NEW TAMPA — Lara Slatniske spent the week selling off play equipment and arts and craft supplies as she says goodbye to her business and to the parents and toddlers who have been her customers for the past four years.
Slatniske decided it was time to retire Kidz Club, an interactive enrichment and play center for children ages 5 and younger and their parents. Today, she shuts the doors for good.
"After four years of not making any money, it was time to give it up," Slatniske said of the business at 15315 Amberly Drive. "The economy hit us really bad."
The center organized playgroups, held arts and crafts classes and offered the Music with Mar program, which promotes movement and music education for toddlers. Slatniske founded the center in June 2006. At the time, she was a stay-at-home parent looking for something to do. When she took her son to a similar play center, she knew instantly what kind of business she wanted to run.
"My son was always clingy, he never left my side," Slatniske said. "But at that play center, he walked off and left me by myself."
Slatniske said she enjoyed teaching music, organizing playgroups and doing arts and crafts with the children and their parents. Though the parents came to appreciate and love Kidz Club, they never knew its owners struggled to keep it afloat.
Unfortunately, the large crowds that often gathered at the center didn't always translate to cash, Slatniske said.
"People are shocked," Slatniske said of her customers at the news of her closing. "At certain times, it would be filled with people and people equate crowds with money.
"But, it's expensive to run a business and keep it running, especially in the New Tampa area," she said.
Slatniske said she plans to go back to teaching music and continuing the Music with Mar program at another location.
Football pros at FroYo store's grand opening
WESTCHASE — Lovers of frozen yogurt and homemade ice cream will be able to enjoy their treats next month with former NFL and arena football pros.
Tanya & Matt's FroYo will welcome placekickers Martin and Bill Gramatica to the Nov. 6 grand opening celebration of their new store, at 12211 W Linebaugh Ave.
The store, which had its soft opening in August, is the latest offering from Tanya Rubin and Matt Walsh. The couple have served frozen yogurt, ice cream, frappes, smoothies and sundaes at various locations in Hillsborough County for more than 20 years. They operate Tanya & Matt's Ice Creamiest at 15742 N Dale Mabry Highway.
Though they will continue to serve their homemade ice cream, the new store is a slight departure from the one on Dale Mabry since the emphasis will be on frozen yogurt.
"We have 10 different flavors of yogurt, and it's all fat free," Rubin said. "Two flavors are sugar free. We also have the tart yogurt."
Another unique feature of the new store is the sundae fixings bar for customers.
"We have really fresh fruit as well as chocolate chunks, Gummi worms and Gummi sharks," Rubin said. "And we have Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, which seems to be our most popular topping."
The grand opening will double as a charity event for the Bob Sierra YMCA at 4029 Northdale Blvd. Martin Gramatica, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers place kicker, and his brother, Bill Gramatica, former place kicker for the Arizona Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Storm, will be on hand to sign autographs and pose for pictures from 2 to 4:30 p.m., Rubin said.
The owners plan to donate 20 percent of all sales to the Bob Sierra YMCA's scholarship programs. FroYo will give free ice cream to any child 12 and under who brings in a bag of new school supplies. The shop plans to donate the supplies to the YMCA's after-school programs.
Tanya & Matt's FroYo is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information about FroYo and their products, visit froyofresh.com, or call (813) 475-5900.
Sean C. Ledig can be reached at [email protected]