NORTH HYDE PARK — Taylor Flom and Alex Medina take their reps as fly dressers to the next level at Flight School, their urban streetwear boutique.
The men, both 25 years old and friends since fourth grade, make business a pleasure, selling $26 graphic tees, polos, cardigans, hoodies and high-fashion jeans.
"We're constantly doing parties,'' said Flom, including Flight School Friday on the first Friday of each month, at the store on Kennedy Boulevard east of Howard Avenue.
"University of Tampa and Hyde Park kids come down here and watch football with us," added Medina, a Jefferson High grad. "We have a couch and play music all the time, and most of them end up buying something. It's a cool vibe over here."
A local tattoo artist spent 60 hours covering the walls in a retro military theme featuring a World War II bomber with shark's teeth and pinup girl wearing a jet pack. "People really respond to the military theme because it's not in your face,'' said Flom, a 2003 Plant High graduate.
Clothing hangs on red pipes suspended from the ceiling. Medina pulls together complete ensembles — "shirt, pants, snap back hat and sneakers to take the hassle out of shopping," he said.
Watch these guys take off: A Flight School line of clothing is in the works, and ultimately, Flight School franchises. "The sky's the limit," Flom said.
Flight School is located at 2021 W Kennedy Blvd. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call (813) 254-5700 or visit shopflightschool.com.
Rosa Linda offers Mexican folk art
When contemporary painter Stacy Rosende heard that the tiny space next to her art studio was for rent, she knew what she wanted to do.
"When we visited Mexico, I fell in love with the beautiful colors and textures," Rosende said, showing an array of Mexican folk art-inspired accessories filling the 200-square-foot shop at 3407 S MacDill Ave.
She named the shop Rosa Linda for her grandmother Rose and her mother, Linda.
"Most things are one-of-a-kind,'' she said, such as the Talavera pitchers and plates. Embroidered Puebla shirts and dresses delight women and children.
"Happy shirts,'' Rosende calls them.
Some of her other favorites are handmade Indigo Bee soaps and candles scented like fresh mown hay. Gasparilla enthusiasts might find that Mexican Day of the Dead items translate to pirate skulls and bones.
Rosende teaches full time at the Academy of the Holy Names during the week, so Rosa Linda is only open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Call (813) 758-0089 for more information.
Crazy Rays deli serves up tropical flavors
The name of his restaurant fits "because you have to be a little crazy to go into this business," said Ray Williams, owner of Crazy Rays deli and cafe.
Williams opened Oct. 6 in the former Moxie's sandwich shop on W Kennedy Boulevard, just east of West Shore Boulevard.
"We've done quite a bit of updating and redecorating,'' said Williams, who left Kingston, Jamaica, 11 years ago for Tampa.
For now, the menu stays the same, with the addition of one sandwich he calls Jamaican Me Crazy. The smoked pork sandwich on Cuban bread is layered with Swiss cheese, red onions, lettuce and tomato, and topped with a jerk sauce for $6.99.
Eventually, Williams will add Jamaican specialties, such as meat pies and curried chicken. His family considers him an excellent cook, he said, and has encouraged him to open a restaurant for years.
He said early birds flock to the breakfast special — ham, eggs and cheese pressed on Cuban toast with a small cafe con leche for $3.99. For lunch, the Key West chicken salad with fresh pineapple ($5.49) is popular.
Breakfast and lunch platters are delivered to nearby offices or homes. "Short notice catering orders are okay," says Williams, "but it can get pretty crazy.''
Crazy Rays, at 4329 W Kennedy Blvd., is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Call (813) 639-0111 or visit crazyraysdeli.com.
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