Samara Wohlfiel started helping her mom sell cakes on the side when she was 10 years old.
"I always tried to get her to start her own business but she was not interested," Wohlfiel said.
So, Samara took the challenge on herself and on Saturday, she will celebrate the grand opening of her own bakery, The Vine Baking Co. at 3201 S Dale Mabry Highway.
"The reason we're doing the bakery is because I was inspired during a mission trip I went on in 2014, after I graduated from college with a degree in political science," Wohlfiel said. "I got to work at a café in Thailand and during the day it was a café, but at night they would rescue women from the sex industry and employ them in their shops. I realized, this thing I've been doing my whole life (baking) could be used for a bigger purpose. I hope that the bakery will be a haven where people feel welcome, a light to the community. I want it be a warm, welcoming environment."...
Inspired by her father, Barry Berkelhammer who founded a thoroughbred facility in Ocala, Erinn Berkelhammer, 28, also wanted to be a business owner.
Four years ago, the University of Florida graduate, moved home to Ocala to begin her dream business online.
In the spring of 2013, she moved Dixieland Monogram and Gifts into a storefront in Hyde Park Village.
She sold gifts, jewelry, drinkware, personalized monogrammed items, bags, clothing and more out of that location for the past three years....
After occupying a storefront in Channelside for 11 years, Qachbal's Chocolatier was forced to find a new home due to the re-development of the area.
On Dec. 11, the family-owned chocolatier and bakery business opened a new storefront in Ybor City at 1821 E. 7th Ave.
"Before I owned the business, I would make these things for family and friends and one day decided it was what I wanted to do," said owner Candy Qachbal. "My grandmother was a cake decorator so a lot of our recipes I learned from family. The chocolate part is all on my own. I learned from trial and error."...
HYDE PARK — Stephen DiMare spent the summer after college in 2010 working at a ski resort in Montana, saving money to open his dream coffee shop.
However, one flight home to St. Augustine for a friend's wedding changed the entire direction of that dream.
"I sat next to a stranger and started talking about the coffee shop and she suggested ice pops would be a good addition," DiMare, 30, said....
SEMINOLE HEIGHTS — On the first floor of Ella's Americana Folk Café, customers filled the tables and booths, grabbed the last stools at the bar and ate under trees strung with lights on the patio.
It looked like any other Wednesday at the Seminole Heights restaurant.
Upstairs, a Tampa couple was about to pledge their love to one another, surrounded by guests dressed in red button up shirts and black ties....
PALMA CEIA — Gengiz Khan Turkish Grill and Restaurant opened its doors on MacDill Avenue 11 years ago.
This week, the Mediterranean restaurant with a Turkish flair will hold a soft opening at a new location at 3114 Bay to Bay Blvd., in the former Graffiti Junktion.
It will operate in soft opening stages for two weeks, serving dinner only.
The original MacDill location will remain open for all meals, but will be closed on Tuesdays for the month of January....
YBOR CITY — As a child growing up in a military family, Jonathan Andujar, 27, he did a lot of moving around.
He joined the service himself and served in the Air Force for the past six years.
Once he was finished, he returned to the only city he ever really considered home, Tampa, and decided to open his own business, Snobachi Handcrafted Ice Cream. It officially opened on New Year's Eve and features Dragon's Breath, a liquid nitrogen infused dessert....
Waffles on a stick, topped with fresh fruit, drizzled chocolate, homemade whipped cream and powdered sugar, debuted on Monday inside Seminole Heights' newly opened restaurant, Whatever Pops & Bowls.
The business started five years ago with a different dessert on a stick, the ice pop.
"We were on vacation in Atlanta and St. Augustine and saw there were businesses doing ice pops and realized they weren't doing anything like it in Tampa."...
Petta Brown is bringing traditional Thai cuisine to South Howard Ave. with the opening of her new restaurant concept, Noodle Kitchen and Market.
This is the second restaurant for Brown who also owns the Thai Gourmet Market in Town 'N Country.
"I am from Thailand and we have a healthy eating philosophy," Brown said. "So Noodle Kitchen will be gourmet, but fast and healthy."
After guests choose from a variety of noodles including low carb, rice and gluten free options, as well as seafood, tons of vegetables and sauces, they can stop by the spice bar to add their own touch to the dish....
When Fay Moulin suffered a series of strokes in 2012 and lost use of her right side, she thought she would never paint or draw again.
During a therapy session where Moulin became particularly frustrated, her therapist suggested she try with her less dominant side, the only option she had left. Picking up the brush with her left hand, doubt filled Moulin's mind.
She could barely write, how would she possibly paint?...
When Grace O' Malley Krewe member, Anne Bartlett had a hard time finding materials to make krewe costumes out of, she decided to open her own store, South Tampa Trading Co. in 2014.
During Thanksgiving week of this year, she celebrated a grand opening of a new location at 1916 S Dale Mabry Highway.
"We moved to a center with more parking and for greater exposure," Bartlett said. "Bay to Bay is such a great street, but we have such wonderful pedestrian traffic here at the new location."...
Megan Strickland's jewelry and home decor can be found on Etsy, Living Social, in Sears, Lowe's and beginning mid January, in Seminole Heights when she opens her very own store: Royal Suzie Design.
"I've been doing this as a hobby for about 13 years now," Strickland said. "I had my entire apartment robbed when I was living in California, waitressing during a summer from college. I had nothing and needed some earrings to wear to work so I asked my roommate and she gave me these old tarnished things. I took them apart, burnt holes and stuck guitar picks in them because I had a punk rock style then."...
Tampa entrepreneur, Roberto Torres, President of Black and Denim, a local manufacturing clothing company was given an opportunity to join Stellar Partners in a new venture inside Tampa International Airport.
"The CEO of Stellar Partners, Susan Stackhouse approached us and asked us if we wanted to partner," Torres said.
On Dec. 11, an official grand opening took place for the new retail space that consists of Tumi and a Swarovski inside the international terminal, Airside F....
After spending the '90s and early 2000s in the NFL and CFL playing for the Raiders, the Green Bay Packers and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, KD Williams and his wife Erika returned to their West Tampa roots.
In April, they decided to open a restaurant there, right in the neighborhood where they grew up.
On Oct. 15, they hosted a grand opening of their new seafood take-out eatery, K & D Crustaceans, where they sell fresh Maine lobsters, Maine sweet quick red crabs, Maine rock crabs, snow crab clusters, shrimp, mussels and oysters. ...
Kristen Wilson stood in the restroom at Palmetto-based Feld Entertainment, threw her hands in the air, mouthed a silent "whoop" and did a victory dance that shook her bouncy, brown curls.
Wilson wanted to actually scream out, but the men and women who had offered her a job moments before were still within hearing distance.
Only a week had passed since the 35-year-old Florida native was waiting in line for a first audition in Orlando, but she came to believe that she started on this career path when she was just a child. ...