The Flip Flop Shop in the Shoppes at New Tampa plaza Grand Opening celebration in Wesley Chapel. (All photos by Charmaine George)

The Flip Flop Shop, which has been open since February 4 in the Shoppes at New Tampa plaza (across from the Shops at Wiregrass) on Bruce B. Downs Blvd., south of S.R. 56, held a Grand Opening and North Tampa Bay Chamber (NTBC) ribbon-cutting event on April 1.

Owners Traci and Kevin Taylor decided to relocate to Florida from Colorado after visiting their son for his Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) graduation from the U.S. Navy EOD School in Destin in 2018. 

The artwork displayed on the walls of their Flip Flop Shop tells the story of what compelled them to make the move to Florida, after a memorable day on the beach with their son. It was during that picturesque moment sitting on the beach looking out at the water with drinks in their hands when they looked at each other and said, “Well, this doesn’t suck.” 

After they made the move to Florida and Kevin retired, they searched for a franchise that would allow them to add their own personalities to their location.

That’s when they found Flip Flop Shops. And, even though they ended up moving to Riverview themselves, Traci, a long-time fan of Walt DisneyWorld in Orlando, said it was the family-driven culture in our area that solidified their choice to open their own Flip Flop Shop in Wesley Chapel. 

Kevin also mentioned that their choice made sense since most people in the Sunshine State wear some form of flip flops or casual wear and, “the Flip Flop Shops (company) is California-based (with more than 50 locations across North America, including now five in the Tampa Bay area), but it has a very Florida feel.”

During the North Tampa Bay Chamber (NTBC) ribbon-cutting ceremony, guests were urged to grab food and spin the prize wheel, which awarded guests a prize from one of the Flip Flop Shop’s manufacturers. The shop offers a wide variety of flip flops and casual wear, as well as accessories that support conservation and other causes. The Taylors were happy to walk guests around and show them some of their most popular brands, including Oofoos, Crocs, and Hey Dude. They even have a variety of Jibbitz charms for those who love to customize their Crocs. 

Traci and Kevin truly embody the family culture that drove them to open their Flip Flop Shop, and it showed as they interacted with guests. “We want to treat everyone who walks in the door like family,” Kevin said.

Flip Flop Shops Wesley Chapel is located at 1752 Bruce B Downs Blvd. For more information, call (813) 994-8204 or visit

PetSmart Veterinary Services

The PetSmart Veterinary Services location in The Grove held a recent Grand Opening celebration in Wesley Chapel. 

Two weeks earlier, the PetSmart at The Grove in Wesley Chapel unveiled its new Veterinary Services with a self-hosted Grand Opening and Open House on March 18.

The Grand Opening event was held on a Saturday, which meant that on your way to the back of the store where the new vet services are located, you were greeted by cats and kittens up for adoption. Rescue Cats of Florida is at PetSmart at The Grove every Saturday with cats and kittens all eager to find loving “fur-ever” homes. If you have your vet appointment on a Saturday or you’re in the area, you can stop by and see if any of the playful cats are right for you.

Veterinary partners Dr. Alejandra Navarro and Dr. Leslie Block went all out for their Grand Opening. Guests were able to meet the staff, partake in a free photo booth with their pets, eat slices of Marco’s Pizza, plus Crumbl Cookies, cupcakes and other sweets, and sign up for appointments at the Vet Services kiosk. Dr. Navarro and Dr. Block have more than 26 years of combined experience and can’t wait to meet everyone’s fur babies.

The Grove PetSmart’s Veterinary Services is a privately owned, full-service hospital offering anything from vaccines to dental work and even surgeries. They also offer walk-ins and drop-offs for those who have busy schedules, as well as a cat room where they have pheromone diffuser plug-ins and scratching posts to help make visits for your cats as easy and cat-friendly as possible. 

Dr. Navarro also is bilingual, so she can help clients who feel most comfortable communicating in Spanish. She said that she is one of those people who knew from an early age that she wanted to be a vet. 

“I like making pet care simple and accessible to clients and not overwhelming, which it sometimes can be,” she said. “I want to be there for all stages of your pet’s life, from family introductions to navigating through older age.”

You can meet Dr. Navarro, Dr. Block and their friendly staff at 6001 Wesley Grove Blvd. For more information or to book your appointment, call (813) 761-1241 or visit

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