COURIER CITY/OSCAWANA — John Poulos never thought he'd be in the fashion business, but when his sister approached him six years ago about opening a boutique in Miami, he decided it was better than working for someone else.
She has the fashion sense; he has the business sense. Their formula — hip clothing, lower prices — has been successful enough that they decided to bring it to Tampa last month. Their store, Runway, opened at 500 S Howard Ave., in the space formerly occupied by Jules Burt Gallery.
The name reflects the merchandise — "fashion forward, hip and trendy," Poulos said — but not the prices.
Nothing in the store is more than $100, and most items range from $30 to $60.
"We try to be a fun trendy place, but not with the boutique price tags," said Poulos, 31, who has lived in Tampa for about three years.
"We get new stuff every week. We usually only get three to five pieces of each item, and once it's gone, it's gone."
Finding the right merchandise at the right price is a challenge, he said, but it's a good business plan in the current economy and one that is not common among boutiques.
Customers want unique items, but they don't want to spend $300 on a dress for a night out, he said.
Runway carries clothes for men and women. Poulos said the men's inventory will increase this month.
The store is open daily: noon to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday, 11 to 6 Tuesday through Thursday, 11 to 9 Friday and 11 to 8 Saturday.
Salsa and Zumba
Tiffani McGinty was not exactly surrounded by Latin culture while growing up in New Jersey, but over time her enthusiasm for the Spanish language overflowed into a love of all things Latino.
"I have my bachelor's degree in Spanish, and when you learn about the language, you learn about the culture," she said. "I got drawn into it."
A legal secretary at Shriners Hospital in Tampa by day, McGinty, 27, is a salsa instructor by night. Next week she is opening Sabor Dance Studio at 3040 W Cypress St. (She will rent space in the evenings this summer from Jackie's Jammin Studios until she can find her own place.)
McGinty has danced salsa for about five years, including about three years as an instructor. She and several other instructors will teach salsa, an informal partner dance that is a fusion of various Latin dance styles, on Wednesday nights. On Tuesday and Thursday nights the studio will offer Zumba, a fitness workout also inspired by Latin dance.
Beginner salsa classes will be offered Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m., with an intermediate/advance class to follow at 8. Cost is $5 for the first class (with a money-back guarantee) and $10 after, or five classes for $45. The cost for students is $5 a class.
Hourlong Zumba classes start at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and cost $6 ($5 for students) or five classes for $25. Call (813) 484-1312 for more information.
Glow Day Spa grows
The 4-year-old Glow Day Spa recently doubled in size after owner Wesley Winer purchased the bungalow at 3105 W Barcelona St. and took over the entire building. The day spa, formerly just 900 square feet, now offers a separate nail area, more treatment rooms and a small boutique called Glowie. Winer said she thinks the business has been able to grow because of its emphasis on customer service.
"All of our treatments are customized," she said. "And we want each client that comes in here to feel like they're the only client we have. We don't book people on top of each other."
Winer said the spa also emphasizes natural and organic products and treatments, which have attracted many clients, especially cancer survivors, who want to avoid excess exposure to chemicals. Hours at Glow are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
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