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One shop closes, one expands

Beach Drive is losing one shop, but that loss will give another room to expand.

The Mission Shop at 220 Beach Drive NE will close Saturday after six years. Owner Gary Reynolds said several reasons led to his decision.

"I flooded seven times in six years," Reynolds said. "I seem to be doing better on the Internet."

The Mission Shop sold furniture and accessories in the Arts and Crafts style from the early part of the last century. Accessories include hammered copper lamps and candlesticks plus decorative pottery such as Rookwood.

Next door to the Mission Shop is Good Night Moon, a high-end linens and home accessories shop. Owner Diane R. Lyle will expand into the Mission Shop space.

Target date for opening the expanded space is May 1, said Carol Piper, who works at Good Night Moon.

Finances force bookstore closing

ST. PETERSBURG _ Brigit Books is closing March 31.

The alternative lifestyle bookstore and gift shop at 406 11th Ave. N hoped holiday sales would bring in enough money to shape it up financially. Its fortunes sagged after it was forced to move from its long-time location on Fourth Street N in 2001.

The store, which catered to women, was busy during the holiday season of 2002, but it didn't clear enough to stay open.

"We realize we have ceased to be a viable business," said owner Helen A. Roman. She hopes to liquidate her stock of clothing, CDs, DVDs, jewelry and books. She also is selling all the store fixtures, including bookshelves, card racks, armchairs and tables.

Roman put out an appeal for financial help last year after she was unable to regain her footing after the move. That did not give her enough to keep going, however. Each year, the store used money from holiday sales to pay off bills so it could start the new year debt free. But in 2001, that money went for moving expenses. It had to move because its building was demolished for construction of a new bank.

Brigit Books was started by Patty Callaghan in 1989. She sold the store to Roman in 2000.

Building to start on Midtown shops

ST. PETERSBURG _ Residents of Midtown soon will see construction beginning on Three Oaks Commerce Center, a shopping area that will have a Subway sandwich shop, a dry cleaner and medical office.

Three Oaks will be located on 18th Avenue S between 16th and 17th avenues, a site assembled from seven parcels. The center will have room for five to six stores or offices, including those already leased.

Developer Ron Donaldson, whose company is Construction Specialties Inc., said he also wants to get one of the "dollar" stores there.

Designs are in the final stages and depending on the time it takes for permiting, construction could begin in mid April.

"Overall, construction will be complete before September," Donaldson said.

Midtown is part of St. Petersburg's inner city. Officials are trying to encourage development there.

_ SHARON L. BOND

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