foxtail Coffee Co. in Butler Town Center this Fall.
“Fortunately, we are at the tail-end of a pandemic that has undoubtedly challenged our industry, but we continue to grow despite everything that has happened the last year,” he said.
The prospect of a vegan-friendly business is on-trend with Gainesville’s growing selections for shopping and eating. As vegan options continue to make their way into many of the area’s events and establishments, vegan residents find themselves with more access to products that align with their lifestyles and personal choices.
Megan Quinn, a 20-year-old UF computer science junior, regularly seeks out vegan alternatives in Gainesville. While she’s come across a number of food selections, she said entirely vegan establishments in the area are a rarity.
“I think Gainesville has a lot of great options for vegans, but fully vegan businesses can be hard to come by,” Quinn said.
With Buff City’s ingredients being completely vegan and cruelty-free, Quinn said she’ll likely be stopping by the store upon its opening, both to visit the new attraction and voice her support for a general increase in vegan businesses across Gainesville.
“I like to vote with my dollar to tell companies that people want their products to be vegan,” she said.
The project is set for completion in early summer 2022, and two other businesses will join Buff City’s location at the corner of Archer Road and Clark Butler Boulevard. Dickerson said the other businesses will be announced soon.
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Heather Bushman is a fourth-year journalism and political science student and the enterprise elections reporter. She previously wrote and edited for the Avenue desk and reported for WUFT News. You can usually find her writing, listening to music or writing about listening to music. Ask her about synesthesia or her album tier list sometime.