Mangrove was born out of one man's passion for St. Louis' neighborhoods and the historic architecture in them. Although saddened by the volume of St. Louis' decaying and vacant buildings, Guy Slay (by the year 2000) had also been deeply inspired by the rehabbers and independent business owners who had successfully restored community in St. Louis neighborhoods such as Soulard, Shaw, CWE, Lafayette Square and the South Grand areas. He began Mangrove in 2000 with his purchase of the now-iconic Mangrove Building. After hosting a rummage sale for the neighborhood with goods left over from the historic Carp's Department Store that had occupied the site and served the neighborhood for decades until it closed in 1970, Guy developed a plan for the building's rebirth. Guy then grabbed his pry bar and sledgehammer and got to work. Employing and empowering neighborhood residents, the Mangrove Cafe & Ice Cream Parlor opened in 2004 and served quality food/ice cream at a variety of price points. It was very well received by a diverse customer base and during the year that it was open brought thousands of people and the attention of the media to an intersection that had previously been crime-riddled and mostly abandoned for three decades. Two apartments upstairs and a retail space at the south wing of the building were also historically restored...and Guy had successfully turned his passion into a business.
Over the last 16 years, Mangrove has taken risks on abandoned buildings that others might ignore. Through our focus on one neighborhood, we have become a major stakeholder in the betterment of the Grove/Forest Park Southeast, a neighborhood that was riddled with crime and abandonment in the 1980s and 1990s.
A majority of our projects are concentrated in the Grove and we have also begun to restore high-impact historic buildings in other St. Louis neighborhoods.
We are happy to talk about Mangrove with you. Please email or give us a call!