Make us your home page
Everybody's Business

Martial arts studio part of South Tampa biz buzz

Special to the Times

Special to the Times

NORTH HYDE PARK — Jalal Khatib doesn't need to be told about the rising popularity of Ultimate Fighting. His new 6,000-square-foot martial arts studio is all the proof he needs.

In two years of operation, the Khanomtom Muay Thai studio owned by Khatib and lead instructor Ray Cole has needed to expand from a tiny 400-square-foot space in a warehouse to a 2,000-square-foot facility and, finally last month, to the exponentially larger building at 808 N Howard Ave.

Khatib describes Muay Thai as "one of the most aggressive martial arts." It is used heavily on the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the mixed martial arts series that has gained a loyal audience in more than a decade on cable and pay-per-view.

"More and more people are walking through our doors after watching it," Khatib said. "When you see them punching, kicking, kneeing and elbowing each other, that's what we teach."

Muay Thai originated in Thailand as an essential part of military defense. Each year, Cole has taken a group to Thailand for a month of Muay Thai training.

Khanomtom Muay Thai offers evening classes Monday through Friday and Saturday afternoons, but will soon add weekday classes, Khatib said.

The new studio is designed to accommodate beginners to professional fighters.

The studio started off as a fighter's gym, but "we have seriously revamped our offerings to make it more appealing for the average person to (use to) stay in shape," Khatib said.

For more information, go to

No go for SoHo (pizza)

Calling a new restaurant any version of "SoHo Pizza" doesn't seem to be a good plan these days for folks trying to hawk pies in South Tampa.

Two pizza restaurants whose names contain the phrase have come and gone within eight months. First it was the short-lived SoHo Pizza on Howard and Morrison avenues. Now it's the SoHo Pizza Joint, which opened at 1818 W Platt St. in October and recently closed "due to unforeseen circumstances," according to its voice mail message.

The restaurant is controlled by Tommy Ortiz, SoHo restaurant and bar owner who runs the Hyde Park Cafe, Cheap and the new "the Kennedy" at 2408 W Kennedy Blvd.

Ortiz could not be reached for comment, but Hyde Park Cafe spokeswoman Larissa Rydin said the SoHo Pizza Joint "is closed temporarily" and should reopen soon, possibly under a new partnership.

A new Sports City

After running their sports apparel business for several years in Pinellas County, Rob and Donna Wolfe recently decided the Tampa market was too good to pass up.

They opened their Sports City location in Channelside this month so they could take advantage of Tampa's role as host of the 2008 Women's Final Four and Super Bowl XLIII in February.

But Rob Wolfe said he also is looking forward to a steady stream of cruise line customers.

"The Carnival ships dock three or four times a week," he said. "With the economy as rough as it is in Florida, it's good to take advantage of tourism."

Wolfe's 1,000-square-foot storefront is on Channelside Drive, next to the Florida Aquarium.

Sports City's inventory focuses heavily on Bucs and Lightning apparel, but Yankees and Red Sox items also are top sellers.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 to 9 Friday and Saturday, and 9 to 5 Sunday.

Do you know something that should be everybody's business? Call 226-3394 or e-mail

>>the find

Get an easy kit;

go to GreenFest

Container gardening offers a big blast of color in a small space. All-In-One Combo Kits feature a basket with eight to 18 pockets to insert plants and plugs. Choose a 14-inch or 16-inch basket. Both fit in the 28-inch ironwork stand. The three-piece kit sells for $52. Containers only cost $30 or $38 at Bloom Garden Shop, 2991 S MacDill Ave. Call 805-2151.

Learn more about container gardening and the kits at GreenFest, from 9 a.m. to

4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Plant Park, University of Tampa. The suggested donation is $3 for adults; children under 12 admitted free. Proceeds go to the historical preservation of the campus park. Visit

Amy Scherzer

Martial arts studio part of South Tampa biz buzz 03/27/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:47am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Founder of Tampa home sharing platform questions Airbnb, NAACP partnership


    TAMPA — A Tampa rival to Airbnb, which was launched because of discrimination complaints on the dominant home sharing platform, has concerns about the new partnership between Airbnb and NAACP announced this week.

    Rohan Gilkes poses for a portrait at his home and business headquarters in Tampa. 

Innclusive, a Tampa-based start-up, is a home-sharing platform that focuses on providing a positive traveling experience for minorities. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  2. Appointments at Port Tampa Bay and Tampa General Medical Group highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    Port Tampa Bay announced that Jamal Sowell has been named director of special projects. Sowell, a former member of the U.S.Marine Corps, will support internal, external and special projects, assist the executive team with management oversight and serve as a liaison on a variety of port …

    Port Tampa Bay announced this week that Jamal Sowell has been named director of special projects. [Handout photo]
  3. Drones restrictions coming at Tampa Bay area airports


    Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, according to a press release.

    In this February 2017 file photo, a drone flies in Hanworth Park in west London. Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems,
[John Stillwell/PA via AP, File]
  4. Gov. Scott backs off boycott of companies doing business in Venezuela

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott will ask the Florida Cabinet next month to prohibit the state's investment managers from doing something they already do not do: invest in companies or securities owned or controlled by the Venezuelan government.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott interacts with people as he holds a Venezuelan Freedom Rally at El Arepazo 2 restaurant on July 10 in Miami. [Joe Raedle | Getty Images]
  5. Superior Uniform Group reports $65.6 million in sales for second quarter


    SEMINOLE — Superior Uniform Group Inc. reported sales of $65.6 million in net sales for the second quarter, up a percentage point from the same quarter last year, the Seminole-based company reported Thursday.

    Superior Uniform Group Inc. saw a sales increase for the second quarter, the company reported Thursday. Pictured is Michael Benstock, CEO. | [Courtesy of Superior Uniform Group]