Raining Berries of Hillsborough County
Business owner, Ian Clementson, brings a fresh new business to the Temple Terrace/USF area of Tampa with Raining Berries , an açaí, smoothie and coffee shop. As an Air National Guardsman with little experience in business, Clementson was interested in owning a business, but wasn’t set on what type of business venture he would ultimately choose.
After hearing great things about a possible franchising opportunity with Raining Berries, Clementson and his wife decided to visit the original store in the Lutz area and found exactly what they were searching for. Clementson quickly realized that owning such a store would require a certain amount of business capital and planning.
Knowing he needed help with the new business venture, Clementson reached out to the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at University of South Florida (USF) for guidance to obtain a business loan that would get the ball rolling.
“I’m all new to this business venture, so I did my research and one of the things I read online was, I heard about the SBDC at USF and it was fairly simple,” he said. “I just went to the website and I chose a consultant, set some times, and then Bill basically contacted me.”
The future business owner was then paired with Florida SBDC at USF business consultant, Bill Burnham, in efforts to guide him through the requirements needed to successfully obtain an U.S. Small Business Association loan.
“He helped me with my business plan and market research, with comparative coffee shops in the area and national research,” Clementson said. “Like, how much they expect to make and also the area, [the] population, income, and all of those things.” All of this preparation led to the development of a loan application package.
With the help of his business consultant, Clementson has started his brick-and-mortar business, obtained an SBA loan and now has approximately 18 employees.
Clementson is currently engaged with a Student Team, a service that pairs business owners with an SBDC consultant and a team from a university graduate class, that will eventually provide a usable strategic marketing plan.
“I meet with them I think every four weeks,” Clementson said of the Student Team engagement. “We meet and discuss the things that they can help me with. They’ll have the final presentation at the beginning of next month and they’re going to basically bring ideas for marketing, so signage, employee recognition, and a few other things.”
Since working with Burnham and the student team, Clementson’s business has gone being an idea, to a full-fledged shop with employees. Employees that he’s very grateful for given the current workforce economy.
“I was very nervous because when we opened up the business, we kept on hearing that nobody wants to work and all that,” he said. “We’ve been very, very fortunate to have the staff that we have. We have about 18 staff total right now. We’ve just been honored to have them. They really help us; they’ve been an awesome asset.”
Moving forward, Clementson will continue using the Florida SBDC at USF and reach out to Burnham with any questions that arise. “He’s like my personal helper, you know, and I just book some time on his calendar and that’s my plan moving forward.”