Tampa tea shop owner's jazz events thrill crowds looking for safe fun during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 6:10 AM, Jun 02, 2020

NEW TAMPA, Fla. — Arlene Brooks is the owner of specialty shop Coffee Speaks, Tea Talks. Like most Florida businesses, she was forced to close when officials issued the Safer at Home order.

After being allowed to reopen her New Tampa tea shop, Brooks came up with the idea of "Jazz Under the Stars in Your Cars." She hoped the event would generate foot traffic.

The plan was to hold a tailgate party in her parking lot where customers would sit in their cars or outside in lawn chairs and listen to Tampa Bay area jazz musicians performing live.

Popular DJ Reese Elliot spun tunes and served as the emcee. He pumped the crowd up saying, “When we first stated this we had 62 people. The second time, we had 100. This past Saturday they counted 155 people in the crowd.”

Brooks was stunned.

“I was more than surprised! It just keeps growing and growing and growing,” said Brooks.

The size of the crowd is increasing simply by word of mouth and through social media.

Brooks says many people are just looking for a fun, family-friendly safe way to have fun and relax. She is more than happy to provide the venue.

The next “Jazz Under the Stars in Your Cars” is set for Saturday, June 20 at 7 p.m. You can call ahead or visit the tea shop's website to order food.