Thursday, May 24, 2018
Business

Kokua Lima thrift store puts focus on community

SEFFNER — DVDs have returned to the old Blockbuster location at Parsons Square Village and you can own them for only $1.99.

But it's not another video store that moved into the corner retail spot adjacent to Beef 'O' Brady's, it's a community thrift store.

Kokua Lima offers house wares of all kinds at rock-bottom prices.

Sparked by the widening of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Kokua Lima moved from its location a mile away on Lakeview Avenue, to a more visible location three times the size of the original store that built a reputation for $2 clothes during its first 10 months of operation.

The opening also puts to rest, at least temporarily, the idea favored by local Beef's patrons: an expansion of the family restaurant. Dellenna Wilson, who owns Kokua Lima, says she does not have a long-term lease, but that is her goal.

Wilson, who grew up in Polk City, moved to Hawaii with her husband, David, but returned last year to help care for her father who is battling cancer. The name Kokua Lima means "helping hands" in Hawaiian.

"We want to do something for the community," she said.

Wilson welcomes all donations, just not those large, old televisions that nobody wants. Those who donate receive an additional 20 percent off their purchases. While $2 outfits serve as the staple, including a wedding dress valued at $150, shoppers also will find books for 25 cents, baby clothes for 12 cents and children's books for 10 cents.

For the big spenders, there's an entire bedroom set for $250 and even a Volkswagen engine block for $250, if you happen to have an MK III model car in need.

Kokua Lima also has a pair of tables set up near the door. The first one displays free items for the taking, because Wilson says they don't sell.

"People love it," she said. "It's a way to give back to the community. People always complain that bigger places throw too much stuff away. It's somebody else's treasure."

The other table is a showcase for new local businesses. The first business on display is called Party at My House. Owner Jaime Gukeisen, a Brandon resident, makes banners and party accessories.

Check out Kokua Lima Community Thrift Store on Facebook to see an up-to-date list of items it offers and needs.

Old friends take over car rental at Sears

The path that led to Giovanna Bravo and David Ferrer opening a business at Westfield Brandon extends well into the past. The couple dated as youths, then went their separate ways. Nearly 30 years later, they are business partners and the newest owners of the Avis and Budget Rent-a-Car franchise inside the Sears Auto Center.

"We dated when we were young and found each other almost 30 years later," Bravo said. "And that changed everything. Now, we have a lovely relationship and a business together."

When the couple took ownership in December, it became the third car rental location they have managed for the Avis Budget Group. They formerly operated a location on Gandy Boulevard and currently own one on Fowler Avenue.

Ferrer has been in the car rental industry for 22 years and says that because they are family operated, customers can expect a less corporate, more relaxed atmosphere. One of the specials the Brandon location features is "pick-of-the fleet," where upgrades are discounted so renters can drive cars they haven't tried before.

Stay tuned for their new satellite radio package option, where they estimate 60 percent of the fleet will feature Sirius radio without the need for clumsy free-standing units in the vehicle.

Call (813) 653-0033 for more information.

If you know of something that should be Everybody's Business, email Eric Vician at [email protected]

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