By Kadi Tubbs
Special to Live Local! magazine
Anthony Pesce got the idea to write a book in 2012 when his son Jacob, then one and a half, got all dressed up in firefighter gear and brought him a book to read at bedtime.
Books and pajamas go hand in hand, Pesce says. So he decided to write a book about magical pajamas, ones that children put on to help them go to sleep, and then they can be on their way to wild adventures. The book bundle includes a set of pajamas so kids will want to get ready for bed and go to sleep faster, Pesce says.
He hopes the book brings families together and makes reading fun, so kids will want to read more.
“The Adventures of the Magical Pajamas” gets kids thinking about what they want to be when they grow up, says Pesce, 25. The book is about firefighters because that’s what he wanted to be when he was little, but more books are in the works, with a police officer, chef, doctor and a zoo keeper as the main characters.
“If you dream it, you can be it. Dream big and anything can happen is the motto of all the books,” says Pesce, who lives in New Port Richey with wife Lizza and sons Jacob and Austin. “Lots of kids are never told they can be anything they want to be. These books let them dream big.”
Pesce works with his dad managing a ceiling business and self-published the book ($17.99 alone or $34.99 with the pajamas), which is illustrated by Marnie Faxon and available at local shops and at PajamaAdventures.com.
Kadi Tubbs is vice president of marketing at Trust Business Services in Largo.
Live Local! is a publication of LocalShops1, Tampa Bay's leading advocate for small businesses.
By Elizabeth Vocke, Special to Live Local! magazine
For many couples, the day begins with a mad rush to get out the door. Maybe they’ll share a quick cup of coffee as they search for their keys or they’ll stop for a kiss goodbye at the door, but they won’t meet up again until after the 5 p.m. rush hour.
For other couples, it’s a different story. These are people like us, who work day in and day out with our spouses.
My husband Devon and I started our marketing company, Evoke Strategy, LLC, because of “circumstances and opportunities,” Devon likes to say. I was considering going back to work after taking time off to raise our daughter. Devon is a consummate entrepreneur, and when we realized how aligned our goals are and how complimentary our skills are, it made sense to start our own business. Devon is forward-thinking and a risk-taker. I’m more strategy-driven and focused. By working together we bring different perspectives and have a chance to ensure our ideas are creative, yet still sound and fleshed out, before we present them to clients.
But working together isn’t always easy. I tend to always imagine the worst-case scenario, so if we are at odds on something I think we’ll never come to an agreement. Somehow, though, we always do.
On the personal front, working together is rewarding. “It’s knowing that you are not just business partners, but partners in all aspects of your lives,” Devon says. “The other person is there for you, regardless of the situation.”
OO OO OO
Here are the stories of three other Tampa Bay entrepreneurial couples who are not only making it work, but also loving (almost) every step along the way.
Jo-Anne & Craig, Historic Shed
Jo-Anne Peck and Craig DeRoin met on a jobsite 16 years ago and two years later started a historic preservation business. Six years ago, they started yet another business speializing in historic design and construction of garages, sheds and other storage options.
The key to owning a business together, the Brooksville couple says, is that they have different skills. “I’m the practical one that implements his ideas,” Jo-Anne says. “Everything we do compliments each other. Interestingly, the more difficult the project, the better we work together.
We know we’re heading in the same direction and we really team up.” And if they do disagree on something, they can’t stay mad at each other for too long or the business would fall apart. They have to get over it and move on. The downside is one that many entrepreneurs face: always working. And for couples working together, this creates a unique challenge, because there is little time apart and work talk seeps into everything.
“I’ll be reading a book, just starting to relax and he’ll start talking to me about business,” says Jo-Anne. “But when it gets really bad, we’ll tell each other we need time off and need to stop talking about it for a little while and we both understand.”
The benefits far outweigh the challenges, they say. “I can’t imagine not working with my spouse. I’m a workaholic, he’s a workaholic. It’s what we do. How can you live with someone you couldn’t work with?”
Melane & Doug, Growing Up
Being married already is a business arrangement, Doug Nelson says. “Hopefully, if you’re working with someone you love, you have a ‘working’ relationship already.” Knowing how to negotiate, compromise and be respectful in life helps make things work in business, he explains.
Two years ago Doug and his wife, Melane, opened Growing Up, a children’s store specializing in natural products and classes in St. Petersburg. Though they run the business jointly, they don’t work together 24/7. Melane has a full-time job at Franklin Templeton and works at Growing Up in the evenings and weekends. Doug handles most of the weekday operations and takes care of their children after school. Melane came up with the idea for the shop after they had their second child and couldn’t find natural baby products. She started a side business online and soon saw the need to have a brick and mortar store.
Melane and Doug’s backgrounds in human resources and retail management come in handy. “I make myself available during my off time, but I also have to know when to cut the cord at the end of the day.”
Owning a business together isn’t that different from making things work in a marriage, both say.
“We all have our own personalities and quirks,” explains Doug. “We are both stubborn.
Sometimes she thinks she’s right and sometimes I think I’m right, but we’ve had to learn how to talk things through and not take them personally. They’re the same things we deal with in marriage.”
Kimberly & Lisa, Charlie Tulum’s Dos Tacos
Kimberly Platt owns Charlie Tulum’s Dos Tacos, a food truck and Dunedin restaurant specializing in specialty tacos and other Mexican dishes. The truck recently celebrated its first birthday, and Kimberly and her wife, Lisa, have worked together since the beginning. Kimberly looks to Lisa as her “right-hand woman.”
“Lisa works the window, she’s the cashier, she’s there for everything I can’t do,” Kimberly says.
For some people, working in such close quarters as a food truck would be difficult. But Kimberly and Lisa both say that for them, it works well. “We know each other and can anticipate our needs,” Kimberly says. “Lisa knows the food, which is a huge time-saver when on the truck. The last thing I want to do when I’m cooking is to have to explain what something is.”
The downside is that, like any co-workers, they can get annoyed with each other, and sometimes a spouse is an easy target to vent frustrations. “It’s easier to snap at each other because we know we can work it out in the end,” Kimberly says. “We know it will go away and we’ll talk about it later.”
Supporting each other is most important, Kimberly says, adding that Lisa has her own goals, too, and is studying to be a vet technician. “She will branch off and own her business and I’ll help her.”
After all, that’s just what happy couples do.
Live Local is published by LocalShops1, Tampa Bay's leading advocate for small businesses.
Residents and visitors embrace our state’s nickname of “The Sunshine State.” It mostly lives up to that name with beautiful, clear skies and average tropical temps in the 80’s. Our area offers many outdoor things to do, including beach parties, water skiing, hang gliding, sandcastle sculpture festivals and more.
We do, however, have our share of rainy days, which could squash your sunny day plans. Don’t let gray skies put a damper on your plans. There are plenty of fun things to do indoors in Tampa Bay.
Here’s our list of four things you may not have thought of when the rains start. It’s a small sampling from a huge selection of wonderful attractions, restaurants, boutiques, and museums in Tampa Bay.
Airheads Trampoline Arena: This huge, indoor trampoline attraction is fun for kids and adults. They offer classes, open jumping, specialized events, birthday parties and more. Escape a rainy afternoon, get some exercise, enjoy some refreshments, and have fun with friends. This is a great place for kids, teens, and adults wanting fitness and adventure. For more information, visit their website, Airheads Trampoline Arena
Chihuly Collection presented by the Morean Arts Center: This permanent collection is a must-see, regardless of the weather. The incredible artwork, by world-renowned artist, Dale Chihuly, includes famous art pieces, such as Ruby Red Icicle Chandelier, Macchia, Ikebana, Niijima Floats, Persians, and Tumbleweed. The collection is housed in the specially-designed building, by award-winning architect Albert Alfonso. The 10,000 square foot building offers its unique pairing of art and architecture. It’s open 7 days per week and offers a gift shops and 30-seat theater. It’s a perfect place for art enthusiasts and to create a unique date night. You’ll enjoy an amazing experience and can explore the area attractions, including the Morean Arts Center, the Vinoy, downtown shops and restaurants, and the enlightening Salvador Dali Museum. For more information on the Chihuly Collection, visit their website, Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center
St. Petersburg Museum of History: It’s the city’s first museum and focuses on collecting, preserving, and showcasing all things Florida. Of course, its collection concentrates on the city of St. Petersburg and preserving its history. Founded in 1921, the museum offers artifacts, photographs, archival documents and more. You can discover more with its educational tours, summer camps, youth programs, or training programs. Visit with families and friends to see how much you really know about the city’s history. For more information, visit St. Petersburg Museum of History on LocalShops1
Before you head out, grab your umbrella, and find more fun things to do on a rainy day by visiting our Local Shops1 website and our Tampa Bay business directory.
Jennifer Akers is a freelance writer based in St. Petersburg. She can be reached through her website, jenniferakers.com.
Live Local is published by LocalShops1, Tampa Bay's leading advocate for small businesses.