RUSKIN — The area will soon lose a minor landmark, but Terry Trekas thinks local residents will be happy with the change.
"The only downside is that people won't be able to say, 'Turn at the blue and purple building' anymore," Trekas said.
Trekas plans to paint that distinctive exterior with warmer and more tasteful earth tones as he gears up to open Tuscan Alley, a shop that will offer fine art, furniture and home decor items at affordable prices.
His store is set to open toward the end of this month at 301 U.S. 41, near Shell Point Road. It's in a building that has been home to two other shops, most recently the blue and purple Lady Chameleon and before that Southern Charm.
Trekas said he has worked with art and furniture at the wholesale level off and on for 20 years, and has always wanted to own a retail business. The sluggish economy actually works to his advantage, he said.
"The days of people going to a place like Robb & Stucky and dropping $20,000 are over, I think," he said. "They want the same things, but they want them at a price that makes sense to them."
Because of his connections and experience, Trekas said, he'll be able to get pieces of excellent quality and sell them at prices lower than his competitors can. Instead of dealing strictly with distributors, he can also buy at liquidations and estate sales and look for the best bargains.
He'll sell quality new and used items, including antiques, with an emphasis on French provincial styles. He'll also take select pieces on consignment as space permits.
Tuscan Alley will also offer a free buying service. Customers can describe a piece they're looking for, and the shop's buyers will hunt for it.
Trekas is hoping to open around June 30, with a grand opening tentatively slated for July 7.
The Tuscan Alley website, tuscanalley.com, is under construction, but information about store hours and the grand opening should be available there soon. The shop's phone, (813) 645-5500, is in service.
Spa opens in Brandon
Marilyn Diaz had already built a successful career for herself, but she held on to a dream that was outside of her field.
Years ago, she had worked in a spa in a five-star hotel in her native Puerto Rico, and she never forgot how much she loved the work.
"I always wanted to open a spa," Diaz said.
She realized her dream April 30, when she opened Avante Salon & Day Spa at 953 E Brandon Blvd., in the Main Street Shoppes.
Avante, which is named after the spa where Diaz worked in Puerto Rico, offers everything from hair and nail treatments to massage therapy.
Business has been brisk, she said. She said that Avante already draws repeat customers, and has attracted a couple of wedding parties.
Through June, Avante is offering 15 percent off all products. Military personnel and seniors always get a 10 percent discount on all products and services.
It's open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Call (813) 708-5429 or visit avantedayspa.com.
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