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Hyde Park Village welcomes trendy fashion boutiques; BoConcept loves its new digs; California Closets organizes on Kennedy Boulevard.

TAMPA — Hyde Park Village gets a fashion blast this summer, with one national women's boutique arriving and one local owner reconfiguring.

Couture Living on Village Circle has moved to an adjacent storefront, relinquishing its spot in the retail circle to Houston-based Francesa Collections. The store has also changed its name to Poppy Boutique.

Tampa native Ericka Carruthers opened Couture Living in November 2010, but when her landlords in the village decided to move her boutique this month, Carruthers decided on a name change for her selection of trendy dresses, jeans, jewelry and home accessories.

A painting of poppies by her mother, Paula Carruthers, inspired the name, said the graduate of Gaither High and the University of Florida.

"She always inspires me with her entrepreneurship and window design," said Carruthers, 24, noting that the shop seems to draw "lots of mothers and daughters."

Especially popular are Sloane Ranger totes, shoulder and duffle bags and Jolie & Elizabeth seersucker dresses and shorts. Handmade rosary strands are Carruthers' favorite jewelry.

Coming soon: game day dresses in university team colors, she said.

Poppy Boutique, 704 S Village Circle, is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Call (813) 374-9270.

Francesa Collections will open Aug. 18, also offering affordable fashions, accessories, gifts and home accents. The 300-boutique chain already operates stores in WestShore Plaza and Westfield Citrus Park.

"Our merchandise changes every day except Sunday," said manager Sascha Haynes, explaining the retailer's concept. "Each store only orders five to 10 of anything, so every store is completely different."

To reflect the shop's following, she said, common merchandise overlaps by 10 percent, "so they're not clones of each other. We order such small quantities that it's very unlikely you will see your outfit on anyone else."

Fashions are also easy on the budget, she said. "People are always shocked by our prices. I've seen some of our accessories at local retailers at $20 more."

Francesa's Collections, 712 S Village Circle, will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Visit; phone number coming soon.

BoConcept moves closer to customers

BoConcept contemporary furniture store has settled into its new digs in the Grand Central at Kennedy, hoping to be extra convenient for residents of downtown Tampa and the Channel District.

"We love it here," said design consultant Amanda Neukamm, noting that the modern, Danish designs are particularly suited for condos and lofts. The location is part of the 33602 ZIP code, the store's No. 1 customer base, she said.

Owner Ray Priddle, who relocated from WestShore Plaza for the arrival of H&M clothing store, is planning special activities on July 19 to coincide with the neighborhood's monthly Flix & Food Trucks gathering.

BoConcept, 1208 E Kennedy Blvd, is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Visit or call (813) 314-0800.

New showroom for California Closets

California Closets will showcase its most creative storage systems in a new showroom on W Kennedy Boulevard, east of Armenia Avenue.

Owner Ken Cleary set a July 20 opening date. Cleary bought the 23-year-old business a year ago, including a Clark Road showroom in Sarasota and a production facility in Clearwater. He also owns California Closet franchise rights in New England.

"Customers will see physical examples of many design possibilities," Cleary said, "from full walk-in closets to Murphy bed units to media centers and garage layouts."

Ongoing investments in technology, he said, have equipped his designers with laptops, iPads and computer-assisted design capabilities to streamline design services.

California Closets, 2906 W Kennedy Blvd., will be open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Visit www.cali or call (727) 573-0700.

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Hyde Park Village welcomes trendy fashion boutiques; BoConcept loves its new digs; California Closets organizes on Kennedy Boulevard. 07/05/12 [Last modified: Thursday, July 5, 2012 4:30am]
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