Grow Financial Federal Credit Union
May 10, 2018

Meet Trip’s Diner

It wasn’t like Gordon Stevenson spent his childhood dreaming of opening a diner in St. Petersburg, Florida. But he found his entrepreneurial spirit in the restaurant business, as he admits many people do.

Though it is notoriously difficult to find success as a restaurant owner, Stevenson wasn’t intimidated. He was confident there was opportunity out there for the right kind of business.

“You can still make money in restaurants,” Stevenson said. “It’s a difficult business. It’s a competitive business. It’s not a business somebody should look to get rich in, but if you are successful, you can make money.”

To ensure his success, Stevenson considered every decision carefully. He looked for a niche in the market that wasn’t being sufficiently serviced and thought about what type of restaurant could be open all day to have the maximum potential for sales. He landed on a nice, neighborhood diner with high-quality food and affordable prices.

The next step was convincing his wife, Louise, to let him take the risk. After what he calls a slow, persistent effort, she agreed and the question of a name arose. What would they call this place? They have three children–triplets–so they couldn’t possibly name it after just one. Instead they landed on Trip’s Diner, a nod to all three children, and the family-style diner became a family affair.

That deep connection to the work ended up being the greatest challenge for Stevenson as he navigated the restaurant business with a young family.

“Once you own it, it becomes a very emotional issue,” Stevenson said. “Everything that goes wrong is really difficult and hard to deal with and it’s been a tough road for me to kind of emotionally separate from the daily stuff that happens.”

But that personal element is a big part of what makes Trip’s Diner so attractive. Regular customers know Gordon, Louise, their kids and their staff. Those relationships make a simple restaurant more meaningful to the community.

“I feel like people really gravitate to it being locally owned,” Stevenson said. “We’re not a large corporation. It’s my wife and my kids and me, and that’s who owns the restaurant.”

And that’s what you’ll find if you visit any one of Trip’s Diner locations: good food, reasonable prices and a whole lot of family. Need to taste a bite for yourself? Visit Trip’s Diner at one of their area locations.

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