Gulfport Merchants Chamber Business Briefs

Michelle and Allan Bishop, owners of GulfPerk Coffee Bar, went from tire shops, to retired, to re-“tired” no more.

Two-years ago Michelle and Allan Bishop, pictured, had a plan to open a comfortable cafe where Gulfport residents and snowbirds could go for a coffee and a bagel. On Monday, October 28, GulfPerk Coffee Bar welcomed their first guests at 3107 Beach Blvd. S. 

It’s been a long road for renovations, say the owners. GulfPerk, once Mermaid Mercantile, is housed in a 1939 cottage that the Bishops worked to preserve and update to modern building codes. The Bishops, enamored with the idea of “Old Florida,” wanted to restore as much of the building as possible. They went as far as repurposing the original door to the cottage as part of the serving station. 

Old Florida vibes can be felt and seen throughout the coffee bar: a mural of the second Gulfport Casino Ballroom greets you as you enter, natural light and pastel colors give the environment a lighthearted feel, along with the old Florida wallpaper in the bathrooms. They even have an ode to their home in Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada for all the snowbirds. 

Six years ago, the Bishops retired, selling their tire businesses and spending six months in the north and six months in Gulfport. Eventually they found Gulfport to be their true resting home. 

“Gulfport has always been one of my favorite spots to go to,” said Allan. “We looked around and spotted an opportunity.” 

The Bishops may be new to the business, but employees Deacon Hedgelon and Matt Pollard have over 21 years in the coffee business between the two of them. 

GulfPerk’s coffee beans are currently sourced from Black Crow Coffee with the intent to create their own personal roast. All the vintage furniture was purchased from Brocante Market, in St. Pete’s warehouse district, and the expansive back patio and garden were designed by the owners and staff. 

Fresh baked muffins and croissants, and fresh pressed paninis are soon to come. GulfPerk Coffee Bar is open daily from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Convenience Store Replaces Gulfport Market 

Projected to open on Friday, November 15, Gulfport Market Convenience Store will inhabit the space that was the Gulfport Market at 5800 28th Ave. S. 

Owner Raj Islam, a 12-year resident of Pinellas County, found this location to be ideal for adding an extra convenience stop for locals and others heading for a day on the beach. 

“I’ve lived in this area for 12 years, so I know for a long time that there’s people that have to go too far to find the stuff they need. That’s the main reason why I want to do it, from my heart,” said Islam.  

Offerings will include modern convenience items along with slushies, boiled peanuts and cold sandwiches. Islam has also planned for craft, domestic and imported beers along with wine. 

Islam wants to keep prices low, knowing many residents close by are on fixed incomes. “I know people have a set income. They have to go two miles for the same price, so I bring the same price here,” he said. 

The location is currently under renovation: the inside has been painted a bright, welcoming blue and a counter is being built to the right of the entrance. Islam is planning on changing all the lights inside and out to LED, to create a bright and safe location for his customers. 

Islam says he is looking for suggestions from locals on what they would like after he opens, and to keep an open line of communication between himself and his customers. “If there’s a problem, I’ll fix it; if there’s a need, I’ll provide it,” promised Islam. 

Islam also owns another convenience mart on 49th Street N and 9th Avenue N. 

Gulfport’s Brewery Expected to Open in December 

Gulfport Brewery and Eatery owners Matt Acree, Echo Bartlett, Donald Campbell and Jason Toft, plan on opening this December at 3007 Beach Blvd. 

The build-out for the brewery is currently underway and the establishment will feature 1,500 square feet of indoor space, 400 square feet for the brewhouse space and 2,000 square feet of outdoor space. There will also be a full kitchen. 

“It’s a 1930s house with a fireplace. We’re trying to keep that character. It’ll feel like a beach house, quaint inside,” said Acree. “The real emphasis will be on a secluded biergarten-like space outside.”

To start, Gulfport Brewery beers will be more “beach-style” according to Acree. 

“I think it’s important to pair the brews well with our food,” he said. “We’ll still touch on all the different varieties, but in the beginning we’re going to focus on beach-style beers.” 

“Dark and roasty porters will come, though,” said head-brewer Toft, adding, “We will be brewing onsite, everything we’re making will be manufactured in Gulfport.”

In the meantime, the team is working on collaborations with other Tampa Bay breweries, such as Mastry’s Brewing Co. on St. Pete Beach and Flying Boat Brewing Co. in St. Pete. 

Before they open, Gulfport Brewery and Eatery plans on joining the Tuesday Morning Market, with samples of what they’ll have to offer.

For updates on progress and local collaborations find Gulfport Brewery + Eatery on Facebook. 

Anani Gulfport Bistro: a healthy living eatery 

Corey Holycross and Deena Scaglione plan to open Anani Gulfport Bistro at 3062 Beach Blvd. S. in January 2020. 

Scaglione, from Tampa, and Holycross from St. Petersburg, are both current Gulfport residents and often found themselves driving to downtown St. Petersburg in search for a healthy snack or post-workout meal. That’s when they say they realized what Gulfport was missing: a place closer to home that offered healthier food options. 

Anani will offer smoothies, acai bowls, cold pressed juices, an espresso bar, craft beer, wine and kombucha.

The duo is looking to create an all-encompassing bistro, open to youths, adults and seniors alike, with aspirations to make Anani an eclectic environment, where guests can listen to jazz, rhythm and blues, and hip-hop all in one go.  

Holycross and Scaglione both started their healthy food careers working in restaurants. After a four-year partnership, they decided it was time to do it their own way. With and expansive knowledge of the benefits of healthy eating, the duo hope to help educate their guests while having a hand in the production of most of their menu items. 

Operational hours will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sundays. 

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