This site is not affiliated with Custom Creations Café & Bakery

Pickford's photo courtesy of John V. Cinchett

Special thanks to Marie Lesiak Haley for this detailed history of Pickford's.

Custom Creations Café & Bakery is located in the historic Pickford’s Sundries Drugstore building. The drugstore was one of Tampa’s most well-known for over 50 years and was one of the last family-owned drugstores of that era. In 1949, when Pickford’s opened on a four-lane highway called Hillsborough, it was nestled between two trailer camps. Bordering one trailer camp was a big open field full of pecan trees, wild roses and monstrous live oaks. The open field is now the Publix shopping center. An old house built in the early 1900s was the only structure on the property. In front of the old house, fishing poles stood to advertise a bait and tackle business. (That old house still exists and is at the very back of the Pickford’s property.)

Grandfather, Casimir Lesiak, moved his small family from Scranton, PA, to build Pickford’s and start his third and final business. Grandfather Lesiak did not realize that he would start a business that would be open for 52 years and would encompass the lives of many of the people who grew up in West Tampa and Seminole Heights.   Thousands of people spent their childhoods and their allowances buying comics, toys, sodas, ice cream sundaes and milk shakes at the neighborhood drugstore. In those 52 years, the two main people you would have met behind the counter and running the show were Grandfather’s son, Cas Lesiak, and his wife, Jo. If you came in the evening, you would also have known Frank Lesiak, Cas’s brother. Jo and Cas’s three kids were usually at a back table doing their homework or, when they were done, reading Mad Magazine or comic books, or having an ice cream treat.   It was a time when people met at Pickford’s on a daily basis and became one extended family. (In the 1950s, Cas and Frank’s only sister, Mary Lesiak, also worked in the store, but left after about seven years to start a family of her own.) Everything stayed pretty constant until the 1990s when Cas, Jo and Frank died. The store was boarded up and remained closed until it was reincarnated as a bakery café in 2009 by Michelle DiMicco and her family.  See interior photos when it was still in business.

Custom Creations Café & Bakery
2606 W. Hillsborough Avenue

Building owner Marie Lesiak Haley, grand-daughter of Pickford's founder, received many offers from prospective occupants.  She turned down offers for a pawn shop, hot dog stand, and an office for a bankruptcy lawyer.  Marie was hoping for a business that would respect and remember Tampa's past, the former glory of Pickford's, and remain open to the public.

Lifelong resident of Seminole Heights and bakery owner Michelle DiMicco was always fascinated with the architecture and ambience of the building.  She contacted Marie in 2008 after tracking her down from city tax collector records.  Michelle sent Marie a letter describing her desire to open a bakery and cafe in the building, and preserve the memory of Pickford's.  It was like a dream come true for Marie Lesiak Haley.


Update - June 2013

Custom Creations Cafe & Bakery became "Mikey's Custom Creations Cafe and Bakery and closed at this historic location.  They're now located at 6114 N. Central Ave., Tampa, FL 33604 in Historic Old Seminole Heights.  Their website is still the same URL.

Custom Creations' grand opening was April 1, 2009.  The bakery and café is like a time capsule of Pickford's history.  The old soda fountain sits behind the serving counter.  The original ice cream cooler sits near the front door.  Glass cases display original inventory from the drugstore.


Artifacts from the drugstore’s past are arrayed on shelves and in showcases, including quaintly named elixirs from several decades back. Tables feature classic LPs, 45s, and fifties memorabilia under the glass tops.  An old vacuum tube tester sits at the front windows, with a sign that humorously points "mean people" to the front door, and a vintage Starlet juke box sits against the wall in an area made to resemble a dance floor.   

Michelle has created an old-fashioned luncheonette style gathering spot where you can enjoy a mouth-watering selection of food, drink and desserts.  A wide selection of fresh, delicious breakfast items, sandwiches, soups, salads, coffee, drinks & old fashioned sodas, custom cakes as well as many types of desserts can be had at modest prices.  You can even enjoy a traditional cup of hot Cuban café con leche and toast.

The café is as modern as it is nostalgic, with Wi Fi capable tables. Marie Lesiak Haley, building owner, and author John V. Cinchett.  John was on hand Friday, August 7th, for his book-signing at Custom Creations. John's grandfather and father made the original neon sign for Pickford's.  His book, Vintage Tampa Neon Signs & Scenes, features hundreds of never before published photos of Tampa in the Fifties and Sixties.  Marie's grandfather and father founded Pickford's and named it after silent film star Mary Pickford because "Lesiak" was difficult to pronounce.  “He admired Mary Pickford because she was an independent woman,” remembers Haley.
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