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Store comes to aid of the stressed

BAY TO BAY HEALING: It's easy to see why Marina Taylor opened her first Healing Grounds store on Anna Maria Island. "You cross that bridge and it's like you're in another world," she said. "It's very peaceful and serene."

But Taylor figured that her second Healing Grounds store, which specializes in alternative spiritual accessories and decor, should be in a less bucolic setting. So she picked Tampa, at 3119 W Bay to Bay Blvd. near Esperanza Avenue in Palma Ceia.

"It's in the city where people tend to be more stressed out," she said.

The store was scheduled to open today in the former Michael Meloy Interior Design shop. It sells aromatherapy items, meditation tools, incense, fragrant oils, self-help and self-awareness books, Celtic and American Indian music, sterling silver and gemstone jewelry, and natural stone decor, such as amethyst cathedrals.

"Soothing the mind, calming the spirit," touts a sign on the side of the building.

Taylor herself could probably use some of the wares. She has a husband and two kids, a horse farm in Riverview and a local family law practice. Along those lines, Taylor says she plans to offer divorce law seminars at the store.

COUNTRY COOKING: Say goodbye to hummus, tabouli and falafel. This place has gone country, as in catfish, stewed tomatoes and liver and onions.

Fearon's Country Kitchen opened June 30 at 713 Franklin St., one door down from the Tampa Theatre. The roomy cafe previously housed Luxur, a Mediterranean-themed restaurant with leanings toward Morocco.

New owner Mindy Fearon changed the menu and kitchen equipment but left the quaint urban wall relief and faux street lanterns.

"I think it looks country," she said.

Fearon picked the location to put a little South in downtown's mouth. Out front, she plans to add a wishing well and picnic tables.

"They needed some country down here," she said. Like liver and onions, chicken and dumplings, meatloaf, fried catfish, barbecue, fried chicken, country ham, stewed tomatoes, string beans with ham and okra.

Fearon's made-from-scratch sausage gravy kept 'em coming at her former country cookery, Mindy's in Palmetto Beach. It's back here on the menu.

The restaurant opens at 6 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. on Sunday. Fearon hasn't set a closing time but expects to stay open at least late enough to catch the evening theater crowd.

MORE BUSINESS ON KENNEDY: The slow but steady rejuvenation of the Kennedy corridor is getting another shot in the arm. Independent Plaza, a new strip center at 1416 W Kennedy Blvd. across from the Ferman car dealership, is nearing capacity.

Don Arias, son of property owner Celestino Arias, says four tenants have signed leases and should move in within a month. World of Water scuba shop opened in May.

The new tenants are Al Estes Bail Bonds, Master Collision Repair, T Bay Tile and Title City title company.

The plaza is named after Independent Ice, the old Tampa company that Don Arias' grandfather founded.

KASH N' KARRY FACELIFT: Remodeling continues on the Kash n' Karry at 4317 W Gandy Blvd. Store manager Robert Boerker says the store is getting new refrigerator cases, a new interior look and a new facade with canopied entrances.

As part of the changes, the store will eliminate the west entrance off Manhattan Avenue and make the south entrance off Gandy the main entry point. It also will move the liquor store to the front of the store.

The project, which began four weeks ago, should take about five months to complete, Boerker said.

A few weeks ago, a new Kash 'n Karry opened on Dale Mabry Highway, just south of Columbus Drive.

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