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Tampa Upcycle finds news uses for old stuff; Aqua Caddies services boaters; Bikini Boutique swims into SoHo

TAMPA ­— This week's vocabulary words are recycle and upcycle as defined by Web and fashion designer Morgan Abdallah.

"Recycling breaks things down into something of lesser value,'' she explained.

"Upcycle means taking things and turning them into something of greater value, like a piece of jewelry."

Got that?

Abdallah repurposes all sorts of items "collecting dust or being thrown out" to sell at Tampa Upcycle, a repository for unused arts and crafts supplies that she opened in late March in the historic Roosevelt 2.0 building in Ybor City.

"I've been crafty and creative my whole life,'' Abdallah said. "As a student at International Academy of Design and Technology, I thought how great a Plato's Closet (a trendy resale shop) would be to sell or trade the things I wasn't using, fabrics and various tools."

Researching that idea led her to the Upcycle Exchange in St. Louis, whose owner was delighted to spread the concept of artists and crafters donating, exchanging and purchasing usable materials, such as markers, sketch books, buttons, patterns and yarn.

Just as beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, so does value.

"Buyers can name their price,'' said Abdallah, who turns 28 on June 19. "Yes, it's a for-profit business, but also for-good. It allows people to have something someone else might not want."

Among the more unusual donations: cat treat foil bags.

Also, "random things like sheet music, corks, Scrabble tiles."

Tampa Upcycle is inside the Roosevelt 2.0, 1812 N 15th St. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Visit tampa upcycle.com or call (813) 421-1580.

Women's beachwear shop suited to please

The Bikini Boutique opened on Mother's Day, featuring beachwear for women of all ages, all sizes.

"Petite to plus, young to mature," said Andre Brown, co-owner with his wife, Alejandra, of the shop on the southeast corner of Howard Avenue and Cleveland Street.

And not just bikinis, by the way.

"We carry one-piece and tankini suits, too,'' said Brown, a computer programmer prior to retailing.

Designer labels include Chynna Dolls (a best seller for young adults, Brown says), Chica Rica, Luli Fama, Agua Bendita, b.Swim and Vitamin A.

The selection runs from moderately priced to high fashion, starting at $10 per piece for a "mix and match" bikini up to $258 for a hand-embellished Bendita design.

An array of accessories includes hats, cover-ups, belly rings, flip-flops, sunglasses and beach towels.

The Bikini Boutique, 202 S Howard Ave. Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Visit thebikiniboutique.com or call (813) 990-0850.

Supplies and services for the boating crowd

Brothers-in-law Mark Thomas and Alan Ferland started Aqua Caddies in mid 2011, driving to private homes to offer basic marine services from washing boats to repairing bilge pumps.

Customers wanted more, said Thomas, so the men opened an electronics and mechanical shop at 6603 S Trask St. Head mechanic Shawn Schwien became a partner.

Success there led to the April opening of the second Aqua Caddies to sell boating supplies, about 2 miles north, on the corner of West Shore and Gandy boulevards. Inventory includes safety gear, maintenance products, anchors, dock lights and more.

"We've been slowly growing the business to full service, from engine service and repair to parts and supplies," Thomas said. "Now it will make it easier for everybody to enjoy boating."

Next up: selling new boats. "We are actively looking at several lines."

Michelle Ferland Thomas, Mark's wife and Alan's sister, who has an accounting degree from the University of Florida, runs the financial side.

Aqua Caddies, 4819 S West Shore Blvd., is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. But weekend hours are changing soon, so visit aquacaddies.com or call (813) 443-1710.

Do you know something that should be Everybody's Business? Call (813) 226-3332 or e-mail ascherzer@tampabay.com.

Tampa Upcycle finds news uses for old stuff; Aqua Caddies services boaters; Bikini Boutique swims into SoHo 05/31/12 [Last modified: Thursday, May 31, 2012 4:30am]
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