TAMPA — A 20-foot-tall dragon, welded of scrap metal and found objects, guards Rustic Steel Creations, now relocated to the busy intersection of N Highland Avenue, Tampa Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard in central Tampa.
People were gawking even before the business opened this month, says owner Dominique Martinez, who specializes in custom iron and steel gates, staircases and railings. "There's tremendous visibility, tons of traffic."
The metal artist and monster welder moved 57 truckloads from his former workshop on 12th Street in the Channel District, where he started in 2002.
"I was the last standing artist in the Channel District," he said, "but enough is enough."
His stretch of 12th Street had been closed for six months while the city and TECO installed new sewer and underground utility lines, then improved the sidewalk. In the meantime, he said, "there were no walk-bys, no drive-bys, no Segway tours, nobody."
The new 12,000-square-foot metal workshop opens onto a large outdoor yard, home to assorted sculptures — dinosaurs, football and hockey jocks and soldiers. Junk to some, masterpieces to others, Martinez says.
Welding classes will start up again soon, and a new logo and website are in the works, Martinez said.
Rustic Steel Creations, 3919 N Highland Ave., is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday; and weekends by appointment. Visit rusticsteel.com or call (813) 222-0016.
The ABC on Kennedy is expanding
Get ready to toast a new and enlarged ABC Fine Wine & Spirits on Kennedy Boulevard in the fall.
"Same site, but 25 percent bigger, more than 10,000 square feet," said communications director Lorena Streeter. The new ABC store will feature a walk-in beer cooler and a wine station where customers may try a dozen selections before they buy, including distinctive, high-end wines.
The new design will be color-coded, Streeter said, for easy shopping. Store hours, website and telephone number will remain the same.
The store will remain open for business until the new one is completed in September..
ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, 3015 W Kennedy Blvd. Visit abcfws.com or call (813) 876-5330.
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