Beauty and Fat Boy; a hunt for Mr. Twister
© St. Petersburg Times
For years, I thought Redneck Trailer Supplies was the most amusing business name in town.
The name stems from the founder's penchant for painting his manufactured horse trailers red. When the business expanded to include other types of trailers and selling parts wholesale, Redneck Trailer Supplies just seemed appropriate.
I chuckle every time I drive past the office on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
But now I've found an even better name in the Eastgate Plaza on E Hillsborough Avenue: Fat Boy's Beauty Supply.
Fat Boy's is a name for a barbecue place. Or ice cream or cheeseburgers or maybe even auto repair. But beauty supplies? Only Bubba's Beauty Supplies would be worse.
Sally knows beauty supply. Mary Kay knows beauty supply. But what in the world does a fat boy know about supplying beauty?
Quite a bit if you're 31-year-old Chang "Fat Boy" Lee. He developed the nickname "Fat Boy" as a Gibbs High School football player. What his teammates may not have known is that Lee grew up in a Korean family that owned several beauty supply stores in the area.
When Lee purchased Cicely's Beauty Supply eight years ago, he needed a new name for the store. He can't say for certain which family member came up with Fat Boy's because "after you make it, everyone takes claim to it."
Lee, who has lost 30 pounds in the last six months and no longer looks like "Fat Boy," said he wanted to craft a name that had friendly connotations. He wanted customers to know they could expect courteous service, hence the '70s-style smiley face next to the Fat Boy's sign out front.
Lee encourages employees to greet people with a smile. He refers to two of his assistants as "dumb and dumber," and says they regularly trade barbs with regular customers, who, in turn, call him "Fat Boy."
"If you come in here with a bad hairdo, we're going to let you know," Lee joked.
Jack Harris and the folks at WFLA radio's AM Tampa Bay are searching for the creators of one of America's most famous dances, but they aren't looking for Chubby Checker.
The original version of The Twist was recorded by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters. According to a Ballard album, he wrote the song in 1959 after seeing kids in Tampa doing the pelvis-swiveling maneuver.
Checker's cover of the song was not recorded until 1960. This could mean that Tampa is the birthplace of (or at least the inspiration for) the famous dance. If any cool cats or big daddies can lay claim to being the author, let us know.
Kaye Blanton McConnell has spent 17 years in Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties alerting youths and adults to the pitfalls of drugs.
Charles Nist, paralyzed in a drunken driving accident in 1984, shares his story about the consequences of drunken driving with middle, high school and college students.
Amy and Jim Shimberg have made their names synonymous with an array of local causes through their volunteer efforts and a charitable trust fund.
McConnell, Nist and the Shimbergs were among a group of volunteers honored at Thursday night's Bucs/NFL Charities Community Quarterback Award dinner.
McConnell received a $10,000 grant from the team for her Drug Prevention Resource Center and is now eligible for a national Community Quarterback Award of $25,000. As runners-up, Nist and the Shimbergs were awarded $2,500 grants. Seven other volunteers received $1,000 grants for their charitable organizations.
When I become president of the United States, the first bill I sign into law will be a ban on putting up Christmas decorations and playing Christmas music before the day after Thanksgiving. Are the malls familiar with the term "overkill?"
That's all I'm saying.
-- Ernest Hooper can be reached at (813) 226-3406 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
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