BELLEAIR BLUFFS — You can't miss it. There's a big, hot-pink canopy over the store's entrance, with large, pink polka dots on the walls beside it. It's exactly what you might think: a girly place with lots of glitz and bling.
Robert and Tonya Brescia of Tarpon Springs are the new owners of CopyCats Boutique, which specializes in designer-inspired jewelry, accessories and gifts for ages 8 to 80.
The Brescias bought the business at the end of March and doubled its size to 1,500 square feet by moving to another retail space in the same shopping center. They invested about $100,000 to open the doors.
The couple, who are both 40 and were high school sweethearts, moved here 14 years ago from Chicago. Previously, they owned and operated Great American Fan and Lighting in Palm Harbor for six years.
The Brescias operate the business together, and their two teenage daughters work there on the weekends.
"We believe a store should have a family atmosphere," Robert Brescia said. "We're starting from scratch, but we want to have two or three stores one day."
What have you added to the inventory?
"More designer-inspired purses," said Tonya Brescia. "We also have bags in natural shells and wood. We have the Eiffel Tower purse made of wood that Sarah Jessica Parker carries in the movie Sex and the City (price tag: $419.99).
We have added freshwater cultured pearls that can be custom-made for customers. We're the only retail store in the area that carries candles, shower gel and body lotion by Wicked Cool Candle Co. out of Tampa. We now have Jimmy Crystal Swarovski-decorated sunglasses, watches, rings and bracelets. And we're adding more glasses in the Lolita line, including beer and martini glassware."
What are the best sellers?
The Chanel, Tiffany, David Yurman and Juicy couture-inspired jewelry, according to Tonya Brescia.
"A lady walked in here from the beach about three weeks ago," said Robert Brescia. "She had just lost one of the earrings her husband bought her from David Yurman and was frantic. 'I need this earring,' she said. She found something almost identical."
What's it like being the only guy in a store aimed at women?
"It was overwhelming at first," said Robert Brescia. "I've never done this type of retail before. But it's kind of neat. The jewelry is the main thing in the store.
A lot of the things I don't know yet, but Tonya knows and my kids tell me. It's a woman's store, yes, but we have guys who come in shopping for their wives, friends and grandmothers."
The big man chair in the store was my idea. If there's a chair at the mall, I find it and tell the girls to shop their hearts out. Same here. The husband sits down, we offer water and we chat."
What do you like about the business?
"I like the people, and I like the area," said Robert Brescia.
"I enjoy the business, and I love working with my wife. It's a fun business. I don't dread coming in to work, and I don't watch the clock."
News of businesses and business people can be faxed to the Business Digest at 445-4119, e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Business Digest, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. We are interested in new and unusual businesses, promotions, expansions, commercial sales and major new contracts. Photos can be mailed or e-mailed by jpeg file.