HYDE PARK — Kit's Well-Dressed & Well-Heeled will leave Hyde Park Village in the new year, returning to its beginnings in a two-story building on Swann Avenue owned by proprietor Kit Stewart.
"It makes financial sense," Stewart said. "Plus, I can set my own hours and have my own parking lot. I can serve my customers better."
Vacating the storefront opposite the village's signature fountain leaves a gaping hole in the upscale outdoor shopping center. In the past two months, Restaurant BT moved out as did nearby Bailey's Catering and Restaurant.
It was a different story seven years ago when she arrived, Stewart recalled. "It was going to be exclusive, high-end specialty stores, and for several years it trended that way."
In January 2008, new owners of the 10-acre upscale complex gained city approval for a $100 million redevelopment, including the addition of two condo towers and 90,000 square feet of retail space.
In September of that year eight tenants received eviction notices as management freed up space for the projected residences and shops. Several other businesses later left.
And the economy tanked.
"Half of Hyde Park sat empty," she said. "I realize some things are out of their control, but it was like one step forward, two steps backward."
Now her original boutique has been renovated — ceilings raised and windows enlarged to showcase what she calls "hot, sexy makeover solutions: all things women need and don't know where to find."
Kit's Well-Heeled & Well-Dressed will open in mid January at 3006 W Swann Ave. Hours are expected to be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call (813) 250-1253 for more details.
Elite Gamespeed redefines 'the gym'
Elite Gamespeed offers year-round indoor training on 55 yards of artificial turf — something that owner Joe Pacifico says Tampa needs.
Pacifico opened the 9,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility last month to train amateur and professional athletes.
Program director Sherman Armstrong personalizes training for various sports and skill levels at the N Howard Avenue building near Lemon Street that was previously occupied by Creative Loafing.
Supervised training starts at fourth grade and continues to collegiate and professional levels. High school speed agility and quickness camps scheduled throughout the year will draw students from around the country, he said, starting with the December holiday camp. Fees vary by program.
A personal trainer since 1982, Pacifico was an executive with 24 Hour Fitness in Las Vegas and in Orange County, Calif. He also owns Choice Fitness on S Howard Avenue.
Athletes will have access to an outdoor sand pit to simulate game acceleration and deceleration, an Olympic-style weight room, locker rooms, a full kitchen, massage room, lounge and media room for training video analysis. Staff coaches include NFL veterans Luke Petitgout, Chidi Ahanotu and Dave Gibson.
Elite Gamespeed is at 810 S Howard Ave. Visit online at elitegamespeed.com or call (813) 250-6264.
Channel District sports bar includes sushi
Burgers, wings, pizza … and sushi? Not your usual jock fare, but that's what makes the Garage Bar & Grill stand out from the crowd, says owner Chuck Gibson.
"Our sushi bar is amazing,'' Gibson said, also noting big salads, pizza made from scratch and gourmet Angus beef burgers on his menu. He's hoping regulars use the $5 specials as a weekly calendar.
"Monday it's burgers. Tuesday is pizza. Wednesday is sushi, and Thursdays are quesadillas,'' he said. Drink specials are ongoing.
But don't be misled. The 50 televisions, "including in the restrooms,'' ensure customers never miss a single kick, toss, strike or run.
The Channel District hangout opened in mid November at Kennedy Boulevard and Meridian Avenue, next to Powerhouse Gym.
"We want to be the ultimate sports bar franchise across the country," Gibson said.
Garage Bar & Grill is open seven days a week at 1120 E Kennedy Blvd. from 11 a.m. till the last customer leaves. Call (813) 341-4433 for more information.
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