BRANDON — Joys Ramos is proud of her plus-size figure and she wants all women sizes 12 and up to feel the same way about themselves.
In fact, she is so passionate about it, she gave up her job as a government contractor and opened a consignment shop Sept. 28 called Charisma Consignment Boutique, catering solely to plus-size women.
"In society there's an image of the perfect size being super skinny," Ramos said. "Beauty can come in all shapes and sizes. It's personal, being plus size myself."
Ramos said she loves consignment shopping, but always has trouble finding a mix of clothing to choose from, and nothing more than a small corner of a boutique. So the Lakeland resident did some market research and decided a 900-square-foot store at 110 Lithia Pinecrest Road, Suite I, in the Heritage Square Plaza was the place to follow her dream.
Expect to find everything new and used sizes 12 and up. Lane Bryant and Avenue jeans that might fetch $65 retail, are just $25, gently used. Boutique lingerie, such as a $45 bra, goes for $10 and don't forget to accessorize with Stella jewelry, where a $65 necklace is just $25.
Charisma Consignment Boutique carries shoe brands like Ann Taylor, Naturalizer and Nine West, and soon will carry Kiyonna dresses. Ramos said tops are popular as are handbags, which she sells with the consignor getting 60 percent of the purchase price. All other items are split 50/50 and paid on the 15th of each month.
"We have something for every age and budget," Ramos said. "There are designer clothes for a fraction of the price."
Ramos said she chose a name for her store that means natural beauty and leadership. She is holding a grand opening celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 26 and will feature discounts and coupons, coffee and snacks and even a makeup artist to help women feel more striking.
"Just because you are big doesn't mean you can't look beautiful," she said.
Charisma Consignment is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Visit curvysavvychic.com for details and to become a consignor.
VegiBus serves up market on wheels
After 27 years of driving a truck, Jeffrey Daniel now has 27 places to be each week — in his bus. The Ruskin resident owns a green and white vehicle he has dubbed the VegiBus, and he drives it door to door, mostly to senior communities between north Manatee County and Lutz.
The climate-controlled mobile produce market offers fresh fruits, vegetables and potatoes at competitive prices. After starting his route earlier in spring, Daniel has seen a spike in business.
"The snowbirds are back and it's growing," he said.
Daniel tries to update his route on his website, vegibus.com, and has at least three east Hillsborough stops confirmed. On Thursdays, the VegiBus is parked outside Riverside Club, 2550 Pier Drive in Ruskin at 3:15 p.m. On Fridays, he's at Kingswood Mobile Home, 10109 Oak Forest Drive in Riverview by 4:30 p.m.; on Saturdays, the Sun City Center Chamber of Commerce hosts his produce beginning at 9 a.m.
Daniel said tomatoes are the most popular. Right now, he gets them from Alabama, until the Ruskin crop is ready around February. He accepts cash and credit. He's also accepting requests for location No. 28.
"I am always looking for new stops," he said. "I can fill up two more days easy."
Call (813) 444-8287 or visit vegibus.com if you would like to see the VegiBus roll into your neighborhood.
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