Q: In case you’re not familiar with our series, we always like to begin by having our “spotlight” share something about themselves. What’s a fun fact we should know about you? A: I used to play guitar and sing in a band in Boston in the early 2000s and played a little around Orlando a few years back. You never heard of it… so I won’t mention it ;) Q: I’ve known you for several years now, but have no idea if you’re a native Central Floridian, or like so many other residents, a transplant. Which is it? A: I’m originally from south Fla, lived in Boston for a few years… then made my way to Orlando in 2006 and have been here since. Q: Your newest venture, Cloak & Dapper, is one of the main reasons I wanted to feature you on our site. An online general store for gentlemen, from what I can initially tell it is a labor of love. How did the concept come about? A: Well, I knew about a year ago that I wanted to created something orginal and with “taste…” And one day it just clicked… like a hindsight is 20/20 moment for me. I thought… if I were to go out and create a company what in the world would it be? And I thought to myself what am I even qualified to do… Based on the experience I had in my wheelhouse (retail, hospitality, finance and marketing) I realized it had to be a store – which was great news because that’s also what I WANTED to do. So I knew it would be a men’s store and that I wanted to offer a simplified shopping alternative for men… the type of place where the browsing was done for you already and a man could just show up and grab the items he wanted in that moment.. abnd not actually have to “shop” for them. Once this idea came about… I realized it was like a revitalizing of the ole one-stop-shop mentality…. Or GENERAL STORE. On top of all that I wanted to be as true to the conceptual elements as possible.. and carrying exclusively only MADE IN USA goods was the next no-brainer right step. Once this big idea was solidified.. then the true laboring of love took place. And still does. Everyday ☺ Q: One of the things I really like about this site, and the product, is everything is produced in the United States. Why did you feel that’s an important angle and service to provide customers? A: It’s something that appeals to the modern red-blooded gentleman male… knowing that the item I’m wearing or purchasing was handcrafted by top artisans in their industry… right here in the USA… It’s a badge of honor in not only supporting manufacturing on our side of the pond.. but also knowing the quality of the product… it was made with care, in limited runs, it will be a unique item that not every other man will be wearing. You ever go out one night and run in to a few other guys wearing the same cologne or jeans or shirt or shoes as you? It happens a lot for men because there are less buying options for us. Men all go to/shop at the mall, the Gap or Jcrew, etc.. and even though they have great looks sometimes.. they’re mass-produced and its obvious from the look and feel of the pieces. Sure, eventually there will be more Cloak & Dapper customers and similar items will be worn out on the town… but I imagine when that happens it will be more of a mutual respect… or high five moment.. than an embarrassing one.
Q: If you’re familiar with our series, we always like to jump off having our
Q: Before getting started, we always enjoy hearing one fun fact about our “people.” What’s yours? A: Ahhhh something that always shocks people is that I have been to over 500 live concerts over the years =) It’s a wonder I still have my hearing. Q: You’re originally from the North. What brought you to Central Florida, and how long have you been a resident? A: I have been in Central Florida for the past 10 years and I love it. What brought me to this Sunshine State was exactly that, sunshine! I adore the weather; it keeps my energy up and a smile on my face. It’s so hard to frown on a sunny day! Q: What do you enjoy most about Central Florida? A: The big city feel in a small community. We are so spread out and have so much to offer all over the Central Florida area but our community is so tightly knit and is truly a driving force. Q: In terms of growth & development, what would you like to see for Central Florida? A: I would like to see Downtown continue to flourish. In my 10 years, I have seen this city go from a central street downtown to a true up-and-coming urban city. We still have a long way to go but I have a great feeling about the next couple of years. The addition of the long awaited Amway Center is going to shock people and really bring an energy that our downtown area has been lacking as far as entertainment. Q: You are the new Community Manager for Yelp!, a site about local businesses that relies heavily on user-submitted content. What does Yelp have to offer Central Florida? A: Let’s put it this way, I have actively been using Yelp since Sept ’09 and I have uncovered over 100 local establishments, businesses and restaurants that are bookmarked “to try!” That is out of control. What have I been doing these past 10 years? Yelp allows people to connect on various levels:
- They can trust their local communities to point them in the direction of great local businesses.
- They can share their opinions and experiences and allow others to benefit from their opinions.
- They can connect with locals online as well as offline and extend their personal networks.
- On the local business side, owners can get out into the community and see what their customers are saying about their business. They can help to improve their business as well as reach out and connect to consumers in order to extend their local reach.
It's been some time since we've published a "People Pulse" feature, but the recipient of this particular piece is one awesome dude! If you're not addicted to this guy's enthusiasm after learning a little about him then you're crazy! Q: Before getting started, what’s one fun fact about yourself you’d like people to know? A: I regularly write letters to my 93 year old great aunt Dotty and she handwrites me a note for every letter I send. I cherish the love and the insights in those letters. They are inspiration, family history and wisdom all in five pages of chicken scratched notes. It’s an amazing correspondence that has brought good things into my life. Also….the proper way to spell my name is B-O-B. Please note that there is only one “O” Q: How long have you lived in the Central Florida area? A: 28 years. I moved to Central Florida in 1981 to attend UCF I graduated in 1984 (U Can Finish…in three years with a Business (Marketing) major, and a Computer Science minor – Woo Hoo!) I have been here ever since. Q: What do you enjoy most about Central Florida? A: Central Florida has so many amazing possibilities. I love the arts community here. We have some AMAZING visual and performing artists in this community. In addition to their artistic gifts, so many of these people are very fun and kind folks. Thankfully, we are discovering more and more ways to incorporate the arts into the fabric of our communities. With all these brilliant people wandering around, it always feels like we are on the verge of something great. Q: You’re an awesome artist! Have you always been creative in this format? A: Thanks for the kind words. I love them. I have been an artist since I was a child. Picasso says that all children are artists; the problem is keeping the artist in them as they grow up. I agree with him. I am into two kinds of art right now…drawing and photomontage collage. I love scratchboard and charcoal and pencil and ink. I love powerful images and love the challenge of taking something very cool and giving it a whole new meaning by surrounding it with new a visual context or story Q: Where do you find inspiration for your art? A: Everywhere. There’s a Calvin and Hobbes title that best describes my view of creative inspiration…”Treasure, Treasure Everywhere” I wrote a column for a national magazine called “The Quest for Creative Inspiration” and learned from people who are far more creative than I am, that there are a billion ways to find your inspiration and to stoke your creative spark. I’m in the process of trying them all. There are themes that tend to permeate the art that I have created so far: People, religion, hope, beauty, love, war and wonder. I also love contrasts and paradoxes. That makes me sound deeper than I am. But it’s true. Q: Is your artwork available for purchase? A: Yes…I’m not currently showing at any galleries or art festivals, but I have been selling a bit of art this year…which is great. I do it for love and the money seems to show up. That’s beautiful reinforcement…but not why I do it. Of people want to buy my art they can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Q: In addition to your artwork, you’re also an actor. How did you get started acting? A: My first public performance was on stage as the letter “w”. With my brother and three of my sisters we spelled out the word “Amway”. Mom and Dad were very successful (Diamond) direct distributors in the Amway Corporation…back in the very early days of the company. They didn’t hesitate to get the kids involved. We were the Osmonds of the Amway Corporation. My only line was “W is for work, which is not for me!” It killed. I acted in a few plays in high school. Fun fact: The girl I married was an usherette at my last high school performance. I didn’t act again (other than on the business stage) until 1999 when I enrolled in an improv class at SAK Comedy Lab in Orlando. After a couple of years of classes, I began performing improv with SAK’s Lab Rats and I currently perform with SAK’s Gen S and Ensemble Troupes as a performer and a host. It is great fun and a great challenge to my brain (and my courage) to jump on stage without an agenda and work with my playmates to take whatever the audience offers as inspiration and weave it into a funny, often poignant, scene. This stuff is also great training for thinking on your feet in business and in life. Q: Do you perform regularly in the Central Florida area? A: I perform every week, often multiple times a week. It’s an addiction. But I intend to eventually get on the improv methadone program. Q: Is there a creative platform you enjoy more than others? A: Improv is my performing love. Street Painting (watercolor pastel), drawing in pencil, charcoal and ink and photomontage collage are my visual arts loves. I also love film as a medium and intend to see what I can do with that powerful communication tool. Q: Are there any “movers & shakers” in the arts Community we should be familiar with other than yourself? A: Oh there are many…people like Beth Marshall the maven of the Orlando Fringe Festival, Anna McCambridge who champions Visual Fringe every year and is an amazing artist herself, Margot Knight who runs United Arts of Central Florida so deftly and Dave RussellTerry Olson two of the Founding Fathers of SAK Comedy lab. Dave is now the Artistic and Managing Director of SAK and Terry is the head of Orange County Arts and Cultural Affairs. andI love so many of the artists at McCrae Studios: Dina Mack, Larry Moore and the Whipples (John and Lynn) are among of my favorites. Jeff Wirth is constantly stretching the boundaries of interactive performance, and you should see Jessica Mariko and the gang at DRIP dance and speak with their performances. Mark Baratelli is emerging as a force for the arts with his Taco Truck and Mobile Art Show and his City Arts Blog. And have you seen any of Thomas Thorspecken's illustrations? He drew every day in 2009…amazing details. Finally, I also love Lee Jones who is the president of the Florida Chalk Artist’s Association. She helps artists break into the medium of street painting. You don’t have to travel very far to find wonderful advocates for the arts.