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Online kids' store now on the block

By Sharon Ginn, Times Correspondent
Published February 29, 2008


NORTH BON AIR - Katie Kyres did her best to exercise her imaginative side during her 15 years in practice as a discrimination lawyer.

"If you're doing the 'underdog-type' litigation, you have to be creative," she said.

Then daughter Casey came along about two years ago, and Kyres' compulsion to doodle, design and write finally took over. She took a self-described sabbatical from law, spent a year creating a cadre of characters including a grinning Silly Dilly Bunny and collaborating with other local creative types before launching an online children's store last year.

The store, Silly Dilly Tot Spot, is set to become a real spot on Sunday, when her Tampa location at 4035 W Kennedy Blvd. opens its doors for the first time.

Kyres' store, at the corner of Kennedy and Hale Avenue, will carry the same items she has been selling online, plus more: whimsical children's wear, room decor, books, jewelry, accessories and other fun finds.

Some of the items are designed by Kyres or local moms and artists she knows. Others are whimsical things she has found elsewhere.

"I try to import things from around the world that have a non-throwaway quality," she said.

The store has a fun spot just for kids, a cornflower blue playroom with a stage and a puppet theater. Kyres plans to host frequent story times, sometimes featuring stories and characters that she has created.

"I wanted Silly Dilly to be a vehicle for my writing," Kyres said. "I never just wanted to open a store, because I don't want to be just a store owner. I wanted to have basically my own little world. Modernized Willy Wonka - but not quite so scary. I'm the friendly, happy bunny."

Hours at Silly Dilly Tot Spot will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. The store's Web site is

After 28 (good) years, tire store is in limbo

For now, a neighborhood battle is keeping the Goodyear franchise that has sat across from WestShore Plaza for nearly three decades from meeting the wrecking ball.

Brazzeal Tire and Service, a Goodyear location at 5002 W Kennedy Blvd., sits on property that has been leased by the Brazzeal family for 28 years. That property has been sold to developer Les Porter, who plans a three-story retail development.

A Publix is expected to anchor the development, though the company will not confirm it. A sign announcing Publix as a tenant was taken down in January almost as soon as it appeared.

The Goodyear is staying put for now, thanks to a lawsuit filed against Porter's company and the city by about 20 Beach Park residents. The residents are fighting the planned closing of Ward Street at Kennedy Boulevard because of concerns that it would restrict access to their neighborhood.

Brazzeal Tire and Service general manager Chris Brazzeal said he expects the case to go to court in the spring. The family can't look for another location until Porter is ready to buy out the lease.

"This land has outgrown us," Brazzeal said. "We've been here 28 years, and we have a lot of longtime customers, a lot of relationships, a large clientele. When the day comes, we'll relocate as close as possible to this location."

Freshwater, saltwater fish sold in same store

After spending years driving all over to get the things they needed for their aquariums, Giuseppe Manzella and Matthew Williamson decided they wanted their new store to be all things to all fish fans.

Their store, Total Aquatics Inc., opened last week at 3215 S MacDill Ave., three blocks south of Bay to Bay Boulevard. The 1,880-square-foot store is unique to South Tampa, Manzella said, because it carries both freshwater and saltwater fish, and a variety of aquariums, maintenance equipment, food, medicines and literature.

Manzella and Williamson are both longtime hobbyists who say they had grown frustrated that most stores cater to either fresh or salt water fish lovers, but not both. Total Aquatics carries 300 types of fish and aquariums ranging in size from eight to 210 gallons, Manzella said. Custom aquariums also are available.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 on Sunday. The store will host a grand opening event Sunday.

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

The find

Calligaris ice chair

This laser-cut acrylic design by Calligaris is so cool they call it an ice chair. It comes in six colors that reflect light like, well, ice. The Italian import sells for $189; matching bar stool also available at Doma home furnishings, 1916 S Dale Mabry in the Carriage Trade Plaza. Call 258-4500.


[Last modified February 28, 2008, 22:56:53]

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