Category: Florida

Did I Wake Up in East Berlin?

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Driving to my office in Downtown St. Petersburg, FL has me passing by Tropicana Field where the Rays play baseball and opening ceremonies for the RNC will be held Sunday night. The barricades normally used to create the Grand Prix track on our bucolic city streets have been moved into place around the stadium and around the Police Station and fences have been reinforced with barbed wire at the top.

Berlin Wall in 1962

Buildings in Downtown Tampa near the convention center are being boarded up on the first 3 levels and employees have been told not to report to work next week. A stash of bricks and pipes were found on a roof in Tampa allegedly to be used as weapons. Rumors of Anarchists sleeping in local parks filling plastic “Easter Eggs” with acid abound.

Am I the only one that thinks this is messed up? When did we become so divisive as a people and not united that we fill Easter Eggs with acid to make our point? How did we lose our ability to peacefully sit down across the table from one another and work out our differences for the benefit of us all? What happened to creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and working a compromise? In any compromise we win some points and lose on others. This is The United States of America not East Germany. It is hard to blame the police and secret service for their over the top response to the threats both real and imagined. If they were not this proactive and anarchy did reign through Tampa Bay over the next week certainly some enterprising trial attorney would sue for billions.

No matter your personal political leanings I think we can agree that bringing riots and mayhem to this discussion would make our NewYorkDesigner ill and it eliminate any credibility from the argument.

Here is a classic video clip of the last American President that cut across party lines and united our country…

You can also view the link in YouTube by cutting and pasting this link: http://youtu.be/C-PSq2dy754

Categories: Florida, St. Petersburg Tags: Tags: , ,

Young Men with Unlimited Capital Seek Compelling Investment Opportunities

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By David Repka

In an earlier blog post I mentioned my relationship with a “socially conscious” investor looking to invest equity in companies (and commercial real estate projects) that can get Floridians back to work.  If that post was the view from 50,000 feet let me bring the view down to 10,000 feet so some additional details can be seen. We have been honored to view dozens of business plans and have clarified what our investors like and more importantly, what they don’t like. What we like so far:

    • Medical Practice Management Companies (Dental – Urgent Care – specialty)
    • Medical Office Buildings in close proximity to hospitals
    • Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) / Memory Care Facilities
    • Hotels (2.5 star or better – we would call newer, purpose built Holiday Inn Express / Hilton Garden Inn the base of what we are seeking)
    • Single Tenant Retail Leased to Credit Tenants / Small Retail Centers Leased to Nationally Known Tenants / Retail Shopping Centers that are Old, Tired, Riddled with Vacancies and Need a Refresh
    • Green Businesses focused on Recycling & Sustainable Practices
    • Open to new ideas that are logical, repeatable and scalable

Florida is first… Texas is next!

While the politicians in Washington and on the campaign trail talk and talk about creating jobs, I’m aligned with investors that are actually writing checks. If you have an opportunity to discuss please call me, send me an email or a connection request on LinkedIn. Our investors obviously can’t do every deal, but promise to review your presentation quickly and get you a definitive “yes” or “no” answer rather than a long, drawn out “maybe”.

Can your business create 50+ jobs in Florida if you had access to capital?

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What is the biggest limitation to growing your business? Is it access to capital? If it is…. I’m working with a socially conscious investor that will back startups, leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations & growth plans for businesses that are creating jobs in Florida (sorry, not interested in any other states or countries at this point). We are looking to allocate capital to experienced entrepreneurs that have the ability to create jobs in the Sunshine State.

The ideal business sells/manufactures/distributes/produces or is a service that folks:

  • Want
  • Need
  • Can’t live without

It should also:

  • Offer unlimited opportunities at entrepreneurial scale not just opportunities for multi-billion dollar multi-national corporations
  • Be logical / repeatable / scalable / cookie-cutterable
  • Have physical / financial / intellectual barriers to entry
  • Be an industry you are proud to tell your mother or your kids about
  • Be managed by an entrepreneur with a spotless reputation for quality, integrity and character
  • Have the ability to create 50+ jobs per year

If we are not already connected on LinkedIn, please send me a connection request  and let’s begin a dialogue.

Categories: Florida Tags: Tags: , ,

Beer Breakfast 2011 is this Saturday… Madness or Genius?

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A few years back my brother, Jared Repka, moved from Clearwater Beach to the big city… actually, the Old Northeast Section of St. Petersburg, FL. Early one Saturday morning in 2002 he was running errands along Central Avenue in Downtown St. Pete when something stopped him cold… where there were people actually sitting  at a bar at 8am drinking beer? His initial horror was soon replaced with,  ”Why aren’t I drinking beer at 8am on a Saturday morning?” and then a better more gracious thought crept into this former Catholic Schoolboy’s brain… “Why don’t I invite some friends to drink beer WITH me next Saturday morning?”

And so it began… Beer Breakfast started out as a lark on a rainy Saturday morning… just an excuse to start drinking beer with a few friends a bit earlier than normal. The head count grew slowly at first, since most people thought he was some kind of  “social deviant” for getting people together to drink beer/Bloody Mary’s/Mimosas, eat donuts and play Jenga at 9am on a perfectly good Saturday morning (especially a Saturday with no college football game).

Lighting struck was when he matched up Beer Breakfast with a really cool local sporting event, The St. Petersburg Grand Prix. This anchored our event to the St. Pete Community and to a specific date on the calendar. As soon as the Indy Racing League announces the date of the race… we know when the next Beer Breakfast will be. This helped us build the event with friends coming in from far off Buffalo, New Orleans & North Carolina to partake (this year we will have folks in town from Canada). It was the once a year event bringing family and friends together without the drama and sniping of the typical family reunion or having to relive the humiliation and degradation of high school dodgeball with the Class of ’84.

As we grew in numbers (100+ attendees each of the past 3 years) we though that this is a great event, but wouldn’t it also be a cool way to support local charities? Since we were already printing up funky collectible tee shirts for each event… we got the bright idea to sell the tee shirts and donate the money to a handpicked local charity. For the past 3 years we have been honored to support The Children’s Dream Fund with all the gracious proceeds raised to help kids with a life-threatening illness fulfill a dream.

While we continue our love and support for The Children’s Dream Fund, the incredibly tragic recent loss of three St. Petersburg police officers has given rise to an immediate need and show of support to fallen officer’s families both spiritually and economically. With the officers in our hearts and prayers we feel it our duty to lend our support by donating this years’ Beer Breakfast proceeds to their families.

This year when we bring hundreds of folks together to celebrate our 10th Annual Beer Breakfast we will lift our glasses in a setting of REVELRY-FELLOWSHIP-SANCTUARY and remember that all gave some, but some gave all and “but for the Grace of God there go I”.

Beer Breakfast isn’t just a party… it’s merriment with a mission.

There is no cover charge to join the party. In order to raise money we will be holding a silent auction with items donated by local friends and business owners, selling awesome t-shirts, 50/50 raffle, monetary donations and a percentage of bar sales from our event location host, The Mandarin Hide will help us realize our goal.

Please join us for breakfast….. beer breakfast….. from 9am to 2pm on Saturday, March 26th. If you can’t make it… please buy a tee shirt or send a donation to Sun Coast Law Enforcement Charities. So I ask… is this Madness or Genius?

Categories: Florida Tags: Tags: , , ,

The Best Way to Destroy the Recovering Florida Economy

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The best way to destroy the recovering Florida economy is to vote “YES” on Amendment 4 this November. Amendment 4 will cost jobs, raise taxes and devastate Florida’s economy.

The term “Hometown Democracy” is a brilliant marketing and branding move that will have the exact opposite result. Local governments will be crippled by the rules, regulations and litigation and the Hometown “disciples” will achieve their victory when no development ever happens again.

To quote Tampa real estate broker Eric Odum, “I am all about controlled growth, but this bill will send Florida’s economy in to a tailspin that would take decades from which to recover. Its funny how many hate construction and development, but those same people don’t want to pay for an educational system that would make our state more fertile for developing other industries. Face it. We are married to the construction industry in Florida and passing this bill would be a serious nail in the coffin.”

A local version of Amendment 4 has been “thoroughly tested” in the county where I live, Pinellas County. The small Florida town of St. Pete Beach has been a Hometown Democracy experiment turned bad. According to the normally left-leaning St. Petersburg Times, the measure has been “divisive, expensive and an impediment to much-needed redevelopment.” Since adopting a local version of Amendment 4, the citizens of St. Pete Beach have seen nearly a dozen lawsuits that have cost local taxpayers over half a million dollars in legal fees. When SanJoseWebservices voters approved four pro-economy changes to their comprehensive plan in 2008, Amendment 4 lawyers sued to overturn the election. More than a year after voting to change their comprehensive plan, the people of St. Pete Beach are still defending their vote in court. The St. Petersburg Times concludes that Amendment 4 “invites short-term thinking and frequent referendums that are even more susceptible to well-financed campaigns by powerful interests.”

I’ll be voting “NO” this November. Please watch this short video to learn more:

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Dale Chihuly’s version of Never-Never Land Opens in St. Petersburg

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By: Jon Reno La Budde

This collection is the RenoWebdesigns of St. Pete’s already fine and numerous galleries and museums.

Many of us, including myself, had pre-conceived notions of what blown glass artwork would look like. I say hold on to that thought, and then go for a tour of the gallery. The pleasant shock & amazement will carry you through the day. At the risk of using an overused saying ‘If you don’t believe me go see it for yourself’. This is where I urge you to pack up the kids and the ‘rents and take a trip to Dale Chihuly’s version of Never-Never Land. I hope to see you there.

[DAVE’S COMMENT: My 14-year old daughter visited the museum in July and thought it was “really cool”. High praise from a teenager! ]

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