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Hallmark moments amid the daily grind

Cards and gifts mingle with breadstuffs, strong coffee, sweets and real estate agents in the Mid-Core Garage.

By SHARON L. BOND

© St. Petersburg Times,
published October 31, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- Lynn's Hallmark has opened a shop downtown in the Mid-Core Garage, which serves the BayWalk retail/entertainment shopping center.

It is the third Lynn's Hallmark in St. Petersburg owned by Marc Bershaw, according to store manager Valerie Gordon. Bershaw also owns the Lynn's Hallmark shops at Tyrone Square Mall and Northeast Shopping Center, she said.

The new shop is smaller than Tyrone's but larger than Northeast's, Gordon said. It is a Gold Crown Hallmark store, Gordon said, which means it accepts a special purchasing card issued by Hallmark that earns shoppers points toward free merchandise. (Not all stores that sell Hallmark products are Gold Crown stores, Gordon noted.)

The Mid-Core Hallmark is fully equipped for Christmas and already has seen a lot of traffic during lunch hours from nearby offices. It opened Oct. 22.

The Hallmark shop joins Atlanta Bread Company, Starbucks, the Optic Shop, TCBY/Mrs. Fields Cookies and Century 21 Sunshine Realty in the first floor shops of the Mid-Core Garage at First Avenue N and Second Street.

At BayWalk, the space occupied by the center's office on the second floor has been leased to Tokyo Sushi Cafe, according to Craig Sher, president and chief executive officer of the Sembler Co., which developed BayWalk.

Sher said the cafe hoped to open within the next 60 days. Owners took possession of the space just Monday. As for the BayWalk office, it is not yet decided where it will go, Sher said.

The ground floor space in BayWalk originally designed for a bookstore was renovated for two tenants: Being Inc., a home accessories store, and El Portal, which sells leather goods.

"The two tenants we are putting in are really good tenants," Sher said.

Being, which is a local operation, will open Nov. 15. El Portal will open in December, Sher said.

BayWalk, which celebrates its first anniversary next month, is a center of shops and restaurants downtown anchored by the 20-screen Muvico theater. After Being and El Portal move in, the center will have one more large space to lease. It can be used as one, two or three shops, Sher said.

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