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Ybor art gallery finds new home in Apollo Beach

Jill Scott will take this Cuban painting with her to her new, rebranded business, Home Port Gallery in Apollo Beach.
Published Mar. 5, 2014

TAMPA — The hole the squirrel made in the upstairs wall was funny enough that Jill Scott outlined it with blue tape.

It wasn't exactly oil on canvas, but it passed for artistic expression alongside dozens of other professional pieces she framed and hung as the proprietor of Ybor City's Hoffman Porges Gallery.

Scott, who ran the gallery with her husband David for the last three years, also described the chickens that often visited her gallery through the back door as "charming." Once, she spent eight hours hanging art for a special exhibition only to play the role of a "spider monkey," climbing all over the place to save the portraits from leaks in the historic roof during a rain storm.

When you add a hike in her rent, Scott possess all the motivation she needed to close the gallery in Tampa's most historic district and move it to a new location in her native Apollo Beach.

On Sunday, Hoffman Porges Gallery closed and on March 15, the newly-named Home Port Gallery will open in the new Winn-Dixie plaza at 6170 US 41 in Apollo Beach.

"Ybor has its special challenges," said Scott, 54, who also noted parking issues and free-spirited revelers as obstacles, "Especially when you are trying to run a big girl business."

Home Port Gallery will focus more on art that pulls from themes such as maritime, military and aviation alongside unique pieces such as Tagua jewelry, which is derived from the nut of South American palm trees.

David Scott, a US Air Force retired major general, has designed the new 2,000 square foot location that features two large exhibition rooms and an in-house, custom picture framing facility. Jill frames every piece herself, something she's been doing for 30 years.

She says she keeps her pricing approximately 20 percent below the big box stores.

As an experienced marketer who directed marketing efforts at four air force bases and in the banking industry, Jill's market research drew her to Apollo Beach where she has lived since 1988 and believes her framing services will be new to the area. She also will be able to ride her bike to work.

The couple will continue to own and operate Bad Monkey, a military-themed pub in Ybor.

"I had fun doing it," Jill said.

Visit www.hpartgallery.com.

Tea business creating area 'Beleavers'

Another Apollo Beach business, Beleave Teas, has taken off since launching online in late 2012.

Owner Shawn Geitner, who credits her mom's interest in hot tea while growing up in Central Florida as a spark for her business, has taken her gourmet loose-leaf teas to various places around SouthShore from the Apollo Beach Fall Festival to the Mirabay Fitness Center. She's been known to provide a variety of oolong, white, caffeine free, black, chais, green, herbal tisanes, honeybush and rooibos teas for wedding parties as well.

To learn about the health benefits, purchase a Beleave sampler set for $7.95, schedule a tea presentation for large groups or a tea-tasting for small groups, visit www.beleaveteas.com.

If you know of something that should be Everybody's Business, email Eric Vician at ericvician@yahoo.com.

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