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Everybody's Business: Occasions gifts moves; Islands Pizza opens; Brooksie's Market offers unique items

PALMA CEIA — Martha Azzarelli and Sandra Tuttle met in kindergarten; Chris Cordell joined the friendship as a young bride. Five years ago the trio combined their good taste to open Occasions, offering tabletop accessories, gifts and an online bridal registry.

The go-to gift shop "for babies, birthdays, brides and graduates" outgrew the Henderson Boulevard location, said Tuttle. Moving Oct. 2 to S Dale Mabry Highway, north of Plant High School, allowed more space for table settings and decorative lines by Juliska, Beatriz Ball and Michael Aram, among others, as well as Tampa- and college-themed items, many custom made and personalized. Gift wrapping is complimentary, as is delivery to registered brides.

Former neighbor Inspired Christian Gifts, owned by Gail Lykes, has moved in with Occasions. Her quarter of the store is filled with religious-themed gifts and jewelry, such as handmade hurricane crosses and pen-and-ink sketches of schools and churches.

Occasions, at 2120 S Dale Mabry, is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Visit or call (813) 286-9592.

Davis Islands pizzeria has new owners, more items and brews

Anchor Bar owners John Harr and Justin Schuver expanded Davis Islands casual dining options this week, taking over Slice of Tampa Bay and renaming it Islands Pizza.

"We've made a few adjustments," Harr said before the official opening today, listing additional menu items like calzones and grinders, "plus a whole new kids menu."

Traditional New York-style pizza will be sold by the slice or whole pie. Daily specials might be Buffalo chicken or barbecue pork, made in a stone pizza oven. Patrons can order at the counter or sit down to be served.

The restaurant will be family friendly, "like the old Tate's Pizza," said Harr, recalling a longtime Davis Islands eatery. But adults will find 12 beers on tap and a full liquor bar. Happy hour prices are offered from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Home delivery on Davis Islands is coming soon.

Islands Pizza, at 235 E Davis Blvd., will be open from 11 a.m. to midnight daily. Look for Islands Pizza on Facebook or call (813) 254-5818.

After Taste of the Heights, pop into Brooksie's Market

After 12 years in Starbucks management, Seminole Heights resident Michelle Brooks put her energy into Brooksie's Market, promoting "local artists and crafters in the neighborhood where I sleep and eat and play." Brooks filled a N Florida Avenue bungalow with funky scarves and handbags, cigar box purses, wreaths, costume masks, jewelry and much more.

"We're hands-on," she said. "Make your own potpourri and bath salts scents and pick fresh herbs and veggies."

Brooks' niche product — handcrafted cards — evolved from sending her son weekly care packages to his base in Afghanistan. Not finding cards appropriate for infantry Marines, she began making her own and selling them online. All-occasion cards are 20 for $25; holiday greetings are 12 for $20.

"I decided I could become this crazy card lady or rent this house for my workshop and become a bigger part of the world."

The cards caught the interest of a group called Semper Fi Sisters, who wanted to enclose them in hundreds of boxes sent to all branches of the military. Brooks enlisted Seminole Heights Elementary School third-graders to write personal notes in the cards. Their words and "tender spirit" made her cry.

Meet some local artisans and see their work from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday after the Taste of the Heights.

Brooksie's Market, at 5805 N Florida Ave., is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Visit or call (813) 446-2187.

Do you know something that should be Everybody's Business? Call (813) 226-3332 or email

Everybody's Business: Occasions gifts moves; Islands Pizza opens; Brooksie's Market offers unique items 10/18/12 [Last modified: Thursday, October 18, 2012 4:30am]
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