From gorgeous works of art to a canoe-turned-bookshelf to a couch so cool you wouldn’t let your best friend sit on it; Wilton Collective has an eye-grabbing inventory you won’t see anywhere else.
Whatever’s displayed in the windows will get your attention but that’s nothing compared to what you’ll find inside, and we’re not just talking about the merchandise.
Wilton Collective is the creation of Julian Cavazos.
“It’s a collection of individuals, whether it be somebody who does art on furniture to making jewelry to selling incense and shea butter,” he said. “Hence the name Wilton Collective, because it’s a collection of individual artists.”
However, what truly makes the store thrive is its mission to change the lives of LGBT youth.
What began as Cavazos’ desire to hold a fun, all-inclusive prom for South Florida LGBT teens became Julian’s Fountain of Youth (JFOY).
“People start reaching out going ‘I have a youth that needs glasses. Is there any way you can help us out and maybe get a doctor?’ So I started getting youth eyecare,” he said. “We have a trans youth who did a documentary on transitioning. So we funded the documentary.”
What makes JFOY’s latest project special is that it builds community among vendors and the foundation’s youth. The kids learn business and creative skills by staffing the store and spending time with the artists. Carvelle Estriplet opened Carvelle Bikes in the back.
As proprietor of the city’s only bike shop, she does everything from fixing flats to assembling new bikes. She’s also starting to teach her skills to the young staffers.
“They’re very engaging,” she said. “I taught one of them how to change a flat tire so he can start getting more hands-on and I can get my little mechanical assistant right here.”
Steve Behar, who splits his time between NYC and Wilton Manors, has an art collection he’s ready to sell. Being from New York he looked at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, but then he met Cavazos.
“I went into Wilton Collective and I knew it was the right home for my artwork and a place I would feel proud to be part of,” Behar said.
Like Estriplet and other contributors, Behar buys into the mission wholeheartedly.
“I am seeing the kids that come in coming out of their shell. Julian helps them evolve into individuals with a new sense of purpose,” he said. “The whole thing has an ‘anything is possible’ atmosphere.”
Fridays at 6:30 p.m. you can start your weekend and check out the store.
“I like to call it a mix and mingle,” Cavazos said. “We have champagne or wine, cocktails. Free drinks for anybody who comes in the door.”