Tim Tepe; Co-owner, Tepe Upholstery & RefinishingTim Tepe; Co-owner, Tepe Upholstery & Refinishing

“We reupholster and build furniture—beds, headboards—and we do a lot of wood refinishing. My great-grandfather started the business in the 1920s in South Bend, Ind., and we’ve been in business here in Sarasota since 1978. During the downturn, it wasn’t as busy as normal. We cut back hours and watched the money a little more closely—how we purchased supplies, etc.—so we didn’t have to fire any of our 15 employees. It started picking up again in 2010. We’re not exactly back to the go-go years, but it’s getting better. We’re keeping everybody busy, so I can’t complain.”

Brian Seymour; Co-owner and manager, Anna Maria General StoreBrian Seymour; Co-owner and manager, Anna Maria General Store

“We bought the store in February 2010. It was a little convenience store, and since then we’ve grown our deli business five-fold and expanded greatly upon our wine and specialty beer selections. That first year, we had a chalkboard and took customer suggestions about what they’d like us to carry; they must have filled that chalkboard up dozens of times. We’ve had a fantastic 2012 so far. Conservatively, business was up 20 percent for us during high season, and it’s continuing to hold. From everything I’m hearing from the rental companies up and down the island, it’s going to be a very good summer season, too.”

Jill Luke; General manager, Patriot Self-StorageJill Luke; General manager, Patriot Self-Storage

“We’ve been open in North Port for three years, with almost 1,800 storage units overall in two locations. Business has been phenomenal, even during this down time; 150 percent year over year in 2011, and right now we’re near 50 percent capacity in one location and 42 percent in the other. I attribute it to marketing and to giving back to the community; I belong to 16 local organizations and we sponsor Boy Scout troops, baseball and soccer teams, Toys for Tots, etc. At our Talon Bay location, we have lots of snowbirds who rent smaller units. In our Bobcat Village facility, it’s the opposite: A lot of families live nearby and they move; plus we’ve seen foreclosures and short sales, and a whole lot of family moving in with family temporarily. They needed a place to store their things.”

 

Reader Meter

“If the economy looked better, would you be looking for a new job?”

42%

Yes, definitely

17%

I did and found a new job

25%

No, I’m happy where I am

17%

I'm Looking and haven't found a new job

 

Trend Spotter

The median net worth of American families fell by almost $50,000, from $126,400 to $77,300, a decline of 39 percent, between 2007 and 2012. This brings median net worth back to its level in 1992.

SOURCE: Federal Reserve

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