One local plaza is experiencing a growth spurt, adding a trio of new businesses. And just in time for its annual breast cancer walk on Saturday, October 22.
Joining the ranks of The Green Boutique, Sweetie’s Delights, Robeks, Orange Home Accessories, the Velvet Rope, Island Oasis, Salon Essence, Peacocks Plume and more, The Original Leena’s Chocolates owners Anthony and Leena Caligiure are as giddy as ever when discussing their newest business venture.
Having originally opened in Famous Tate in 2008, and moving to the Lithia Crossings plaza two years ago after the departure of Peterbrooke Chocolate, the Caligiure’s have been constantly growing and evolving their business.
“Just to think in that short time, we’ve done the Super Bowl, the Kentucky Derby, the Museum of Natural History and now, the Lightning,” Anthony said. “We’re just very grateful.”
In their newest undertaking, they have added Duomo gelato, based in International Plaza in Tampa, and partnered with Kevin Brownell, the owner of DaSilva’s Coffee, who will be selling his freshly roasted coffee and espresso inside the new chocolate confectionary.
In addition to the new additions of coffee and gelato, Leena’s has expanded by 800 sq. feet which will enable them to host more parties for dipping as well as networking groups, Bible studies and business meetings. The dipping parties have become very popular with customers for children’s birthday parties, ladies night out and more for between 15-20 people.
“From the DaSilva’s perspective, we aren’t doing lunches anymore,” Brownell said. “We are still doing muffins and scones like we used to.” He is adding biscuits with ingredients like egg, ham and cheese, baked in them as well as mini quiches.
“We have combined three top quality businesses under one roof,” he said. “We have fresh made handmade chocolate, fresh made handmade coffee and fresh made handmade gelato.” Anthony added, “What we really bring to the table is freshness.”
The Original Leena’s Chocolates and DaSilva’s Coffee House are currently open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. six days a week. Beginning in October new hours are 7 a.m.-8 p.m., with private parties booked after hours. For more information, please call 643-8500 or visit www.originalleenaschocolates.com and www.dasilvascoffee.com.
Hut No. 8, a brand name clothing exchange store, which has been open in Lithia Crossings for since February of 2010, was looking for a plaza that was privately owned and that was active in the community. Plaza Bella fit the bill. Although the sq. footage is small, owner Chris Woods said there is actually more wall space. “We also have a little cove of Truth and NOTW (Not of this World) religious clothing.”
“And lots more accessories,” he added.
Hut No. 8 is always buying brand name clothing, especially jeans and T-shirts. “And guys clothing,” Woods said. “We always need guys clothing.”
All rewards cards, store credit and gift cards will be honored at the new location. Hut No. 8 also has an e-mail list of approximately 2,000 customers to keep them up-to-date as well as a Facebook page, where they advertise half off specials and more. For more information, please call 689-0111 or visit www.hut8valrico.com.
The third and final business coming to Plaza Bella this fall is Cheddar Biscuits. Owned by the Franklin family, longtime operators of local Moe’s in the area, Cheddar Biscuits will be good old fashioned Southern food in the old Joel’s Steakhouse spot. Stay tuned to the Osprey Observer for more information on this emerging new business.