BRANDON — Joyce Williams wasn't one of those people who always dreamed about opening her own business and being her own boss.
But after spending years working happily and successfully in retail, Williams recently lost her job. Instead of joining the legion of unsuccessful job seekers, she opened her own clothing store.
"I didn't have any choice, because I was laid off," she said. "But it's going pretty well. I'm enjoying it."
Williams opened Diva Consignment Boutique at 206 Oakfield Drive in July. The shop specializes in women's clothing, shoes and accessories.
A consignment shop's stock usually comes from its clientele, but it has to have stock before it has clientele. So the first customers at Diva Consignment Boutique were choosing largely from Williams' personal wardrobe.
"I emptied my closets," she said. "My friends all emptied their closets. And I went to thrift stores."
It didn't take long before customers started shopping at Diva and expanding its stock with their own name-brand clothes. Diva offers a 50-50 split on any clothes, shoes, purses and costume jewelry it sells. Williams said she's looking for quality items for teenage girls and women of all ages.
One reason Diva has gotten off to such a strong start, Williams said, is its location, across the street from Brandon Regional Hospital.
"I picked it because there was another consignment shop previously in this location," she said. "And besides that, there are two other consignment shops in this vicinity. When people go to consignment shops, they usually like to go to more than one."
Diva Consignment Boutique is open from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Call (813) 681-5500.
Brass Tap will pour craft beers at the mall
The Brass Tap, owner Jeff Martin said, is a bar with a mission.
"We want to educate people about craft beers," he said. "If someone comes in and asks for a Bud Light, our staff is trained to suggest something else they might like, just to expand people's taste a bit."
With 60 craft beers from around the world on tap and hundreds of other brands in bottles, the new Brass Tap location set to open in late September at Westfield Brandon can probably turn any willing student into a beer connoisseur.
But the Brass Tap is more about relaxation than education, Martin said. Like the original Brass Tap, which opened two years ago in Wesley Chapel, the Brandon Brass Tap will offer daily happy hour specials (two-for-one on selected beer brands and house wines), live music on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 50-inch plasma TVs, visible from any seat in the bar, showing a variety of sports, including every NFL game (except Bucs games when they're blacked out).
The Brass Tap doesn't have its own kitchen, but Martin said he's arranging for restaurants in the mall to offer their services to bar patrons.
The Brass Tap will be open from noon until 3 a.m. seven days a week. For information, visit brasstapbeerbar.com.
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