BRANDON — Life handed them lemons, so Jim Delancey and Liliana Filgueiras made coffee.
They had both lost their jobs and started talking about what they should do next. Delancey was a Starbucks habitue — he bought coffee there four or five times a day — and he had a background in the restaurant industry. Filgueiras had a master's degree in journalism.
They decided to combine their interest, and on July 1 they opened Sips News Cafe at Regency Square.
"It's been going well," Delancey said. "We have something called a 'Sippaccino,' and people used to ask what a Sippaccino is. Now people are coming in and ordering a Sippaccino. So we know we're starting to have regular customers."
But what, you may ask, is a news cafe?
It's kind of like a sports bar, only with news instead of sports and coffee instead of booze. The televisions are all tuned to news channels. Newspapers from around the country are on hand. There's free WiFi so patrons can keep up with breaking news stories, and the decor centers on newspapers and magazines. (Delancey recently found a Life magazine from shortly after John F. Kennedy's assassination that he has framed and hung on the wall.)
It's an intimate space, with seating for about 30 people inside and more seating outside. Besides newspapers and magazines, there's a chess table for patrons who want to take a break from the news.
The menu features quality coffees at prices slightly below Starbucks', plus fresh bagels, breads and pastries. (A Sippaccino, for the record, is a blended coffee, the equivalent of a Frappuccino at Starbucks.)
Although the emphasis is on news, Sips also will feature entertainment. On Saturday, Sips will launch its weekly open mic/karaoke nights. Delancey hopes to add poetry readings and other entertainment as time goes on.
"Sips is still very much a work in progress," he said.
Sips News Cafe is at 2494 W Brandon Blvd. It's open from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (813) 438-8949 or visit sipsnewscafe.com.
Health clinic closes
BRANDON — Wellness Works, perhaps the most well-known alternative health clinic in the Tampa Bay area, has closed. Clinic director Carol Roberts, who for many years hosted a weekly radio show devoted to natural medicine and health, blamed the poor economy for the clinic's closing.
Wellness Works had been identified as the source of a hepatitis C outbreak in 2009. A nurse at the clinic reused syringes and medication vials meant for one-time use and infected at least 10 patients with the incurable disease. The nurse was immediately fired.
A clinic official said Roberts was moving to the Naples area to join another doctor's practice and that a new clinic will open in the building where Wellness Works was located, at 1209 Lakeside Drive.
If you know of something that should be Everybody's Business, contact Marty Clear at email@example.com.