Canelas Confectionaries has been open for four months, but owner Sofia Monreal hasn't gotten around to putting a proper sign on her storefront.
"I just have a banner," she said. "The actual sign still says 'Fast Track Kids.' "
Monreal said she's not even sure what Fast Track Kids was, other than the previous tenant of her space at 3341 Lithia-Pinecrest Road in Valrico, in the same plaza with Albertsons.
But since Canelas opened late last year, Monreal has been so busy making custom cakes, pastries and other baked goods that she hasn't had time to get a permanent sign.
"We haven't even had time to have our grand opening," she said.
Because people seem to be finding their way to her shop anyway, she's in no hurry.
"My mother was a fantastic cook," she said. "I would always be in the kitchen helping her. My grandmother was a great cook too. We as a family, we love to feed people."
A look at the artisan cakes Monreal creates, which would be impressive works of visual art even if they weren't edible, makes it obvious she didn't learn everything she knows from hanging around her mother's kitchen. She graduated from the Caribbean Culinary Institute in Puerto Rico and has been creating cakes professionally for 14 years.
Canelas — the name means "cinnamon" in Spanish — isn't a typical bakery with racks of pre-made pies and cookies on display. Monreal prefers to bake everything specifically for each customer.
"It is a privilege to be able to do this, and I'm very proud of what I do," Monreal said. "This is a gift that was given to me, and I love doing this for people."
If customers want pastry or a carrot cake, which is one of her signature cakes, order it in the morning and she can usually have it by day's end. For wedding cakes and other extravagant creations, she prefers two weeks' notice.
She's in the shop from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Wednesday. On Fridays and Saturdays, she's usually there baking, but she sees customers by appointment only. For more information, call (813) 230-1884 or check the website at canelasconfectionaries.com.
Dermatology practice expands
For nine years, Dr. David S. Sax has run a thriving dermatology practice in Sarasota.
Earlier this month, Sax and his staff opened their first satellite office, Apollo Beach Dermatology at 13146 Kings Point Road in Gibsonton.
The new office will offer the same range of services that have made Sax's original practice, University Park Dermatology, so popular with Sarasota residents.
Among the clinic's specialties are pediatric and juvenile services and a procedure called Mohs Micrographic Surgery.
Sax is certified in the Mohs procedure, which removes skin cancers with minimal scarring. It's usually used for cancers on the face and neck, where scars would be hard to conceal.
A nurse practitioner on his staff specializes in skin conditions that affect children and teens.
The clinic also offers a full range of dermatological services, including skin cancer screenings and treatment and cosmetic procedures such as Botox and laser hair removal.
The clinic is open Monday through Friday. For more information, call (813) 741-3376 or visit apollobeachderm.com.
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