WEST SHORE —Mark the calendar: Hillsborough is finally hip enough for Pinkberry, the frozen yogurt shops of the stars.
The first Tampa Bay area franchise hosts a grand opening Thursday evening at WestShore Plaza, near P.F. Chang's.
The Citrus Park location at 7002 Gunn Highway, near Westfield Citrus Park mall, is scheduled to open around June 3.
All flavors and toppings are free during the WestShore preview from 6 to 10 p.m. for what the Los Angeles Times called "the taste that launched 1,000 parking tickets" when West Hollywood starlets and wannabes jostled for a Pinkberry fix. The shop will officially open April 8.
"Back when we launched in January 2005, there was nothing like it,'' said CEO Ron Graves. There are more than 100 Pinkberrys operating now.
"Success breeds competition. I do think there will be a shakeout over time,'' he said, "and quality and authenticity will win out."
Graves attributes the Pinkberry mystique to distinct taste and physical aesthetics.
"Quality over quantity, so there are just six flavors," he said, listing original, pomegranate, mango, coconut, chocolate plus one seasonal flavor, which will be lychee in April. Mini-cones start under $2.
Ten fresh fruits are hand-cut every day. Dry toppings — more than 20 — range from granola to shaved Belgian chocolate to organic gummy bears.
"Bright, clean and energetic stores enhance the product,'' he said.
Pinkberry will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and till 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, visit pinkberry.com.
Disco Dolls share their style savvy
Every time they moved, the giant disco ball went with them, said Leigh Anne Balzekas, who hung that glittering good luck charm in Disco Dolls Studio last month with her co-owner, sister Kristine Bush.
"Everybody needs a little glamor," Balzekas said.
The sisters, along with partner Maxwell Maisano, combine full hair salon services with a line of original clothing and custom fashions on N Howard Avenue, four blocks north of Kennedy Boulevard.
Bush was in the charter class at the Aveda Institute in St. Petersburg, where Maisano was an instructor.
Balzekas studied fashion design at Florida State, then moved to Chicago, where she found work designing costumes and styling corporate photo shoots.
"But we always wanted to start this business together,'' she said.
Her "sustainable" spring fashions featured canvas and hemp, soy cotton and jersey. The fall line, set to debut in May, mixes metallic, recycled plastic and organic cotton. Prices range from $30 for T-shirts and accessories, up to $300 for a ballgown.
"I love hunting vintage stuff at flea markets,'' said Balzekas, who "reclaims" clothing by taking it apart and reusing the fabric.
The Disco Dolls also offer personal shopping, alterations and wardrobe consultations. "We'll help you navigate the mall or go without you,'' said Balzekas.
Meet the three thirtysomethings during an open house today from 5 to 10 p.m.
Disco Dolls Studio at 408 N Howard Ave., Studio A, is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment. Visit thediscodolls.com or call (813) 641-4367.
Arjuna strives to keep life simple
She didn't open Arjuna "to be just another vintage store,'' Jen Stoeckert said, explaining what inspired her to open the NoHo (north Howard Avenue) eco-boutique in February.
"I only sell what's good for you and for the environment," she says. "Products with integrity,'' such as fair trade jewelry, hand-poured soy candles and organic Angel Face Botanicals.
Home goods get a second life at Arjuna, like the de-wired chandeliers and wiry birdcages that now hold candles.
Clients get revitalized, too, by her guiding philosophy: Keep it simple. Inner and outer wellness, she calls it, for mind, body and home.
Stoeckert named the shop for the hero of a Hindu epic. "Arjuna" translates as bright, shining, white or silver, as well as the undefeatable.
"Plus arjuna is a type of herb,'' she adds, flexing her bachelor's degree in holistic medicine from Everglades University. Soon she will stock herbal tinctures and teas. Stoeckert also studied feng shui and consults on methods of deflecting negative energy from a home.
Stoeckert will host an open house tonight.
Arjuna, 408 N Howard Ave., Studio B, is open Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Visit arjunaliving.com or call (813) 251-3339.
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