You’ve owned The UPS Store on Platt Street for over a decade. Why was South Tampa the best place to establish your business?
This store is located at the nexus of four neighborhoods, five if you count downtown: Hyde Park, Harbour Island, Davis Islands and North Hyde Park. We have regular customers from all of these localities who use our many store services. Also, the 33606 ZIP code is a desirable demographic in which to locate a business address, another of the services The UPS Store provides.
How have you seen Hyde Park, and South Tampa as a larger neighborhood, change over the past decade?
We have been fortunate to witness and be part of Tampa’s astonishing growth over the past decade and before that as well — South Tampa in particular because of the desirability of its schools, social amenities, neighborhoods and other attributes has benefited from this growth. We have seen an increase in business, the addition of new customers, and have added many new services through our corporate marketing arm in response to this.
When you’re done with work for the day, where do you go in South Tampa for a great dinner?
The amenities that characterize South Tampa are made manifest in the wide array of places to eat in the area. From casual to very fine dining and everything in between, there is no shortage of places from which to choose. We can just leave the store and head in any direction to find an exceptional venue in which to enjoy a splendid meal. It is an interesting coincidence that many of these establishments are affiliated with our store as many of the owners are long-standing customers.
Where is your favorite place in South Tampa for a special occasion or celebration?
With so many to choose from, it is difficult to pick one. And there are all the new restaurants opening as the area continues to grow and develop. There are seemingly endless choices. Of particular note is Armani’s at the Westshore Hyatt Regency for a truly special occasion.
Where’s your favorite place to spend time outdoors in Tampa?
As we get a very short window for outdoor undertakings, we like to patronize venues where we can dine outside and enjoy the ambiance provided by spring and fall weather. Ulele on the Tampa Riverwalk, Timpano’s, the Wine Exchange and the restaurants on South Howard all come to mind.
When you have guests from out of town, where do you like to take them in Tampa?
There is always the Florida Aquarium, the Tampa Riverwalk, ZooTampa at Lowry Park and Clearwater Beach. As we have no problems driving reasonable distances from great dining, we frequently find ourselves in St. Pete with out-of-town guests when we don’t stay closer to home.
What is your favorite South Tampa hidden gem?
Osteria Natalina on South MacDill remains a real treasure. The Ravioli Company on South Manhattan is among the best kept secrets for authentic and freshly homemade Italian specialty pastas and pre-made foods. This could be said to have been simply moved from a street somewhere in Italy and set down on South Manhattan. We are truly fortunate with that one. In another venue, the Publix GreenWise on Azeele is a fun place to shop and eat, where the routine chore of grocery shopping is elevated to theatre.