Friday, June 22, 2018
Business

Skip's Florist and Christmas House has holiday magic year-round

HOLIDAY — When Skip Maslowski was a child, he, like many young people, had a strong love for the holiday season. And he always looked forward to one Christmas ritual in particular.

"I loved to decorate," the New Port Richey native said. "I loved to pretty up the trees."

This great love for yuletide decorating extended into adulthood, when Maslowski opened his own florist shop in 1982. He always made it a point to deck the halls for the holidays.

"And one year," Maslowski said, "we decided not to take the decorations down."

Since the 1990s, Skip's Florist and Christmas House, at 5324 Mile Stretch Drive, has served the Pasco area as a purveyor of seasonal ornaments, collectibles, novelties and floral arrangements. And aside from supplying florals for weddings, funerals, other special occasions and a range of holidays, Skip's is a place where people can go when they need a little Christmas.

"Many customers tell us this is their happy place," Maslowski said. "It's a stress-free environment."

The 5,000-square-foot store features seven rooms filled with reminders of the yuletide season. Towering Christmas trees trimmed with all varieties of ornaments, from designer Lennox Classics and Kurt S. Adler pieces to Snow Babies, Peanuts and Charming Tails. Themed trees feature ornaments that resemble cupcakes, lollipops and other sweet treats; symbols of the beach and Florida life that range from gators to merfolk; Irish-themed ornaments, and peacock-patterned decor. Collectibles range from nativity scenes and angel figurines to whimsical reindeer and Santa figurines — some of them automated — that show Father Christmas doing everything from baking pies to playing golf to driving a truck. An entire miniature village is lined with Department 56 collectible houses.

Wreaths, garlands and florals of all varieties adorn the walls of the shop, which also sells novelties that include candles and nutcrackers, elf dolls and nutcracker teddy bears, music boxes and even yuletide-themed bathroom tissue, salt and pepper shakers and bookmarks.

"We come in here every year," said Will Ihrig of Port Richey. "There are so many different things. You can look and look, and still see."

Also lining the store walls are numerous plaques that honor achievements in floral artistry. Skip's consistently has been named a Top 200 Teleflora dealer, and the Florida West Coast Florist Association has named Maslowski Designer of the Year for the West Coast of Florida. The business creates special displays for holiday charitable events that benefit Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind and the Good Samaritan Hospital, and has featured floats in the Chasco Fiesta parade.

Store employees express enthusiasm for their employer and their workplace.

"This place gives you a good feeling the moment you walk in," said floral designer Linda Squillante.

And, employees stress, people don't just come for Christmas decorations.

"People come to us for floral arrangements for weddings, funerals. ... We're very qualified," said floral designer Cheryl Swartsel.

"We meet people during the best and worst times of their lives," said Jeanie Murrell, also a floral designer.

It is this level of customer dedication, Maslowski said, that has allowed his business to thrive and survive through many a Christmas season.

"No matter what request we get, we do the best we can for people," he said. "And we give back to the community."

For more information about Skip's Florist and Christmas House, call (727) 938-3391 or visit skipsfloristandchristmashouse.com.

Comments
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA — CareSync, a Tampa health care information technology company that raised millions from private investors in recent years, has shut down. The company ceased operations on Thursday, laying off nearly 300 people, according to former employees an...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

A cancer lurks within Florida’s otherwise rosy job numbers, one that’s has been called a quiet catastrophe and an intractable time bomb.Too many men between the ages of 25 and 54 have stopped working.Economists call those the prime-age years. Incomes...
Updated: 3 hours ago
For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

ST. PETERSBURG — For sale: a 104-year-old elementary school with restaurant and wine shop. It even has a title company where you can close the deal.Less than a year after completing a major renovation of the historic North Ward school, developer Jona...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Published: 06/21/18
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Published: 06/21/18
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Published: 06/21/18
WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

Mike Piper has traveled to Las Vegas and Miami and enjoyed the fun, daytime, party pool scene that the two cities have to offer.Now he aims to bring that same atmosphere to Tampa with a new dining and hang out spot. WTR Pool & Grill opened on Sunday ...
Published: 06/21/18
Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

A new resale store has made its way to South Tampa. Grace Family Church recently opened Vintage Etc., to provide affordable, quality merchandise to the community and continue its outreach to help families in need in a loving Christian environment. "W...
Published: 06/21/18