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Southern Grace is closing; Tropicale Detailing moves and expands

RUSKIN — She recently married; the economy's still not great and there's a lot more competition than there used to be.

Add it all up, Frances Hereford-Griffin said, and the decision was a pretty easy one. She'll close her shop, Southern Grace, after 6 1/2 years in business.

The doors will close for the last time at 3 p.m. Saturday. Here­ford-Griffin said she'll keep reducing prices on her stock of gifts, home accessories and collectibles as closing time draws near. Toward the end, she said, prices may be cut by 75 percent, though of course the selection will likely dwindle with the passing of each day.

Although several factors contributed to her decision to shutter her business, Hereford-Griffin said Southern Grace simply wasn't the kind of business that could easily weather a prolonged recession.

"People don't need what I sell," she said. "You have to have gas, you have to have food, you have to have clothes. You don't have to have gifts and home accessories."

Besides, she said, when she opened for business, Ruskin was a much more rural area. Boutique shops like Southern Grace were rare in this part of the county. If people wanted something that wasn't available at Walmart, they had to drive to Tampa or Sarasota. The growth of Ruskin and surrounding areas has brought more variety for shoppers and more competition for Southern Grace.

Hereford-Griffin had retired from a career in human resources before she opened Southern Grace. This time, she said, she's retiring for good.

"It's a bittersweet thing," she said. "I'll miss it. But I got married in August, and I'm looking forward to spending time with my husband. I've always been involved with the community and I'll always be involved with the community, just not in a business."

Southern Grace is at 301 U.S. 41 S. It will be open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. today and 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday. For information, call (813) 641-0004 or visit

Car detailing business moves and expands

BRANDON — Over the past five years, a lot of Angelo Maldonado's customers at Tropicale Detailing would ask him to recommend a good place to buy rims, have a car stereo installed, or have their windows tinted.

"I finally just said, 'I'm sending all this business to other people. Why don't I just do it myself?' " Maldonado said.

On April 13, Maldonado, who owns Tropicale with his wife, Katterine, celebrated the grand opening of their new location at 7216-A Causeway Blvd. (just west of U.S. 301). Because of the new expanded scope of the business, they renamed their enterprise Tropicale Detailing and Auto Accessories.

Tropicale will do complete bumper-to-bumper detailing at the location or throughout Hillsborough County with its mobile unit. Everything involving accessories, including sound systems and tinting, is available at the store only.

The new location sits just a few blocks east of the old one, but it has much more space (about 2,000 square feet of sales and service area inside and 6,000 square feet of work area outside) and allows more signs and visibility from the road, Maldonado said.

Tropicale Detailing is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. For information, call (813) 363-2798 or visit

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Southern Grace is closing; Tropicale Detailing moves and expands 04/21/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 21, 2011 4:30am]
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