RIVERVIEW — Juliet Wilks was a bit wary about starting a new business during a recession. But her friend Anne Nymark wouldn't give up.
"Anne kept bugging me about opening a business," Wilks said. "And you know, I read the papers. I know the economy's not great, so I kept saying 'It's not the right time.' And she'd say 'It's never going to be the right time. Let's just do it.' "
Nymark finally got her way. She and Wilks opened Ambiance Floral & Design Boutique in Winthrop Town Centre on Oct. 1.
Wilks said her pessimism turned out to be unfounded. Business has been brisk since day one.
One key to the success of Ambiance, Wilks said, is that it's really two businesses in one.
Wilks has 30 years' experience in the florist business and owned Juliet's Flower Co. in Tampa until 2006. She handles the floral services for Ambiance. Well-known local interior designer Jodi Chadwell, who formerly ran a home-based business called Designing Spaces, heads up the design operation.
One advantage of the arrangement, Wilks said, is that Chadwell designed the store, so Ambiance has a more appealing look than traditional flower shops.
"The old style of flower shops had green carpet that hasn't been changed in 20 years," Wilks said. "We have beautiful hardwood floors. People say this doesn't look like any flower shop they've ever seen."
Ambiance sells flowers and gourmet food baskets and offers floral arranging services and classes, including instructions on creating Christmas wreaths.
Many of the fixtures and accessories in the store, including their hardwood floors, are for sale through Ambiance's design operation.
Ambiance is located at 6120 Winthrop Town Centre Ave., next to the Acropolis Restaurant. It's open from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Saturday. For information, call (813) 381-3918 or visit ambianceteam.com.
Technology business moves to new location
After nearly a quarter-century on Parsons Avenue, Brandon Business Machines has moved to a new and more spacious home.
The new location is at 505 W Robertson Road, just west of Parsons.
Continuing expansion of Brandon Business Machines' operations necessitated the move, company president Greg Morris said.
Brandon Business Machines has been emphasizing management services, which among other things means that it can offer 24-hour-a-day monitoring of its clients' computers and related machines to make sure they're functioning properly.
The new space measures about 7,000 square feet — about 3,000 square feet larger than the old one, Morris said. There's plenty of room to expand operations and still offer the same services that have kept the business going since it started as a home business nearly 30 years ago, Morris said.
Brandon Business Machines has a large showroom where it offers computers, printers, scanners, fax machines and related equipment. The company also provides IT support for companies that don't need a full-time IT department.
The operation is open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Friday. For more information, call (813) 689-1950 or visit bbmusa.com.
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