RumFish Beach Resort: Hotel Meets Lifestyle

This spring, one of St. Pete Beach’s popular hotel properties—Guy Harvey Outpost—doubled down on the popularity of its RumFish Grlll restaurant and rebranded itself as RumFish Beach Resort. To learn more about the shift, as well as the connection to Guy Harvey, Tampa Bay Business & Wealth talked with TradeWinds president Keith Overton for his thoughts and insights.

At the time you opened RumFish Grill – 2014 – was it the first and only?

Overton: Yes, we created the concept, which was the first and original RumFish Grill. Since then, we have added a few locations under licensing agreements in the Tampa Bay area, including Tampa International Airport, Amalie Arena and, most recently, Tropicana Field. We’re always exploring opportunities to strategically expand our owned locations and add licensees.

Is this the first RumFish Beach Resort?

RumFish Beach Resort by TradeWinds will be the first of its kind, completely created by our leadership here at TradeWinds Island Resorts.

Why did you feel it was right for TradeWinds to go “all in” on the Guy Harvey brand?

Five years ago, we explored many rebranding options for what was known at the time as the Sandpiper Beach Resort. Our goal was to create a point of difference to its sister resort (TradeWinds Island Grand). It so happened that the folks at Guy Harvey [Enterprises, the company that represents the marine wildlife artist and conservationalist] were looking to add licensing partners under their resort concept, Guy Harvey Outpost.

We were one of the first to join the program and, at the time, it was a perfect fit for us. Through a significant investment of money and time on our part, the growth of our RumFish Grill destination restaurant concept has been hugely successful. With three other licensing agreements and possibly another coming, it’s our desire to grow this concept to be one of our leading sources of net operating income growth. Placing the name RumFish Beach Resort on our resort, which is home to our flagship RumFish Grill store, further moves us along in this process more rapidly. This is no way reflects poorly on Guy Harvey Outpost. In fact, we feel their lifestyle brand was perfect for a resort like ours and met all of our expectations.  

What is it about Guy Harvey’s life and work that you feel your customers and clients really connect to?

Guy’s work resonates extremely well with our “Florida lifestyle” environment. Guy’s brand is very popular in the southeastern United States, so our geographic location also made this a great fit for our resort at the time.

Did Guy Harvey himself have a hand in the rebranding?

Guy Harvey Inc. has a separate licensor that manages their resort division, Guy Harvey Outpost. Five years ago, when we first entered our into our agreement, Guy was involved in the initial site visits and general discussions regarding our company’s objectives for utilizing the Guy Harvey mission and story. Guy was also a part of our resorts and RumFish Grill being featured on Animal Planet’s TV show, Tanked.

Is the hotelwide “facelift” on track for completion by summer?

With the rebranding now officially complete, we have replaced all former Guy Harvey marks to include trade-dress, signage, artwork and other items. We have formed a partnership with local artist Thomas Krause and utilized the majority of his work to create our own “RumFish Beach Life” brand throughout the resort. Additionally, we just completed a room renovation, which was well-timed with this rebrand.

Did you work with an interior designer on the room refurbishing?

Yes. We have a few folks internally that help create all our design elements, but we also work with a third-party designer as well. We worked with Kim Pabor of Pabor Designs. Kim has worked with us for many years and was our designer for RumFish Grill as well.

What can you share about the new look for the rooms? Colors? Textures? Special features?

The furniture provides a fresh look and all rooms have new sofa beds, carpeting, fresh paint and upgraded bathroom mirrors and lighting. All soft goods were replaced including bedding, draperies and upholstery. The rooms will also receive new club chairs in the seating area, closet doors, sliding glass doors and windows. New beachfront balconies were added to 56 of the rooms, while new railings and a coat of exterior paint were added propertywide.

When do you expect to unveil the first of the “RumFish Beach Life” lifestyle merchandise? What are some of the debut items? And is the brand targeted to men, women and children?

Now that the rebrand is complete, we are now working on this endeavor. We are excited about the potential here as we take some of the imagery from the resort and allow guests and customers to take it home with them in the form of a T-shirt, apparel or other souvenirs. We look to roll our new designs out in phases, starting with some of the most popular-selling items in our stores today. T-shirts, performance wear, drinkware and artwork will likely be the first phase. We will then continue to add new items as we grow the brand. Our stores are very diverse and appeal to the entire family so our new line of merchandise will be no different.

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