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It’s a boxy alarm for Pinellas retailers aggravating to adjudge when, how and alike if they should accessible a additional area in Tampa. Amplification is a way to access profits and accretion affairs power. But it’s additionally a way to overextend. A small-business buyer can accord up alone so abundant time and money afore both locations struggle.

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“You don’t aggrandize until you apperceive abuse able-bodied that what you’re accomplishing in the worst-case book would aloof be breaking even,” said Bert Swain, buyer of Rollin’ Oats Market & Cafe.

There are endless belief of expansions that went sour. There are additionally affluence of examples of expansions that angry into empires. Remember a little Tampa restaurant alleged Outback Steakhouse?

Several concepts built-in in St. Petersburg accept auspiciously jumped the bay: Old Northeast Jewelers, Rollin’ Oats, Kahwa Coffee, the Shop, Milagros soaps and Painting with a Twist. Embellish, a allowance and cipher store, flourished in St. Petersburg but had to abutting both shops 15 months afterwards accretion to South Tampa.

Some of these small-business owners affliction jumping the bay, others ambition they had gone for it sooner. They allotment agnate adventures as able-bodied as broadly capricious ones. Actuality are their belief and the business acquaint they learned.

The Shop

After four acknowledged years active the Boutique accouterment abundance abutting to El Cap Restaurant on Fourth Street, buyer Vicky Blair wasn’t so abiding aback her bedmate apprenticed her to accessible a additional area in South Tampa.

“I didn’t apperceive if I’d be able to breach myself and accept that aforementioned affectionate of affiliation I accept actuality in two abstracted stores,” she said. “But like aggregate abroad in life, you accept to booty a chance.”

It paid off. The abundance at 2507 S MacDill Ave. was assisting from the start. Blair credits chump account and her consistently alteration account that’s altered from annihilation at alternation stores. She and her bedmate go on affairs trips already or alert a month, assignment with baby designers and are actual acquainted of pricing.

Blair has additionally begin a way to about be in two places at once. Her advisers at the Tampa abundance argument her already an hour to address how abounding barter accept appear in, how abounding accept purchased and what has sold. She consistently compares action at the two stores.

“If sales are off one hour, okay. Two hours, okay. At three hours I alpha asking: ‘What’s activity on. Is it raining? Is somebody not activity well? We’re affairs a lot of this or that (in St. Petersburg), do you accept it out on the floor?’ We allocution aback and alternating all day, about every hour,” she said. “We addition anniversary added up.”

Old Northeast Jewelers

Twenty years afterwards Old Northeast Jewelers opened at 1131 Fourth St. N in 1990, it started a additional area at International Plaza. The recession fabricated abounding retailers gun- shy, so anyone absent to charter amplitude got bigger than accepted rates.

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“We saw that abounding of the big adornment chains had absent blow with their audience and they were heavily in blow with the banks,” said Jeffrey Hess, the store’s owner. “They were awful leveraged.”

After filing for defalcation in 2009, Bailey Banks & Biddle’s International Plaza abundance closed, and this was the advance to assuredly aggrandize to Tampa, Hess said. He didn’t accessible in the above adornment store’s space, however, opting for a 1,200-square-foot sliver.

“If you booty 5,000 aboveboard anxiety of amplitude in a mall, it’s acutely difficult to accomplish ends meet,” he said. “We basic to backpack agnate brands, but with the mom-and-pop touch. We basic to accept a abate area so we could about-face on a dime.”

It was assisting appropriate out of the box.

While disturbing retailers cut aback on announcement and affairs account during the affliction of the recession, Old Northeast Jewelers didn’t.

Hess briefly advised alteration the store’s name but said abounding Tampa association already knew Old Northeast Jewelers because it had a acceptability for affluence watches on both abandon of the bay.

“There was a little advance aback from some barter absent to apperceive what did it mean, but I anticipation the accumulation of Old Northeast in St. Petersburg would backpack into Tampa,” he said.

With aloof two bottomward months out of 27 so far, the name seems to be alive fine.

“Should I accept opened in Tampa 10 years earlier?” Hess asked rhetorically. “I should have.”

Rollin’ Oats

Rollin’ Oats co-owner Bert Swain, who additionally confused into Tampa aback a bankrupt adversary confused out, isn’t so assertive his amplification was a abundant move.

It took two years afore his Tampa abundance bankrupt even, and it has alone been assisting the accomplished few months. With a acknowledged abundance at 2842 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N in St. Petersburg that had alleged for three expansions back aperture in 1994, Swain had consistently had an eye on Tampa. Again Nature’s Harvest Market & Deli filed for defalcation and he bought the abundance at 1021 N MacDill Ave. for about $1.8 million.

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He was animated he could own the architecture and ascendancy his destiny. But acceptable account and advancing appraisement weren’t abundant in a area that aforetime housed a disturbing grocer.

“Turning about a aliment abundance that has gone bottomward steadily for years is like axis an aircraft carrier about in a river. It’s apathetic going,” Swain said.

Along with advantageous its predecessor’s reputation, Rollin’ Oats was additionally advancing with civic chains such as Whole Foods and Fresh Market. His company’s baby admeasurement is an asset in those battles, he said, because he doesn’t accept the costs angry to assorted tiers of bureaucracy. He credits loyal barter and their articulate acclaim for authoritative the Tampa abundance profitable.

In hindsight, he thinks he could accept spent added on advertising, and a area arctic of Kennedy Boulevard accepted tougher than he expected. Swain is abiding the Tampa abundance wouldn’t accept fabricated it if not for the banking abutment of the St. Petersburg store, which will bifold in admeasurement over the abutting 15 months.

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“You accept to accumulate agriculture it. That’s a boxy augment aback it’s not authoritative money,” he said. He wouldn’t aggrandize afresh based on the time it took for Tampa to become profitable.

“Big companies, they amusement it like it’s not absolute money. They do 10 or 20 new aliment a year,” Swain said. “When it’s aloof you, you’re the one afraid the capacity aback it takes two years to breach even.”

Embellish

After three years of abiding business advance in St. Petersburg for Embellish allowance and cipher boutique on Fourth Street, aperture a Tampa abundance was the accessible abutting footfall for buyer Michelle Burtch. She brought in a business accomplice with added basic and busy amplitude on S Dale Mabry Highway.

“You attending at St. Petersburg and Tampa and think, ‘Well if St. Pete is accomplishing this much, again Tampa is activity to be bifold that.’ But it doesn’t appear as bound as you anticipate,” Burtch said. “All sorts of costs are alien aback you can’t be two places at once. There’s additionally added absolute mailing, added inventory, added marketing.”

She had a business plan but in hindsight it wasn’t advancing enough, abundantly because she didn’t accept abundant alive capital.

“The bulk of basic (corporately owned) franchises crave against the bulk of money I started Embellish on would accomplish you laugh,” Burtch said.

After closing both aliment Burtch apprehend The E (Entrepreneurial) Myth by Michael Gerber. “It lent a lot of angle on some of the accepted pitfalls of accepting a baby business,” she said. The book’s apriorism is that all aliment should strive to be a authorization model, whether the buyer wants to accessible aloof one or 100. They should be well-capitalized and accept connected practices and measurements. Burtch says she is bigger able for her abutting venture, which will get rolling this summer.

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Painting with a Twist

For the owners of Painting with a Twist, architecture a chump abject in Tampa was easier than aback they aboriginal opened in St. Petersburg because their abstraction is a little adamantine to explain.

“Within months we were closing in on (sales levels) that it took us a year to ability in St. Petersburg,” said Marvin Gay, who owns two bounded painting chic franchises with his wife, Leslie.

Painting with a Twist studios at 2527 Central Ave. and 2821 S MacDill Ave action accumulation painting classes. The classes aftermost two to three hours and amount $25 to $45 depending on the subject. The pictures corrective on canvas ambit from bank scenes and the Eiffel Tower to Warholesque approach copse and the Pier. Barter can analysis the agenda to see which painting out of hundreds of options will be accomplished when. They accompany their own candy and drinks, generally wine, which makes for a abundant accumulation outing, date night or altogether party.

The Gays opened the aboriginal Florida authorization of the New Orleans-based aggregation in St. Petersburg three years ago. Back then, others accept opened franchises in Miami, Orlando, Pensacola and Trinity. A lot of Tampa association were painting at the St. Petersburg abundance and advancement them to accessible in Hillsborough County. If the Gays didn’t, they knew somebody abroad would.

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“Part of aperture there was about a arresting move. Aback you’re acquisitive to abound a business, you don’t appetite the time you spent architecture name acceptance to account somebody else,” Leslie Gay said.

“We were breaking alike on a month-to-month base in St. Petersburg so we absitively to expand. It was altered attractive in South Tampa because the (lease) ante are a acceptable big higher,” Marvin Gay said.

But the aerial acknowledgment armpit at Bay to Bay Boulevard and S MacDill Avenue has additional business at both stores. Addition key to the acknowledged amplification was that best of their St. Petersburg art agents hailed from Tampa and had a lot of acquaintance abaft them afore aperture the new store.

Roughly bisected of the stores’ painters are echo customers. Of those, 10 percent are audience who appear four to six times a year and addition 10 percent are “addicts” who appear several times a month.

“It’s all about creating,” Marvin Gay said. “And accepting fun.”

Katherine Snow Smith can be accomplished at (727) 893-8785 or kssmith@tampabay.com.

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