PALMA CEIA WEST — Gail Lykes has, shall we say, "no regrets" about leaving the stationery business for real estate eight years ago. But it turns out that she couldn't stay away from retail altogether.
Lykes and her husband, Tyson, have opened a Christian gift shop at 4017 Henderson Blvd. That's just two doors down from No Regrets, the paper goods store she used to co-own.
Lykes said she was moved to open Inspired Christian Gifts, although she still plans to sell real estate. "I tried to get somebody else to open it, and nobody would."
For many years she shopped at Sign of the Fish Christian bookstore, which closed last fall. Similar stores, such as Just for Heaven's Sake, also have closed in recent years, leaving South Tampa without a Christian boutique.
But Inspired Christian Gifts will be different from the others, Lykes said.
"We're really not trying to be a bookstore," she said, adding that "we can't compete" with the larger booksellers.
Her shop will focus exclusively on gifts, such as hand-painted plaques, pillows, crucifixes made of different materials, jewelry and personalized Bibles. Lykes will occasionally offer Christian-themed jewelry trunk shows, including one scheduled for March 19 at the store.
The 700-square-foot store is in the former home of DKM Accessories. (DKM has merged its two stores back to one, at 3104 Palmira Ave.) Hours at Inspired Christian Gifts are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 to 4 Saturday.
Bigger space for other gift shop in building
Lykes' store isn't the only change taking place in the building at 4017 Henderson, a longtime home for South Tampa boutiques.
The gift shop Occasions, located at the rear of the building since it opened in 2007, has expanded and moved to a more prominent spot facing Henderson.
Owners Chris Cordell, Martha Azzarelli and Sandra Tuttle have taken over the 1,400-square-foot space that until recently was occupied by No Regrets, which Lykes sold eight years ago. The stationery store has moved to a smaller space at the other end of the building.
"We were crammed in," Cordell said of the original Occasions space. "We were falling all over ourselves."
The shop has managed to thrive, in part, thanks to its bridal registry, which "helped us a lot through some of the periods that were a little slower," Cordell said.
Over the years it has picked up more lines and more inventory, including part of the Town Toiles Tampa collection that was housed in the original Town Toiles store, which closed last year. Prices on gift and tabletop items range from $10 to several hundred dollars, Cordell said.
The store's hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 to 4 Saturday. Occasions' Web site is occasionstampa.com.
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