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Primrose School ('not a day care') opens in Valrico; Halloween superstore at Brandon mall

VALRICO — Maya and Sonia Gohil spent their preschool years at the Primrose School in Westchase.

Their parents were so impressed with the experience that they've opened their own Primrose School in Valrico. The new school welcomed its first students this week.

"It's something we truly believe in," co-owner Ketan Gohil said.

Primrose is a national chain of schools, based in Atlanta, for children from 6 months to 5 years old. The Primrose approach is to start teaching everything from music to math to young children in a way that engages their brains and their imaginations.

"We're all about making sure that kids develop a love of learning," Ketan Gohil said.

His wife, Ami, taught at the Westchase Primrose School for several years.

Besides music and standard academic subjects, Primrose teaches sign language to its youngest students so they can start communicating at an earlier age. The curriculum also includes a character development program that uses puppets to demonstrate the value of honesty, friendship, cooperation and other positive attributes.

One thing that has made Primrose successful is that the students' parents are involved in the learning experience, Gohil said. Even the youngest students learn music, and the school provides CDs for the parents to bring home and play for their young ones in the evening.

"We're not a day care," Gohil said. "You don't just drop your kids off here and pick them up at the end of the day. We work in partnership with parents, and it's important that the parents share our philosophy."

The Valrico Primrose School is at 1280 Bloomingdale Ave. It still has openings for new students. For information, call (813) 438-5980 or visit

As Halloween lurks, giant store moves in near mall

BRANDON — Where there were books there will soon be spooks.

For two months starting Sept. 1, the old Borders store near Westfield Brandon mall will be home to Halloween Express, which will help revelers make the most out of Oct. 31.

Halloween Express is a national chain of stores, all open seasonally, that carry a massive selection of Halloween costumes, decorations and accessories. This is the fourth year that Halloween Express has come to Brandon, but its first in the old Borders building and its first under owners Jeff and Carol Christian.

"We're going to have the largest selection of Halloween novelties in the state of Florida," Jeff Christian said.

Costumes are, of course, a mainstay, and the local Halloween Express will offer costumes for every age group, from very young trick-or-treaters to teenagers and to grownups looking for something to wear to an adults-only party.

"We're a very family-oriented store, but we will have an adult section with more risque costumes," Christian said. "Kids won't be allowed in."

Halloween Express offers prices that are comparable to discount stores, but with better quality, Christian said. Costumes start at about $14 and top out at about $200.

A teen Halloween party is scheduled from 9 p.m. to midnight Oct. 29.

The store, at 2020 Town Center Blvd., will be open from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. seven days a week, from Sept. 1 through Halloween. For information, call (813) 685-2700 or visit

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Primrose School ('not a day care') opens in Valrico; Halloween superstore at Brandon mall 08/25/11 [Last modified: Thursday, August 25, 2011 4:30am]
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