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Central Tampa News

Seminole Heights shop offers creative goods, warm welcome

Tribune correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 08:45 AM
SEMINOLE HEIGHTS -

Wreaths, scarves, hats, pottery, delicate antique jewelry and more fill the walls and tables of Brooksie's Market.

Some days there are fresh flowers and herbs, homemade pasta, breads and cake pops or cheese. But always there is a warm greeting and a smile for those who come looking for gifts or just to visit.

Brooksie's Market opened in August in a Florida Avenue bungalow-style home, which had been the site of Dreams Music Showcase. It is owned by Michelle Brooks, known to her family and close friends as Brooksie.

The business has 14 local artists who put their work in the store on consignment.

"This lets me be a part of my neighborhood," said the former Starbucks coffee manager who has lived in Seminole Heights for six years.

"Now I have 14 families that have friends who come in to help support them," Brooks said. "We all know we are surrounded by this amazing talent."

Audra Clayton, a potter who lives in Seminole Heights, said she was grateful for a place to exhibit her work.

"I love my neighborhood; I love to get involved with the local businesses," Clayton said.

While artists create the work for sale on consignment in her shop, Brooks has her own specialty - handmade cards for the U.S. troops.

She began by sending her son, Aaron, packages while he was serving in Afghanistan. She included cards for him and members of his unit.

"As a mom, you put in the card, but then you run out of cards that are appropriate for Marines serving on the front line," she said.

She began creating her own cards with stars, stripes, flags, eagles and doves, which she sells for $20 per package. The buyer can either take and send the cards or donate them to be sent. Schoolchildren from Seminole Heights Elementary School and organizations, such as the Marine Parents Associations, write notes to servicemen and women on the cards. Brooks oversees the mailing for free.

Every second Sunday of the month, Brooksie's Market hosts a free informal "porch party" from 3 to 6 p.m. where guests can browse, visit with artists or other guests, and sip wine or cocktails. The next one is Sunday and it is open to the public at no charge but donations are accepted. Brooks' friends take turns as "guest bartenders."

Selena Goodrich had the bar tendering duties at the December gathering.

"Michelle buys all this and is so good for us," Goodrich said.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Brooksie's Market, features fresh pasta, flowers, handmade gifts

WHERE: 5805 N. Florida Ave.

HOURS: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays

SPECIAL EVENT: Porch Parties from 3 to 6 p.m. the second Sunday of the month

INFORMATION: See www.brooksiesmarket.com or email to customerservice@brooksiesmarket.com

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