Steve Rinehart: Sarasota’s Newest Custom Home Builder

Those of you who know me well already know this: I’m a huge fan of entrepreneurs.

Especially the “chase your dream, innovate and adapt as necessary, and work really hard ’til you see it come about” variety.

Steve Rinehart: Sarasota Entrepreneur
Photo Courtesy of Rinehart Homes

And this is precisely why I was intrigued when I first met Steve Rinehart. It was about two and a half years ago now, and a good friend of mine was providing some entertainment in a local night club venue. He suggested that I meet up with the owner, because he had real vision but had run into some difficulties in the business.

The venue was “The Loft Ristobar,” and it was located in the building that had previously housed Sarasota’s highly popular Tex-Mex chain restaurant, Don Pablo’s.

The Loft was a concept that was either ahead of its time, or perhaps just better suited to a bigger market. But the idea, I thought, was brilliant. Restaurant by day, live entertainment venue in the evenings, and then… after hours on weekends, it transformed into a full-on night club.

But, as you might imagine, those are at least two (and possibly three) different businesses all rolled up into one. This meant that the business was surprisingly complex, with lots of areas that needed specific attention.

Creating a clear marketing message out of the three of them was what I was immediately tasked with doing. Let’s just say it wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever been asked to do.

And to top it all off, Rinehart Homes, Steve Rinehart’s day job, was busy and complicated enough that it demanded lots of his time and most of his attention. The management Steve had in place at The Loft did a bang-up job, but it just wasn’t enough to get the concept to really take off.

Why Not Franchise?

As Steve related to me, many times during the course of his time operating The Loft Ristobar, people would come in and ask about Don Pablo’s. Where did it go? What happened to it?

The reality was that the Sarasota store had long been one of the chain’s top-performing restaurants. But when the parent corporation ran into financial troubles, it closed all but 38 stores—the ones that were geographically easier for them to manage. A new company bought the brand and those 38 stores out of bankruptcy and they were doing OK.

The idea of coming back to Sarasota was a good one, but the company wasn’t ready to take the plunge yet as they were taking a measured approach to growth.

So Steve did what any enterprising entrepreneur would do: he seized the opportunity and negotiated the chain’s first-ever franchise deal. In May of 2012, five years or so after it had closed, Sarasota’s Don Pablo’s reopened as a franchise operation.

That business has been through its fair share of ups and downs, but today it is humming along with a great management team in place. Steve has high hopes for its future.

In the meantime… Sarasota’s real estate market had begun to pick up.

Building Custom Homes in Sarasota

Since 1994, when Steve Rinehart first obtained his Florida General Contractor’s license, he had attacked the home-building business with gusto. Not one to get stuck depending upon others, Steve went out and got his roofing license and a pool contractor’s license as well. This enabled him to be highly flexible and churn out homes at a surprising rate.

The business model is pretty simple in this world: you find a big tract of land and make a deal. Then you carve it up, stick up a model home or two, and build a community.

Steve’s reputation—and that of his boutique team—in that business is very good. Over the years, he and his team have built more than 300 homes that way, and provided many affordably-priced, but very nice homes for a lot of people.

But as he tells it, when the real estate market starts to heat up—especially in an intrinsically attractive market like Sarasota/Bradenton—bigger and bigger national players are willing to come in and pay far more for land than it’s worth.

That makes this business less and less attractive to a boutique team like Steve’s.

And so… the handful of higher-end projects that Steve had taken on in the last few years had started to become more and more interesting.

With a few completely custom projects on Sarasota’s Siesta Key (along with a high-end renovation or two) under his belt, Steve decided it was time to launch another new entrepreneurial venture.

With the help of 20-year veteran real estate investor Joel Match, Steve recently launched Rinehart Elite Homes. Their first project under this new name? A gorgeous home in Lakewood Ranch’s exclusive golf course community, The Concession.

As you might imagine, Steve’s life is never boring. But given his passion for excellence, his hands-on attention to detail, and the track record of satisfied home owners, I think it’s safe to say that Rinehart Elite Homes is going to be a luxury home builder to contend with.

Join Me Next Friday for Empowering Small Business in Sarasota

Can you believe we are in the last quarter of 2013 already?!

How are your 2013 business goals coming?

Hopefully, you’ve already blown them completely out of the water. But whether you have or not, what I’m writing to you about now could make an enormous difference in your business this year!

You probably know by now that I’m a big believer in getting around highly successful people — people who know something I could benefit from — and letting them share their expertise with me.

That’s why I want to invite you to join me — and lots of other successful business people (and soon-to-be successful people) —  next Friday in Sarasota for the Empowering Small Business event.

Dave Kauffman: Empowering Small Business

I don’t know if you’ve met Dave Kauffman yet, but it seems like everywhere I go in Southwest Florida, someone comes up and tells me, “Hey… I just met your friend Dave Kauffman!”

Just a couple of years ago, Dave launched what has become a phenomenally successful service business in the Sarasota area. It’s actually remarkable just how much that business has grown in a very short time, but Dave will tell you that he’s successful because he got under the mentorship of some great people.

Dave now owns 4 businesses, and all of them are growing and profitable.

One thing I like about Dave is that he wants to share what he’s learned that has helped him run his businesses profitably, with rapid (but healthy) growth.

That’s why when he asked me to teach local business people about what’s working right now in marketing, I was delighted to accept his invitation.

Marketing is just one of the 5 cornerstones of business success that will be the theme of the one-day event next Friday that could change your business forever.

In fact, you’ll be hearing about…

Sales

Todd Smith, author of Little Things Matter

Todd Smith, author of Little Things Matter, built a sales business that has paid him over $25 Million in commissions over the last 23 years. (You do the math… that’s over $1M per year!!)  Todd is a personal friend who almost never speaks publicly any more, but since this event is in his back yard in Sarasota, Dave Kauffman got him to agree to come share with us. I’m personally going to be taking notes… and you will too!

Reserve your spot for this event right now.

Administration

Jane Kernen: Automating the Important!

Jane Kernen works with small businesses doing something that every small business needs to do more of:automating important tasks. What if you could take some of your most critical business tasks and successfully ensure that they’re being done up to your “best practices” level… each and every time, without a human being getting in the way? (Or forgetting?) Jane implements solutions like this with small businesses using one of my favorite automation tools on the planet: Infusionsoft. Whether you’re a solo-preneur or you have 500 employees, you can’t afford to miss what Jane will be teaching!

Operations

Ron Klein invented something that you use every single day and that has transformed transactions for billions of people on the planet! He’ll be sharing from his many decades of experience as a CEO, engineer and inventor, and you won’t want to miss a minute of what he has to say!

Leadership

Dave Kauffman has learned first-hand what you and I know to be true: everything rises and falls on leadership. As the owner of 4 thriving and successful businesses, Dave’s picked up some highly important skills in the area of getting others engaged in your vision and helping develop people into the winners for your team that you need them to be!

Where else can you go (without having to travel!) and sharpen your skills in the 5 critical areas of marketing, sales, administration, operations, and leadership… all in one day?!

Reserve your seat right now.

Space is extremely limited for this event. It’s going to be held at the beautifulPolo Grill right on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch. And by the way, lunch is included in your registration (which is already an unbelievable deal)!

Register now and bring a guest for half price!

If you’re like me, I always like to have my wife (she works with me in our business) or a key staff member with me when I go to an event like this… because they help me actually implement what we learn.

Dave wants you and your business to get as much long-term value as possible out of next Friday, so he’s offering you the chance to bring your business partner, spouse, or other key person with you for half price. That’s a savings of $48.50!!

But you’ll want to register right away, as the Polo Grill can only accommodate a limited number of people in their ballroom.

Reserve your seat right now.

I’m looking forward to seeing you there next Friday.

Oh… in case you’re wondering,I’ll personally be sharing some of the secrets of how our clients are getting incredible results. One client recently achieved #1 Google search rank and had their best month in revenue after 24 years in business!

I’ll be giving you access to some of the information that only our clients usually get to hear about and we’ll show you how to put these strategies to work in your business. If you take good notes, you could literally see a difference in your business in just a few days!!

It’s going to be a great day. Check out all the details here. If you have any questions about the event, reply back to this email and I’ll get you the answers.

Photos: Sarasota Tea Party April 15 2009

Arriving at the “Unconditional Surrender” statue today at 12:45pm, I was surprised to find that already people were leaving. Apparently, the first wave of lunch-breakers had done their protesting for today.

Of the hundreds that remained (no official word yet on numbers), many held signs, sported creative apparel, and generally demonstrated a remarkable level of passion about the spending habits of their elected officials. Protesters lined the roadway from One Sarasota Tower to Main Street, and a significant crowd gathered closely around the statue to hear various people sound off through a weak tailgate P.A. system.

It was an historic day, and it was a privilege to have participated. Here are some of the sights as seen through my camera’s lens

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Unfortunately, my schedule didn’t permit me to make it to the Lakewood Ranch Tea Party gathering. I welcome to the opportunity to hear from some of you who were there!

Sarasota Tea Party – Tax Day 2009

Update: Photos and a report from the downtown tea party are posted here.

I have a question for you:

Is it “Taxation Without Representation” if your elected “representatives” vote on a $500 Billion tax bill without even reading it?

Some of the thousands of protestors gathered for the March 21st Tea Party in Orlando, FL

If you think so, then the time has come to throw another tea party. When in colonial America, the British “representative” government (Parliament did, after all, claim to represent all British citizens… including the colonists) tried to ramrod the monopolistic East India Company’s tea down the throats of the colonies against their wishes, without consulting them, and while outlawing “free market tea,” the colonists famously dumped the tea in Boston harbor.

There’s no practical way to dump what’s being shoved down our throats anywhere — it’s too freaking much!

So… in a symbolic act, you are invited to join us for the Sarasota Tea Party (or the Lakewood Ranch Tea Party, if you prefer) on a fabulously symbolic day: April 15th.

What better way to spend tax day?

Here’s the skinny:

Sarasota Tea Party

  • Wednesday, April 15th, 2009 at Noon
  • Marina Jack on Sarasota Bay near Downtown. (In fact, the group will gather at the Unconditional Surrender statue, which is either more symbolic or more ironic… I’m not sure which.)
  • You are encouraged to dress creatively (i.e. to appropriately attract attention).
  • Bring signs.
  • Bring tea bags. Lots of tea bags.
  • Prepare to be photographed and be interviewed. Do us a favor… read up on the current events, the history of the tea party, or anything else you may talk about on camera.
  • Do us another favor: spell-check your sign(s). We really don’t need to look stupid on TV or in the media.

Lakewood Ranch Tea Party

  • Wednesday, April 15th, 2009 from 3pm – 7pm. (Nice if you want to come hang out after work.)
  • Ed’s Tavern on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch.
  • You are encouraged to dress creatively (i.e. to appropriately attract attention).
  • Bring signs.
  • Bring tea bags. Lots of tea bags.
  • Prepare to be photographed and be interviewed. Do us a favor… read up on the current events, the history of the tea party, or anything else you may talk about on camera.
  • Do us another favor: spell-check your sign(s). We really don’t need to look stupid on TV or in the media.

Not from around here? Here’s one good place to check for a location near you.

This information is subject to change. And, since I like a good discussion, do me a favor:

Leave a comment below with your biggest current hot-button that motivates you to join us for the Tea Party. Be sure to check the box that says “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.” That way, you’ll hear from some of the other folks who might be joining us… and, I’ll be able to leave a comment if anything changes… which of course means that you’ll be notified.

Incidentally, I have no affiliation with this company (for the record), but here’s some great Tax Day Tea Party Apparel (think “Don’t Tread on Me”).

See you there!