Mom closes her business in favor of her daughter

Published April 20, 2007

When Ellen Zusman opened ImaginEats 18 months ago, she saw plenty of opportunity but missed the unavoidable irony of her new business. It turned out that the more time she spent catering to rushed parents, the harder it became to manage her own life.

So while Zusman said her meal assembly/catering business at 3838 W Neptune St. is "not very far away from making it," she decided to close its doors last week so she could spend more time with her 2-year-old daughter. Between ImaginEats and her other business, a property management company, Zusman said she had been working far too much.

"I had a lot of stuff in the hopper, but ImaginEats is not making money now, and I'm a single mother," she said. "She and I are losing out. ... This was really about choosing my life with my daughter over my business."

Zusman said since ImaginEats was close to becoming profitable, she does not plan to abandon the concept. If she doesn't sell the business in its entirety, she may decide eventually to reopen in another form.

"My chef has amazing food," Zusman said. "I think we had a fabulous product. It was really coming together. I'm sad, (but then) I think about my daughter."

Meal-assembly store closes so it can move

Another South Tampa meal-assembly company has shut its doors, but company officials say this closing is only temporary. Let's Eat! at 3401 W Bay to Bay Blvd. closed in March but will reopen this summer in a larger location in the same complex, said Nancy Crane, a field consultant for the company.

The store is moving to a larger space to allow for plenty of room to train new franchisees, Crane said, adding that the South Tampa location serves as the flagship store. The company has 14 locations and plans nearly a dozen more.

New cafe's hours will begin with just a taste

Like good comfort food, the new Bailey's cafe will take its sweet time before it is perfected. Owner Kim Bailey's new cafe at 815 S Rome Ave. will open only Tuesday and Thursday nights, Bailey said, a tactic he adopted from the owners of his three favorite Tampa restaurants.

"Bern's, Mise en Place, Pane Rustica ... I know they all started pretty much the same way," Bailey said.

Bailey is the longtime owner of Bailey's Catering and the author of 2005's less-than-serious diet tome The North Beach Diet: Add Belly and Hip Fat Instantly. He always wanted to open a restaurant, and he decided to jump in when he learned that longtime friend and former City Council member Helen Chavez was vacating the 1927 Hyde Park bungalow on Rome and combining her restaurant, called Chavez in Old Hyde Park, with her daughter's gourmet takeout business, Chavez at Home, 1350 S Howard Ave.

"I've cooked, I've entertained all my life," Bailey said. "It's just great fun."

A lifelong foodie, Bailey promises comfort food at the cafe, but adds "there will be a healthy choice on every menu."

Everything including stocks, sauces and dressings will be homemade. Hours will be Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:30-8:30 p.m. at first, but he plans to add lunches on Wednesdays and Saturdays soon, as well as more evening hours.

Bailey also is moving his catering business to the Rome location. Look for a soft opening any day now, he said.

Paris Flea moves close to its original site

Frequent mover Paris Flea, in business since 1993 as a full-service design studio and furniture shop, has found yet another home - this time a bit down the road.

The mother-daughter team of Ashley Moseley and Melanie Rose moved last week from a 2,000-square-foot space at 4315 W Bay to Bay to a 4,000-square-foot standalone building in the Shiraz center at 3109 W Bay to Bay.

Rose said the store desperately needed the extra space, and as it happens, this location is just a stone's throw from the original store. Six moves later, Rose said, "we're back where it all began."

Do you know something that should be everybody's business? Call 226-3394 or e-mail sharonlginn@yahoo.com.


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