HYDE PARK — Lesley Geyer probably would have opened her Hyde Park lingerie boutique a bit sooner, but not finding love kind of got in the way.
She graduated from the University of Florida in just 2 1/2 years in 2004, after bringing in course credits and buckling down over the summers. The business major knew it would be only a matter of time before she started her own business. But before making the final plans to open the Pink Petticoat this week in Hyde Park Village, she allowed for a few distractions.
Last year, Geyer, 24, was one of 25 women picked as bachelorettes for ABC's The Bachelor: London Calling. The idea, she said, was her cousin's: "I had never seen (the show) before."
In the end, she didn't get to know British bachelor Matt Grant very well — Geyer was one of 10 who didn't make it to the second round.
Still, she had fun. "It was a nice several weeks' vacation in LA," said Geyer, a 2002 graduate of the Academy of the Holy Names who recently has served as a youth minister for St. Mary Catholic Church in Tampa. "I was not there really expecting to find love. I have a wonderful boyfriend right now who is very happy that I didn't."
After the few months' derailment, her plans for the Pink Petticoat got back on track. She said the 940-square-foot shop, behind the Wine Exchange in the newest area of the village, is an ideal marriage of her business goals and one of her favorite indulgences.
Some women like shoes, some go for handbags, Geyer said. But "I'm a bra and panty girl. I like nice lingerie and matching sets. There's really nothing like that around here."
Geyer's store carries higher- end lingerie, pajamas and yoga sets from lines like OnGossamer, Oscar de la Renta, Lilly Pulitzer, Betsey Johnson, Hanky Panky and Elle McPherson.
The store also has gift items, and Geyer said she is more than happy to work with the more traditional type of bachelorette. The store will offer wedding registries and Geyer will travel to local bridal and lingerie showers.
Hours at the Pink Petticoat are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 to 8 Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 on Sunday.
Artist to open gallery
The imposing sculpture and fountain soon to be installed in front of the narrow bungalow at 2710 S MacDill Ave. should be the first clue that Belgian artist Marc De Waele is planning something different for South Tampa's Palma Ceia Design District.
De Waele, 46, will open Art Symphony Galleria on Sept. 13, featuring his own sculpture, furniture and artwork. Terri Kolek, co-owner of the gallery and De Waele's agent, said the studio will be filled with eye-catching metalwork and canvas paintings and will be sprinkled with examples of De Waele's luxurious faux marble finishes and trompe l'oeil ("fool the eye") wall murals.
"In our gallery we have 27 4-by-8 (foot) panels of different colors," Kolek said. "He can make it look like any kind of marble. You don't know the difference unless you go knocking on them.
"It's something the Tampa area has never had before. And they need it."
De Waele came to the United States from Belgium in 1999 and has spent much of the time working on commission in private homes. According to his Web site, he has worked and painted throughout Europe, and was hired in 1984 to help restore paintings at the Royal Palace in Brussels, Belgium.
The gallery's Web site, which features photos of De Waele's current and past works, is www.symphonyofart.com. Hours at the gallery will be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and by appointment.
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