Vibrant swaths of fabric in nearly every hue of the spectrum line the walls at Keep Me In Stitches, where knowledgeable staffers dispense creative advice and design ideas as they roam the prismatic environs. They carefully curate a vast collection of textiles, which flaunts silks, novelty prints, and batiks from brands such as South Sea Imports, Benartex, and Michael Miller.
Aside from fabrics, the shop uses a fleet of sewing machines and digital design tools to facilitate embroidery endeavors. The staffers can also enlighten nascent seamsters during frequent classes and workshops, as well as repair sewing machines and bionic grandmothers of all makes and models.
Stocked with cute collectibles, hand-made home furnishings, and fashionable accessories, Gifts by Maria is a treasure trove of keepsakes and mementos. Under the sparkling light of a crystal chandelier, customers can find bath and body products, decorative figurines, and treat-packed gift baskets in Big Bad Wolf–proof packaging. Seasonal offerings include stocking stuffers, unstuffed stockings, and spooky Halloween-themed party favors.
Premier Parking Ventures solves commuters’ daily existential crises by carving out secure parking lots on six downtown Tampa corners. Strategically placed concrete pedestals glaze over highly trafficked avenues with affable attendants and reliable security. Drivers with a mallet to drop at the Florida State Circuit Courthouse can roll into the 1012 East Madison Avenue auto nursery ($66.20) and rest their vehicles next to safely snoring auto-tots. The 401 South Florida Avenue ($66.20) parking palace safely eases guests of the catty-cornered Tampa Convention Center into slots where their wheels may rest under the sun, heating leather seats and leftover food scraps alike.
Four Corners Custom Framing owner Chad McCluskey once elevated mall art to high art at a Deck the Walls frame shop, where he would preserve $6,000 art pieces alongside Scarface posters at Christmas. Now that he owns his own framing shop, Chad loves to display his clients' finished pieces in his sprawling front windows just so he can revel in the looks on their faces when they come to pick it up. Chad takes equal pleasure in the sheer variety of things he gets to frame, which has encompassed everything from poisonous blow darts to a lone turkey gobbler from a father-daughter hunting expedition.
Packaged by the ounce, The Spice & Tea Exchange hand-mixes spices from around the world to create their unique blends and rubs. Banish blandness from any meal with a wide variety of spices (starting at $0.99 per ounce), more than 60 custom blends and rubs (starting at $4.89 per ounce), and a ton of salts, peppers, and chili powders (starting at $0.49 per ounce). Office workers can wean themselves off the teats of the break room's coffee-cow with dozens of loose-leaf teas ($4.89 per ounce) sweetened with more than 12 flavor-infused sugars ($4.89 per ounce), including blueberry sugar, spicy habanero sugar, and espresso sugar. The Spice & Tea Exchange's huge variety of flavors make it easy to fulfill long-held cooking fantasies, be it a robust hickory-flavored manticore or topping a freshly grilled cheeseburger with unicorn-radish.
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Our performance theatre class, which encompasses acting, singing, and dancing
Recommended Age Group: All ages
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
South Tampa Center for the Arts was voted 2013 Best Theatre Group on Tampa's A-List. We are also one of the only Performance Theatre Groups for students ages 6–14 in South Tampa. We obtain the rights through Music Theatre International to produce two musicals each year. Some of our credits include Disney productions such as Beauty and the Beast, Jungle Book, Little Mermaid, and currently, Peter Pan.
What special training do you or your staff have?
Our faculty members have college degrees related to education and/or the arts. Also, our program has an educational-based approach and our mission is "Enriching Students' Lives with Education through Entertainment".
As the old adage says, "Stuff happens." What training do you and your staff have to stay ahead of the unexpected?
All of our theatre faculty members are currently working professionals in the field, so aside from teaching at South Tampa Center for the Arts, they have contracts with local and out-of-state theatre companies. Our students and their parents have the opportunity to see their instructors performing on stage throughout the year and have expressed how much they enjoy being able to do so.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Our largest and most popular program is Performance Theatre. However, these same students often enroll in the private piano and voice lessons we offer, as well as our dance classes. We also established Glee Club back in 2010 and it remains a popular program also run by our theatre director.