It would be an egregious error to assume that everyone who lives in Sarasota does little more than sip cocktails on the beach while watching the setting sun.
In the case of at least one very busy family-run business, they are doing their best to keep people hydrated, rid the world of disposable plastic, clean up our oceans, and fan the flames of team spirit all at the same time.
How? By making, distributing and selling Tervis tumblers from its headquarters and manufacturing plant in North Venice, Florida.
Invented in Detroit in 1946, the now-ubiquitous Tervis tumbler was sold to an entrepreneurial family who loved the sun, adventure and beach lifestyle of Southwest Florida and opted to relocate the brand to the small town of Osprey in southern Sarasota County in the go-go 1960s.
Now headquartered just up the road a bit in North Venice, the Tervis brand and its double walled, insulated tumblers can be found nationwide. Typically, you’ll find them emblazoned with colorful emblems of sports teams, colleges, associations, companies, locations and popular entertainment marks (or icons).
Rogan Donelly, third-generation president and CEO of Tervis, says you can find Tervis drinkware in various sizes of plastic and stainless-steel tumblers and water bottles. About 500 employees across the U.S. support the brand, which is now in its 75th year of operation.
“My grandfather ran two companies, and they were both based right here in Osprey, Florida,” says Donelly. “He was an entrepreneur. He was very happy living in the Sarasota area, and he had the perfect product for the weather here. The Tervis tumbler is virtually indestructible and reduces condensation. It is very hot and humid in Florida, so this is the perfect environment for Tervis.”
A Footprint from Osprey to Las Vegas
After four decades of success in Osprey, Tervis relocated to its current site in North Venice in 2005. “We expanded a lot of our office space prior to the pandemic, and we now occupy 114,000 total square feet,” Donelly says. “We have retrofitted our space to accommodate growth, and we plan to make the best use of our existing space.”
Florida is a very pro-business state. On the tax side, it is a real advantage, and the governor is doing a great job for us.”
— Rogan Donelly, President & CEO, Tervis
About 375 people work at the headquarters, home to the corporate office and factory, while the global employee base includes workers at Tervis’ 15 retail stores around the country. These include stores in Tampa, Key West, Panama City and The Villages, Florida, as well as locations in Branson, Missouri, Las Vegas, Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and Charleston and Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Donelly says the Southwest Florida location provides Tervis with all the assets his company needs to thrive and compete nationally. “Florida is a very pro-business state,” he says. “On the tax side, it is a real advantage, and the governor is doing a great job for us.
So many excellent universities are near us, including the Sarasota campus of the University of South Florida and the Ringling College of Art and Design. These are great sources of talent.”
Donelly says that “we have access to a highly diversified workforce. A lot of our folks live in North Port and make the short drive to us. We can draw from a very diverse set of skills. It is also a very loyal workforce. Some of our employees have worked here for 10, 15 or 30 years.”
When they’re not busy making and selling tumblers, Tervis employees can be spotted volunteering in company-wide beach cleanups, partnering with marine research labs to protect and preserve our oceans, and walking the Legacy Trail which is adorned with park benches made from recycled tumblers.
Tervis is far from alone. All around the Gulf Coast, the Atlantic Coast, and most places in between are a host of thriving manufacturers who rely on Florida’s location and infrastructure to move goods efficiently to worldwide markets.
How Infrastructure Supports Trade
Florida Secretary of Commerce Jamal Sowell, president and CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc., says there are many reasons for that. “Florida has always been a leading destination for those who want to start, relocate or expand their business,” he says. “Under Governor Ron DeSantis’ leadership, we have only seen that amplified. The past year is a prime example of how effective and forward-thinking leadership results in a growing economy and a strong workforce. The governor remains committed to providing a business-friendly environment, with low taxes, limited regulation and relevant workforce education.”
Sowell points to logistics and transportation infrastructure assets. “Florida is one of the most business-friendly states and has always prioritized preparing our infrastructure for future demands. Florida rolls out the red carpet for companies wanting to do business here. When businesses choose Florida, they are choosing a state that is not only supportive of them from day one but also has the infrastructure to help them thrive,” he says.
“Florida is an epicenter of trade,” he says. “We have the second largest Foreign Trade Zone network in the country, the third largest cluster of logistics companies, and a vast network of inland distribution centers supporting our airports and seaports. Many of Florida’s colleges have top-notch logistics programs, and schools also offer vocational programs vital to our workforce. With our comprehensive transportation infrastructure, focus on workforce development, and pro-business environment, our state is a hub for commerce nationally and internationally.”
This Investment Profile was prepared under the auspices of Enterprise Florida. For more information, contact Natalie McElwee at 850-530-2701 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. On the web, go to www.enterpriseflorida.com.