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Botanica florist to make eventful move

By SHARON GINN, Times Correspondent
Published November 9, 2007


PALMA CEIA - Ian Prosser hasn't been a typical florist for quite some time. Beginning next week, his popular floral business will finally follow suit.

Prosser - who has served as a florist to presidents and celebrities - said he is getting out of the retail business and transforming his 20-year-old Botanica International Florist into an events-only business.

Prosser has sold the building at 2616 S MacDill Ave. and will close his shop for good on Saturday. On Nov. 19, he is scheduled to open Botanica International Design Studio at 4062 Henderson Blvd.

The new location, formerly the Lyssa Morgan Gallery, will be a showcase for Botanica's designs, not a flower shop.

Customers "won't be able to come in and buy flowers," Prosser said. "There won't be any flowers to buy. We will be a design studio that will do weddings and parties, from large to small. If someone has a baby shower, we can do two arrangements; if they're doing a large wedding, we can do that too."

It was a decision born of practicality, Prosser said. "The events side of our business has grown at such a rate that it has become difficult to juggle two things," Prosser said.

Events are what Prosser is known for. He was one of 160 florists selected to help with the floral design for Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1997 and George W. Bush's in 2001. He made such an impression that in 2005 the Society of American Florists asked him to lead the entire operation for Bush's second inauguration. Prosser, a native of Scotland, has been tapped to fill that lead role again in 2009.

He decided to take this time before the election to change his business model. The Botanica International Design Studio will be able to take care of "anything visual" for an event, Prosser said, from floral arrangements to table-scapes, draperies, linens, tents, chairs and lighting.

"When I opened the store, I had just come from Scotland with this American dream - to open my own business," Prosser said. "Never did I dream that I would travel different continents teaching my own designs, or do the inauguration of an American president. I have a fabulously competent staff. We're just ready to take things to the next level."

Prosser has owned the building on MacDill for six years. He said he has sold it to an owner who wants to put in a restaurant. Real estate agent Ben McLeish of Colliers Arnold in Tampa declined to comment further, except to say that details will be available in the next few weeks.

Prosser also is known locally for his floral design courses. He will resume teaching in the spring, he said, once he is settled in to the new location.

Accents and art

The accessories boutique Axxents has moved out of its longtime location at 2120 S MacDill Ave. and is sharing space with the Jules Burt Gallery at 500 S Howard Ave.

Customers will be able to browse Burt's vibrant gallery on one side of the store while shopping for bright and blingy accessories like shoes, T-shirts, purses and jewelry on the other. Burt's art is featured on canvas and as prints, on magnets and hand- painted glassware.

"The merging of the two shops provides a fun shopping atmosphere," Axxents owner Marilyn Etheridge said. "What diva can resist sparkles and art?"

Hours are 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Do you know something that should be everybody's business? Call 226-3394 or e-mail


The find

Byers' Choice Carolers

Set a holiday scene with delightful Carolers collectibles made by Byers' Choice. There are Indians and pilgrims for your Thanksgiving table. A Victorian Santa, elves, reindeer and a bevy of Salvation Army bell-ringers are some of the hand-painted plaster figures you'll find among Christmas gifts at Occasions. No two Carolers are the same; prices range from $59 to $75. Stop by today and Saturday for a holiday open house at Occasions, 4004 Neptune St. Call 286-9592.

- Amy Scherzer


[Last modified November 8, 2007, 07:01:21]

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