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Arielle Waldman, Times Staff Writer

Arielle Waldman

Arielle Waldman traded in the chilly New England winters for the Tampa sunshine in 2007, when she moved to attend the University of Tampa. Now, she is an editorial assistant covering the Things To Do section and a staff writer reporting on human interest stories.

Phone: (813) 226-3321



  1. Florist relocates to shop in West Tampa


    On their third date, Greg King brought his now wife Kathy flowers.

    To his surprise, the sight of the bouquet only angered her.

    "I asked her sister, and she told me Kathy's ex would always bring her flowers when he cheated. So I was on easy street, I never had to give her flowers," King said.

    That was until 2013, when he gave her an entire flower shop.

    The couple opened Blooms and Bouquets Florist in Carrollwood,....

    Blooms and Bouquets Florist relocated from Carrollwood to West Tampa in October. Photo courtesy of Blooms & Bouquets Florist.
  2. Meadery plans summer opening at Tampa Heights location


    Chad Wiltz, his wife Sarah and their two children drive from Apollo Beach to Plant City to handpick strawberries.

    Once home and washed, those strawberries aren't baked into a shortcake or preserved for jam.

    Those handpicked strawberries are just one ingredient used in their original mead recipes which will be featured at the soon to be opened, Garagiste Meadery in Tampa Heights.

    "Mead is an alternative product," Wiltz said. "It's different from beer and wine because it gets its sugar from honey."...

    Garagiste Meadery is shooting for a summer opening in Tampa Heights. Photo courtesy of Sean von Tagen.
  3. Comic book store owner returns to early labor of love


    SOUTH TAMPA — The first comic book Peter Sanders ever read as a child was the early X-Men.

    Sitting on a Greyhound Bus, he flipped through the mutant action, remaining occupied with the three comics he had purchased for $1.99, until he reached his destination.

    "When I was about 15 or 16, I was on my own at that point and that's when I really started collecting comic books," Sanders said....

    Superman the New 52 comic is among the collection Peter Sanders will offer at his new South Tampa store. Photo courtesy of Peter Sanders.
  4. Crunch Fitness builds up at new location


    For thirty years, Geoff Dyer and Vince Julien were competitors in the athletic fitness center business.

    In Jan. 2014, when the five year noncompete agreement ran its course, Julien, CEO of Crunch Fitness West Florida and Atlanta ownership group invited Dyer to join him as president.

    On March 11, the now co-owners celebrated the grand opening of their largest Crunch Fitness franchise in the Tampa Bay Area, a 38,500 square-foot structure at 4340 W Hillsborough Ave. which underwent $2-million in renovations....

    Crunch Fitness West Florida and Atlanta opened its largest health club in the Tampa Bay Area on March 11. Photo courtesy of Christian Dyer.
  5. Neighborhood gym opens in Seminole Heights


    For weeks, Marlo and Karen Tamayo would notice the same car drive by as they worked out in their garage with a group; some friends and some strangers, soon to be friends.

    As Cristina Hardy drove by, she would peek her head out of the car window, intrigued by the home gym complete with pull up bars and weights.

    Finally, one day when her kids weren't sitting in the backseat judging her for wanting to join in on a stranger's workout, Hardy built up the courage to walk up to the garage....

    Karen and Marlo Tamayo opened a neighborhood gym, Seminole Heights Athletic Center in March. Photo courtesy of Marlo Tamayo.
  6. Ex nurse develops South Tampa studio storefront


    After clocking in 12,000 hours working as a nurse with infants in the ICU at St. Joseph's Women's Hospital, Brittany Elise traded in her scrubs for a camera.

    "I opened my business, Brittany Elise Photography three years ago while working as a nurse," Elise said. "When I finally had my son, I quit my 'day job' I guess you could say, and went and opened a studio in my home.

    "My business grew quickly once I devoted 100 percent of my time."...

    Brittany Elise Photography has a new studio in South Tampa. Photo courtesy of Brittany Elise Photography.
  7. Family-owned restaurant offers authentic Mexican fare


    TAMPA — As Uziel Ramirez stared at his computer screen, reading reviews of his new restaurant, Xtreme Tacos, tears started to run.

    "I never guessed I would get this response from the community," Ramirez said. "It gives me goose bumps when people tell me they've never had anything like what I make for them."

    Early each morning, while his mom Paulina Ramirez is in the kitchen baking homemade tortillas, Uziel is at the produce market, picking out the ripest avocados, onions, tomatoes and jalapenos for that day's orders. ...

    From right to left, Paulina, Uziel, Benjamin and Oscar Ramirez stand in the new family-owned restaurant, Xtreme Tacos. Photo courtesy of Lauren Mcfadden.
  8. Apothecary opens new spot in Hyde Park


    Family and female-owned, Seventh Avenue Apothecary opened five years ago in the same Ybor City location once occupied by their grandfather's dry cleaning business.

    The same space where steamed shirts and dress pants once draped on hangers was transformed into a soy candle manufacturing space and showroom.

    "We started by giving out our candles to friends and family and had such a huge response right away we went full force into the business," said co-owner Erin Grossman....

    L-R: Candles on display at the Seventh Avenue Apothecary factory in Ybor City.
  9. Mikey's Cafe and Deli coming to Seminole Heights


    Mikey's Cafe and Bakery will re-open at a new permanent location in the spring.

    Until then, diners can order the turkey swiss croissants and garlic, hummus veggie wraps at their pop-up shop, located in Seminole Heights at 6207 N Florida Ave. within The Heights Cigar Shop, next to Jug and Bottle.

    The pop-up will feature a limited menu: sandwiches and salads. No desserts for now. Breakfast will only be available on the weekends, until the permanent location opens and serves it daily....

    Co-owners, Lane Parks and Michael Carmean will re-open Mikey's Cafe and Deli in the spring at a new Seminole Heights location. Photo courtesy of Lane Parks.
  10. New book captures Florida Strawberry Festival's folksy charm



    In 1993, 3-year-old Lauren McNair, standing all of about 3 feet tall, showed a 1,000-pound dairy cow in the pee wee showmanship at the Florida Strawberry Festival.

    "I remember the young lady who owned the cow who I was helping. She actually won a big prize with the cow in the regular show and got this really big purple ribbon which she gave to me," said McNair, who now serves as the public relations and media representative for the festival....

    1974 queen and court are pictured with country singer Lynn Anderson.
  11. Celebrations call for bundt cake specialities


    When a new bakery on Dale Mabry Highway opens in the spring, friends and families can celebrate with chocolate chocolate chip, red velvet, lemon and white chocolate raspberry cakes, the top flavors featured at Nothing Bundt Cakes.

    "I was 30 years in corporate IT and my husband, Chip, and I just decided to look for a different opportunity for the later part of our career and we came across Nothing Bundt Cakes," said franchise owner Maureen Funk. "We took one bite of their cake and figured it was something we could do."...

    Nothing Bundt Cakes is all about celebrations at their new South Tampa location. Photo courtesy of Nothing Bundt Cakes.
  12. New Seminole Heights business expands your what-to-wear options


    Pacing back and forth between the closet and the bureau until all the discarded clothes cover the bedroom floor in a tornado of colors is not a fun beginning to a night out.

    A new store in Seminole Heights, Valhalla, which officially opened on Feb. 18, offers a "collective closet" for those times when there's just nothing to wear.

    "I was writing my business plan and I saw how women treat their clothes: like they're disposable," Danielle Ferrari, owner, said. "They just collect and collect and have so much stuff we don't actually wear."...

    Valhalla opened in Seminole Heights on Feb. 18, offering shoppers a "limitless closet". Photo courtesy of Valhalla.
  13. Healthy eating on the menu and a gym next door


    As kids, Michael Youssef and Joey Galloway played against one another on the high school football field.

    Though it was competition that brought them together, the boys who lived on opposite sides of the Ohio river, became lifelong best friends.

    As adults, Galloway remained on the field, playing in the NFL for 16 years, while Youssef went on to become a doctor.

    Both in the business of fitness and health, they founded The Nutrition Factory in 2014....

    The Nutrition Factory founders Michael Youssef and Joseph Galloway stand in front of the new location. Photo courtesy of The Nutrition Factory.
  14. Healthy eating on the menu and a gym next door


    As kids, Michael Youssef and Joey Galloway played against one another on the high school football field.

    Though it was competition that brought them together, the boys who lived on opposite sides of the Ohio river, became lifelong best friends.

    As adults, Galloway remained on the field, playing in the NFL for 16 years, while Youssef went on to become a doctor.

    Both in the business of fitness and health, they founded The Nutrition Factory in 2014....

    TP_364488_FITT_gyms_3 Strength and conditioning coach Ryan Bruggeman, background (yellow shorts) works with Molly Gorman, right and Monica Gorman at the squat racks at Powerhouse Gym in Tampa Wednesday. At far left is Sylvia Muzquiz. Powerhouse has seen a surge in memberships since Choice Fitness closed in Hyde Park and LA Fitness bought Lifestyle Family Fitness.  BRENDAN FITTERER  | Times
  15. From tater tot trailer to toasting first cafe


    In March of 2012, Damion and Heather Davis started selling tater tots out of a food trailer.

    Five years later, almost to the day, they will celebrate the grand opening of their first Hott Mess Café storefront in South Tampa.

    "It was my wife's dream," Damion said. "I was active duty military when we started and then retired two and a half years ago."

    Though everyone told the couple their dream wouldn't work they pursued it anyway....

    The Hott Mess Cafe started as a food truck and now occupies a storefront in South Tampa. Photo courtesy of Damion Davis.