For owners Jo Massaro and Karen Ierna, Benjamin's Studios is all about creativity. They showcase this passion for creativity with the imaginative hairstyles and glowing skin they impart in the salon and spa, but also in the Treasure Island facility's onsite art gallery, which displays work from local artists. There's even a fashion boutique overflowing with men's and women's clothing and accessories.
Jo and Karen primarily put their 30+ years of hair experience to use in the hair studio. Here, they craft new 'dos using foil highlights, perms, and straightening techniques—techniques the designers of Pisa's famous tower boldly ignored. The spa’s aestheticians, meanwhile, release stress by rendering massages, mani-pedis, and ionic footbath services. They also perform eight skin-type-specific facials, such as teen, men's, and problematic, and they enhance them with aromatherapy and Chakra testing.
From the moment seasoned nature tour guide Kurt Zuelsdorf first dipped his paddle into Clam Bayou, he knew the mangrove estuary would be the right place to set his kayak tours. But there was a catch—a garbage dump’s worth of rusting shopping carts and waterlogged plastic bags was strewn about the waterway. Undeterred, Kurt hit upon a clever cleanup strategy: people could launch his fleet of kayaks for free, so long as they toted a bag of garbage out of the bayou with them.
Numerous grants, media attention, and awards later, Kurt’s waterway cleanup program has reached its final stages. Now, kayakers and paddlers can freely navigate the mangrove channels, nabbing sights of manatees, herons, and tugboat captains hopelessly lost in the mangroves. An avid nature enthusiast who has kayaked waterways from Wisconsin to Florida, Kurt prizes Clam Bayou, citing the diversity of wildlife along the one-mile stretch. “It’s not like the zoo,” he says. “Every time you hit the water, it’s a completely different experience.”
The crew at Kayak Valet has one mission: to get more people out and enjoying the local waterways and scenery via kayaks or paddleboards. Since storing, hauling, unloading, reloading, and potty training their own kayaks can deter people from boating, the team sets up shop to cancel out such deterrents. They take care of nearly every task, bringing all equipment necessary for a leisurely paddle on puddles of all sizes right to the launch site. The crew will pick up and deliver equipment to popular launch sites within Hillsborough, and Pinellas Counties. To keep the aquatic adventure accessible, the shop rents only kayaks and paddleboards that can be piloted by anyone, experienced or not. Additionally, they give visitors tips on paddling and safety techniques and sell new and used kayaks, paddleboards, and accessories.
Certified as a 100 Ton Master Captain by the U.S. Coast Guard, Red Devil Fishing Adventures’ Captain John Gibson leads near-shore reef-fishing excursions in Gulf waters from Venice to Tarpon Springs. Captain John's 24-foot motorized vessel disengages its seaworthy hull from shore to chase after undersea denizens such as cobia, grouper, snapper, and mackerel, offering aspiring anglers high-quality gear and lines with which to angle. Besides fishing expeditions, the captain regularly wanders away from the mainland to engage in bird watching, shelling, nature tours, and languid afternoons of sunbathing on West Florida's isolated islands. Excursions run seven days a week and are subject to weather conditions, availability, and favorable predictions from the captain’s magic 8 ball.
The U.S. Coast Guard–licensed captains at Island Ferry whisk passengers off the mainland and along the coast for scenic pleasure cruises in luxury watercrafts. Far more than simply modes of transportation, their charter boats boast spacious interiors and plush seating, feeling more like a limousine than a boat. In these vessels, they host watery adventures that include two-hour romantic sunset tours, dolphin-sightseeing tours, and private island getaways. Their getaways welcome small groups aboard for a trip to Egmont Key and Anna Marie Island for snorkling and exploring the beaches for an entire day, which was how long the crew from Gilligan's Island was actually stranded.
New President of the Industrial Arts Center of Gulfport Owen Pach is a 30-year veteran of the American Glass Movement. Though his work can be found in museums, corporate and private collections around the world, and work that has also been featured on Extreme Makeover: Home Editions, his passion and focus has always been to teach. United by a passion for the industrial arts and a belief in arts accessibility for all, he and a team of artists as instructors now helm a range of classes at Industrial Art Center of Gulfport. Teachers train novices and advanced students—some ranging from 5 years old to 85 years old—in specialized areas such as glass casting, glass fusing, sculptural welding and forged steel.