PALMA CEIA — Even as the "for lease" signs multiply and more storefronts darken in Palma Ceia's best known shopping district, something bright and shiny is moving into a prominent space on MacDill Avenue.
Make that many shiny things. About 3,000 square feet of pots, pans, cutlery and utensils are dotting the windows at 2507 S MacDill Ave., where Odessa-based BergHOFF USA plans to open its second retail store this weekend.
BergHOFF USA is a division of a Belgian company, founded in 1964, that manufactures higher-end cookware. Deborah Van den Langenbergh and her husband, Ray, hold the rights to distribute the cookware in the western hemisphere. Deborah said BergHOFF is a popular brand in Canada, Europe and South America, but is not commonly sold in the United States.
The Van den Langenberghs said when they moved their distribution and wholesale headquarters to Odessa in 2006, interest from the neighbors prompted them to open a factory store. There, they are able to keep prices to 50 percent and more off retail.
"We had people looking in the windows. We were almost forced to open," Deborah joked, adding that business has been steady since.
The South Tampa store will follow the same factory-direct philosophy. It's affordable, she said, compared to cookware of similar quality sold elsewhere.
BergHOFF makes its own products, which come with a lifetime guarantee, she said. The company carries pots and pans suitable for residential and commercial use, cookware for kids, bakeware, an assortment of knives and flatware and unique items like pressure cookers and a portable, plug-in induction cooktop. The store will offer classes for kids and adults, taught by a personal chef.
Hours at BergHOFF will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 to 3 on Sunday. The company's Web site is berghoffworldwide.com.
Pouring and painting
When Kelly Grillone bought the 12-year-old paint-your-own-pottery business Practically Pikasso last fall, it wasn't for the kiln. It was for the wine and beer license already tied to the location.
Grillone's plans were to open a wine bar but she was new to Tampa and had trouble finding a retail space small enough that already had the proper zoning. The mini bungalow, next door to Circles Restaurant at 2502 W Azeele St., seemed like just the spot.
"It's a cute little bungalow — it feels homey when you walk in," Grillone said. "I just fell in love with it. At first I said maybe we will phase (the pottery) out eventually, but I'm really enjoying it. Everybody likes the concept of pottery and wine so we're sticking with it."
The store, renamed Pikasso's Kiln and Kork, has been kept largely as is, although Grillone added a variety of wines to the pottery menu. Customers can even order food from Circles and eat it while painting their pottery and having a glass of wine. "It's something different" for an evening out, Grillone said.
At the same time, the store is sticking close to its roots, hosting birthday parties, bridal showers and other gatherings and will offer summer camps for kids 5 to 13. Pottery prices range from $1 to $60, and the painting-and-firing fee is $10 for adults ($8 each for larger parties) and $6 for kids.
Hours at Kiln and Kork are noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 10 Friday and Saturday and noon to 6 on Sundays.
Posh to get more posh
Posh Salon and Spa is getting a makeover. The salon at 3120 W Bay to Bay Blvd. closed Nov. 1 and should reopen in a few weeks, owner Carmen Lee-Sargeant said.
"You won't recognize it," she said. "Posh will have all the latest equipment and technology available in the beauty industry."
Do you know something that should be everybody's business? Call (813) 226-3394 or e-mail [email protected]