BRANDON — The Sneaker Superstore is a lot like speciality stores in the mall that sell athletic shoes. But there's one big difference.
"We're not in a mall," owner Korwin Wills said. "You don't have to fight to find a parking place then walk all the way through the mall. You pull up, you come in, you buy your shoes, and you're out."
Wills opened the original Sneaker Superstore on Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa about a year ago, but he moved his business to Brandon last month.
"We just outgrew the Kennedy location," he said. "We needed more space, and we wanted something that would give us a lot of traffic. Highway 60 gives us that."
The new location — on Brandon Boulevard, next to Outback Steakhouse and across the street from Westfield Brandon mall — already is proving to be a big hit with customers, Wills said. Business has been brisk, and he gets a steady stream of new customers from Outback, who come in and buy shoes while they're waiting for their tables.
Convenience and location aren't the only differences between the Sneaker Superstore and mall stores.
The prices are about the same, but Wills said he's glad to cut deals with regular customers, or with people who are buying several pairs of shoes at once.
"You go into a mall store, and the sticker says $150, that's what you're going to pay," he said.
The Sneaker Superstore also can start selling newly released shoes a week or so before the official release date, and before the mall stores sell them, Wills said.
The Sneaker Superstore is at 2020 W Brandon Blvd. It's open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Sundays. Call (813) 438-8705. Customers also can order through the store's website, thesneakersuperstore.com.
Bellafia Chocolate Boutique has closed
RIVERVIEW — Business has been sweet for Deborah Williams, but now she's moving on.
Williams closed Bellafia Chocolate Boutique on Oct. 12, after five years. The business was thriving, but family obligations made her decide to close.
"I've loved every minute of it," Williams said. "I love serving people. I love making people happy."
Williams had enjoyed a 27-year career in the military before she opened Bellafia five years ago. It was among the first stores to open at Winthrop Town Centre.
Her store, which carried quality chocolates from around the world, was successful right from the start, and it was still going strong, Williams said. But her parents and her in-laws need her help right now, and that's more important.
"I have family I have to take care of," Williams said. "My family, that's my job now."
But people who loved Bellafia Chocolate Boutique needn't despair, Williams said. She plans to keep her business licences current so she can reopen sometime in the future if her family situation changes.
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