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Ferg's: "St. Pete is paradise"

Posted By Katie Mulford, LocalShops1 Roving Reporter, Monday, February 13, 2012
We all know Ferg’s. It’s the go-to meet-up spot before the Rays game. It’s where we go when a big game is on. It’s where we go when we have a hankering for some of the best wings in town.

Mark Ferguson, owner of Ferg’s, is as much of a staple in St. Pete as Ferg’s itself.

Mark was born and raised in St. Pete. Went to school at Edison Community College in Fort Myers and finished off at FL State. After school he taught Phys Ed for 18 years and owned a used car lot, all before opening one of St. Pete’s most popular sports bars.

When plans for a sports stadium started forming, Mark knew the space nearby was destined to be something just as special as the stadium. In 1992, two years after Tropicana Field (what was then called the Florida Suncoast Dome) opened, Mark opened Ferg’s, which was a former gas station. And for three years he also ran a flea market right next door. A trinket with your beer, anyone?

Since then, Mark has enjoyed seeing Ferg’s grow, not just in its 12,000-plus sq. ft. size, but as a business as well. Besides Rays games, Ferg’s has been creative at drawing in a crowd for events including trivia nights, cornhole tournaments and fundraisers. If you’re looking for a fun, spacious place to have a fundraiser Mark is your man. Ready and willing to help out a good cause, Ferg’s does all they can from offering raffle items to help with promotion.

Mark likes seeing the same familiar faces enter Ferg’s doors day in and day out. And he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but St. Pete.

How has the economy affected your business?
Ferg’s has seen its downturn just like most business in this economy. With prices in labor, food and alcohol rising and less companies spending money on parties, Ferg’s has felt the heat, but is confident in the future of its surroundings to keep them going.

Much of Ferg’s business depends on game goers during baseball season, of course, but what if the threat of the Rays moving came true?

Mark isn’t sweating it. Although he would hate to see the team move, he knows that a spot like Tropicana Field wouldn’t be empty for long. And with new apartment complexes popping up (including the 1560 Fusion, right next door, which already is more than 70 percent full),  Mark has seen an upturn during the off-season.

What do you love most about St. Pete?
"The people are friendly, it’s easy to get around, the beaches are beautiful, he says. "St. Pete is paradise.”

What local business do you like to frequent besides your own?
Foxy’s in Treasure Island. It’s close to home and they have great wings.

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