The lowdown on what’s up with neighborhood businesses

David Nicolato has been making rain barrels for friends, family and charity for the past couple of years after attending a seminar on eco-friendly ideas for your home. This thrifty LH resident was inspired to create his own rain barrel in an attempt to save his family some money. After “lots of tweaks on design, styles and functionality to the rain barrels, our business, Rain Barrel Guys, became an official business a few months ago,” Nicolato says, adding that the response to his rain barrels has been great so far. (FYI, the other “guy” of Rain Barrel Guys is 2-year-old Jacob Nicolato. David and his wife, Cortney, are expecting their next child at the end of June — actually, another “guy” to add to the family biz.) Nicolato is offering Advocate readers 10 percent off the purchase of a rain barrel or 15 percent off the purchase of two or more barrels. Call 214.341.6369 or e-mail rainbarrelguys@gmail.com for pricing and information.

Aggie’s African Restaurant will soon open at Skillman just north of LBJ in the spot where Boston Burgers lived for a few months. Owner Aggie Akpo says she will schedule a grand opening and has plans to promote the new restaurant all over town in the upcoming months. The eatery will be open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily for lunch and dinner, dine-in or takeout.

Lake Highlands residents Dave Anderson and Scott Clouse started up Redo Guys (redoguys.com) two years ago. Often, you can find their truck in the L Streets redoing bathrooms, kitchens and what-not. Anderson was in the construction biz prior to starting Redo Guys. He got the bug after re-doing his own L Streets home, neighbors liked what he did, and the rest is history. “We mostly remodel kitchens, bathrooms and do whole house updates,” Anderson says, “but we will also cater to Realtor needs, which entail some foundation repair, electrical panel updates, general painting and flooring services.” Kitchen and bath redos are pretty popular in LH (seriously, was there a major surplus of “Golden Girl” pink and seafoam green porcelain tile in the ’50s or what?). And here’s a fun fact: After 40-plus years of bachelorhood, Clouse was married just last month.

A Jackson Hewitt tax service office has opened up in the spot that was formerly Earl’s Postal Center (which was formerly Mary’s Postal Center) on Walnut Hill near Audelia.

Patti Muzingo has lived in Lake Highlands since the mid-’90s. After a stint as the assistant coach for the KC Sharks swim team in 2003, Muzingo realized she wanted to start her own business teaching little ones to find their swimmin’ fins. In April 2004, Muzingo launched School of Fish, and 115 swimmers enrolled for swim lessons that summer. Now, she has 250-plus students each summer. School of Fish offers small classes with a maximum of four swimmers in each class, and sessions are 30 minutes over a two-week period (Monday through Thursday) for $150. Swimmers must be three or older and are grouped by like ability. With a passion for the water herself, Muzingo has been swimming competitively since she was six and still competes for Dallas Aquatic Masters. Contact Muzingo about School of Fish class times and availability at patti_monzingo@yahoo.com or 214.342.8733.

By the time Lindsay Baronoskie moved to Lake Highlands a few years ago with her husband and three children, she had made a name for herself in the Dallas area, not only as an active participant in several community organizations (such as board member for the Lake Highlands Area Early Childhood PTA), but also as an accomplished photographer. She started her photog biz, Cherished Lens Photography (cherishedlens.com), six years ago and offers a range of services for families, couples, pets, weddings and parties; you name it, she’ll shoot it. Two of Baronoskie’s most famous subjects are Anthony Hopkins and Smokey Robinson, whom she photographed when they performed with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. “While photographing Anthony Hopkins, I couldn’t stop thinking about Hannibal Lecter,” she says. Mention that you read about Baronoskie in the Advocate, and you’ll receive a free CD of your pics with your package.

Got specs? A couple of local businesses are drop spots for OneSight, a family of charitable vision-care programs dedicated to improving vision through outreach, research and education. OneSight collects gently used prescription eyewear and non-prescription sunglasses to recycle and hand-deliver to clinics in developing countries. So if you’ve recently had Lasik or just happen to have lots of old prescription eyeglasses lying around, take them to Target Optical Center (in the Skillman and Abrams Super Target) or Pearle Vision, 8989 Skillman.