By Gary Nager
When you’ve been doing the same job in the same area for nearly two decades, it can be easy to forget how hard other people also have worked to stay in business in the same area.
A case in point is You Do the Dishes (YDTD), the New Tampa area’s only Paint Your Own Pottery Studio, located in the same Shoppes of Amberly plaza (off Amberly Dr. in Tampa Palms) where our office has been located for more than ten years. Even so, I somehow didn’t remember that owner Cindy Kozlowski has been helping parents in the New Tampa area keep their kids occupied with something other than video games now for 15 years!
“This place is like an extension of my house,” says Cindy. “My own children are grown, but I love plants, children and animals and I get to have them all in my ‘house’ here.”
Marketing director and art educator Herb Pinder, who has been running YDTD’s Summer Art Workshops (see info below) for nearly a decade, originally came to YDTD as a customer who enjoyed painting the unique variety of pottery items available at YDTD, has been Cindy’s trusted friend and co-worker ever since and he agrees that a big reason for YDTD’s success where so many others have tried and failed in this area, is the “family feel” of the place.
“Coming here to paint is like going to a family reunion every week,” says Herb. “You can’t fake the kind of sincerity and caring about her customers that Cindy’s always had here.”
Cindy says one thing that amazes her is when young people now in college and older come back to YDTD to visit — some of whom end up working at the fun studio and coffee, tea and more shop.
“One of our employees, Emma, started coming here to paint with her mom when she was 8 years old,” says Cindy.” “Now, she teaches art here and also is an accomplished artist herself.” Emma painted the beautiful portrait that hangs in the studio of Cindy’s long-time pet and YDTD celebrity, Elly Kozlowski, who passed away at 17 years old. Emma even has her own “Mary Emma Sims Pet Portraiture” business (call 774-1587). A part-time employee, Wharton High grad and Sickles High english teacher Jenny Buccino had a recent bridal shower thrown for her by Cindy at the studio.
Specials & More
You Do the Dishes is always getting in a variety of new pieces to paint and offers different specials every day. Monday is “Ladies Night Out,” when you can paint from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. for just $8 (cost of items painted not included). Then, there’s “Flat Rate Tuesday,” offering five hours of fun from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for just $10; “Senior Day” is all day Wednesday, when those ages 55+ pay just a $6 flat rate to paint all day; Thursday is “College Night,” when students with college I.D. paint for just $8 from 7 p.m.-10 p.m.; “Freaky Fridays” are for kids 13 and under, who paint (with their parents) for $4 per hour after 5 p.m.; Saturday is “Friends Night,” when you can bring a friend in after 5 p.m. and you both get to paint for half price; and on “Super Sundays,” all painters receive a flat rate of $8 to paint from 7 p.m.-10 p.m.
And of course, YDTD is a perfect locale for birthday parties, Scout troops, school field trips, office parties, bridal and baby showers and of course, summer fun, as well as delicious coffee, tea, smoothies and other beverages, plus fresh cookies and even Bruster’s Real Ice Cream.
Summer Paint Workshops
If your child age 7-13 loves art, YDTD has a great summer camp program that has been a huge hit at the studio for the past eight years. The Summer Art Workshops feature expert instruction in a wide variety of artistic media, including color theory, abstract art, pastels, acrylic painting, watercolors, drawing and yes, pottery painting, too.
“The workshops do fill up,” says Herb. “Every year, we’ve had to turn away some applicants.” In other words, don’t wait too long before signing up your child(ren). There will be six weekly workshops again this year and the $220 weekly cost to attend includes expert instruction and all art materials, although the campers are expected to bring their own lunches.
“Seeing and hearing people talk about art is one thing,” says Herb. “But, actually getting the hands-on experience, instruction and exposure to the techniques is another thing entirely.”
You Do The Dishes is located at 15357 Amberly Dr. in Tampa Palms. For more info, call 975-1700 or visit YouDoTheDishes.com.