A Refreshing Retail Experience

by Nate Hunter

The drinkware company Tervis is committed to opening 15 locations during 2014 and plans to continue building new stores at a similar pace.

Markets that attract tourists fit the company’s ideal customer demographic. Key target cities for Tervis’ expansion include New Orleans; Nashville, Tenn.; and Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale and St. Augustine, Fla.Tervis is proving itself as the leader in innovative drinkware and as its tagline states, the company is “always full of fun.” From Disney characters to football team logos, each vibrant and colorful Tervis store provides fun and functional drinkware branded with a variety of designs and patterns.

Since its inception in Detroit in 1946, Tervis has guaranteed its products to last a lifetime. Engineers Frank Cotter and G. Howlett Davis (who combined portions of their last names to create the name Tervis) harnessed the natural insulating powers of air to create a permanently sealed, double-wall tumbler. Tervis’ products not only last for years, but also reduce the amount of condensation to keep hot drinks hot or cold drinks cold.

The Donelly family purchased the Tervis product rights in the 1950s and later incorporated the Tervis Tumbler Co. in 1967. To this day, all Tervis drinkware is made in America at the company’s headquarters in North Venice, Fla.
The privately owned and family-operated business has offered products at wholesale to select retailers for years, and is now in the midst of its own rapid store expansion plan.

Tervis’ current portfolio includes 27 stores in 13 states throughout the country. The first store opened in the company’s original factory location in Osprey, Fla. The factory eventually relocated, but the first store remained.

Since the company does well in coastal areas, Tervis plans to expand to markets in California and other tourist destinations, as well as from Florida up the East Coast to Maine. The company also has an additional focus on cruise ports within those regions since those cities attract many travelers.

“When we look for a new location, we focus on tourist destinations,” says Lynn Kisser, vice president of stores for Tervis “We are totally flexible with the type of space we look for. It could be a lifestyle mall, freestanding, historic district — as long as there are tourists, we are open to the location.”

The markets that draw tourists fit the company’s lifestyle, which is focused on families, water and relaxation. Key target cities for Tervis’ expansion include New Orleans; Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale and St. Augustine, Fla.; Nashville, Tenn.; and San Francisco. The company is also setting its sights on Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

In 2014, the brand is going to develop a minimum of 15 locations. Kisser says the company plans to continue that growth model for the next five to 10 years.

To fully capitalize on each location’s vibrant appeal, the chain looks for a minimum of 20 to 30 feet of frontage. Tervis wants its customers to be captivated by the store’s variety and endless options just by walking by. Stores range in size from 850 to 1,250 square feet, but 1,100 square feet is the company’s ideal size. Tervis also requests tenant allowances funds from landlords when seeking new locations.

During the Great Recession, consumers are looking for value in their purchases. This is why Tervis continues to do well in sales even during harsh economic times because of its products’ longevity.

“We have a sound, thought-out expansion plan that encompasses a variety of factors. We are fortunate that Tervis has over 65 years of longevity to cushion us. Tervis can weather the ups and downs,” says Kisser.

Tervis’ products come in a variety of sizes including tumblers that range from 8 ounces to 24 ounces, along with mugs, goblets and water bottles. Not to mention that each piece of drinkware is microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe, so it is virtually unbreakable. They continue to add new designs, and new product additions will be coming out in 2014.

“When the economy is down, consumers spend extra time looking for value and quality. Not only does Tervis have high-quality products, but our tumblers also come with a lifetime guarantee,” says Kisser.

The 16-ounce tumbler continues to be the company’s best-seller, and customers enjoy personalizing Tervis products with photos or customized text. Family photos can find their way onto your favorite drink, or your personalized message can make the perfect gift. The company’s online “Tervis Customyzer™” allows each guest to “create something as unique as you are.” Each tumbler can be adorned with an interchangeable lid of practically any color to further enhance the design on the side.

“Our vibrant and colorful Tervis stores are always full of fun, expressive drinkware and accessories that celebrate every passion and fit every lifestyle,” says Kisser.

Tervis started licensing in 2009 with colleges and Margaritaville. Today, the company partners with more than 50 of the top brands including all professional sports (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS), Disney, Star Wars, Marvel, Warner Brothers, Coca-Cola and Harley Davidson just to name a few. From animals to sports and weddings to humorous phrases, there is a Tervis design for customers of all ages.


— Brittany Biddy

You may also like