Many businesses claim to be family owned and operated, but few have the type of as much credibility in that proclamation as the Soccer Shop of Tampa Bay.
Mike Hernandez and his sister, Lisa Turbeville, come from different professional backgrounds and have different natural skill sets, but the pair have come together to create something that Tampa needed when they opened in October of last year; a soccer store.
“It was crazy to me that there wasn’t a soccer store anywhere in Tampa,” Hernandez said. “It just didn’t make sense to me that in a town with so much soccer culture, there is no store within the city limits anymore that offers what we have here.”
4205 South MacDill Avenue
Getting started: After 28 years in the corporate world, Turbeville was laid off from her job with a new home builder. Meanwhile, Hernandez has operated a screen printing business called South Tampa Tees for the last few years, but ever since childhood had dreamed of opening a soccer shop. After discussing it with his sister, the two decided to forge ahead and make a business plan.
“I wrote out a forty page business plan and nobody read it,” Turbeville said. “Not even my husband finished reading it. We ended up getting the startup capital without anybody asking for it, but I’m glad I wrote it because it outlined our every aspect of our business plan. I think we’re more prepared because of it.”
Products: The store offers everything from European soccer jerseys and souvenirs to playing equipment, from cleats and shin guards to balls and folding pop up goals. Having played the game since age of nine, the 40-year old Hernandez is well acquainted with the culture of the game and the technology that is constantly reshaping the equipment used to play it.
Living the dream: “I look back and I can always remember wanting to open a soccer shop so this has really been a dream come true for me,” Hernandez said. “It’s not even about selling stuff or working, it’s just what I love. We’ve received an amazing amount of support and everybody in the soccer community. They've been saying the same thing I was before we opened, that we really need this.”
Beating the internet: “Soccer equipment has been such an internet driven business for so long,” Hernandez said. “People relish the opportunity to come in and put things on and actually touch it with their own hands. People come in and tell us stories about how they tried to buy something online and had to send it back because the sizes aren’t the same in Europe, so they’re happy to be able to try it on themselves.”
Why South Tampa?: “It’s perfect because South Tampa people prefer not to leave South Tampa and there are quite a few soccer players down here,” Turbeville said. “At the same time, people who don’t live around here flock to this area because it’s eclectic. There is history down here and a lot of character. It’s a good location for us to get business coming in from all over.”
In touch with the soccer community: “I've been playing in Tampa for more than 30 years and when you play this game and you have a passion for it, the sense of community is like no other sport,” Hernandez said. “The people I know within the community have really rallied around the shop. We’re here seven days a week right now and I’m running the shirt printing shop out of the back while Lisa cooks the books up front. We hope to be able to relax some day, but right now this is where we are.”
Hours: The shop is open on Monday and Friday from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday noon-4 p.m.