Over the past several months, big changes have been in the works for Gulfport’s businesses. In the next few weeks doors that have been closed are expected to be open for a new business scene in downtown Gulfport.
Changes In The Village Courtyard
On Thursday, April 30, LocalShops1 founder, Ester Venouziou, announced via Facebook that she would not reopen her brick and mortar location.
“We’ve decided we are not going to re-open the shop. With the social distancing guidelines, and whatever the new ‘new’ might be, operating our shop is practically impossible – the space is tiny, and the appeal is to touch and feel things. Not the best combo in the covid/post/covid world.”
Like many businesses during Florida’s “Stay-At-Home” orders, Venouziou was forced to close her doors and find an innovative way to continue supporting local business.
LocalShops1 launched their online marketplace buylocaltampabay.com.
In the same post, Venouziou assured followers that not reopening the shop has actually been for the best. “In the 2 weeks since we launched the online marketplace, we have had more sales than an entire very-good month at the shop,” wrote Venoziou on LocalShops1’s Facebook page.
The overhead costs that came with having a storefront have greatly diminished and Venouziou is using that opportunity to give 100 percent of sales directly to the local businesses. LocalShops1 doesn’t charge listing fees or take any cuts.
Stella’s Sundries Swag & Scullery will take the place of LocalShops1 at 2908-A Beach Blvd S.
And yes, it’s that Stella’s.
“I have always wanted to be able to have a retail spin off of Stella’s and now being in the Courtyard has allowed me to do so,” explained Stella’s owner Barbara Banno.
“Stella’s swag will include t-shirts, hoodies, baseball hats, coffee mugs and rumor has it there may be a Stella’s Cookbook in the near future,” said Banno. “We are looking at some fun and funky kitchen gadgets and who doesn’t love a Nun cocktail napkin, along with other Nun-tastic items.”
The Perfect 10 Nail Salon
The Perfect 10 Nail Salon is “going back home,” as owner and operator Linda Craig put it.
“I spent seven-years at 2914 Beach Blvd S before moving to 2908-B Beach Blvd S. I’m just going home so to speak,” said Craig.
She said, “Nothing is changing except my address. 2908-B will now be 2914 ½.”
Due to the nature of medical pedicures, the steps to her current location have proven difficult for some of her clients, the move will allow easier entry and exit and will provide a quieter and low key atmosphere for the salon.
Craig offers diabetic foot care and addresses minor toenail/foot issues such as ingrown toenails, etc. Additional services include spa pedicures and manicures. Craig is by appointment only and can be reached at 727-239-5280.
As The Perfect 10 Nail Salon transitions out of Suite B, The Gabber Newspaper (that’s us!) will move from 1419 49th St. S. into our new little nook in the courtyard, 2908-B Beach Blvd S. Over the next few weeks, the Gabber team will be preparing the space and setting up shop, so if you see us there, feel free to stop over and say a (socially distanced) “Hello!”
The Gabber can still be reached at 727-321-6965, or by emailing email@example.com. The team is working hard to bring a print edition back to the community as soon as possible, but for now you can read news at thegabber.com. If you want to help speed up the process, please donate or purchase a pre-paid ad for a business of your choice – helping two businesses in the process!
Ohlendorf, atelier and Mermaid Mercantile
On Tuesday, May 9, founder of Ohlendorf, atelier and Mermaid Mercantile, Wendy Ohlendorf, made an announcement on Facebook: “With great gratitude in my heart and soul I must tell you that Ohlendorf atelier, Mermaid Mercantile, and Gulfport Community Arts have suffered tremendously from Covid 19. I will be closing the brick and mortar store.”
Ohlendorf is currently working on a personal website to bring her inventory online, but in the meantime shoppers can find their personal favorites and other available goods here.
Let It Be Ice Cream Shop and More
Once known as “the smallest ice cream shop in Gulfport,” Let It Be Ice Cream is expanding from their tiny walk-up window and leaving the Art Village Courtyard.
But, they’re not going very far.
Let It Be Ice Cream is moving to 3127 Beach Blvd S. in the same parcel that was purchased by Neptune’s Grill owners, Gus and Dia Vartsakis in November 2019.
“We intend to make Let It Be Ice Cream a safe place for children of all ages to hang out that isn’t a bar,” said owners Janet Impastato and Tina Grello.
“Once permits (which were delayed due to the shutdown) are approved, we expect to open late summer with a nostalgic full service ice cream shop,” said Impastato.
Let It Be Ice Cream will be open seven days a week and will offer traditional ice cream along with vegan and dairy free options. Impastato and Grello are also promising a few surprises as well. Think banana splits, brownie sundaes, hot dogs and soft pretzels.
Paw Paws Pet Boutique
Gulfport will also welcome newcomers Mike Jackson and Kevin Mulrennea, owners of Paw Paws Pet Boutique, “Gifts for pets and the people who love them.”
“We’ve always loved Gulfport,” said Jackson “We’re excited we finally found the perfect spot for us. It took quite a while to do so, but we’re extremely excited to finally be in Gulfport.”
Jackson and Mulrennea are expanding their current business located in John’s Pass and are setting up shop at 3129 Beach Blvd S. The pet boutique is expected to open up mid-June.
“Paw Paw’s is the Hallmark store for dogs and cats,” said Jackson. “Everything in the store is made in the U.S. and we’re focusing on keeping inventory Florida local.”
Photo (Tangelo’s Front): Tangelo’s Grille, a decade long staple in Gulfport has decided not to reopen their doors post COVID-19 shutdown. “We have memories to last a lifetime, and will truly miss you all!,” wrote owner Lisa Brennan in a facebook post on Thursday, May14.
“I am saddened to say that the era of Tangelo’s Grille has come to an end,” wrote owner Lisa Brennan in a Facebook post on Thursday, May 14. “Due to COVID-19 , the nearing of the end of our lease, and the uncertainty of the future, we came to this difficult decision.”
Sadly, after almost 33 years in business – 23 years in St. Pete and 10 years in Gulfport – Tangelo’s is closing. The space, however, at 3121 Beach Blvd S. – in the coveted corner near the Casino – has a new occupant getting ready to move in.
Salty’s Sandwich Shop
After selling in May 2019, Salty’s will finally close its doors at 5413 Shore Blvd S.
But not all good things must come to an end. Owner J.P. Brewer is sliding down Shore Boulevard to the east end of Beach Boulevard and will open Salty’s Sandwich Bar at 3121 Beach Blvd S.
Not much is known yet about Brewer’s new adventure, but keep an eye on Salty’s Sandwich Bar Facebook page for teasers and more information.
A Note from Dia
With all the new business shop swaps, sales, purchases, openings and closings, Dia Vartsakis, co-owner of Neptune’s Grill and the three adjoined parcels that has welcomed Paw Paw’s Pet Boutique and Let It Be Ice Cream, wanted to share a few words with the Gulfport community:
“In the past 9 years as a local business owner, Gulfport has changed so much. There are some businesses that are sad to see leave. But I am excited to see the new businesses who can offer different and additional options to current and future customers. So many different niches to offer pretty much everything to anyone in our little town from coffee, to unique beers, music, adorable retail, and all different cuisines that range from laid back to fine dining, and the list goes on and on.
I have always felt that Gulfport is a community. And the businesses that have been here forever work together as a community versus competing with one another. That dynamic along with the amazing dedicated locals and regulars who support the family businesses make Gulfport such a unique town that we are so grateful to be a part of.”
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