Rhonda and Dino Riccio have been married for almost 24 years, and recently they decided to really spice things up. Five years ago they launched Red Hot Tiki, a hot sauce and spicy gourmet company. They started out doing markets, and two years ago opened their store in Gulfport.
During the past five years, the Riccios have pieced together each other’s roles and responsibilities as business owners.
"He has his end of it, I have my end of it,” Rhonda says.
Dino, who also has a full time job in the music industry, takes care of the business end, such as ordering, licensing and other duties. Rhonda works in the shop five days a week and takes care of the store.
"It’s fun for us, I meet a lot of neat people everyday,” Riccio said.
When asked if they could work side-by-side under one roof, Rhonda is adamant: "That would never work," she says. "It wouldn’t.”
Rhonda says their arrangement is successful because of open communication, professionalism and separation.
That’s right: Their time apart plays just as much a role as their time together.
"Don’t be in the same building five days a week and go home together,” Rhonda says.
Her top tip for emerging entrepreneurial couples? "Discuss what’s best for the business during business hours and leave the "personal stuff” out of it," Rhonda says.
On Valentine’s Day, the Riccios' plans are to stay in, relax and not talk about work.
Red Hot Tiki is at 2904 Beach Blvd. S. in Gulfport. Rhonda and Dino can be reached at 727.776.5931.
LocalShops1 is a coalition of hundreds of independently owned businesses and tens of thousands of energetic shoppers with the mission of advocating, promoting and offering support services to companies throughout Tampa Bay. Founded in August 2008, LocalShops1 is the region's most active voice for small businesses.