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New business will offer gourmet food for dogs

GOLFVIEW — Little Thalia, the miniature pinscher, was constantly itchy. The pup suffered from allergies and rashes, and never felt quite right until she started eating meals made, well, from scratch.

Owner Liza Gonzalez couldn't find any commercial food locally that was suitable for Thalia, so her mother, Juanita Gonzalez, started cooking for the dog. Liza Gonzalez was grateful. But she wasn't quick to follow her mom's example.

"My sister doesn't cook," Diana Andino joked. "Her idea of cooking is to pick up the phone."

And so a business idea was born. Liza Gonzalez found a vendor that provided special food that didn't irritate Thalia's allergies. She and Andino then decided to build a business around it, adding various gourmet foods for dogs. Their store, Paw-Fect Gourmet Indulgence at 3602 Henderson Blvd., is scheduled to open Dec. 1.

The emphasis will be on natural and organic foods and snacks, ideal for dogs like Thalia but also reflective of widespread retail trends, Andino said. Last year's vast recall of dog food that was tainted by melanin-laced ingredients from China drove many pet owners to search for alternatives.

The upscale, 2,450-square-foot store will carry a variety of food and accessories, including jewelry for owners and custom birthday cakes for their dogs.

The sisters both have backgrounds in advertising and marketing, and they decided to take a "leap of faith" after talking for several years about starting a business, Andino said. The space they leased was recently a kitchen showroom that was only open for about eight months.

"Part of us is going, 'What did we just do?' " Andino said. "But we don't regret that we quit our jobs."

Hours will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The store's Web site will be

Time for Thai again

Jasmine Thai has reopened on West Shore Boulevard, six months after vacating its Kennedy location to make way for the new SoHo Sushi.

Jay Buncsamnan, daughter of one of the Jasmine Thai owners, said the owners of SoHo Sushi wanted the 3218 W Kennedy Blvd. space and struck a deal with her family in the spring. The family reopened Jasmine Thai last month at 3333 S West Shore.

"Kennedy was more of a lunchtime business," Buncsamnan said. "We think this location might be better for dinner time."

Buncsamnan's family opened Jasmine Thai in Carrollwood about 28 years ago and added a Brandon location about five years ago. The Kennedy location, opened in 2006, was the first in South Tampa.

The new West Shore restaurant seats about 70. Jasmine Thai's new phone number is (813) 831-8881.

Do you know something that should be everybody's business? Call (813) 226-3394 or e-mail

>>Hot tip

Holiday pies

Let Tampa General Hospital's kitchen crew do your holiday baking this year. Choose from five delicious pies: Apple High or pumpkin, $6.99; Caramel Apple Nut or pecan, $7.29; or Fruits of the Forest, (strawberries, rhubarb, apples, raspberries and blackberries), $7.99. Orders are taken between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. through Dec. 24. Call 610-4216 for more information.

Amy Scherzer

New business will offer gourmet food for dogs 11/20/08 [Last modified: Friday, November 21, 2008 6:06pm]
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