The MSA Annex, located at 267 South Avenida del Convento, is an outdoor collection of small restaurants and boutique shops not far from the University of Arizona campus. Each store is housed inside modified brown shipping containers, designed by local Tucson architect Paul Weiner. There are 11 shops and eateries, many of which are owned by women or minorities, something unique about the area.
Petroglyphs, owned and run by Jose Jimenez, has been around for 22 years. However, it has only been in the MSA Annex since 2019.
Petroglyphs sell an eclectic mix of handcrafted items, such as Day of the Dead-themed corn husk magnets from Mexico and children’s books. People come in to buy a variety of things, especially the children’s books and items that they can gift to others, Jimenez said. He added that a lot of tourists also come by, with the busiest day being Saturday.
With the shop, Jimenez tries hard to create a sense of place in Tucson and the Sonoran Desert. This is evident in Petroglyphs.
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The Annex is also home to a bike shop. According to Sebastian Matthews, an employee at Transit Cycles, the shop has been around since 2014 and at the Annex for four years. They provide a full service for bikes – selling them, fixing them and recommending routes.
Transit Cycles is also a destination for cycling luggage and people come from all over for it. Matthews said it first started as a commuter shop and has now evolved into an adventure cycle shop. However, they still service everyone, including commuters.
“The MSA Annex is a nice ecosystem. There are so many people to meet out here, with interesting lives. It’s really worthwhile to hang out here,” Matthews said.
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Bloom Maven, a flower shop, used to be at the Mercado San Agustin, the Annex’s neighbor, but they moved for more room in September. However, they are going to leave the Annex and move to an even bigger space in a few months, said Rebecca Roof, an employee at Bloom Maven.
The shop sells and delivers flowers, but the separate part of their business is floral arrangements for weddings. They need more room for the wedding side of the business, Roof explained.
Bloom Maven also has a full retail shop, which is rare for flower shops. In addition to flowers, they sell a nice selection of small gifts such as chocolate, soaps and stationery. According to Roof, a big draw for customers are the fresh flowers and modern floral arrangements.
In addition to shops, the Annex has four food places: a coffee shop, a bar, a Japanese restaurant and a plant based food shop.
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