Tioga Businesses Multiply, Lean on Each Other

Courtesy of The Gainesville Sun

Although the business is only a month old, the owners of Golf & Tennis Etc. say the shop already is enjoying the benefits of its location.

Owned by Lynne and Bill Saunders, the business’ home in the Tioga Town Center off Newberry Road appears to be prime. Across the street is the West End Golf Club. Three miles down the road lies the Jonesville Tennis Center.

“Business is good,” Lynne Saunders said last week.

But the strongest asset could be the community atmosphere among merchants at the Tioga Town Center, say the shop’s owners and center management, pointing to the center’s growth and cohesion.

“We have a great loop of merchants here at the center who reach out to the newer merchants; they provide guidance, and they all work together,” said Gil Levy, president of Tioga Town Center.

Lynne Saunders agreed, saying, “All of us in the center refer one another to potential customers, and we can already feel the strengths that could bring.”

Golf & Tennis Etc. offers a variety of services and merchandise, including custom fitting for golf clubs, repairs, clothing, apparel and shoes. It also features a glass-enclosed golf hitting bay that allows the store to develop an accurate profile of golfers’ abilities and tendencies.

“Nobody in this area has one of those,” Bill Saunders said.

Along with Golf & Tennis Etc., seven businesses have opened at Tioga Town Center over the past 18 months, including Lowry Financial Advisors, Poser Plastic Surgery Center, The Little Shop, Bike Works, Gator Tec, Down to Earth Boutique and Sabore Restaurant.

One business, Keith Watson Productions, is scheduled to open Jan. 15, and over the past 18 months, only one store has closed – Vela Clothing.

With nearly 30,000 commuters passing the Tioga Town Center daily, the area is quickly growing into a commercial hub.

The center is also the gateway to the Town of Tioga, a 300-home community of luxury houses and townhomes.

“The community surrounding us has a huge impact – it makes us try to be as local-oriented as possible,” said Seth Schmer, general manager of Blue Highway Pizza, which has had a location at Tioga Town Center for two and a half years.

“Most of the traffic we have would be from people who live in Gainesville and from just behind us in the Tioga community. We are like the ‘pizzeria around the corner’ for them,” Schmer added.

By Paul Kardasz
9:00 am, December 26, 2011