This has been a long-time coming.
Back in the early 2000s in New England, Jeff Moore started an online business, My Little Sports Den, selling pillows and blankets on ebay, The business grew fast, and by 2002 Jeff had opened storefronts in three states: Enfield, Ct., Springfield, Mass., and Brattleboro, Vt.
Rushed expansions, bad choices, wrong partners. Things started to crumble quickly and Jeff had to close up his shops. Jeff moved to Florida for a fresh start. Beaten, but not defeated, he got a job at a Walgreen's store in St. Petersburg and started another online business featuring casual clothing for men, women and children.
His dream was to someday open another brick-and-mortar shop.
• • •
Ten years later, that dream is coming true.
Kazual Wears opens Saturday, March 31, in Gulfport. The store is Tampa Bay's exclusive distributor of the Peace Frogs line, a company committed to giving back to environmental causes and other non-profits."Progress takes time," says Jeff, who joined LocalShops1 as a Partner Business last fall. "Don't rush. Carefully decide your goals and not anyone else's. This is your business, and you need to determine what you
want from it."
Jeff tells entrepreneurs to be careful if they choose to go into partnerships. Make sure you both have the same goals, he says. Draw up responsibilities and liabilities for each partner.
time around, I did none of the above and lost it all because I did not
take the necessary precaution to plan and protect," Jeff says. "It is a lesson
learn. I look at the lesson as someone who fell off a wild horse and it
took 10 years to get back in the saddle. This time I plan
to stay in that saddle for a long time."
• • •
Jeff gives credit to fellow business owner and LocalShops1 advisory board member Joey Goodrich of The House of Renee Originals for helping him get back in that saddle.
He says getting back on track would have been tough without Joey's "daily reminders that pain will pass
in time and that even your littlest accomplishments should be
treated as a huge success, regardless of what others may believe."
Jeff's goal is to offer quality products at good prices, while also giving back to the community. Kozy Kazual Wears supports several non-profits, particularly the AIDS Foundation and the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation (which helps
fund research for a rare cancer that affects millions of people, including Jeff's mom).
• • •
His longterm business plan includes adding his own line of T-shirts and accessories and offer custom products, giving shoppers an opportunity to design their own shirts.
"It's your dream! Live it!" Jeff says. "Don't give up if one day is a bad day.
"There's always another day."
Kozy Kazual Wears is at 3007 1/2 Beach Blvd. in Gulfport.
Jeff Moore can be reached at
239-994-3780 or through his website, KozyKazualWears.com. Store hours are 10-4 Monday through Saturday.
Ester Venouziou is founder of LocalShops1.com, Tampa Bay's top advocate for local, independent businesses. Faces of Local features inspirational stories from local businesses and local organizations.
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