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Funky Monkey art shop a bit "wild'

For more than 20 years, all that glittered in Vickie Thompson's store Goldsmith's II was gold and silver jewelry, much of it handcrafted by the goldsmith herself. But she recently made some major changes to the business that included giving it a new name.

"I found it was getting so hard to make a living as a jeweler and decided to turn it into an art gallery," Ms. Thompson said. "Then the name didn't fit. A friend came up with Funky Monkey. I like it. It's wild, but so is some of the artwork we have here. I wanted to do something artistic, creative, something that Largo doesn't have."

The business has always been in Largo. The current site at 12199 Indian Rocks Road is only a mile down the road from the original store.

In addition to jewelry, the business now features the work of wood, glass and metal artisans, fine art and crafts. The inventory includes handcrafted fountains, hand-blown oil lamps, paperweights, ceramic wall hangings and clocks, old windows with hand-painted scenes, handmade sushi trays, magazine and wine racks, end tables, bar stools, handmade rugs and "some wild things," Ms. Thompson said.

Much of the artwork is by Florida artists, but the work of artists from California, Colorado and other states also is represented.

"I made the changes on a shoestring," she said. "The changeover cost several thousand dollars, but it's not like I started a brand-new business. (I) just made some additions."

Store hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Call 596-4734.

Art shop to be sold,

move to new site

Fusion Fine Crafts, in business for a dozen years in downtown Tarpon Springs, is to be sold and moved to a new home nearby. Janet Jones and John Dallman, who own and operate Oxford House, signed an agreement last week with Colleen and John Allcorn to buy the art business.

Mrs. Allcorn said she and her husband decided in the fall that it was time for a change. Her husband would continue his massage therapy business, and she would work on projects at their home.

"We wanted to sell and leave the business here," said Mrs. Allcorn, "but the landlord didn't want to write a new lease, so then we decided to just close it. We were delighted when Janet came over and asked if we might check out the feasibility of moving the business. Their tearoom is directly behind our store."

Ms. Jones said they bought the Oxford House in October. The property includes three city lots, she said, with gardens and several buildings.

"The grand plan is to expand the seating in Oxford House from 60 to 100, get the gardens back up to speed and renovate a street-front garage for Fusion," she said.

But on March 25, when Fusion has to move from 121 Tarpon Ave., the artworks will be moved into a small cottage on the Oxford House property. Initially, the move will include only about 50 of the 150 to 200 artists' work featured at Fusion because of the smaller space.

Ms. Jones said she and her husband had the same feeling about Fusion that they had about Oxford House when it went up for sale. "We said we can't let Fusion leave Tarpon Springs," she said. "It's different; it's a charming."

Financial management companies merge

Security Resource Management has merged with ProVise Management Group, 611 Druid Road E, Clearwater. ProVise, an SEC registered investment adviser with more than $160-million under management, has specialized since 1986 in money management, estate planning and retirement planning.

V. Raymond Ferrara, president and chief executive officer of ProVise, said, "This is the first of many mergers and acquisitions that ProVise will do over the next few years, as the financial services industry continues to consolidate."

Lucas Prewett, who was Security Resource Management's president, will assume the position of senior vice president at ProVise.

Prepress technician

joins Tropicolor

Linda Knox has joined Tropicolor as a prepress technician. She has more than 20 years' experience in the industry and has worked at World Color in Ormand Beach, Lanman Litotech in Orlando, Total Color Corp. in Louisville, Ky., Ashley Litho in Jeffersonville, Ind., and Papa John Support Services in Louisville.

Tropicolor, 15351 Roosevelt Blvd., near Largo, is a wholly owned subsidiary of FKQ Advertising & Marketing. It provides digital imaging, creative design, layout and large format services.

Hardware store purchased

in Safety Harbor

Robert and Grace Steele are the new owners of Safety Harbor Hardware, 670 Main St. Mrs. Steele is operating the business six days a week, while her husband _ a sales rep for Florida Hardware _ handles the inventory.

The Steeles are rearranging and expanding the business to include bicycle parts and supplies, fishing equipment, chlorine and propane for swimming pools and gas grills. The store stocks plumbing, electrical, lawn and garden, automotive and houseware items, as well as paint, keys, screen repair, hand and power tools and accessories, and the usual nuts, bolts and fasteners.

Mrs. Steele was a private duty nurse for about 20 years before taking over the hardware store. "This is a new career for me; the only hard part is cutting the keys," she said, laughing.

The Safety Harbor couple, who moved here 13 years ago from Binghamton, N.Y., took over the store for an estimated $50,000, Mrs. Steele said.

Store hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Partnership to begin title service venture

Charles M. Heflin, president of Remit Title Services at 125 Klosterman Road, Tarpon Springs, and Ina Mills, broker-owner of RE/MAX Executives at 41264 U.S. 19 N, Tarpon Springs, have formed a partnership, Remit Title Group Ltd., to perform title services for the real estate agency.

"The venture is designed to ensure that both buyers and sellers are provided with full-time title expertise," Heflin said. His other business interests, First American Mortgage Co. and Remit Real Estate, also are at 125 Klosterman Road.

_ News of businesses and business people can be faxed to the Business Digest at 445-4119 or mailed to Business Digest, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. We are interested in new and unusual businesses, promotions, expansions and major new contracts. Photos can be sent, but not all will be used and they cannot be returned.

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