BRANDON — Dover residents Beverly and Dennis Walker went looking for their next business venture after enjoying years as owners of Classic Desserts in Seffner.
They had found success making wedding cakes for couples and distributing baked goods to Central Florida outlets such as Starbucks, but needed a change. So they bought an issue of Entrepreneur magazine and perused a list of top franchises opportunities.
"Many were food related and we're past that work," said Beverly, 56. "We want to have fun."
Then they spotted Pinot's Palette, a paint and sip business founded in Houston in 2009 that began franchising in 2011. After some due diligence and research, the Walkers joined up with co-owners Jeff and Jennifer Crum and plan to open Florida's third Pinot's Palette next month at 2086 Badlands Drive in the spot formerly occupied by Cork & Olive.
The Walkers believe the business will be only the second paint and sip event location in the Brandon area, joining Sketch and Sip, which was established in 2008 and has operated at Winthrop Towne Center since 2010. But unlike that business where patrons are encouraged to bring their own beverages before creating a pseudo masterpiece, Pinot's Palette will have its own beer and wine bar. They will welcome you to BYOF — bring your own food, instead.
"The product we really sell is fun," said Dennis Walker, 62, who studied fine art at USF. "It's an intangible. We will wake up that inner Picasso. I see people leaving their burdens at the door and having fun for two or three hours with their friends."
The 2,200-square-foot destination is situated next to the Rolling Pin, which does wine tastings, so the Walkers think their target customers will be able to find them. Inside, the main room will have a stage with one of five professional artists on staff leading the evening's entertainment. Up to 36 people will be able to enjoy music from Pandora, customized to the crowd — ranging from a girls night out, to kids birthday parties. They will brush their way through one of the more than 500 paintings in the master library featuring the likes of Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and others. Or novice painters can book a private party in the Gasparilla-themed private room for up to 20 people where guests enjoy their own floor easel.
"Anybody can do it," Dennis said. "We want to make it fun. This is not a dry class."
While the business is slated to open Feb. 28, the online booking calendar goes live Monday. Visit pinotspalette.com/brandon to book your event. Pricing hasn't been finalized yet, but the Walkers expect it to be similar to the Oldsmar and St. Petersburg Pinot's Palettes, in the $35-$38 range for two hours and $45-$48 for three hours.
The Walkers own the rights to expand in Tampa as well, and are focused on opening a second location in the city soon. The store will be open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with public events scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7. Private parties can be booked for any time.
Valrico restaurant becomes the Landing
Turn 2 Sports Restaurant has rebranded itself as the Landing Bar and Grill at Riverhills Plaza. Bill Hellemn and Erik Skvrud, two of the three owners of the Turn 2 eatery, remain owners of the Landing, said David Morris, operations general manager.
"The main theme of the Landing Bar & Grill is to honor our troops in all branches of services while serving in the military for the good ole USA," said Morris. "Bill and Erik both love to fly and thus the creation of the business name and aviation theme."
Hellemn is a retired Navy pilot and Skvrud served in the Air Force. A grand opening celebration is planned for March 1 at 4351 Lynx Paw Trail. Until then, visit thelandingbg.com to see a schedule of events including live music and to book the "ready room," without any deposit needed, for your private event.
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