It was only a few years ago that Scott Kenny and his wife were selling gifts, antiques, furniture, and home décor online out of their storage unit. Now they have a store. Both artists and woodworkers themselves, they know the business. Around the store among the signs with cute sayings, the paintings, the exotic soaps, and the lamps are worn-looking chairs, desks, bureaus, and tables. This is furniture painted to look worn and then coated so as not to wear any further – a style I am told is called shabby chic. They even sell the same paint they use in the store and offer painting classes so others can do it. There is a variety of shapes and sizes of furniture, such as children’s desks, so one can find something special that fits their specific needs. There are a lot of interesting things there.
The couple is involved in the community and Scott was even named 2016 honorary mayor by the Southshore Chamber of Commerce for raising the most money for charity. They offer painting classes and even plan on expanding the store.
229 Apollo Beach Boulevard, Apollo Beach, Florida
Written by Daniel Noe, ChampionOfTheGalaxy.com
The Wee Boutique in Apollo Beach has for sale everything child-related covering newborns through tweens and even maternity needs. One can easily find unique toys, books, clothing, bibs, and cribs. There are even strollers, picture frames, and dance outfits. The store features both new and used items, some made by local mothers. Circus performers and animals cover the walls, giving the place the friendly boutique feel that they strive for.
Owner Mandy Cassiano builds her business around saving her customers time, saving her customers money, and helping the planet. Much of her product is on consignment, allowing her to keep her prices competitive. When customers’ children outgrow their clothes, toys, and books, customers can return them to the store and split the profit when they sell, in essence saving even more money. Anything not sold is donated to the Hillsborough County Family Partnership Alliance, a local organization that serves foster families. Buying used products instead of new ones keeps them out of the landfill longer and helps the planet.
Mandy did not originally intend to open a store – she wanted to teach art – but three years ago she found herself taking her inheritance money and starting a business. In the time since, the boutique has doubled in size, added a small play nook, thrown mom-parties, and she has regretted nothing. Helping parents and children is what she does now.
6122 N US41, Apollo Beach, Florida
Dance At Grand Jete is a dance studio in Apollo Beach owned by sisters Amanda and Aysza. Every class is taught by one of the sisters themselves and they offer classes for anyone male or female between 18 months and 18 years of age. There are classes covering the dance styles of jazz, contemporary, lyrical, ballet, and hip-hop, as well as classes for toddlers and classes for those with special needs. The academic year runs from August to June, ending in a recital.
Aysza has been dancing since soon after learning to walk and shows no signs of stopping. She graduated from the Lehigh Valley Charter School for the Performing Arts, creating choreography pieces while there. She has attended many dance conventions and performed in many venues.
Now having moved to Florida, they’ve opened Dance at Grand Jete in Apollo Beach near the Harbour Isles development off US 41. They continue to spread confidence, fun, and dancing skills to the children in the community.
5475N US41, Apollo Beach, Florida
My son and I recently visited the Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach. We both
love nature and seeing manatees up close is a real treat. Manatees like warm water,
so when the gulf temperature drops below 68 degrees they come to seek a warm place
to wait out the cold. They survive by taking advantage of Tampa Electric's warm water
discharge canal next to the plant.
From the parking lot we took a few stairs (a ramp available too) to the boardwalk-like elevated viewing platform. Rounded manatee bodies filled the little bay like so many potatoes simmering in a pot. A tail flipper occasionally slapped the water as one of them made a shallow dive. Every few minutes one of them raised its snout for air. Mothers with babies half their size floated gently right under the viewing platform. On the day we went, fish that looked like small sharks were leaping out of the water from time to time. It is best to view the manatees at low tide, otherwise they may remain too deep to get a good look at them. Another interesting part of the center is the Tidal Walk. This extends out into the bay crossing a shoreline usually hidden in the mangrove thicket. Signs along the way identify plants and habitat. We saw pelicans, cormorants, and a solitary sandpiper foraging along the shore.
6990 Dickman Road, Apollo Beach, Florida
Written by: Lucy Noe
LOCAL TAMPA BAY