Sunday, May 20, 2018
Business

New Port Richey diner celebrates 10 years in business

NEW PORT RICHEY — Ten years ago, when John and Nancy Caposey decided to open a family restaurant, they faced a predictable hurdle.

"We were penniless," said Nancy, 45. "We went to six different banks and they all turned us down."

But the owners of the diner they were eyeing supported the couple's goal. So they tried another way. The Small Business Administration agreed to assist the Caposeys in acquiring a loan from a private investor. Plus they "sold the house, scrimped and saved, borrowed a little from my sister," said John, 52.

It worked.

This month, the Caposeys celebrate 10 years as owners of Caposey's Whole Works Restaurant in New Port Richey. In honor of the anniversary, the diner donated 10 percent of Wednesday's sales, plus donations — for a total of $531 — to the local Center for Independence nonprofit.

"I wanted to give back to my community, because these are the people who support me," Nancy said.

The business opened first in 1977 as a doughnut shop called "Hole" Works. It was renamed Whole Works when it became a diner, and changed to Caposey's when John and Nancy bought it in 2004.

Nancy has worked as a server, hostess and manager in other restaurants since she was 16. John's dad owned diners in Chicago since John was 11.

"I was washing dishes on weekends, and just kind of got stuck in the business," he said. "I've been cooking my whole life."

The decision to open their own place came after Nancy lost her job at a restaurant in Clearwater in 2002. John also worked there, as kitchen manager.

"We didn't want to be doing it for somebody else until we retire or die," he said. But with independence came trials.

Six months after the Caposeys took over the restaurant, a series of hurricanes caused $30,000 in damage. The restaurant flooded and needed a new roof. Part of the ceiling had to be replaced.

Over the decade, property and flood insurance costs went up. So did minimum wage.

"When the economy took a plummet, we prayed to God every day," Nancy said.

The work never stopped. No raises, no vacations.

"We're owner-operators. He was cooking seven days a week. I was waiting tables seven days a week," Nancy said.

"But I don't regret doing it," said John, who still cooks. Nancy, who works as a hostess, doesn't either.

"It's like Cheers, minus the alcohol," Nancy said.

If you're a regular, Nancy knows your name. The staff is small, but good, and includes the Caposeys' son, Trevor, 21, who waits tables. Nancy said their 14-year-old son, Matthew, will work there, too.

"The best part of working here is the people — customers and colleagues," said Tyler Thorne, 18, who has worked as a server for two years.

What customers get at Caposey's, they can't get anywhere else, Nancy said.

"Nothing's processed, nothing's microwaved," Thorne said. "Everything's homemade and everything's under $10."

Nancy calls it a "dying breed of restaurant."

For that, patrons are grateful.

Jim Coakley, 76, has been a regular since before the Caposeys bought the diner. He eats there four or five times a week. He has watched the Caposeys' kids grow. When you find a diner like this, you covet it, he said.

When Nancy calls it a family restaurant, she's "not talking about John, Nancy and the kids," Coakley said. "She's talking about all of us."

Arleen Spenceley can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6235.

Comments
Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car

Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car

One day in April, I returned from a camping trip - a quick 24 out of the city - and ran a load of laundry. Whatís more telling is what I didnít do.I didnít hose down a muddy tent, I didnít soak a shoddily cleaned pot, and I categorically did not empt...
Published: 05/19/18
Romano: Save your money, sports betting wonít be in Florida anytime soon

Romano: Save your money, sports betting wonít be in Florida anytime soon

It is the middle of the day and the beginning of the off-season at Tampa Bay Downs. That means the action is limited to simulcast wagering, and that means the televisions outnumber the bettors.The parimutuel industry is long past its heyday in Americ...
Published: 05/19/18
Son of Crabby Billís founder leaves complex legacy of troubled projects and good deeds

Son of Crabby Billís founder leaves complex legacy of troubled projects and good deeds

SOUTH PASADENA ó Like his father, who founded the Crabby Billís seafood restaurant chain, John Loder Sr. had a larger-than-life personality. That was one reason he dived into the real estate business, becoming a well-known, if at times controversial ...
Published: 05/18/18
Updated: 05/19/18
Global Tampa Bay initiative seeks to grow direct foreign investment through expanded regional teamwork

Global Tampa Bay initiative seeks to grow direct foreign investment through expanded regional teamwork

TAMPA ó A decade ago, the Great Recession put Hillsborough and Pinellas countiesí efforts to grow their foreign exports on hold.But since then those efforts have returned, gained support and momentum, expanded the range of their ambition and are now ...
Published: 05/18/18
Florida unemployment holds at 3.9 percent, state adds 9,600 jobs

Florida unemployment holds at 3.9 percent, state adds 9,600 jobs

Floridaís economy appears to have plateaued with its unemployment rate holding at 3.9 percent for the seventh straight month, according to the April report released Friday.But some economists say it may be a good thing if the rate doesnít fall much m...
Published: 05/18/18
Lawsuit over Riverwalk Place tower in downtown Tampa settled

Lawsuit over Riverwalk Place tower in downtown Tampa settled

TAMPA ó A lawsuit over the mix of residences and offices in the planned $350 million Riverwalk Place tower has been dropped.Last August, Riverwalk Tower Investment-Intown LLC, which had been expected to be one of the developers in the project, filed ...
Published: 05/18/18
Orlandoís new attractions power jump in theme park attendance

Orlandoís new attractions power jump in theme park attendance

By MIKE SCHNEIDERORLANDO ó The arms race to build new theme park attractions in Orlando is paying dividends. A new report released this week shows theme park attendance at the largest parks in North America last year was up 2.3 percent, powered by ne...
Published: 05/18/18
How Mosaicís relocation could help Tampa International Airport land a flight to Brazil

How Mosaicís relocation could help Tampa International Airport land a flight to Brazil

Tampa International covets a nonstop flight to S„o Paulo, Brazil. Mosaic Co, which is moving its headquarters to Hillsborough County, has huge holdings in the country, including several mines. Could Mosaicís relocation help TIA realize its dream? It ...
Published: 05/18/18
Remember that upscale Guy Harvey RV resort near Tarpon Springs. Forget the Guy Harvey part

Remember that upscale Guy Harvey RV resort near Tarpon Springs. Forget the Guy Harvey part

HOLIDAY ó A year ago this month, Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts announced plans for its first-ever RV park, near Tarpon Springs where the Anclote River empties into the Gulf of Mexico.The $35 million resort, named after the popular Jamaican marine artist...
Published: 05/18/18
American Dream Miami to become largest mall in U.S. after final approval

American Dream Miami to become largest mall in U.S. after final approval

MIAMI ó A gigantic $4 billion retail and entertainment complex won government approval Thursday after years of debate, greenlighting what promises to be the largest mall in North America, just a few miles from the environmentally sensitive Everglades...
Published: 05/18/18