Saturday, December 16, 2017
Business

Cafe Con Trey will close Saturday

SOUTH TAMPA — In the end, the loyal customer base that kept Cafe Con Trey in business for 17 years was no match for the reality of today's economic climate.

The tiny coffee spot with a drive-through at 2702 W Kennedy Blvd., known for its cafe con leche, Cuban toast and friendly service, will shut its doors for good Saturday at noon.

Manager Carlos Nieves Sr. said the 2,349-square-foot building that housed Cafe Con Trey since 1991 — at favorable rental rates — has sold. The new rent would be double what the cafe had been paying. There are no plans to move to a new location, Nieves said, since rents all over the area appear to be unaffordable.

Things were tough already, Nieves said. Sales have been down since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and, in the past year, business has dropped off even more.

"We have our fans," said Nieves, who has managed the restaurant for owner Angel Oliva III since Cafe Con Trey opened. "They were loyal, and they were great. I wish I could put a spot right around the corner. Because they did treat us right.

"We knew their orders, and we knew their names. It was like Cheers."

As word got out in recent weeks about the cafe closing, "we have been slammed," Nieves said. But there's still a bit of time, he said, to come in for "one last coffee, one last sandwich."

And one more hello.

Real dancing stars are opening new studio

What's notable about the new Arthur Murray Dance Studio franchise opening at 3217-B S MacDill Ave. is the foursome behind it.

The president of Arthur Murray asked internationally known dancers Luca and Lorraine Baricchi and Michelle and Scott Montague to open their own studio. The two married couples, who most recently lived in northern Italy but have traveled for much of the past two years while teaching for Arthur Murray, decided to open one in Tampa.

The relaxed atmosphere in the studios they visited was part of the appeal, said Michelle Montague. Also, Tampa is a place they all feel comfortable, she said. Michelle and Lorraine are sisters from Ireland. Baricchi is from Italy, and Scott Montague is from Britain.

"We've competed for such a long time," Michelle Montague said. "It's really been nice to see people enjoying (dancing) and not doing it as a job. … It's a very nice job, don't get me wrong, but you begin to treat it as a job."

All four are now in their 30s and have been dancing since the age of 4 or 5, Montague said. All have won international competitions. Numerous videos of the Baricchis — many of them with gushing commentary — are available on YouTube.

But Michelle Montague is quick to note the atmosphere at their spacious, remodeled studio will be fun, not intimidating. The studio will be about "socializing, meeting people, having a good time," she said.

Registration begins Monday; the first 25 get a free introductory lesson. Among the packages offered is eight sessions for $399. The studio will offer private and group lessons as well as workshops. Hours are 1 to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call (813) 835-1111 for more information.

She credits prayer with ideas for cafe

For years, Darlene Yetta has seen small Christian book and gift shops across the country struggle to stay afloat as national and online retailers have begun selling similar products.

Yetta's shop, Just For Heaven's Sake, 4135 Henderson Blvd., was set to close a few years ago at the same time other Tampa area Christian stores were shutting down. But Yetta, who opened the store with her sister in 1996, managed to stay afloat with help from a staff of volunteers.

Yetta said she has prayed for ideas on how to keep the store open, and she said God recently led her to two: a name change and a coffee bar.

She reopened the restaurant this month as St. Thomas Cafe after expanding her space about 300 square feet to accommodate a full coffee service, a bar and a handful of tables. St. Thomas Cafe offers regular and flavored coffee, smoothies, lattes, cappuccinos, tea, pastries, muffins and cookies. The shop also is offering its own brand of coffee (roasted by a Sarasota company) for purchase.

As always, the shop sells books, gifts, cards and inspirational items. New hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Do you know something that should be everybody's business? Call 226-3394 or e-mail [email protected]

Comments
Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

When Brenda Terry was 16 and living in St. Louis, she was a host and food runner at a sports bar where female employees wore cute little cheerleading skirts. One night, she said, a patron grabbed her crotch. She ran to her management team and they de...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

TAMPA — For the half of the year that Harry Nichols lives in Oldsmar, he plays 18 holes several times a month at Rocky Point Golf Course. On a good day, Nichols said he shoots close to par on the Dana Shores course. And if he’s really lucky, it’ll on...
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/16/17
Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Shrieks of laughter echoed off the walls of the hospital as Thunder the mini pig flopped onto his side and the children huddled around him, scratching his pink, hairy belly. He and his wet-nosed partner, Bolt, drew patients in wheelchairs and bandage...
Published: 12/15/17
Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

LARGO — Eight months after paying $10.15 million for the office building that houses IT services company Vology, a New York company is suing the Pinellas County Property Appraiser and Florida Department of Revenue contending its $5.5 million tax asse...
Published: 12/15/17
Florida’s $1.1 billion Hardest Hit Fund winding down after some hard knocks

Florida’s $1.1 billion Hardest Hit Fund winding down after some hard knocks

In 2010, Florida was in the throes of an unprecedented housing crisis. One in every eight homes was in some stage of foreclosure. Today, the foreclosure rate is one in every 83. Because of that enormous drop, Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund will s...
Published: 12/15/17
Report: Rich will get still richer unless policies change

Report: Rich will get still richer unless policies change

By ELAINE KURTENBACHTOKYO — Global inequality has stabilized at high levels in recent years, a report said Friday, despite gains among the poor in China and much milder disparities in incomes and wealth in Western Europe. The World Inequality Report ...
Published: 12/15/17
How the Disney/Fox deal will shake up Hollywood

How the Disney/Fox deal will shake up Hollywood

Associated Press NEW YORK — After years of tremors, the earthquake that had long been predicted finally shook Hollywood. Disney’s deal to purchase most of 21st Century Fox ends the era of the "Big Six" major movie studios, toppling one ...
Published: 12/15/17
St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, under construction since 2015, is scheduled to be complete by the summer of 2019.The five-story, 137,100-square-foot building will house businessman and collector Rudy Ciccarello’s...
Published: 12/15/17
Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Today is the day that open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act will close for most people. But those affected by the slew of hurricanes that pummelled Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and other states earlier this year can take advantage of a two-week ...
Published: 12/15/17
Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

A record-breaking number of Americans are expected to travel this holiday season.The American Automobile Association projects that 107.3 million Americans will pack their bags and travel more than 50 miles by planes, trains, automobiles and other mod...
Published: 12/14/17