TAMPA — In his search for a new property, all Florida entrepreneur Gary Hartfield had to do was look across the street.
"My accountant and I were looking at the growth of our insurance business, Serenity Insurance, and saw the need to develop a tax shelter," Hartfield said. "I literally drove out of the place we were leasing and saw a 'For Sale' sign."
So, as if it was meant to be, he bought the property at 3420 S Dale Mabry Highway, named it Hartfield Plaza and will celebrate with a ribbon cutting from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday....
When the South Tampa Buffalo Wild Wings opens in June, it will feature the new layout which has been unveiled in other markets and includes an open feel with a big horseshoe shaped bar.
"It's the buzz you get when you walk that makes us stand out," said managing partner Sarah Darga. "What also sets us apart is the atmosphere that our staff puts forth."
Darga has been with Diversified Restaurant Holdings for 16 years. This will be her second opening as managing partner and 11th total....
Ever since sisters Ashley Ligas and Carey Kleinmetz opened The Littlest Trunk, a children's and maternity re-sale shop, in 2014 in St. Petersburg, Ligas' 3-year-old son, Evan has been right by their side.
"He was born five weeks before the store opened," Ligas said. "He's been with us every day. Now he's all over our Facebook and Instagram. Customers love him."
With a second child on the way, Ligas and her sister are about to open a second location in South Tampa....
Two thousand square feet of space inside the new Morrison building in South Tampa will provide residents with another work-out option: pilates.
Owner Catherine Griffin, originally from California, raised her two girls in Tampa and now that they are a bit older, she is returning to the workforce by opening South Tampa Club Pilates at the end of the month at 940 S. Howard Ave.
Griffin will take on more of a silent partner role, letting general manager, Katie Amrein take the lead....
When Mai Vu met her husband, Duc Le, she was "crawfish crazy."
The best way to temper that craving was a drive to Orlando where she could indulge in her favorite seafood.
"My husband got tired of driving to Orlando and decided he was going to make his own crawfish," Vu said. "He traveled to Louisiana and Houston to learn."
After experimenting and tasting different recipes, he developed his own spice and successfully tested it on Vu, family and friends....
05/05/17 Human Interest
Philip Neal has danced on the Lincoln Center stage, inside a cave on the southern tip of Spain — while bats flew around his head and pots next to his feet caught falling stalagmite — in Izmir, Turkey where praying chants paused the show and in Korea, London and Tokyo.
Neal was mentored by experienced ballerinas like Patricia McBride during his 23 year tenure with the New York City Ballet, 17 years of which he spent as a principal dancer....
Fifth generation Tampa native Shara LaColla married her King Senior High School sweetheart, Nick LaColla in 2002.
While she knew everything about him, one thing she didn't predict was that he'd be the reason she would come to own her own business.
Shara entered the corporate workforce at a young age, while teaching her passion on the side: dance.
"I started dancing when I was three years old, all genres and styles," Shara said. "After I had my second son in 2007 I got into fitness and being the dancer in me, my favorite form of fitness was dance so I created my own high energy dance workout."...
Before Yosef Chefran partnered with Avi Maman to open The Koshery, a new restaurant in SoHo, he was a chef and restaurant owner in Israel.
"We met here in Tampa and the one thing missing for the Jewish community was a restaurant," Maman said. "After years of eating at home we were dying for something like this in Tampa Bay."
Maman moved to Tampa 10 years ago, while Chefran has called the Bay home for more than 15 years....
In August 2016, Stephen and Katie Schab ordered a deep fryer through Amazon.
When it arrived, the husband-and-wife duo drove to Walmart and filled their basket with flour, sugar, yeast, oil and baking powder.
Upon returning home, they walked straight to the kitchen and made what would be the first of many mini doughnuts.
"We came across the mini doughnut concept last summer, just looking online and fell in love with the idea," Stephen said. "We then looked at partnering with people or franchisers, but nothing struck us as exactly what we wanted, from an experience stand point. We decided if we can't find what we're looking for, we'll have to do it ourselves."...
04/28/17 Human Interest
On March 30, University of Florida freshman Avalon Dawn prepared for a night of studying and school work.
Before she could even open a finance textbook, she received a last minute call that put her on a plane to Miami.
When she landed, she changed into jeans, a black shirt and a leather jacket as they handed her a script for her role as an undercover cop in J Alvarez's new music video, which debuts on May 19....
BRANDON — On the night of April 28, the grounds surrounding the First Presbyterian Church of Brandon will be lined with boxes.
Some of those boxes will be decorated with papers and streamers, others will represent a favorite sports team.
All of the boxes, however, will be home for the night to participants in Family Promise of Greater Brandon's fourth annual fundraiser, Box Car City, which gives guests a glimpse into the hardships of homelessness....
Wes Miller has lived all over the country but his favorite neighborhood is right here in Tampa: Seminole Heights.
In the mid '70s, he was director of food services for a company that served more than 400 colleges and universities.
In the '90s he became a real estate investor.
Three years ago, he decided to take the experiences from both positions and open his own business in the "neatest neighborhood."...
Joseph Telese bought out Residential Acceptance Corporation, a wholesale lending company, in 1999.
In 2011, the Tampa native returned home, and brought the Atlanta-based headquarters for the wholesale mortgage lender with him..
"Other lenders only take on higher credit scores," Joseph Pohl, digital marketing specialist, said. "We look at every situation differently."
After renting a space for five years, Telese, who grew up in Ybor City, invested 1.6 million in renovating a new home for the headquarters, which he purchased near International Plaza and Bay St....
Just six months after retiring as principal from Gorrie Elementary School, Susan Foster re-entered the workforce.
Though the new position took her out of the classroom, she was still surrounded by children.
"My daughter, Erika Stigleman who was in pharmaceutical sales wanted to do something different so she bought a Learning Express Toys franchise," Foster said. "She needed help so I joined her. We're in our ninth year now."...
While attending the University of South Florida, Bradenton native, Dr. Bobby Koser decided he was going to open a chiropractor office in Seminole Heights.
"It wasn't a matter of if, it was a matter of when," Koser said.
Originally a pre-med major, he switched studies after getting into a car accident and seeing a chiropractor in his hometown.
"I had really good results so I decided I wanted to help people in pain," Koser said....