BRANDON — Musicians use it to plug in and amplify their guitars.
Magicians use it to emphasize their wow factor, and businesses use it as a speaker phone and advertising assistant.
It's the Mighty Dwarf. Plug in any music player with a standard headphone jack, attach the device to to any flat surface and the surface becomes a speaker using vibration technology.
The first store in the nation dedicated solely to selling the electronic device opened in Westfield Brandon on July 1.
While the unit, which also can accommodate a micro SD card, easily attaches to tables and windows, people have gotten creative playing music on their coolers or Frisbees at the beach. Tailgating parties get a boost with music played right off the hood or roof of vehicles. As long as its flat, it works.
David Tillery, the Mighty Dwarf authorized reseller who doubles as a local comedian, has heard of some other uses as well like an interior wall in a house where people in both rooms can hear.
Or even a portable toilet.
"You could freak some people out if you wanted to," Tillery said.
But most people are just enamored with the musical acoustic capabilities.
"When you play a song you are familiar with, it sounds different every time," said Matt Perry, director of sales for Lava Imports Inc., the Canadian company that makes the device. "You can become creative with your sound. You are creating a different musical instrument. It's very fun."
Before Tillery contacted Perry about opening the first U.S. store in Brandon, 90 percent of the sales for the 5-year old company came online.
Prices range from $64.99 for the original 5 watt, 1.2-pound unit available in six colors to the 3-pound Mighty Dwarf Blue II, which includes wireless Bluetooth capabilities for $99.99.
Placing the Mighty Dwarf on thin, large surfaces brings the noise while thicker planes drop the bass. The Bluetooth unit can be controlled from your cellphone up to 100 feet away.
The Mighty Dwarf can be found in about a dozen retail locations in seven states, but this is the first one fully dedicated to the Mighty Dwarf.
"I hope people see what I see with this product," Tillery said. "It's so versatile."
Mighty Dwarf is located in a kiosk at Westfield Brandon across from the Starbucks near JCPenney.
Ninja Ice pours on the unusual toppings
Ric Sochor wants to teach you Japanese. Well, at least one word anyway: Kakigori.
Born in Japan to a U.S. Navy father and Okinawan mother, Sochor recalls a youth traveling the Middle East and also running a coconut stand in Key West.
After an Air Force career that lasted more than 21 years and brought him to MacDill Air Force Base in 1997, he retired from the military two years ago.
Playing off his world travels and adventurous palate, Sochor has created his own taste of Japan in Westfield Brandon. He opened Ninja Ice June 22, a new twist on shaved ice and crepes.
Kakigori is similar to Hawaiian, Latin, and Asian shave ice, but with more unusual toppings. Syrups like the house special green tea or signature orchid vanilla cream are poured over finely shaved, snowlike purified ice.
The eatery also offers freshly made Japanese crepes, which are thinner and crispier than you might expect and filled with fruit and ice cream in a cone shape.
"It's pretty straightforward," said Sochor, the owner/operator who says business is split 50/50 between the Kakigori shaved ice and the Japanese crepes. "There's nothing really exotic about it. It's not like we put sushi in it."
Ninja Ice is located in Center Court by the carousel, across from Oakley sunglasses. For the rest of July, customers can enjoy a buy one, get one 50 percent off promotion. Visit Ninja Ice Facebook or ninjaice.biz.
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