Pieces of a Dream, a store right out of a fantasy

A highlight on one of Grand Central District’s small businesses.



On the corner of Central Avenue and 24th Street sits a small boho-chic gift shop full of everything from clothes to spiritual items to home décor residing on its shelves – a small gift shop called Pieces of a Dream.

Owned by 62-year-old Patti Bradfield, the shop has been in St. Petersburg since 2015, though only in the current location since the end of 2016, previously further up Central Avenue closer to Treasure Island. Now she resides at 2430 Central Ave – a “Grand Central sweetheart” at her core. Many people who frequent Central frequent her shop just as often, resulting in having a variety of regulars from UPS mailmen to chefs from local well-known restaurants such as Freya’s Diner to the everyday man.

Bradfield’s store also has a good reputation with tourists, her hippie-artsy shop fully represents not only the love she has for her own business but the love and inspiring energy the whole street is known for.

“It’s peaceful, it’s relaxing, it’s beautiful, it’s experiential – shopping here is an experience,” Bradfield said.

And the store itself isn’t the only interesting thing about this location, so is the woman who owns it.

First generation American – both parents emigrating from Meilin, China – she was raised in Chinatown, NY, before moving to Queens, NY, at age 9. Bradfield stayed in the New York area, attending school in the Upstate area and then moved to Pittsburg, PA for 14 years. In Pennsylvania is where she met and married her husband. She now lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with her husband and dogs, her children out of the house.

Back in 2015, after running department stores and working in retail for seven years, Bradfield wanted to change her career, she wanted a job that was all hers, not “work-work” but rather something she knew – owning and managing a store. So, she made that dream a reality, spending the last seven years collecting items to sell, finding the best ways to advertise, accumulating regulars and spending time with the people, her favorite part of it all.

“I love dealing with people. I think that’s really a part of my purpose in life because I attract a lot of different people. I have an effect on people. I’m good with people – because I love them. … I pedal joy. I support people who need to be lifted up,” Bradfield said.

Owning a small business on Central Avenue isn’t easy, however, though even then Bradfield finds it isn’t as bad at Pieces of a Dream. Sure, shw says the paperwork and long hours can be taxing sometimes, but she loves the shop and the people that visit it with her whole being. She says she feels lucky to have affordable rent, something that is getting exponentially harder for areas like St. Petersburg. She has gotten quite good at making sure prices are manageable and as someone not attached to material items, she finds it easy to sell her items to their new forever homes. Bradfield believes one of the most important parts of owning a shop like this is maintaining a good mood so customers can enjoy their time while shopping, and while this might be difficult some days, she doesn’t allow it stop her.

And anyone who walks into the store can tell from the customers alone that this love for Pieces of A Dream is not just one sided.

One customer, a regular of a few years, Marianne Harrison praises the shop for being somewhere she can always rely on for getting good quality gifts, clothes and home décor such as a carved wood item she got her husband as a gift a little while back. On Nov. 5 she visited the shop and was there for upwards of an hour, trying on different clothes, talking with the owner, and generally having “a good time.” She found the store browsing Central Avenue a couple of years ago and has been a patron since then.

“It has such wonderful unique gifts,” Harrison said.

Another regular is Erin Guby, who takes the time to browse the outside of the store whenever she walks by.

“I love the owner, she’s the best and she’s always so helpful,” Guby said.

Even other nearby stores such as The Foundry, Freya’s Diner and others praise Pieces of a Dream as a friendly neighbor and wonderful place as a whole.

And Bradfield, the woman who formed the idea seven years ago on a whim with the want to make something her own, couldn’t be happier with it.

“The district loves me; I feel very loved here. All the merchants are wonderful. My customers love me. I attract just wonderful people,” Bradfield said.