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The new store and showroom contains about 30 of the metal sculptures. Photo by Roger Drouin
Longboat Key Wednesday, Jun. 19, 2013 2 years ago

Dudes move to St. Armands

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by: Roger Drouin

Scott Gerber is convinced he’s found the perfect new home for his Tube Dudes to hang out.

After six months on Main Street, Gerber moved his Tube Dude showroom to 26 N. Blvd. of the Presidents on St. Armands Circle. The growing company’s new showroom opened June 1, and since that opening, business has been brisk.

At 1,450 square feet, the space on N. Boulevard of the Presidents is about half the size, but Gerber loves the locale and has signed a five-year lease.

According to Gerber, the move made sense because more vacationers pass through the Circle, and, as a result, sales on St. Armands are year-round as opposed to the seasonal flux on Main Street.

“Yesterday was our best day,” Gerber said in an interview June 13. “We sold $10,000 worth of merchandise. Our best day on Main Street was $3,000.”

In February and March, the best month for sales at the Main Street showroom, the company sold 88% of its aluminum tubular sculptures to tourists or seasonal residents staying on Lido Key or Longboat Key.

The store is currently filled with about 30 of the metal sculptures and Gerber hopes to put one of his large 18-foot-tall giraffes out near the sidewalk, or in the median on North Boulevard of the Arts, to gain even more attention of Circle shoppers. But first, he’ll need approval from City Hall.

The aluminum pieces are manufactured in a 5,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in north Sarasota. The company employs a total of 12 fulltime employees, including four Ringling College graduates, who work to design and make the pieces.

In addition to its signature metal sculptures, the company has plans to produce merchandise someone can fit in a suitcase, such as T-shirts, mugs, key chains and decals for cars.

Gerber is also planning to open showrooms in up to nine cities, including Orlando, across from Ripley’s Believe it or Not, and another in East Hampton, N.Y. He has also been in touch with galleries interested in being licensed to sell Tube Dude merchandise.

For every new showroom that opens, Gerber estimates his company will hire five or six new employees at the Sarasota manufacturing facility to help make the Tube Dudes.

 

 

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