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Organic Juice Lounge and Co-op to open in Seminole Heights

SEMINOLE HEIGHTS — Angelica Diaz's most recent Seminole Heights venture was a restaurant that celebrated Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. For her latest inspiration, Diaz had to travel a little farther from home.

Since Viva la Frida closed in 2006, Diaz has taken several lengthy trips to Sweden to spend time with her daughter and a friend. She enjoyed, she said, being in a country where "organic foods, recycling and art are the norm."

In hopes of bringing some of that attitude home to Seminole Heights, next week Diaz will open the Organic Juice Lounge and Co-op at 5805 N Florida Ave., in an 800-square-foot 1926 bungalow that she has owned since 1996.

The juice lounge will serve organic juices, smoothies and herbal teas, plus light meals such as salads and soups and desserts by local vegetarian chef Debbie DeGraaf. It will serve as a complement to the business next door, the year-old Jai Dee Yoga and Wellness Studio.

The co-op will be a place for Diaz and anyone who is a part of the "creative community" to offer workshops related to health, nutrition, food or art. Diaz also will invite customers to buy and sell what she called "functional art" — furniture, clothing, "anything that is still art but has a purpose," she said. She will accept items on consignment.

"Fine art isn't moving" in the recession, Diaz said. "If it has a purpose it will be easier to sell."

This type of recycling "has been happening in Sweden for many, many years," she said. Diaz plans to have the consignment portion of the co-op open in time for the holidays.

The juice bar will open Oct. 31, with a workshop on altar-making to coincide with the Day of the Dead, a holiday celebrated by some Catholics to remember deceased friends and family. The workshop takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. Workshops cost $20 and reservations are required. Store hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. E-mail for more information.

No-knockout workout

Longtime Tampa fitness club owner Frank Calta is adding some punch to the downtown lunch.

Calta, a former Mr. Florida bodybuilding titleholder who has owned several gyms around Tampa, opened a fitness boxing club this summer with working partner Lisa Sardegna. Punch Boxing For Fitness at 411 Grand Central is a gym for those who want to get a boxing workout without worrying about the bumps and bruises that come with a bout in the ring.

"We actually teach people the art of boxing," Sardegna said. "There is no physical contact. You don't get hit, nobody hits you. Our motto is 'You don't have to get hit to be fit.' "

The facility has a large ring in the center with various punching bags installed around the ring. The typical one-hour circuit training class includes stretching, punching various bags and strength exercises done inside the ring. It is an intense workout yet suitable for all ages, Sardegna said.

"We're seeing some bodies transform in here," she said.

Memberships include boxing classes as well as open gym time. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The gym's Web site is punchboxingforfit A second location is scheduled to open in Westchase in about six weeks.

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

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Punch Boxing For Fitness is located at 411 Grand Central, Tampa. An earlier version of the story included an incorrect address.

Organic Juice Lounge and Co-op to open in Seminole Heights 10/22/09 [Last modified: Monday, October 26, 2009 2:37pm]
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