Hampton Station of Hillsborough County
“I moved out here because I knew the way the neighborhood was trending and I love the artistic scene and the general vibe of the area and the growth that I saw could happen here,” he said.
Seeing the potential for growth, coupled with the need for a reasonably priced restaurant in the area, Taylor decided to open Hampton Station three and a half years ago. Hampton Station is a craft beer and pizza restaurant.
“Right now, it’s popular to have a lot of restaurants around here that are a little more on the higher end and I felt it was a good fit for the neighborhood,” he said.
But Taylor didn’t want to just open a restaurant. He wanted to be able to grow the business as he saw fit, without having to answer to someone else or risk the loss of a lease. He needed to purchase the building. In order to do that, he knew he’d have to have his finances in order, as well as a sound business plan.
While he has a finance degree from the University of South Florida dating back to 2000, he knew he would need an outside set of eyes to look over things before he reached out to a bank for financing.
For assistance in these areas, he contacted the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida, and business consultant, Bill Burnham. Burnham reviewed Taylor’s business plan and introduced him to the online software program, LivePlan.
“The information he showed me how to get and obtain and the programs that he’s introduced me to helped me to understand our business in the pure numbers sense,” Taylor said.
Throughout the past year of working with the Florida SBDC at USF, Hampton Station has grown approximately 15 percent, and Taylor was able to secure the business loan needed to purchase the property.
“I would say our biggest achievement is the gains we’ve made,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of struggles in the area that were unforeseen…but we’ve made it through all that and we continue to grow.
“That was our ultimate goal – to buy the property so that we were in control of our own destiny so to speak. Our rent is no longer just going out the door.”
Taylor said the Florida SBDC at USF will also be a continued resource for him as he grows the business.
“It’s good to have somebody to lean on because sometimes in business you tend to get tunnel vision and just focus on the day-to-day stuff without actually stepping back and looking at everything in the broader picture.”