Meet Michael Collins! Born at Bayfront in 1986, Michael was raised in St. Pete & Seminole by a large family of real estate investors. Michael took his family’s business knowledge and expanded it into things he is passionate about. In addition to owning and operating Rawk Star Cafe, a plant based, organic cafe on Central Ave in DTSP, Michael is also the proprietor of an eco-friendly auto-detailer, Downtown Detailers. They’ve partnered with the Pittsburgh Pirates & New York Yankees to detail MLB players cars while in town. Michael is also about to open Driftwood Cafe & Roastery in Seminole which will in addition to serving coffee drinks, will also be roasting coffee beans. When asked what he likes about DTSP, Michael said “I like that St. Pete is a foodie town. You have so many options when eating out. Additionally, the restaurants are mostly all owned by some great local people.” With his wife & 2 year old daughter, Michael will continue to be a fixture in DTSP for years to come.
Thanks for sitting down with me Michael! You can read his interview below!
Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
A: My lifestyle…just being in the health food industry has led me to want to do something in this health food industry. As far as the business side, to start my own business, that’s definitely my family. My family inspires me. My father is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever known. Same thing with my uncle, just amazing businessmen, hard workers, humble guys…….you wouldn’t even know it. They are the type of guys that roll their sleeves up and work their butts off. They have created a very great life for themselves and for our family. I respect and admire them for their hard work.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Downtown St. Pete, and what do you love there?
A: I’d say Rawk Star Cafe. Customers don’t have to worry about any sort of preservatives or processed sugars on the menu. We don’t add sugar to anything…it’s all fruit. The sugar we use is agave nectar which is raw and organic. It is much better than using refined white sugar. So my customers know when they come in here, that they are getting the healthiest ingredients available. My favorite two items on the menu are the tacos and the powerhouse smoothie.
Q: How long have you lived or worked in Downtown St. Pete?
A: I was born here in St. Pete in 1986. The farthest I’ve lived was in Seminole. As far as being a DTSP business owner, it has been about two years now. However, it has taken 6-7 years of planning to get to the point I am now as a business owner.
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Downtown St. Pete?
A: I probably going to say, Keith Thurman. He is a WBA & WBC champion boxer from Clearwater. He has become a good friend of mine. He started as a customer and that turned into a friendship. He is world champion, celebrity and all around good person. He makes this community a better place.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: Greece. I’ve been there once for my cousin’s wedding and I just fell in love with it. The food’s amazing- everything is fresh, people are amazing, the scenery and history are amazing, the waters are beautiful. So I would like to go back and see where the family is from. Last time I was there, I didn’t get a big chance to explore so I would like to spend more time & see the sites.
Q: What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
A: My favorite move is “Remember The Titans” and Denzel Washington is my favorite actor. That movie is amazing…. it was really inspiring, I tear up every time I watch that movie. I’ve seen the movie many, many times.
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: Stay humble, always be honest, treat everyone with respect and work hard, believe in yourself that you can do it and that there’s nothing that you can’t do.
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: Fly a plane. Not because I want to get my license. I just think it is amazing being up in the air & I would love to pilot a plane just once.
Q: What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: My favorite music is Hip hop. My favorite bands are Tupac, Notorious B.I.G and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
Q: What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Downtown St. Pete?
A: Probably the Pier. I am looking forward to it re-opening & see how it has changed from the old pier I grew up with. It has always been a big part of our waterfront area & excited to see it re-open.
Q: Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in DTSP would you have lunch?
A: I love sports so I would have loved to met Kobe Bryant, Muhammad Ali or Lebron James. All three have been amazing & have impacted my life to a certain degree. We would all have lunch in Rawk Star Cafe.
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about DTSP?
A: All the restaurants..St. Pete is definitely a foodie town. St. Pete also tries to keep it as local as well so you are not going to see a ton of franchises in DTSP. It is mostly all local owned restaurants. DTSP has some amazing people and business owners.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
A: I still see myself in St. Pete but expanding. I see myself having a few other businesses….. working on something big…..getting more real estate, and having few more children. Definitely expanding my family.
(Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: I would like to be in political position one day…. I haven’t told a lot of people about that. I want to make a difference, I want to make a change in the St. Pete community. To be in a position that can help & advise members of our community in an economic sense. To be a local philanthropist. I want to give back to this community that I love so much.
Q: Who would you like to see nominated for this project, The Faces of DTSP?
A: Matthew Matchin. He is the owner/operator of Plant Love Ice Cream. They are a local ice cream shop that makes their ice cream dairy free using plant based products. Great guy & member of our local community. He has an interesting story to tell.
Q: What three words or phrases come to ind when you think of the word home?
A: Relaxing, Loving and Stress reliever.
Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A: For male co-star probably Denzel Washington or Will Smith. They have played a lot of roles and they are both amazing actors.
Q: If you had a full time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose? Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A: Physical Fitness Trainer. I’ve been in sports my whole life, I’ve always played sports and would try compete at a higher level. I’ve played baseball, basketball….all different sports. I really have excelled at tennis. Playing helps me release stress. I play at least once a week on Monday nights.
For more info on Michael’s different business’s, please click on the below links.
The Faces of Downtown St. Pete was created to showcase the diverse community we live in & the wonderful people that make it so special. If you would like to nominate someone interesting for this project, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org