CAPE CORAL, Fla. – A family-owned hardware store in the heart of downtown Cape Coral has been in business since 1971. Cape Family Hardware continues to compete with bigger retailers thanks in most part to their loyal customers, and new and unique items on their shelves.
For weeks, the store has benefited from a partnership with a local artist.
A collection of Cape Coral themed cups, stickers, magnets, and bags have been selling like hotcakes. Local artist Brenda Boss is behind the images that include burrowing owls, fish, and birds of the city.
Customers sometimes even get upset if the items run out of stock in the hardware store.
Owner, Jeremy Peterson said the partnership has driven new buyers through his doors and he’s glad he can help support another local small business.NBC-2.com WBBH News for Fort Myers, Cape Coral & Naples, Florida
“We have a hotel across the street so we have you know a lot of people looking for little trinkets and stuff for their visit to Cape Coral. It’s great to help out someone while offering a great product to our customers,” Peterson said.
The biggest seller is a burrowing themed coffee mug.
“Self-taught artist creates Cape Coral Gear” and Offers Wholesale Pricing
From the Cape Coral Breeze Newspaper – click here to read the article.
In this Article:
Cape Coral, Lee County Florida, 33914, 33904, 33993
Snowbirds aren’t the only ones who find a home in Cape Coral to be paradise. Actual birds, such as burrowing owls, as well as an abundance of aquatic and land creatures, share the area with us as well, and we are so happy to have them. In Cape Coral, we are particularly fond of our burrowing owl residents, who provide us endless enjoyment and entertainment and can be easily viewed from our own backyards.
A few interesting facts to note about burrowing owls:
- Burrowing owls are so named because they live in underground holes dug they dig in our soft sandy soil. A burrow can be up to 10 feet long and 1-3 feet deep.
- They are one of the smallest owl species found in North America.
- Burrowing owls have long legs, brown spotted feathers, and distinctive white eyebrows.
- They feed on insects, amphibians, reptiles, other birds, and small rodents such as moles and mice.
- The current population of burrowing owls is estimated to be less than 20,000 owls, and is considered to be on a steady decline.
- Burrowing owls are found throughout North America, and as far north as Canada and as far south as South America.
- Burrowing owls are most active during Spring.
- Unlike other owl species, burrowing owls are active during the day.
- They prefer wide, open areas where they can perch close to the ground.
- The call of a burrowing owl is a chattery, chuckling sound.
- To express excitement or anger, a burrowing owl will bob its head repeatedly.
- During a typical nesting season, female burrowing owls will lay 3-12 eggs.
- A burrowing owl chick can fly once it reaches 6 weeks old.
- The long legs of a burrowing owl allow it to sprint on the ground while hunting.
- The main threat to burrowing owls today is habitat destruction.
- The burrowing owl is the official mascot for Florida Atlantic University.
- In Florida, burrowing owls are considered a “species of special concern.”
- Cape Coral is home to the largest population of burrowing owls in Florida.
Why settle for boring, generic clip art when you purchase Cape Coral themed products? You probably noticed that Cape Coral gifts and souvenirs you find around town are printed with run of the mill clip art. Meaning someone older than a 3 year old dropped free icons that come with word processing and paint programs onto a product.
Our products are different in so many ways. Not to mention high quality. Artwork on Cape Coral Gear products is derived from an original painting by Brenda, hand-painted over a period of hours or days.
Below is a look at the primary steps in the process, from the canvas painting to the product.
When you have Cape Coral Gear products, you stand out from the crowd with fresh, original, eye-catching designs.
Cape Coral Artist Brenda Boss Launches Online Store with Cape Coral Themed Gifts and Apparel
Some of her products are currently available for purchase at the Family Hardware Store on SE 47th St and at House 2 Home Goods at Surfside shops.
July 5, 2019. Local artist, Brenda Boss, has launched an e-commerce web site to promote and sell her Cape Coral-themed products to consumers and retailers. Her product line, which she says is just in the beginning stages, includes coffee mugs, tote bags, T-shirts, and jewelry.
The products feature her burrowing owl paintings and often convey a sense of humor. For example, some of the products feature a burrowing owl peering out of a heart illustration, and the words “I love Cape Coral.” She is working on a product line, “Leroy Says” centered around one of her funky fish paintings, named Leroy, with captions such as “Leroy says: Keep it in the Cape” and “Leroy says: I’m green with envy that you are in Cape Coral” (Leroy is green with ogling eyes and big red lips). One of her funky fish paintings hangs in Big Blue Brewery.
“I have been offering my art on sites such as FineArtAmerica and RedBubble, but those are such crowded spaces and I don’t think they resonate with the average consumer. I still have my art on those art sites, but because these Cape Coral themed items are aimed at such a niche market, I decided to build a web site focused 100% on Cape Coral.”
An exciting part of CapeCoralGear.com, she says, is the ability to sell at wholesale (discount) prices to local retailers. Her decision to offer wholesale pricing started with a Facebook message from Steven Stewart, the Store Manager of Vision Ace Hardware in downtown Cape Coral, who saw her burrowing owl products on the consumer web site Zazzle.
“He sent me a direct message asking if I would consider offering wholesale pricing and I jumped on it. Absolutely, I said.” Stewart and Boss met a couple of times to review the products he was interested in, prices, and quantities. Boss says that Stewart plans have products on the shelves in time for the fall season when snowbirds return.
Those meetings with Stewart inspired her to think about how to get her products into other local stores. After stopping in to show sample products to the staff at Family Hardware, she was thrilled to get her first order from them soon afterward. She also has some of her art prints at House 2 Home Goods at Surfside shops and she has sold original artwork at Su Casa on Coronado Parkway, and the now defunct Hidden Shells Gallery in downtown Cape Coral.
She says she hasn’t quit her day job (Boss and her husband David Sage run a successful real estate business and she manages their real estate web site, SageRealtor.com), so she needed a way to get to retailers throughout Cape Coral virtually.
The site is built with state of the art tools such as WooCommerce and SSL that make it relatively easy to offer secure online shopping. For consumers, payments are made via the secure payment portal PayPal (shoppers can pay with just about any credit card) and for retailers, payments are made upon delivery.
As of now, Cape Coral Gear is an internet only store. Boss does not have retail space and she does not carry much inventory. For small, consumer orders, she uses print on demand services. For larger wholesale orders, she uses local printing vendors.
“I was thrilled to find a Cape Coral print vendor, Cheetah Printing, that will work with me on small quantity orders. This in turn allows me to offer low quantity ordering to retailers. My hope is that offering low minimums will encourage more retailers to give the products a try.” After their raging success, chuckles Boss, she hopes those early adopters will place larger orders that, in turn, will allow her to discount the wholesale pricing further.
I also plan to offer logoed merchandise, coupled with my art images, to retailers. For example, a burrowing owl coffee mug with the ACME logo.
Boss and her husband have lived full time in Cape Coral for over 15 years. Making art is a hobby for Boss, but one day in retirement she hopes to be a full time artist making commissioned original works, displaying art in galleries, and designing and selling her Cape Coral Gear.