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Plaza lands nail salon, cafe, subs, coffee shop

Published Sep. 1, 2005

Residents will soon be able to grab a sandwich, sip a cup of coffee and get their nails done at the new Davis Islands Plaza.

The strip center, located in the former Davis Island Super Market on E Davis Boulevard, has four tenants lined up to open shop by the end of the summer, said owner Frank Gregorio. They are: the Flamingo Cafe, Subway, a nail shop and an independent coffee shop.

One space remains available.

James Hampton, who owns the Subway franchise, said he chose the location at 304 E Davis Blvd. because he believes Davis Islands could use an alternative to sit-down restaurants.

"There's not much competition out there as far as we're concerned and I think it's a good area, good people," Hampton said.

He's familiar with the neighborhood because he used to work for 7-Eleven stores and was a field representative for the area that includes Davis Islands.

Hampton and his wife, Jill, own five other Subway franchises. Three are in Tampa, another in Lutz and another in Land O'Lakes. The couple live in Town 'N Country.

Hampton said the outlet on Davis Boulevard will feature a new "more upscale" interior design. He hopes to open by Aug. 1.

The coffee shop will be called The Grounds. Harry Parker, a South Tampa resident who left an advertising sales job to open the business, picked the spot after studying the demographics of Davis Islands. The review showed the location could support an "upscale casual" coffeehouse.

"It's going to be relatively noncommercial," he said. "We're trying to get away from the Starbucks feel. It's going to display local artwork and we're going to have live music on the weekends."

Parker hopes to lure some business away from the nearby 7-Eleven. On a recent morning, about 100 people walked out with coffee during a one-hour period.

"Will I get all that business? No," he said. "Will I get some of it? Hopefully. Will I get most of it? If I do a good job."

He plans to appeal to local walk-in customers and people who live and work downtown.

Parker doesn't see Java and Cream, an ice cream and coffee shop across the street, as direct competition. His focus will be coffee, he said.

Dennis Cavanaugh, who has owned Java and Cream for six years, said he wasn't aware of Parker's plans.

Cavanaugh said he's not sure there's room for two coffee shops on Davis Islands but he wished Parker luck. Cavanaugh's business is about half coffee and half ice cream.

On the north end of the new plaza, Subway will take up a 1,600-square-foot space. The Flamingo Cafe, a popular Davis Islands restaurant that is moving from just down the street, will occupy about 2,400 square feet on the south end. The nail shop and the coffeehouse will each take up about 1,500 square feet.

The center covers the same area as the grocery store, which closed last year after more than four decades.

"We just redid the interior and then subdivided it," Gregorio said. "So the shell is still the same."

The parking lot on the side of the building also will remain.