07/21/16 Human Interest
Late for a casting, Leianna Casella, 21, ran through the cobbled streets of Paris in 4-inch heels, balancing a backpack, a purse and her modeling portfolio.
It was the third casting that day, and the most important.
"I was checking my email and realized there was a time change but it wasn't loading and when it finally did, I actually had to be there at 7 p.m. and it was 7:20 p.m. by the time I got to where I was supposed to be," Casella said. "I checked my email again and there was a venue change."...
In 2012, Rita Bauer began ballroom dance lessons with instructor Sho Rich.
"He told me how (he) and his friend Matthew Garfinkle wanted to break out of the franchise where they were teaching and start their own studio," Bauer said.
After much consideration, Bauer, who has a business background, decided to partner with Rich and Garfinkle in 2015.
"I stuck with him as a student, then seeing their talent, passion and enthusiasm decided to invest some money and we found the space in Tampa Heights," Bauer said....
TAMPA — In September, Mark Pocock and his wife, Rachael, traveled from their home in England to see Van Halen perform at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.
For breakfast, they dropped into the Loading Dock in downtown Tampa.
"We found out that the owner was selling it and we loved the way the building looked," Pocock said. "So, we decided to move here. We liked the weather and wanted a change."...
Whenever there's free time, in between juggling a full-time IT position and owning three boutiques, Michelle Thomas takes the boat out with her husband, Mark.
The aquatic life is what inspired their nautical shops.
The couple opened Boater's Republic in St. Petersburg a couple of years ago, and more recently Michelle opened a women-centric shop, Ship Chic, in May at 1540 S Dale Mabry Highway....
Franklin Manor, a downtown spot to drink and listen to live music, will open by the end of the month at 912 and 914 N Franklin St., near Tyler Street and the popular Fly Bar.
The entertainment venue is the brainchild of Anderson and Lanfranco Pescante, owners of the Nocturnal Group who brought in architect Robert Ibarra, cocktail specialist Roe Patel and Saltblock Catering Co.
"We're designing, implementing and managing the food concept, and Greg Zwolinski (operating partner) will handle day to day," said Scott Roberts, chef and co-owner of Saltblock Catering Co....
Before becoming a business owner, Nelson Cacciatore and his mohawk could be seen at punk-rock concerts, skateboarding and taking on adventurous, sometimes life-threatening dares from friends.
His "do anything" attitude wreaked havoc on his body, but he survived two skull fractures on top of other misfortunes.
It came to the point where he would donate plasma to pay for a massage to help him heal....
Everything inside the women's boutique, Fab'rik, (except high-end denim) is priced under $100 and soon South Tampa shoppers can get in on the deals.
Former teacher turned Fab'rik franchise owner Andrea Tuggle officially opens her first store at 1902-A S Dale Mabry Highway on Thursday.
"If you could do whatever you want, owning a boutique has always been my answer," Tuggle said. "My husband and I started researching about Fab'rik and found we didn't have one anywhere around us."...
Two years ago, Bailey Walman, 16, dropped out of Italian class at Gaither High School and asked to be put into anything else.
They enrolled him in theater.
Now, he is the lead, playing Jean Valjean in the Patel Conservatory's production of Les Misérables, which starts on Thursday and runs through the 17.
Talk about growing up fast.
Originally a novel, the musical portrays the hardships of the French Revolution. It plays on religion, romance, politics, human resilience and family, some of which is heady stuff for Walman and a cast which consists of students in grades 8 through 12....
07/01/16 Human Interest
TAMPA — Though Tampa has been Shriner Fraternity headquarters since 1978, they have not held an imperial session here since 2006.
That all changes on Sunday, when more than 8,000 Shriners and their families gather for meetings, Shriner's Hospital for Children tours, a Fourth of July parade, a Walk for Love benefit, an initiation ceremony and the installation of a new Imperial Potentate, the top international officer of the organization. ...
Duffy's Sports Grill officially opened their first Tampa location last month, replacing the Macaroni Grill at 1580 N Dale Mabry Hwy. The Lake Worth-based chain has more than 30 locations, starting in South Florida and expanding north.
"We first came to Orlando, then started looking toward the West Coast," said president Jason Emmett. "Now it's increasingly become our focus and we think we could open another five more if we find great spots in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, etc."...
Best friends, Karrie Mueller and Laura Byrne met while studying at Florida State University in 2000.
Though they lost touch for a few years following graduation with Mueller working for Walt Disney World as a princess and Byrne becoming a television reporter, the Tampa women eventually found their way back to each other.
On April 23, they officially launched their new business, Parties With Character in South Tampa....
TAMPA — This Fourth of July weekend, downtown Tampa's Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park will be filled with the sounds of jazz, fireworks will fly over the Channelside Bay Plaza and Yacht Starship's Pirate Water Taxi will provide a new way to sail into the celebrations.
For the first year since its start in 2012, Tampa Red, White and Blues Festival Jazz in July has expanded from an adult-only cocktail party, to a family-friendly event....
CHANNEL DISTRICT — Bradford Stevens, 29, fell in love with fitness when he started rowing in college.
After college, a crew coaching position moved him from New York to Tampa.
Since the transition three years ago, Stevens has been planning his own fitness center.
"Finding the perfect place took time," Stevens said. "Being from New York, I wanted a location that was near the heart of the city."...
SOUTH TAMPA — On a search to decorate her new Tampa home, Allison Foley, 34, was coming up empty.
Unsuccessful, she started searching around and found brands she did like.
Inspired by her research and past 15 years of fashion retail experience, Foley created a website to share her finds with other shoppers.
As the website grew in popularity, Foley took it to streets and opened Hazel + Dot in February at 3714 Henderson Blvd. in South Tampa....
BAYSHORE BEAUTIFUL — Lash Spa Studio grew from the back room of a spa, where founder Jennifer Blair did lashes, into a business able to sell territories across the country.
On March 14, one-time customer, turned territory owner, Kristen Schram brought the concept to South Tampa.
"At the time (when they asked me to buy a territory) my husband and I went to Clearwater every year to visit my parents," Schram said. "So, I thought why don't I go to Tampa or Clearwater. I did the research then decided on South Tampa."...