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Say so long, Cactus Club has closed

The Southwest-themed restaurant was a fixture of Old Hyde Park Village since 1987.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 7, 2003

CACTUS CLUB CLOSES EARLY: Rumors of its demise, which co-owner Mike Shimberg discounted here three weeks ago, have come true.

We first called Shimberg after learning that restaurant employees had been given advance notice of the restaurant's expected closure. Shimberg said the restaurant was struggling, but would stay open at least through June, when its lease expires.

The Southwest-themed restaurant -- a fixture of Old Hyde Park Village since 1987 -- closed Sunday after a stretch of low sales.

"It was a business decision we had to make," said Shimberg. "In all the analysis, sooner made more sense than later."

Village management hopes to attract another restaurant to the spot, a spokeswoman said.

DEBORAH KENT'S CROSSING THE STREET: And not just to get to the other side. The women's boutique at 2227 S Dale Mabry Highway will gain a little floor space, plus a new makeover from its namesake, whose restless creativity dates to childhood seamstressing for her pets.

Deborah Skyrms (Kent is her middle name) plans to move her shop to 2120 S Dale Mabry, site of a former Norwalk furniture store. The old store's last day is Feb. 27. The new one should reopen March 4.

Skyrms has renovated the interior of her current store twice, but now says, "After 22 years, I think it's good to challenge yourself. Present a new look, a fresh face for the customers."

Skyrms said the biggest change customers will see is an expanded shoe department.

MAGNOLIA GROWING ON MAGNOLIA: But don't perk your nose for the fabled scent of the South. Just look for the 1923 double storefront building at 303 Magnolia Ave.

Tucked away in Hyde Park North just south of Platt Street, the one-time Hyde Park Drugstore and F.A. Dunn grocery building now houses Magnolia furniture and gift boutique, and until a week ago, a similar-styled business called the Rusty Rooster.

The Rooster has closed, and Magnolia co-owner Laurie Elliott plans to expand into the empty space by March 1. Elliott says the 1,100-square-foot sales floor will double in size.

She'll bring in new lines of furniture to supplement her current selection, which also includes home and garden decor, children's gifts and topiary. The latter is displayed out back in the quaint brick courtyard, which also is expanding.

DELI DELAYED, BUT COMING: Originally slated to open in September, Delimania should now be opening in two weeks at 3638 Henderson Blvd., said building owner Jane Levin.

The business owner is former New Yorker Bruce Spivak, who recently closed his Carrollwood Delimania location in preparation for the move to South Tampa.

We suspect that Henderson address rings a bell with those of you who know your pho. It's the former site of Dong Phuong Vietnamese restaurant, a 16-year all-star on the South Tampa lunch scene. Levin, of Levin Investment Realty, bought the building from the Le family after they closed Dong Phuong last summer.

CONFUSED LOOKS AT NEPTUNE: They don't belong only to Dale Mabry motorists wondering whether they make that risky left turn.

Wasn't that relativeky new building at the northeast corner a Wachovia bank branch? And why is the Wachovia sign now on the older bank building nearby?

Observers of bank mergers know the answer. The new building did indeed start life as a Wachovia branch when it opened about a year and half ago. But the bank merged with First Union in September 2001, which rendered the new building too small.

Luckily, the First Union building was big enough. So Wachovia, which leased the new building, moved out of it in November and into the old building, which now sports the Wachovia sign.

Got it?

As for what might happen to the vacant newer building, Anthony Gatliff of building owner Gatliff Corp. declined comment.

PRODUCE STAND ISLAND HOPS: The former Hyde Park Farmers Market has been replanted on island soil. The Davis Islands Farmers Market opened Tuesday at 202 E Davis Blvd., site of the former George's Island Amoco.

Market owner John Sansone said moving from his former location at Howard and Swann avenues makes sense, since many of customers live on Davis Islands.

Like the old stand, this one will sell flowers, potted plants, some arts and crafts, and fresh produce, including his popular bananas at 33-cents per pound.

Sansone said the recent cold weather has made green bean, green pepper, and New Guinea impatiens a little scarce. But he expects supplies to pick up within a couple weeks.

-- Do you know something that should be everybody's business? Call 226-3382, or e-mail .

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