For three years, the Regency Plaza in downtown Cape Coral was empty and in need of a facelift.
Now, it bustles with customer traffic, thanks to a new owner, several successful businesses that decided to invest in the location, and a commercial market that is definitely up.
It's All Good Consignment, Suzy's Decor & Gifts, and Su Casa have become the anchor stores of this plaza at 4635 Coronado Parkway, with a real estate agency, title agency and an aesthetician on the second floor.
And the synergy among the stores has resulted in brisk business, although the snowbirds have yet to arrive.
It took a lot of work, but owner Michael Bartlett made it happen.
"I always admired this building, I liked the unique design and when I saw it was available I put in a bid for it because I didn't want to lose it," Bartlett said. "The commercial retail market s improving and I knew I could lease it in a short time."
And that he did.
Elsie Garcia-Kokal moved the It's All Good Consignment shop to the plaza in May, and in the last few weeks, Su Casa and Suzy's Decor & Gifts arrived to fill up the first floor.
"I really like the location and access to the parking lot. It's a good South Cape location," said Garcia-Kokal, whose store not only sells consignment clothing, but eclectic furniture brought in from higher-end homes as well. "We were waiting for someone to purchase it so we could move in."
Garcia-Kokal said she did some of her own work on the new place, painting over the linoleum floors and adding bright colors to the walls.
Su Casa, which sells original, outside-the-box style furniture, has been in town for more than a decade. It began on Coronado and then spent much of its existence on Cape Coral Parkway before returning to its roots, bringing much of its clientele.
"We opened this store to bring something different, to give people choices. We like to offer things you can't get anywhere else," said Judi Heller, a former school teacher who is now the store's owner. "We have local artists, one-of-a-kind pieces, and everything is new."
Su Casa moved in a month ago after spending the summer finding great new merchandise and making the place "light, bright and cheery."
Suzy's Decor & Gifts is the new kid on the block, having moved in two weeks ago and specializing in accentsfor the home which complement much of what the other two stores sell.
This location, owner Suzanne LaBonte said, is five times larger than its previous location at Cape Harbour.
"We like it here. The new owners have done a lot of fixing on the outside," LaBonte said. "The sales have gone beyond what we were doing at Cape Harbour, which we're glad to see. The word of mouth from Su Casa and my previous customers have helped out quite a bit."
Not only has the new location worked, but the synergy among the stores have helped to bring business to each.
"It's nice how we complement each other because we carry a different style of things. We have a lot in common," LaBonte said. "When people see the signs to the stores and it draws them in."