Make us your home page
Instagram

Ron Jon Surf Shop to open on Clearwater Beach next month

A Ron Jon Surf Shop is expected to open by late May in this building under construction at 385 Mandalay Ave. on Clearwater Beach. A Hooters will be on the second and third floors.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

A Ron Jon Surf Shop is expected to open by late May in this building under construction at 385 Mandalay Ave. on Clearwater Beach. A Hooters will be on the second and third floors.

CLEARWATER — Starbucks isn't coming to Clearwater Beach after all, but another iconic American brand is taking its place — Ron Jon Surf Shop.

The Tampa Bay area's first standalone Ron Jon store is slated to open next month in a building that is under construction on the north side of the Clearwater Beach roundabout.

The 3,600-square-foot Ron Jon store will occupy the bottom floor at 385 Mandalay Ave., which becomes the newest outpost of the legendary Cocoa Beach surf supply retailer and apparel brand. Upstairs will be a 250-seat Hooters restaurant featuring a third-floor rooftop bar.

"It's a natural for us in a premier beach location," said Ron Jon president Debra Harvey.

A Starbucks coffee shop was originally slated to occupy about half of the building's bottom floor, with an unidentified retail store to go in the other half. But Starbucks backed out when it became clear that it couldn't have a drive-through lane at that location, said Joseph Kokolakis, the property owner who is developing the $5 million retail building.

"Ron Jon's Surf Shop took the entire first floor," Kokolakis said, adding that the building should be finished soon. "We're pushing for a Memorial Day weekend grand opening party."

This will be Ron Jon's 10th location and the first full-fledged store in the bay area. There is a Ron Jon outlet that's operated by a licensee at Tampa International Airport.

"I think it's a testimony to the success of our beach and the recognition that we're getting nationally for someone like a Ron Jon to choose Clearwater Beach as a location to expand their turf," said Darlene Kole, president of the Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce.

So Ron Jon and Hooters, two national chains, will join a crowd of locally owned restaurants and small shops in the Mandalay business district near Pier 60.

"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 store count from nine to 12 in two years.

Since 1997, Ron Jon has grown from a pair of surf shops in Cocoa Beach and New Jersey into an empire of 14 company-owned or licensed stores in three countries, a surf school, a time share resort, and four airport terminal outlets.

The chain was founded in 1959 by Ron DiMenno, a Jersey shore surfer who was advised to get in business when he wanted a custom-made California board. His father told him to buy three boards so he could sell two and get his own free.

Once the first shop opened in Long Island Beach, N.J., DiMenno in 1963 pursued better waves near Cape Canaveral, where he opened what's touted as the world's largest surf shop.

The four-story, 52,000-square-foot Cocoa store is a tourist attraction in its own right, complete with its own indoor waterfall. It attracts nearly 2 million visitors a year.

Ron Jon has broadened its surfer lifestyle to the skateboard crowd, too. The store will have plenty of competition on Clearwater Beach when it comes to beachwear. However, more than half the chain's sales are of its own store brands.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at brassfield@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4151. Send letters to the editor at tampabay.com/letters.

Ron Jon Surf Shop to open on Clearwater Beach next month 04/19/12 [Last modified: Thursday, April 19, 2012 6:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Law firm's Russia ties prove nothing about Trump

    Business

    The statement

    "Law firm @POTUS used to show he has no ties to Russia was named Russia Law Firm of the Year for their extensive ties to Russia. Unreal."

    Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., stands during a media availability on Capitol Hill, Monday, June 20, 2016 in Washington. A divided Senate blocked rival election-year plans to curb guns on Monday, eight days after the horror of Orlando's mass shooting intensified pressure on lawmakers to act but knotted them in gridlock anyway — even over restricting firearms for terrorists. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  2. Pasco county lawyer disbarred for taking woman's money

    Real Estate

    NEW PORT RICHEY — The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday disbarred Pasco County attorney and former congressional candidate Constantine Kalogianis.

    The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday disbarred Pasco County attorney and former congressional candidate Constantine Kalogianis. 
[2016 booking photo via Pasco County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Rick Scott signs package of tax breaks

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott signed a tax cut package Thursday that — while vastly scaled back from what he wanted — eliminates the so-called "tampon tax" and offers tax holidays for back-to-school shoppers and Floridians preparing for hurricane season.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a tax cut package that will cost state coffers $91.6 million during the upcoming year. [Joe Raedle | Getty Images]
  4. FBI probes fraudster's alleged church scam following Tampa Bay Times report

    Real Estate

    PLANT CITY — Once again, the FBI is investigating felon fraudster Victor Thomas Clavizzao.

    The FBI is investigating convicted mortgage fraudster Victor Thomas Clavizzao on new allegations following a Tampa Bay Times report.
[TImes file photo]

  5. Tampa Bay is ground-zero for assignment of benefits cases over broken auto glass

    Banking

    When Rachel Thorpe tried to renew her auto insurance last year for her Toyta RAV4, she was stunned to see her monthly premium had nearly doubled to $600. The Sarasota driver was baffled since her only recent claim was over a broken windshield.

    Auto glass lawsuits filed by a third party (through what's known as assignment of benefits) are skyrocketing in Tampa Bay.
[Times file photo]