Type to search

Commercial Real Estate

Second-hand commercial real estate makes a great home for businesses

Avatar photo

Tailbangers in Millsboro makes hand-crafted dog biscuits sold nationwide.

By Kathy Canavan

Lisa St. Clair started her wholesale dog bakery in a 20-by-20 shed in Millsboro 11 years ago. When her businesses started taking off, she rented a spot in a remote strip center on Long Neck Road. Then she took over a 3,000-square-foot shop, but the businesses was growing so quickly that employees were putting orders together on the sidewalk.

With her hand-cut, hand-dipped, hand-decorated Tail Bangers biscuits featured in approximately 2,000 pet stores around the country, St. Clair needed more room.

“It was important to me to stay in Millsboro because I had loyal employees who had helped me grow the business to the point that we needed more room,” she said.   

When she was growing 20 percent a year, St. Clair purchased a warehouse on two acres in Millsboro and converted it to a bakery and retail store last year at a cost of $150,000.  Then things changed – for the better.

“Sales have increased to a 30 percent growth this year, which created a problem,” St. Clair said. “We already outgrew our brand new dog bakery! As luck would have it and the grace of God, there was an empty 1,600 square-foot garage-barn-mess directly behind my bakery. “

“I Facebook-stalked the owner and learned he didn’t rent it because there was no water on the property.  I convinced him to let me rent it because I didn’t need water. I needed it for shipping and warehousing finished product,” she said.

He rented her that building and a 2,000 square-foot garage on the property. She hopes to build another structure on her property.

She invested in a $17,000 forklift and spent $40,000 gutting the garage and building out with insulated walls, paint, new electric, new floors, HVAC, shelving plus a driveway. She designed exactly what she wanted. “My dad was an architect-custom-home-builder, so it’s in my blood. I general -contracted the whole thing,” said St. Clair, whose company slogan is “Be the person your dog thinks you are.”

New life for an old bank

When Kevin Loftus was in the market for a spot to build a Lared Health Center in Seaford to treat low-income patients in a bilingual setting, he turned to Lared board member Bob Boyd, CEO of Regional Construction. Boyd suggested converting the building he was using for his own office, an old bank with great bones perfectly perched at High and Cannon Streets. “The building is perfect. It’s very, very close to the at-risk population who most need our services,” said Loftus, Lared’s director of development, who Boyd jokingly calls “probably the greatest money grabber in the history of finding money.”

The structure was solid with 18-inch masonry walls. There was a lengthy to-do list – remove a 12-foot-by-26-foot steel vault, gutted the interior, add a second floor with steel studs and joists, rip out the old systems and replace them with new, replace the windows, add medical equipment.

Boyd, who has built many medical offices and serves on the board at Nanticoke Health Services, said he planned to lease the offices to Lared, but Loftus began securing grants to purchase it before construction even had begun.

“I was very interested in Lared being successful. I could have made more on it if I didn’t believe in what Kevin and Lared were doing,” Boyd said. “I didn’t recover as much as I had hoped to but that’s fine. I’ve been very fortunate.”

Get the free DBT email newsletter  

Follow the people, companies and issues that matter most to business in Delaware.

You Might also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Premier Digital Partners

© 2022 Delaware Business Times

Get the DBT Best Restaurants Guide

Your go-to resource for the best places for business meetings, happy hours, power lunches and more, as compiled by the Delaware Business Times editorial team.

No, thank you.
Best Restaurants Cover