Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hope Terrible: A success story with an unusual name

Hope Terrible, 45, creator of Full of Hope Cleaning Services, poses in her home with some tools of the trade.


Hope Terrible, 45, creator of Full of Hope Cleaning Services, poses in her home with some tools of the trade.

Two awards from the Tampa Housing Authority hang on Hope Terrible's dining room wall. One is the Geraldine Barnes Resident Recognition for personal development, dated 2012. The other, which she received in July, recognizes her for "Extraordinary Accomplishments as a Public Housing Resident." Terrible was honored for starting her own business, Full of Hope Cleaning Services.

Her counselor had invited her to a lunch and didn't tell her about the award. "That was a shock," she said. "I called my mom as soon as I left. My mama's so proud of me."

Terrible, 45, welcomed Tampa Bay Times reporter Elisabeth Parker into her Temple Terrace apartment, which she shares with her 2-year-old goddaughter and her fiance, to share her story, her plans for the future, and how she got her unusual name.

So how do people react to your name?

Some people can't believe it. You got to be kidding. REALLY? Are you terrible, Hope?

I have to show them my driver's license. But I have a good sense of humor. I never get insulted. That's how a lot of people remember me — because of my name. It's unforgettable.

How did you start your business?

It was because of the Tampa Housing Authority. They paid for my business license. I was living in Central Park Village before it was torn down. I think it was 2003. As they were relocating us, they offered many programs for us to be more self-sufficient. I took every single class they had. There were workshops on how to use computers, how to clean your house. I was already cleaning houses for other people. My counselor suggested I turn it into a business. "We'll pay for your license."

Take everything they have to offer. That's what I tell people now. It will get you somewhere with your life, if you want to be a positive role model.

What are some of the obstacles you've overcome?

I was born in Tampa. I lived in public housing, Ponce de Leon, in College Hill with my mom. I left home when I was 15. I was a bad teenager and got into a relationship with a guy who ended up in jail. That was when I made a break. I went to Brewster Technical Center. I was going for my GED, but instead, I got a certificate in child care. Then I got married in 1999, and that's when I got the last name Terrible. I had rushed into a marriage thinking I was in love. But he really wasn't. He left me for another woman. Then he was deported back to Haiti.

Did you ever get your GED?

I got my high school diploma. When my business first took off, I was trying to work and go to classes for GED through the housing authority. I took the GED test twice and failed. I was stuck on the algebra. My last teacher told me he was going to get me through it as long as I came to class and stayed focused. I would come — it didn't matter where I was working during the day, I'd come to West Tampa and sit in that class and pay attention. I got my diploma at the age of 43.

Tell me about your business.

It started in 2009. I got a contract with a construction company. I have several employees. They all have an assigned job. I like cleaning houses but prefer construction. There's a lot of dust, a lot of wiping down.

Do you have any cleaning tips?

Here's one: Take baking soda and saturate the bottom of your oven. Then spray it with water. Wait 5 minutes and repeat the same steps. Wait about 10 minutes, get a sponge and wipe it out. No fumes, no toxic residue for your kids or pets.

I know you don't want to give away all your secrets.

I have to save some.

What are your future goals?

When I started getting into my 30s, I started wanting more. I wanted my own business by the time I was 40 and I wanted my diploma. I got out of public housing in 2012. Now I want to give back. Some of the elderly people living in housing don't have family and need help cleaning. I got help for free, why can't I help them for free?

I also want to start a home family child care. It's comforting to me. Just a little small one. And, of course, getting married to my fiance and traveling.

Where would you want to go?

The Bahamas. Las Vegas. Puerto Rico. Jamaica. My goal is to be able to afford those nice vacations.

Weekend Conversation is edited for brevity and clarity.

Hope Terrible: A success story with an unusual name 08/28/14 [Last modified: Thursday, August 28, 2014 9:58am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  2. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  3. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.
  4. British government says 75 out of 75 buildings failed fire safety tests


    LONDON — Britain on Monday confronted a rapidly growing fire safety crisis after tests of the exterior cladding on dozens of public housing towers revealed a 100 percent failure rate, raising fears that this month's deadly inferno in London could be repeated elsewhere.

    Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, presents his first Chrono-Hologram in Paris, France, in 1973. A Spanish judge on Monday June 26, 2017, has ordered the remains of artist Salvador Dali to be exhumed following a paternity suit by a woman named by Europa Press agency as Pilar Abel, 61 from the nearby city of Girona. Dali, considered one of the fathers of surrealism in art, died in 1989 and is buried in his museum in the northeastern town of Figueres. [Associated Press]
  5. Man convicted of second-degree murder in killing of Baby Doe, his girlfriend's daughter


    BOSTON — A man was convicted Monday of murder in the death of a 2-year-old girl who became known as Baby Doe after her remains washed up on the shore of a Boston Harbor island.

    Michael McCarthy’s friend Michael Sprinsky, far left, gets a hug from sister Laura Sprinsky after McCarthy is found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Bella Bond, who became known as Baby Doe.