Ron Jon Surf Shop and Hooters are headed to Clearwater Beach. Both have signed deals to open in May in a $5 million retail project under construction at 385 Mandalay Ave.
Ron Jon, which has a shop operated by a licensee in Tampa International Airport, will be the 10th location and first full-fledged bay area store operated by the legendary Cocoa Beach surf supply retailer and apparel brand.
"It's a natural for us in a premier beach location," said Debra Harvey, president of Ron Jon, which is planning a 3,600-square-foot store that will become the smallest in the chain. Upstairs will be a 250-seat Hooters that features a third-floor rooftop bar protected by a canopy.
"We'll be the first thing you see north of the beach roundabout," said Neil Kiefer, chief executive of Original Hooters Inc., the local franchisee that has increased its local store count from nine to 12 in two years.
The company is also rebuilding the original Gulf-to-Bay Hooters that was the first location in what grew into a 450-store chain. The Clearwater Beach project is being developed by Joe Kokolakis, the owner of a Tarpon Springs construction company who also owns five adjacent storefronts.