Shopping center gets new owner

Northwood Village is located near the new Wal-Mart


Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 4:11 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 4:11 p.m.

The Northwood Village Shopping Center has a new owner with plans to rehabilitate the center and draw in new tenants to take advantage of the Walmart Supercenter that opened next door in February.

Forman Capital of Palm Beach recently bought the center for $1.7 million and has partnered with a developer that specializes in Walmart "shadow centers" for businesses that typically locate near the retail giant, said Dan Drotos of Bosshardt Realty Services Commercial and Land Division who helped broker the deal.

"They made some traction with some national tenants already for the space," he said. "They're going to hit the ground running on doing a full face-lift and delivering a brand new shell space to tenants."

Drotos said the owner is talking to several retailers and a couple of restaurants.

The shopping center at 6250 NW 23rd St. off of U.S. 441 is 67,000 square feet and has space to build as many as four outparcels.

The center was built in 1989. It has struggled since Winn-Dixie closed in 2000 and today has one tenant — a nail salon in 900 square feet.

Mike Ryals, Drotos' partner in the Northwood deal, brokered the land deal that brought Walmart to the neighborhood. The area has also seen the Senior Recreation Center open in 2012 and ABC Fine Wine & Spirits rebuild a larger store earlier this year.

Dolce Vita

Rose Mercado said her customers at the Union Street Farmer's Market kept telling her she should open her own bakery, so she did.

On its Facebook page, Dolce Vita Bakery Cafe describes these pastries as: "Croissant doughnuts! Bavarian with chocolate drizzle and strawberry with chocolate drizzle."

She and daughter Jennifer Mercado opened Dolce Vita Bakery Cafe on July 12 at 4908 NW 34th St., open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

They make their own baked version of the cronut — part croissant, part doughnut, usually fried — with croissant dough filled with raspberry and Bavarian cream, strawberry and cream, or Ghirardelli chocolate and cream.

Rose Mercado, who is originally from Serbia, makes several eastern European items such as walnut or poppy seed strudel.

The cafe also offers cakes, pastries, Boar's Head meats by the pound, sandwiches on freshly baked bread, panini sandwiches, soups and salads.

Dolce Vita has indoor and outdoor seating. The bakery also does catering.

— Anthony Clark

Wedding businesses

The number of wedding businesses in Gainesville is shrinking.

On Nov. 1, Solutions Bridal Designer House will close its Gainesville location at 6450 Archer Road in what owner Newell Fox is calling a merger to expand its Orlando location, according to a written statement. The Gainesville store has been open since 2002.

Fox would not answer questions, referring instead to the statement.

But Solutions Bridal is not the first to close in Gainesville.

Jay's Bridal – open for 77 years – closed in August 2012, citing the shoddy economy as well as competition from online sellers and David's Bridal, a national bridal chain that opened a Gainesville store in January 2010. After Jay's Bridal closed, Jolie Catering did, too.

Despite these closings, some Gainesville wedding businesses say they are thriving.

Celebrations Catering at 904 N. Main St. is a catering business that also offers bartending, rentals, lighting and design. It has been open for about 18 years.

"As a successful business, I think you have to adapt to trends and the economy," said Giovanni Lugo, event planner and marketing director for Celebrations Catering.

Part of that adaptation means using social media outlets such as Pinterest to collaborate with brides who are gravitating toward do-it-yourself techniques. Pinterest is an online pinboard where people can share their likes, and one of the categories is "Weddings." It includes ideas for dresses, flower arrangements and cakes, among other things.

"We have our own Pinterest account," Lugo said. "For most of our couples, we have a collaborative board. It helps us kind of know them thoroughly and get the look of the event right."

Lugo recognizes wedding budgets have changed, but he said business has been pretty steady. "It seems to be looking good for the next couple of months also."

Andrea Stivender, president of A Bridal Boutique, agreed.

The store, at 3502 SW 2nd Ave., Suite K, opened in December in the former Jay's Bridal.

"We're doing great," Stivender said. "We're very happy with our sales."

— Caitlin Raddatz

Burgers4U

Burgers4U closed in early July after it was open about a month.

The building at 3400 SW 34th St., which previously housed Back Yard Burgers, is listed for sale or lease.

The business promoted its gourmet burgers.

Numerous customer reviews on Yelp referred to high prices for bland burgers and a confusing Subway-style toppings counter.

Andaz

Andaz Indian Restaurant & Bar is opening soon at 12 W. University Ave.

Ads refer to a $10 all-you-can-eat lunch buffet.

The business is owned by OM Florida Holdings of Ocala.

Andaz will be the fourth restaurant in three years at the location, following Zuzu, Bombay and the short-lived Baci Ristorante and affiliated Jolie Catering.

Liquid Ginger

Liquid Ginger at 101 SE 4th Ave. plans to close for renovations toward the end of the month and reopen in October or November with a new sushi bar and larger liquor bar, said Manager Jeff Lin.

— Anthony Clark

Anthony Clark is the Gainesville Sun business editor and Caitlin Raddatz is a Gainesville Sun correspondent.

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