New LGBT Business to Open in College Park

College Park is about to get a little more colorful. The space formerly occupied by Artistree Gifts in College Park has new owners that are bringing beauty, flair and embellishment to the community.

Embellish FX will open its doors October 1. The venture was formed by husband duo Ben Johansen and Tim Vargas through the purchase of Century Costumes and Century FX Studios a little over three months ago. The costume store was located on South Orange Avenue in Orlando for over 10 years.  The store has now been moved to 2628 Edgewater Drive in Orlando’s College Park mainstreet district.

Embellish FX owners Ben Johansen and Tim Vargas were recently wed in Connecticut.

Embellish FX owners Ben Johansen and Tim Vargas were recently wed in Connecticut.

“I’d been working on a concept for some sort of boutique for over a year and a half,” says Johansen.

After working in corporate America and a recent lay-off, he says everything fell into place after receiving a call from one of the owners of Century Costumes asking if he wanted to buy the name and inventory.

“From there, it all just came together the right way,” he adds.

When not performing around town as acclaimed drag persona “Eureka Fish,” Johansen will manage the boutique while Vargas will handle the business side. Fellow drag performer Blake Weston aka “Sasha Blake” will be on hand as Embellish Expert.

The beauty, costume and accessories boutique will boast jewelry by local and national designers, including Sassy Devine, Nova Star, Landon Glenn and Erik Caban.

Johansen stresses that the completely renovated 2200sq. ft. space will not just be a costume shop or “drag store.” It will offer everyone – women and men – to have a unique experience.


The 2200 sq.ft. space will take the place of Artistree Gifts in College Park.

“I’m aiming for our custumers to come in and embellish themselves from head to toe,” he says.

Besides custom costumes, they will be offering in-store events like bachelorette parties, “Wig Out” parties, consultations and the opportunity for men and women to come in and get made up for a night on the town.

“We want you to feel embellished from the inside out,” adds Weston.

Even before opening their doors, Johansen says they’ve been contacted by a number of local businesses to order costumes. Embellish FX is also in talks with ANR productions to be the 2014 sponsor of the Miss Large and Lovely and Miss Comedy Queen Pageants.

“The word of mouth has been great,” he says. “There’s been overwhelmingly positive feedback.”

An official Grand-Opening party is slated for the second week in November. They plan to have a presence in the Come Out With Pride parade in October.