Stores swap locations but retain essence
Local businesses are moving into larger buildings to accommodate more items and customers.
By Michael Canning
Published December 1, 2006
Centro Ybor recently received a needed dose of good cheer, courtesy of good beer. Tampa Bay Brewing Company moved over a block on Oct. 25 to take a long vacant space beneath Muvico Centro Ybor 20.
Even though Centro Ybor has struggled since its 2001 opening and its ownership could soon change again, Tampa Bay Brewing Company owner Vicki Doble said the offer was just too good to pass up.
Moving her business from 1812 N 15th St. meant a larger kitchen, outdoor dining space, and 80 more seats.
Doble doesn't miss her old spot's two-story configuration either, which she said strained the kitchen's capacity and created logistical problems.
Aside from the larger space, not much has changed - including the food and beer menus. The restaurant is still decorated with copper tones and exposed brick. The brewing system is still open and the brewers accessible to patrons.
The restaurant is currently producing seven house brews, plus the seasonal Imperial Stout. Doble said it's based on a recipe devised for Russian Czars.
"It's really a double stout," she said, adding that the beer is about 8½ percent alcohol.
Hours are Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to midnight, and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
A fit for clothes shop
As for why Mary Hunt moved her clothing store, it pretty much came down to one thing: more parking.
Mary's Consignment Boutiques moved to 4007 S MacDill Ave. in October and also added 400 more square feet.
The shop now has 1,200 square feet to display Hunt's collection of high-end ladies consignment items.
The store carries casual, business and evening wear from labels such as Ann Taylor, BCBG, Laundry, bebe, and Donna Karan.
There are shoes, accessories and jewelry, too.
Like the old boutique at 2302 W Morrison Ave., the new one is also decorated with local art. It's all for sale too - including works by area painters Shawn Arnow, Joan Poe and Sandi Ragg.
Baubles to bonds
Let no one question the versatility of the small building at 2602-A W Azeele St.
In recent years it was host to Focaccia Mia and Fried's Famous Deli restaurants, then Baubles etc. jewelry and gift store.
That closed in mid November after a three-year run, only to make way for Bridgett's Bail Bonds and Evans Investigations.
Perhaps the bustling perch just two blocks from S Howard Avenue isn't the first spot that comes to mind for bail bonds.
But Bridgett's husband, James Evans, said whether a bondsmen is across the street from the jail or in the heart of South Tampa, "it's going to take the same amount of time to get the person out of jail."
Plus Evans, a private investigator who owns Evans Investigations, said some bail bonds offices in more traditional locations often have a seedy appearance.
"We don't want to be your typical bondsmen," Evans said. "We kind of cater to our customers a little better. We treat them like a normal person. Just because you go to jail doesn't mean you're bad."
Evans said they will travel to the jail to meet their clients if circumstances permit.
Evans has been running his business out of his West Tampa home for two years.
Both he and his wife have experience with bail bonds, but this is Bridgett's first solo venture.
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[Last modified November 30, 2006, 07:42:25]
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