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Everybody's Business

Retro boutique sells '60s chic

Vintage clothing, accessories, furniture and decor are stocked at RetroShop on Franklin Street.

By MICHAEL CANNING and AMY SCHERZER
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 21, 2003


A LITTLE FUNKINESS ON FRANKLIN: As in the sort of funkiness that will remind you of early '90s Ybor City.

Vintage collector and fashion designer Eirit Zakaim recently opened RetroShop inside her parents' Antiques and Decorative Art store at 917 N Franklin St.

As you make your way through the fantastical melange of European antiques, chandeliers, art and Oriental rugs, look for the mint green and orange with purple polka dot walls. That's Eirit's (pronounced ihr-REET) corner.

There she stocks vintage clothing, accessories, furniture and decor, mainly from the '60s and '70s. Zakaim's specialty is making items from recycled vintage materials, such as tie-dyed slip dresses and handbags fashioned from cigar boxes.

Any fledgling boutique can get a boost from celebrity clientele. Zakaim has already scored; Aimee Mann and some of her band members dropped by before their Jan. 31 concert at nearby Tampa Theatre. "She was just very sweet and modest and invited me to her show," said Zakaim.

NO TAKERS YET FOR TURTLE'S SHELL: But there have been plenty of inquiries, according to Paul Cooley, broker for 2206 S Dale Mabry Highway, where's Turtle's Music and DVD did business until it closed Jan. 31.

The 9,750-square-foot building is undergoing renovations and may be subdivided to accommodate two or more retail tenants, Cooley said.

THE FLEA GOES BACK TO ROOTS: After going from a small Bay to Bay boutique to an expanded store on Dale Mabry, owner Ashley Moseley wants the Paris Flea to downsize again.

"We want to have fun again," Moseley said.

Competing with the likes of Burdines took the fun out of it. Which is essentially what happened when the furniture and home collection store moved to its current location at 2122 S Dale Mabry in 1999, carrying more new furniture and downplaying its antiques selection.

Moseley now wants to bring in more antiques and phase out the new furniture. That means the Paris Flea won't need its more than 8,000 square feet of floor space. So it's having a moving sale for the next couple of weeks to downsize its stock.

Moseley, who owns the building, said she has a contract to sell it to another business. She won't say which business, but notes that the Flea will be its temporary neighbor. While Moseley searches for a new permanent location, her boutique will occupy a small portion of 2122 S Dale Mabry (actually becoming 2124 S Dale Mabry).

DOWNTOWN BARBECUE: It's not like work sleeves can't be rolled up. Yet barbecue had remained curiously absent from the downtown restaurant scene since Big John's Alabama Bar-B-Q closed a couple years back.

That is, until a few weeks ago. Uncle Ron's BBQ has opened at 502 E Tampa St., site of the former Gladstone's Grilled Chicken.

The sauce is sweet and tomato-based, so aficionados are right to guess that co-owner Ron Tyson has roots in Georgia (Macon, to be specific). He's been listening to his customers while he tweaks his business. Sliced smoked turkey and ham sandwiches have been added to the menu.

For the time being, Uncle Ron's is only open weekdays, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

ANOTHER SOHO BAR NICHE FILLED: No, they hadn't all been filled. What about a place for gays and non smokers, wondered Victor Leon.

So the owner of Ho Ho Windows converted half of his restaurant to Vic's After Ours, open Friday and Saturday nights. "Anybody's welcome," Leon says. "Last week there were 10 straight people here. They stayed, like, three hours."

Leon describes the bar's decor as American contemporary, as opposed to the understated Asian vibe of his Chinese restaurant. Though he upgraded the sound system, the music is kept low. Leon said he wants his bar to be more of a relaxed refuge.

Smoking is allowed only on the patio. Hours are 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.

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

THE FIND

Cinnamon bun candle

Nothing says lovin' like the smell of fresh baked cinnamon buns. You'll have to look twice to be certain this candle isn't edible. Made by Waccents to burn for 30 hours, we found it for $10 at Si Simond's Floral Boutique, 1413 S. Howard Ave. It's one of many unusual items the store tucks into custom baskets and bouquets. Call 253-0306 for more details.

-- AMY SCHERZER

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