Make us your home page
Instagram
Everybody's Business

Recession takes toll of two sweet shops in Hyde Park

HYDE PARK — As the temperature rises, shoppers at Hyde Park Village are going to have a much harder time finding a cool treat.

Both the Abbott's Frozen Custard and JJ Smoothy stores have closed in the past two months. Business wilted quickly during the recession and showed few signs of a renewal anytime soon, representatives of both companies said.

Abbott's, which closed April 19, had been open since March 2008. It is the only franchise location of the Rochester, N.Y.-based Abbott's ever to go out of business, said the company's marketing director, Scott Joseph.

"It doesn't sound like they generated the traffic," Joseph said. "We've done fairly well in Florida, but for some reason that location just didn't work. … And with economic times and things like that, the timing wasn't good."

Calls to two of the Rochester-based franchise owners of the Hyde Park store were not returned.

JJ Smoothy, a health-oriented smoothie cafe, opened in late 2007. Owner Joe Kozlar said the store did well in the early months but began to suffer once gas prices hit $4 a gallon. Even the store's location next to a Lifestyles Family Fitness could not guarantee its survival.

"A lot of people just really cut back," he said. "We had a type of business where you really don't sell to the masses.

"The landlord wasn't much help. It's very expensive to have a location in Hyde Park. My concept, just like Abbott's, relied on a lot of people coming in. … You sell a $5 smoothie — that's a lot of smoothies to pay for $4,000 a month in rent. I think if they would have come back to us and said, 'Times are tough and we want to work with you,' I think we probably would have stayed open and tried to see it through."

Hyde Park Village general manager Susan Martin declined to comment on the two closings.

Hyde Park Village has lost a number of tenants since last fall, including Talbots in January, and its Web site (www.hydepark village.net) has been out of service for more than a month. But one end of the retail center has seen some progress in recent weeks: Birmingham, Ala.-based Cobb Theaters Inc. recently began the conversion of the old Sunrise Theaters location into a six-theater CineBistro that is expected to open this fall.

Coffee-and-ice cream spot closes storefront

Bayshore Beautiful also has lost a neighborhood coffee-and-ice cream hangout. The Junction at 4004 S MacDill Ave., a local source for Joffrey's coffee and Old Meeting House ice cream, closed its storefront last month.

The building will continue to house the offices and distribution center for Old Meeting House ice cream. The ice cream will continue to be produced and remains available at Daily Eats at 901 S Howard Ave. and Joffrey's at Channelside Bay Plaza.

Scooter shop moves in to old SoHo gas station

A long-vacant 1940s gas station building now is home to a colorful collection of gas sippers.

SoHo Scooters opened in early April at 401 S Howard Ave. Owner Tom Anderson has renovated the art deco building, which has been unused for 15 years, into a showplace for gas-powered scooters both retro and sleek.

After gas prices shot up last year, Anderson sold his ATM business and began making plans for a scooter shop. The goal was to bring quality scooters to South Tampa, he said, offering them both for sale and for rent and providing owners with reliable service.

"They're economical, they're ecological," Anderson said. "They (help with) parking problems we have in this area as well.

"It's exclusively an urban type of accoutrement. It's like cell phones in that it becomes an extension of your personality."

Anderson's scooters, meant for travel at speeds up to about 35 mph, range from $1,199 to $2,500 and come with a three-year warranty. Rentals start at $25 for two hours, and $65 a day.

Anderson said he plans to offer classes for new users on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Hours at SoHo Scooters are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 Sunday.

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

Hot tip

Only $5 for day

at Lowry Park Zoo

Admission is just $5 to Lowry Park Zoo on Sunday, and you can thank sponsor Wal-Mart Stores for the discount. Visit more than 2,000 animals and learn about endangered wildlife from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The zoo is located at 1101 W Sligh Ave. Call (813) 935-8552 for more information.

Amy Scherzer

Recession takes toll of two sweet shops in Hyde Park 05/14/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 14, 2009 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.
[SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park

    Business

    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers

    Business

    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Banking

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]