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Bigger music, art school opens

By SHARON L. BOND, Times Staff Writer
Published February 29, 2004

ST. PETE BEACH - Mattioli School of Music and Arts has opened at 8550 Blind Pass Road, the second beach location for the longtime music studio that now is offering arts courses.

The school is owned by Eileen Mattioli, who at nearly 62 years of age has been in the music business for 48 years. She began teaching piano lessons at age 14.

What used to be two adjacent child care centers have been combined into one building for the music school, giving it more than three times the space as the place at 5050 Gulf Blvd., Unit C. Mattioli kept that location, where lessons in stringed instruments are taught.

She said she spent about $400,000 buying the two properties on Blind Pass Road and renovating them into one building. The new school has individual instruction rooms with soundproofing so the piano lessons in one don't spill over into the other.

Mattioli said she has more than 200 students and 15 teachers, some of whom teach in their homes or at other locations. Lessons are $70 to $75 per month and are made by appointment. The new location also offers the music program for children called Kindermusik.

Hospice complex to begin soon

ST. PETERSBURG - Construction is scheduled to begin this spring on the $6-million complex for the Hospice of the Florida Suncoast in Pinellas County.

The new building will have 35,000 square feet and stand on the block at First Avenue S and 31st Street. Plans are by Klar and Klar Architects in Clearwater. Hospice's facility replaces an old theater that last housed Puckett's Store Fixtures. Puckett's sold to Hospice and moved to its warehouse at 2450 Fifth Ave. S.

The Hospice complex will feature a central building flanked by two wings. Approximately 150 workers will be located in the central building. Also in the complex will be an auditorium that can be used by the community and an area for counseling terminally ill patients.

Hospice expects the building to be open about this time next year.

Milagros soaps to join Simple Living

ST. PETERSBURG - Milagros is returning.

The popular soap and bath products store that left downtown right after Christmas will move into part of the Simple Living furniture store at 1100 First Ave. N.

"We're targeting a grand opening to coincide with the gallery hop in March," said Milagros owner Teresa Ross. The hop is scheduled for March 13, she said. The store will open that morning and have a "little festival" from 5 to 9 p.m.

Ross left Central Avenue at the end of December when she and her landlord, Florida Craftsmen, could not agree on an extension of her lease. She was approached then by Simple Living owner Jeff Dreher, who asked her to put her shop in his store. But Ross was not sure where she wanted to relocate. In the meantime, she worked out of the Milagros location in Tampa.

Simple Living, which has been open for just over a year, sells furniture and accessories for home and garden, and gift items. It features furniture fashioned from teak that has been salvaged from boats.

Milagros sold furniture when it was on Central Avenue but will have only soap and body products when it joins Simple Living. Ross said that in the new location, customers will be able to see the making of the soaps.

Chamber helps chamber, departs

Staff operations between the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce are separating after four months together.

"It was a positive experience. We certainly learned something from it," said Joe Burdette, chairman of the board of the beaches chamber.

Russ Sloan, president of the St. Petersburg chamber, took over management of the beaches chamber after its chief executive resigned to take another job.

"He taught us better operating methods. He improved our operation substantially," Burdette said. For example, the beaches chamber learned how to get a grant from Pinellas County for development issues. It also got an employee through WorkNet Pinellas, the county welfare and job placement agency.

The chambers are better apart, Burdette said, because members of the beaches chamber are mostly small businesses while St. Petersburg's century-old chamber has larger enterprises. Sloan was not immediately available for comment.

[Last modified February 29, 2004, 01:15:11]

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