TAMPA — He has crouched behind filing cabinets, hidden behind doors and even emerged from the flight deck of an airplane during the boarding process, all in the name of delivering a cake and a song.
John Bella is the Singing Baker.
After nearly 20 years of building that reputation in Syracuse, N.Y., he has brought his signature shadow cake, baker's hat and vocals to Hillsborough County. Bella and his wife Sue, who helps bake the cakes, sold their New York bakery and moved to Florida to be closer to their daughter, Tiffanny Wood, a SouthShore artist. He recently brought the Singing Baker back to life locally.
"I couldn't get away from it," he said.
The Bellas are taking advantage of Florida's cottage food law, which allows them to bake their ultra-moist iced buttercream and fudge specialty in their Riverview home. John said he will continue to operate out of his house while looking for a building where he can open a full bakery on one side and showcase his daughter's art on the other.
At his peak in Syracuse, John said he was delivering 40 to 50 cakes a week. The idea to burst into song came during a delivery to a law firm, when a woman requested she be serenaded.
"The showoff in me said, 'Sure. Why not?' " he said.
John's Florida goal is to be singing 20 times a week with a cake in hand while he searches for a permanent brick and mortar location to expand the business.
Cakes range from $45 for an 8-inch round to $96 for half a sheet that serves 50. Prices include delivery and a song for all occasions. Flowers and after-hours deliveries are extra. Call (813) 512-6474 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
Jersey Mike's opens second Brandon spot
Jersey Mike's Subs opened its second Brandon location Wednesday at 1248 E Brandon Blvd. Franchise owners Bill Atkins and Shane Lueck announced a grand opening and free sub fundraiser that runs through May 11 benefiting the Brandon Foundation.
Jersey Mike's Subs is circulating 10,000 coupons throughout the community offering a free regular sub for a minimum $1 contribution to the Brandon Foundation.
"Jersey Mike's commitment to making a difference, coupled with an exceptional product, is what really sets us apart," Atkins said.
Started in 1956, Jersey Mike's has 1,300 restaurants open and under development nationwide. In just three years, the company has nearly doubled in size.
The restaurant's hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. Call (813) 681-1956.
Borders space to give way to medical offices
CBRE arranged the sale of a former Borders bookstore on Town Center Boulevard in Brandon Town Center for $2.05 million to Florida Medical Clinic, which plans to convert the vacant space to medical offices. Florida Medical Clinic operates more than 30 locations in Hillsborough and Pasco counties.
The renovation of the 22,585-square-foot building mirrors a project Florida Medical Clinic completed last year when it purchased and renovated a Borders bookstore on N Dale Mabry Highway.
Florida Medical Clinic also recently announced plans to build a facility at Wiregrass Ranch in Wesley Chapel.
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