Boot Hide Out has a lot to celebrate this year. The sponge docks powerhouse has been in Tarpon Springs for a little more than two years, and within the past three months, the business has launched two new locations in New Jersey.
Although Boot Hide Out is a relatively new kid on the block, the store has had a solely online presence for more than a decade.
It has been more than 15 years since Tim and Lisa Stevens began their entrepreneurial journey online. Their first site, CJ's Lucchese Boots, raked in a vast number of loyal customers.
According to floor manger Holly Ledesma at their Tarpon Springs shop, each website has its own unique purpose and appeals to a particular group of consumers.
Leathers to Boot has been around for quite some time and offers a variety of boots and brands. Black Jack Cowboy Boots is strictly Black Jack boots, which are all custom made. And Boot Town USA is the newest addition to the family and offers boots, apparel and accessories.
Combine all of the websites and you'll get a taste of what the Tarpon Springs location of Boot Hide Out has to offer. But with all of their online success, one might wonder, why bother with a storefront?
Ledesma says the answer is simple. "Why not?" she asked. Ledesma added that the business did so well online, it seemed silly not to give an on-location store a chance.
The decision to open on the sponge docks proved to be the right one. Business has done increasingly well, according to Boot Hide Out management, which led to the recent openings up north.
What makes Boot Hide Out such a force is the team of people behind it as well as the product itself. There are very few leather stores in Pinellas County, especially ones that cater to cowboy boots and custom made goods.
The closest shop is Spencer's Western World in Pinellas Park, which is more than 20 miles from Boot Hide Out.
Aside from that, Ledesma says that the product is a hot item in the fashion world.
"It doesn't matter if it's winter or summer, boots are in right now," explained Ledesma.
Tim Stevens called the store a "zoo" because of all the different types of animals that are used to make boots. From stingrays and ostriches to crocodiles and rattlesnakes, there are a slew of exotic species in Boot Hide Out's inventory.
The holidays aren't hurting the business' bank account either. Tim Stevens says that online orders are picking up steadily.
"Online is already getting real busy," Stevens added.
One of the team's claims to fame is their made-to-order boots. Handmade in El Paso, TX, the boots are a specialty item that are highly sought after, according to Stevens.
The term "successful" would be an understatement for Boot Hide Out, but the increase in business doesn't scare the team. It only motivates them further.
Some might think it would be a good time to take a break and let the existing stores establish a name. Boot Hide Out has other plans.
"We'll probably start branching out to other states," said Ledesma. "There's no breaks."
If You Go
Boot Hide Out
838 Dodecanese Blvd.