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Florida Billiard of Tampa closing; T.G.I. Friday's opens

NORTHDALE — When that last pool table, that last cue stick or eight-ball goes out that door, that's it for Florida Billiard of Tampa.

After 12 years, Florida Billiard will close. The store served Northdale, Carrollwood and Lutz residents.

Co-owner Anthony Bollo said he expects they will close for good sometime in August, after he sells the last of the store's inventory. He said the area has been good for the business. But like so many other companies, Florida Billiard fell victim to the sagging economy.

"We really like that area and the store very much," Bollo said. "It's a great place for a retail business. But it's been a little rough the last couple of years."

When Florida Billiard opened, the owners chose the location because it was centrally located and accessible to the heavy development in northwest Hillsborough County.

As people were buying and building new homes, they wanted to provide for some entertainment and recreation in those homes.

But as goes the housing industry, so goes billiards, Bollo said.

"There was a lot of local development that was essential to us, like Lutz, Land O'Lakes and Westchase," Bollo said. "But first the housing prices started going down, then went people's discretionary income."

During the going-out-of-business sale, Florida Billiard, which is at 15411 N Dale Mabry Highway, will be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays through Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. It is closed on Tuesdays.

For more information, call (813) 265-3430.

Restaurant opens in a proven location

NEW TAMPA — What's good for Bennigan's should be good for T.G.I. Friday's.

At least, that's the hope of T.G.I. Friday's chief executive officer Jerry Comstock Jr.

Years ago, while working as a president for Bennigan's, Comstock built a Bennigan's restaurant at 18001 Highwoods Preserve Parkway, off Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

Because it was such a high-volume location for that casual dining chain, Comstock has high hopes for the T.G.I. Friday's that opened in the same spot last month, said Myrna Schultz, the vice president of marketing and development for SRAC Casual Dining.

Like Bennigan's, T.G.I. Friday's is known for its American cuisine, bar food and alcoholic beverages. In addition, the restaurant's menu features low-carb and low-fat menu items.

SRAC, the franchisee that owns and operates this restaurant, owns 17 T.G.I. Friday's restaurants.

The franchises are spread out on the east coast of Florida between Miami and Jacksonville. Several are in upstate New York, Schultz said.

The new restaurant is SRAC's first franchise in Tampa. Though she declined to offer sales numbers, Schultz said it has been an "above average" location for the company.

T.G.I. Friday's is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information call, (813) 971-2769.

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Florida Billiard of Tampa closing; T.G.I. Friday's opens 07/30/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 30, 2009 4:30am]
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