PALMA CEIA — Cupcakes, to borrow a description from Goldilocks, are the perfect indulgence — not too big, not too small, but just right.
GiGi's Cupcakes bakes a dozen daily special flavors, and there are twice that many on the regular menu. Coconut snowball, tiramisu, banana cream pie, champagne, red velvet, Kentucky bourbon pie and wedding cake are just a few of the tempting choices made by head baker Suzi Parker.
Manager Erin Marino left a real estate career to open the store in Southtown Plaza, near the intersection of Neptune Avenue and Dale Mabry Highway. Early this week, the store was on track to open today. Cupcakes cost $3 each or $2.75 each when bought by the dozen.
Gina "GiGi" Butler started the company in Nashville two years ago and has already sold 30 franchises. Coincidentally, says Marino, "My 6-year-old daughter's name is GiGi, and she thinks this is all for her." Her favorite cupcake is the Miss Princess, made of strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting and a pink fondant crown.
Marino is booking birthday parties for youngsters to decorate their cupcakes. She also designs bridal, baby shower and wedding desserts created from 50 to 300 cupcakes.
GiGi's Cupcakes will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 3810 Neptune Ave. Call (813) 258-5555.
GirlTrends features fashions for the young
As parents of teenage daughters, Rande Weissman and Diane Slakter know shopping for school clothes and special occasions can be challenging. This month, the two friends put their retail experience to work and opened GirlTrends featuring tween, teen and junior fashions in the Carriage Trade Plaza.
"There's just no one in Tampa serving this middle school to 18-year-old market,'' said Weissman, a former owner of the Pink Palm boutique. Slakter previously worked in human resources in financial service, as well as at Bloomingdale's in New York.
Among the accessories and labels the women carry are Sugarlips tank tops, camisoles and leggings, Tractor jeans and Splendid sundresses. "Lots of designers that can't be found on the west coast of Florida,'' Weissman said.
With their own stressful shopping experiences in mind, the owners designed the Dress Lounge, a separate boutique area within the store. The young girls feel special trying on dressy dresses; mothers enjoy refreshments and comfortable seating.
GirlTrends, at 1732 S Dale Mabry Highway, is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sundays, by appointment. Call (813) 251-4475 or visit girltrends.com.
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