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Couple open gourmet coffee shop

Published May 13, 2007


LARGO - When Stewart and Stephanie Allen decided to develop a business of their own, their research led to one of their favorite drinks - coffee.

At the new Caffeine Gourmet shop, customers can sit and sample a cup of the daily coffee special, enjoy a real fruit smoothie, an herbal ice tea or take home a pound of organic Kona coffee beans roasted on site. There's also baked goods from the shop's kitchen.

"We wanted something that wasn't faddish, something that would be recession-proof, " said Stewart Allen, 47, a former firefighter/paramedic. "Coffee is a commodity like eggs, butter and toilet paper. How bad would the economy have to get before you would give up your morning cup of coffee?"

The plan was to begin with a Web site, but an executive at a coffee trade show in Tampa rejected that idea.

"He said, 'If you really want to be successful in the coffee business, '" Allen recalled, "'you have to have a place where people can come and taste your coffee."'

During months of planning, the Allens' plan turned into a specialty coffee shop that roasts its coffee beans on the premises, offers custom espresso styles, 46 hand-blended, organic loose-leaf teas, a variety of coffee and tea accessories, cocoa and baking mixes, drink mixes and flavorings.

The Allens leased a 1, 500-square-foot space at 220 West Bay Drive that had formerly housed a used furniture business. It took an investment of $140, 000 to open the business in February, Allen said.

There is an area for 10 customers to sit at tables and an additional table and two chairs outside on the sidewalk. Allen and the shop's one employee, Mark Pizzuto, work most days. Stephanie Allen, a critical care nurse at Mease Countryside Hospital, spends three days at the shop.

The Caffeine Gourmet is open 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Also visit the store at

Old Harbor Bank employee promoted

Patty Renwick has been promoted to vice president, retail banking executive, at Old Harbor Bank's Clearwater headquarters at 2605 Enterprise Road E.

She has 28 years of experience in banking and joined Old Harbor Bank in 2003 as a banking officer, loan operations manager.

Before that, she worked for Mercantile Bank and Republic Bank.

Largo doctor honored for public service

Dr. Gregory James received the Florida Osteopathic Board Recognition Award at the recent meeting of the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine at Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale-Davie. The award honors osteopathic physicians who exemplify the standards of the profession and dedication to public service.

Anytime Fitness signs lease for franchise

Dave LaGree has signed a lease to build a 7, 242-square-foot Anytime Fitness exercise facility. It is expected to open by early September in Northwood Plaza Mall.

Members will be able to work out any time with the use of a security-access card. The new facility will offer strength training, cardiovascular equipment and tanning.

Anytime Fitness, based in Hastings, Minn., began franchising in 2002. Franchises are independently owned and operated.

Home health providers relocate to larger site

Home Helpers Tampa Bay and Harmony Home Health have moved from Drew Street to larger quarters at 1250 Rogers St., Clearwater.

Home Helpers Tampa Bay is a nonmedical, in-home care provider. Harmony Home Health is a licensed home health agency that provides personal care services and private duty nursing to clients who require in-home medical assistance. Services are provided for senior citizens, new mothers and those recuperating from surgery.

Jonathan Bowman is the owner and president of both companies, which have a combined staff of more than 30 employees.

Acupuncture physician joins clinic staff

Dr. Yongjian Chen, a licensed acupuncture physician, has joined the staff of Oriental Family Medicine clinic at 901 N Hercules Ave., Clearwater.

She is a graduate of East West College of Natural Medicine in Sarasota and received acupuncture training at Guangzhou University in Guangzhou, China.

The clinic provides Chinese medicine treatments, including medical massage, electrostimulation, herbs, moxibustion, homeopathy and allergy elimination.

News of businesses and business people can be faxed to the Business Digest at 445-4119, e-mailed to or mailed to Business Digest, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. We are interested in new and unusual businesses, promotions, expansions and major new contracts. Photos can be mailed or e-mailed by jpeg file.

[Last modified May 13, 2007, 07:35:17]

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