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Teachers' Helper moves a tad in Brandon; Best Western Plus opens in Plant City

BRANDON — As a Hillsborough County teacher, Shearon Bailey always has known her favorite place to find supplies — Teachers' Helper.

For 27 years, teachers in the know have flocked to the store to scoop up organizational, educational and theme-related items for their classrooms.

Whether it's classroom materials to construct inspiring bulletin boards or the back-to-school supplies every student needs, Teachers' Helper has long offered a variety of supplies.

Bailey still remembers her favorite purchase, even though it has been 7 ½ years.

"I walked in to buy stickers and I bought the store," she said.

Bailey has owned Teachers' Helper ever since, not only catering to teachers but to parents looking to fulfill the needs of prekindergarten through middle school students.

Since the end of 2012, they have gone to a new location to get help.

Bailey moved the store 1 mile west in Brandon to 622 Oakfield Drive. She says it's in a better location and can offer more to her varied customers.

"It was made to order," Bailey said. "It's very open and easier to get around. There's also a classroom for rent in the back for meetings or tutoring."

Creative teachers will remember the location as the old Scraptopia store. Hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Best Western 'Plus' comes to Plant City

While travelers to the hotel at 2003 S Frontage Road in Plant City might still find comfort in their accommodations, as of this week the former Comfort Inn will be referred to as Best West ern Plus Plant City Hotel. The name change marks the first "Plus" hotel in the chain to come to Hillsborough County.

There are 99 Best Westerns in Florida. Before the Plant City location, guests in the area looking for a Best Western Plus, an "upper midscale property that offers a superior accommodation experience," had to stay in Dunedin, Bradenton or Auburndale.

Punit Shah, president and chief operating officer of the Liberty Group in Clearwater that owns the Best Western Plus, said they spent a year and $1 million renovating the hotel. They replaced carpets, beds, TVs and fitness equipment and remodeled the pool.

Shah said he hopes to pull business customers from within a 10-mile radius.

"I don't think there's one thing we didn't touch," said Shah, who hopes to pull business customers from within a 10-mile radius. "We think Plant City is a great location, and there's a lot if great things happening in Plant City to lure business away from downtown Tampa and the fairgrounds."

The Best Western Plus hotels were introduced in 2011 as part of the brand's descriptors program, that classifies its more than 2,200 North American properties into one of three types: Best Western, Best Western Plus and Best Western Premier.

Based in Phoenix, Best Western International has 4,000 independently owned and operated hotels in 100-plus countries and territories. Guests can learn more about each descriptor through virtual tours, extensive photos and enhanced search ability at bestwestern.com.

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Teachers' Helper moves a tad in Brandon; Best Western Plus opens in Plant City 02/21/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 2:49pm]
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