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Odessa lighting shop adds gently used furniture

Uncertain times often dictate moving into uncharted waters.

After 12 years of selling lighting fixtures at three locations on the west coast of Florida, Terry Richards was forced to close Keystone Lighting and Fans in Venice, Clearwater and Odessa when the building boom ended.

He came back slowly, reopening the Odessa location with a much smaller inventory. Even then, the business had problems staying afloat.

Then the light bulb came on.

If the economy is struggling, he thought, why not add a business element that complements lighting and can help customers save money?

Hence the recent birth of Keystone Interior Consignment.

"Being on a budget doesn't mean you have to live with outdated decor," Richards said. "The economy has forced us all to step back and look at our finances and spending. People are still purchasing; they are just smarter with their buying."

Richards continues to sell new lighting fixtures, now augmented with gently used entertainment centers, sofas, bedroom sets, pictures, mirrors, dining and side tables, patio furniture, home accessories and more. Prices depend on the style, condition and manufacturer.

Shoppers get high-quality products at affordable prices, Richards said, while the seller is free from the hassle of pricing, advertising and displaying the merchandise.

He hopes to expand his business again with a woman's clothing consignment section this month.

Keystone Interior Consignment is at 8811 Gunn Highway in Odessa. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For information, call (813) 926-6336 or see keystoneinteriorconsignment.com.

Aldi opens in north Tampa

Sometimes a taste of Europe can be found at a neighborhood bakery, an intimate cafe or even a supermarket giant.

Aldi, the German discount supermarket chain, has opened a north Tampa store.

Based on the European concept of less is more in grocery shopping, Aldi streamlines operations in several ways. Savings are passed on to shoppers by operating in a retail space of about 10,000 square feet (about one-quarter the size of an average U.S. supermarket), offering 1,400 of a homeowner's most-used products, and eliminating in-store banking, pharmacies, bagging clerks, free bags, check cashing and photo processing.

Aldi is at the corner of Fletcher Avenue and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, at 13514 University Plaza. Hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

The store has no outside phone lines (another cost-saving measure), but general information can be found at aldi.com.

One Mangroves remains

Another business to succumb to the economic mess is Mangroves Northdale.

Catering to those with gourmet tastes and deep pockets (some entrees were nearly $40) the tres chic restaurant serving new American cuisine closed at 3805 Northdale Blvd. after less than eight months. Its sister location in Hyde Park, Mangroves, remains open.

"People come to our South Tampa location from all over," said owner Sam Shah. "Brandon, St. Pete, even north Tampa, whereas our north Tampa location only attracted people living in a much smaller area."

Know of a business that has just opened, closed or relocated? Contact Sheryl Kay at skreporter@hotmail.com or (813) 230-8788.

Odessa lighting shop adds gently used furniture 03/12/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 12, 2009 4:30am]
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