If you have driven down Cypress Street in Tampa between Howard and Rome, you’ve undoubtedly seen a new mural being installed on the south side of the street. Designed by Carlos Pons, one of Tampa’s premier mural artists, it’s a traffic stopper. But what was it before? What was the journey that led to this point?
Wood Window Makeover moved into its current space in July of 2012 after having begun in a two car garage in Seminole Heights. When I started, I could park my truck in the garage and still work. Word got around and our business grew to the point that we had to move - out the city stopped taking our trash.
So where did we go? I was on my way back, in the Wood Window Makeover Van, from a job in St. Petersburg, having found a couple of doors in the trash, I stopped by Schiller's Architectural Salvage on Cypress, because I just couldn't stand to see perfectly good antique doors go to waste. Through conversation the owner of Schiller's pointed across the street to the vacant building and said "You should talk to that guy who owns that building - his name is Ben." I'd have to hunt him down. Turns out it wasn't that hard.
As I drove away and turned off of Cypress onto Rome Ave., my phone rang. I answered and a guy said he just saw me pass by in the van and wanted to ask me about the windows. Turned around and stopped to talk to him. It was Ben. I kid you not. We struck a deal and he gave me three months rent free and no deposit in exchange for some window work. I was so scared because up until that point the business had worked rent free out of my Seminole Heights garage. But I pulled the trigger and walked into a place I'd never been.