Written by Daniel Noe, ChampionOfTheGalaxy.com
Met with soft pink walls featuring words of encouragement, a woman battling breast cancer feels a sense of comfort as she enters A New You, Pink Boutique. A different kind of shop, the boutique seeks to work with a woman's medical team to provide compassionate care before and after breast surgery. Made in the USA, American Breast Care products provide a high standard in breast prostheses. Several different types of breast forms are available. A certified fitter on staff will help select the right fit for a woman's individual needs. They carry mastectomy garments, such as pocketed bras in styles from casual, to lacy, to even strapless. Also, several styles of swimwear are on display. Wigs and artificial eyebrows from the boutique help a woman on chemotherapy to feel more feminine and confident. There are also racks of "T" shirts and fun hats with upbeat and encouraging slogans. One might purchase a gift for a loved one such as a journal or jewelry.
Carol Sands-Poole co-founded the boutique with her sister Lisa, who passed away in 2013. Her warm and upbeat personality helps bring encouragement and hope to her clientele. Carol sees her business as more than a store. Instead, she sees it as a ministry to women at a vulnerable time in their lives. On the window of the shop are the words "Faith," "Hope," "Strength," and "Courage," – and that's what it's all about.
106 West Robertson Street, Brandon, Florida
Written by Lucy Noe
In addition to selling beadcrafting supplies, The Bead Boutique offers beadwork classes, providing a place for people to meet others in the community and make friends while making unique jewelry using beads of glass, stone, crystal, wood, or freshwater pearl. “I play,” one woman told me when I visited. The walls are full of creative bead necklaces. These are not just simple, linear designs. There are wire wraps and embellishments of all kinds. I saw one necklace of complex butterflies and another of leaves. Finished work can be sold by the store and that way the students can make back the money they spent on the beads. Anywhere that one can sit and talk while producing something of value is a treasure. In this case, it is a treasure where one can produce new treasures.
704 West Lumsden Road, Brandon, Florida
Written by Daniel Noe, InkDoodler.com
Where else can you find snails, urchins, brittle stars, anemones, bubble coral, mushroom coral, tongue coral, various shrimp, and a gazillion different types of brightly-colored and intricately-designed fish (freshwater and saltwater)? I’ve been to pet stores, but they don’t have nearly as much variety in such a small space. I got distracted for several minutes just watching them swim back and forth when I was supposed to be looking for a story. I even got distracted again just now by my memories as I was writing. As it turns out, the store has been in business for ten years, but only two years ago was taken over by the current owner who now continues the fishy traditions by handpicking the livestock from local breeders.
At the Aquarium And Fish Store, you can buy an aquarium, all the supplies needed to maintain or decorate it, and all the fish needed to fill it. They will even install your aquarium for you.
How can you not love that face?
710 West Lumsden Road, Brandon, Florida
Written by Daniel Noe, InkDoodler.com
Smaller than a stand-alone restaurant, but roomier than some hole-in-the-wall places, La Cubanita Café is the perfect compromise between cozy and crowded. They have empanadas, fries, rice, crab, and more. They make their Cuban sandwiches with added lettuce, tomatoes, and will stuff a ham croquette inside to make them a combo. The one I got was very filling. They even have a sandwich called the Alex, which is basically a Cuban with extra ham.
723A Lumsden Road, Brandon, Florida
Written By Daniel Noe, InkDoodler.com
LOCAL TAMPA BAY