tbo: Tampa Bay Online.
Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
  • Home

Teen opens his own boutique in South Tampa

SOUTH TAMPA - Evan Parag has a packed schedule like many other high school seniors. He has to complete college applications, take SAT tests and study for Advanced Placement classes. He also has an after-school job. But for that extracurricular activity, he sets his own hours. Parag, a 17-year-old Plant High School student, opened his own clothing store in February.
WAVZ Skate + Street Boutique, at 3644 Henderson Blvd., is open on Saturday afternoons and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays - after school. "I just saw the need for it and wanted to make a little bit of money," Parag said about his business. The store is tucked in a strip mall among boutiques and consignment shops. Inside, T-shirts, hats, shoes and skateboards are neatly arranged on shelves set up throughout the small space. Parag spent last weekend with his dad installing a wall for a new window display. "There's nothing like this that's not a mall store," Parag said. Except for some financial matters handled by his father, Parag takes care of the day-to-day business duties. He is the store's only employee and is responsible for all the ordering, merchandising and marketing. "We're proud of him," said his dad, Steve Parag. "He's getting experience that he'll take with him whether he continues with the store or he does something else." Steve Parag started a running magazine when he was in high school, he said, and he wanted to support his son as the teen formed his own business. "My family helped me get started and it gave me advantages as I moved forward," he said. Now he runs an advertising agency and publishes several local magazines. After Evan Parag's former employer, a catering company, cut back on its staff last year, Parag tried to find a new job in retail, thinking the experience would look good on resumes and college applications. That's when he and his dad decided he just could open his own store. Parag said he always liked the style of clothing, so a street-wear store was the business they chose. It took about two weeks to find an affordable storefront and a few days to complete the build-out. Then WAVZ was ready to open. "There's nothing else like this in South Tampa," the teen said. Parag said he still is figuring out what he wants to do for college. He hasn't decided if he wants to stay in Tampa and attend the University of South Florida or apply elsewhere and hire someone to run the store in his absence. He knows he wants to study business and maybe sports marketing. If the store does well, Parag said, he wants to expand the WAVZ brand into other cities such as Atlanta and Miami. The University of Florida is on the list of colleges he is considering, and Gainesville also could be a good location for a WAVZ branch, he said. For now he's concentrating on making his first store a success. "It's retail," he said. "Some days it's better than others." The store has given small sponsorships to a handful of skateboarders, he said. He has established accounts with popular apparel companies such as Hufand Diamond Supply, as well as some local retailers. "I'm trying to make this area cooler," Parag said. [email protected] (813)259-7691 Twitter: @LizBehrmanTBO
Weather Center