BRANDON — Rane Robinson is aware of the orange tide that recently rolled into his neighborhood.
Despite the buzz surrounding the 24-hour pick up kiosk at the corporately franchised Tide Dry Cleaners, he still decided to test the competitive waters less than 1 ½ miles away.
Call it David versus Goliath, Power 5 college football against Group of 5 or just good ole fashioned commercialism battling another mom and pop.
Robinson opened his Tampa Bay Dry Cleaners at 931 East Bloomingdale Ave. a few weeks prior to the Tide hype machine and feels he can compete on the latter.
"Ultimately what I was trying to accomplish, was to merge being an entrepreneur with doing something good for the environment and I wanted everything to be as local as possible," Robinson said, pointing to machines from Tampa’s Unipress Corporation.
He likes the location in Bloomingdale Square because he said Publix plans to move across the parking lot into the former, larger Walmart location when that current lease expires and that L.A. Fitness plans to take over the current Bloomingdale Publix spot.
Tampa Bay Dry Cleaners features GreenEarth Cleaning that implements a liquid silicone — think liquified sand — instead of the old school, petroleum-based solvents to launder up to 100 shirts an hour (zero broken buttons so far) and rack up to 1,000 items at a time.
Robinson said his biggest advantage might be the people he has working there. Tampa Bay Dry Cleaners features a seamstress onsite who does alterations, custom clothing, repairs and even a last-second wedding dress fix.
A shoe cobbler can repair your expensive footwear or any leather item and a spot removing expert oversees stain elimination in a consistent fashion, so your Tommy Bahama shirt doesn’t get ruined.
Robinson, an Apollo Beach resident whose family has local ties dating back 40 years, gave up his career as an investment adviser after 17 years to create a place where "you can come here all the time and hang out and watch World Cup."
He already knows the names and routines of regulars who want their dress shirts pressed for $2.50 or dresses cleaned for $9.50. He’s onsite from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and sometimes his daughters, Olivia, 10 and Sophia, 6, "help" out as well.
The store also operates Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and has future plans to add a drop box and delivery service (with durable garment bags) to combat the 24-hour kiosk at Tide.
Robinson has cleaned everything from a hand-woven 1960s framed fabric art piece to antique clothing and couch cushions. For the men seeking a unique gift idea, he suggests his "anniversary special."
Bring in all your bedding the day before your anniversary (duvet, comforter, sheets and pillow cases) and for $50 your wife might be impressed – under one condition.
"I won’t do it for you if you’re going to hand it to her," Robinson said. "You’ve got to put it on yourself."
After 35 years, builder rejuvenates in Valrico
To celebrate 35 years in business, Sunrise Homes recently enjoyed a grand reopening and invites new home buyers to visit their design center at 3658 Erindale Drive in Valrico.
Future owners can choose from a myriad of options – tile floors or wall-to-wall wood, wainscoting walls in the dining room or fancy tile designs in the kitchen and more.
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