TARPON SPRINGS – During the May 28 City Commission meeting, Commissioner Jacob Karr suggested highlighting local merchants during commission meetings would be a way to shine a spotlight on the many unique businesses that have been popping up in town.

“I do feel that it’s important to recognize our business and community members…and that we recognize them publicly,” Karr said. As an example, he cited Ella’s Boutique, noting the owner opened something “much different” than an antique store or brewery.

While Karr’s proposal was ultimately rejected, his point about new business owners taking a chance in the northernmost city in Pinellas County was not lost.

“We have a very unique city, and people are discovering it,” Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Jean Hungiville said during the chamber’s 2019 Business of the Year Awards ceremony May 21.

With Karr’s idea in mind, here a few new businesses in Tarpon Springs that offer unusual products, owner backstories or both.

EUPHORIC ARRANGEMENTS

Is it a candle? Is it a rose? The answer is yes. Euphoric Arrangements is the brainchild of Kristina Wehlau, a bubbly former Spring Hill resident and Uber driver who sold her creations online for years. She has found the building that would become her home and base for her first brick and mortar business last November.

“I fell in love when I found the location,” she said of the historic two-story home at 53 West Tarpon Ave. where she lives, works and regularly hosts community socials. “I saw it while I was driving, and I thought this is a cool place. After five years of searching, I knew it was meant to be.”

Wehlau, who has an alter ego-avatar for her business named Ephet Candleroses, explained her products are for those people looking for a more permanent gift. “I wanted to create something that would last and allow people to use it at some point,” she said of her trademarked candle roses, adding “The same people that buy flowers or edible arrangements as gifts, those are our customers.”

With a variety of styles, colors and sizes to choose from, and a starting price of under $6 for singles that rises to $120 for custom vase bouquets, Wehlau claims her Euphoric Arrangements are an ideal gift for any occasion. “We do bouquets, gift boxes, custom arrangements,” she said. “You build them yourself and do whatever you want!”

For more information, visit candleroses.com.

PINEAPPLE PLACEMENTS SENIOR LIVING ADVISORS

For as long as she can remember, Amber Geier has “always enjoyed the company of seniors and have found their life stories inspiring.” During her decade working in the senior living industry, Geier saw the best and worst of the environment as she worked hand and hand with families and their loved ones guiding them through the maze of transitioning.

Following a traumatic experience of her own, Geier, who moved to Florida from Texas with her husband 15 years ago, decided to open Pineapple Placements with the goal of helping today’s seniors and their families in effortless transitions.

“Pineapple Placements’ senior living advisors strive to provide professional and personalized confidential guidance to today’s seniors and their loved ones,” she explained. “Our personnel have the local knowledge and experience to help you and your loved one through this transition period. Our advisors advocate for our clients, our mission is to provide the best possible transitional environment to you and your loved one.”

Geier, whose year-old business took home the Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Small Business of the Year Award, said her company differs from others due to her personal experience as well as her personal touch.

“Due to my own personal experience, I truly understand the emotional and physical demands transitions place on the seniors and their families,” she said, noting Pineapple Placement’s services come at no cost to the client and their families. “And I will be there every step of the way, providing professional and emotional support during this difficult time.” For more information, visit pineappleplacements.com.

LEASHES AND LAYOVERS PET CARE SERVICES

Tiffany Revine is a self-proclaimed jack-of-all-trades. The Maryland native, who moved to Tarpon Springs in 2017 from Alabama, spent 15 years in retail, dabbled in the security and law enforcement field and then utilized one of her two college degrees, in floral design, during her time working for a prominent St. Pete florist. Eventually, however, she discovered her true calling.

“While living-working downtown, I realized that everyone had pets, but dogs especially,” Revine said via email. “I saw the need of dog related businesses and how people there really catered to their dogs.” Revine, who owned a rescue dog and volunteered for the Palm Harbor-based Suncoast Animal League, started Leashes and Layovers Pet Care Services in 2017.

“Something really clicked in me that my passion was to really be around animals,” she wrote. “I began devoting more time at the shelter, learning as much as I could and started dog walking for neighbors.” Revine’s services include dog walking, drop-in visits, overnight pet sitting, taxi service and doggie day-care. She noted all services are performed in the customer's home, which “reduces the pet’s stress level dramatically.” Her coverage area includes Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor, Dunedin and parts of Holiday, and she noted her business is unique for more than what it offers. “Leashes and Layovers is very unique not only for the services that we provide but it is the only female veteran-owned business that is licensed and insured in Tarpon Springs,” said Revine, who served in the U.S. Navy.

For more information, visit leashesandlayoverspetcare.com or call 727-320-4297.

MINGO MANIA

Many people no doubt have driven by a home in Florida with a colorful plastic flamingo in the front yard and wondered, “where can I get one of those things?” The answer, aside from online, is at Mingo Mania, a small shop in the middle of downtown Tarpon Springs.

Mingo Mania is stuffed full of dozens of variations of the Sunshine State’s iconic pink wading birds. “We are taking the quintessential ‘Tacky Florida Yard Art’ to a whole new level” Mingo Mania owner Sta-cy Wallace said. Wallace, who relocated her business from Tallahassee to Tarpon last summer, said she offers flamingos for every occasion, from sporting events to holiday gatherings. “We offer “fanmingos” for sports fans of every team, though we’re partial to FSU!” Wallace said of the state school in Tallahas-see. “Our weather-resistant flamingos are also great for holiday and birthday parties, as well as wed-dings and other special events.” While she said Mingo Mania, located at 118 E. Tarpon Ave, was “creat-ed out of a pure love for all things flamingo,” Wallace’s shop also offers jewelry, clothing and other nov-elty items, including tee-shirts adorned with their slogan, “Be Kind.” “We have a wide variety of “Be Kind” items such as tee-shirts, yard signs, wristbands, buttons and cute plush toys with their own “Be Kind” tee-shirts,” she said, adding, “the tees are available in a variety of sizes and colors to help spread the word to be kind out there!”

For more information, visit mingomania.com.