Dockside Tropical Café

Music Venue/Tiki Bar

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Quick Pitch

“Imagine this… a music venue owned and operated by a musician. What a concept! This is my dream.”   Eric Stone, singer/songwriter

Dockside was once a waterfront venue in the heart of the Florida Keys on Boot Key Harbor in Marathon, but recently closed. Historically this is a favorite hot spot of locals and cruisers, a place where the Chamber of Commerce met for happy hour next to the 'pirates' from the harbor; a place that filled with sunkissed tourists watching the sunset after spending a day on the water or exploring the Keys. Dockside is a landmark - we want to bring it back to life.

Dockside Tropical Café is poised for rapid growth in the restaurant/bar/music venue industry with the top three ingredients going for it: location, location, location! We are thrilled to be able to take advantage of a window of opportunity for introducing a “new and improved” Dockside, a tradition in Marathon for many years. Dockside Tropical Café has the potential to dominate the South Florida market as a destination for good music and good times.

Who We Are

Eric Stone is a singer/songwriter with 13 CDs to his name, with the last being Time To Fly, released just last fall, with rave reviews. And it is… his “time to fly”.  Picking up his first guitar when he was just 10 years old, he has played worldwide ever since, with influences ranging from AC/DC to Willie Nelson to Jimmy Buffett, his ultra talented songwriting and unique voice has led to an international fan base. His fans tend to feel more like friends as he invites people into his personal life through his songwriting and answers all emails and comments personally. Because of this, this group of people will make special travel arrangements just to hear him play and raise a glass with him.

Prior to creating a full time career within the music industry, Eric worked in the customer service arena with Northwest Airlines; this and working with various venues/bars/restaurants from the stage view, has given him the opportunity to experience from the inside just how important customer service is. He also served as a hands-on consultant for Bahama Breeze Restaurants in developing their music offerings nationwide.

Kim Hess-Stone, Eric’s wife is a business owner, yoga instructor & author. She uses her yoga teachings and practice to connect with others, inspiring them to trust in themselves and to find the passion and commitment that is their nature, not only on the mat, but also in the world. She is a self published author and creator of Yoga OnboardTM  book and DVD, writer/artist of Yoga Nidra~waves of change CD, and creator of the Pirate YogiTM  clothing line.

Kim began working in the service industry when she was twelve years old, beginning as a dishwasher and working her way thru the ranks as state labor laws permitted. She has used this knowledge and experience throughout her years during transitional periods of her life. The birth of a new restaurant is not a new concept for Kim as she worked closely with a friend of hers in her hometown of McCall, Idaho, conceptualizing an idea for a wine bar and gourmet deli and taking it to fruition, before relocating to Miami Beach. Bistro 45 is now one of the most popular restaurants for tourists and locals in McCall.

Eric & Kim, both being of the creative entrepreneurial mind, are the perfect combination to fulfill the necessary steps needed to create, implement and maintain a healthy, successful business. Having seen businesses thrive or go under in tourist locations, they both understand the importance of exceptional and consistent products and service. Together they have a vision to restore Dockside to its glory. Their vision includes adding a tiki hut, built exclusively by the Seminoles, adding tiki and island décor, a tasteful blend of every tropical location ever dreamt about including the Florida Keys.

Our Vision

Dockside Tropical Café - a Keys dock bar with a mix of tiki themes and island dreams - maintaining the community experience while upgrading its appearance, product and service.            

Our Vision of the Dockside Tropical Café

It is our mission to offer the Marathon's locals, tourists and community of cruisers a music venue that offers quality entertainment seven nights a week. As a foundation for this venue, we will offer a simple yet complete lunch and dinner menu featuring Key’s favorites and healthy alternatives. Our full service bar will include specialty drinks straight from the islands as well as a tasteful beer and wine list. The gift shop will offer signature logo apparel and gear as well as other top selling items. Through our commitment to quality service, food and music, this establishment will soon become a “must" for anyone visiting The Florida Keys.

We will carry on the long standing tradition of Sunday Jam nights, as well as other weekly events (i.e. Movie Mondays), complementing the line up of talented local and regional singer/songwriters we will be bringing to our stage in addition to our house band, The Eric Stone Band.

The gift shop, Harley & Marley’s Treasure Chest, will offer signature logo apparel and gear along with Eric Stone MusicTM, Pirate YogiTM, Cruising OutpostTM, Living Like a PirateTM and Chix FishTM apparel and gear, as well as other offerings. The gift shop will also be a part time home to Harley and Marley, the couple’s two macaws. Harley and Marley will also have their own signature apparel and gear and there will be opportunity to take photos with the birds, a significant attraction to families and tourists visiting The Keys.

Transforming Dockside

  • Remove current roof canopy and replace with tiki hut roofing
  • Relocate & upgrade kitchen with herb garden
  • Upgrade stage and sound system to attract quality musicians
  • Add gift store (Harley & Marley’s Treasure Chest)
  • Paint/redecorate with island, tiki theme
  • Redesign dining/bar areas
  • Solid marketing campaigns
  • Training & ongoing support for staff to insure quality service & consistency in menu selections
  • Free Wifi for customers
  • Live webcast of music performances on internet and in-house tvs
  • Special events:

         o Cruising Outpost seminar weekends
         o Weekend/Week long music festivals
         o Morning community health classes: yoga, fitness, tai chi etc.
         o Other community events

  • New dinghy docks to accommodate mooring field
  • Offer water sports rentals (kayaks, stand-up paddleboards)

How We'll Build Our Business

There are three main target markets for Dockside Tropical Café:

  1. The cruising community. Dockside is the only waterfront full service bar/restaurant offering music on Boot Key Harbor, with over 200 mooring balls (and more on the way), and approximately 200-300 slips. Boot Key Harbor is a major “jumping off point” for cruisers headed to the islands for the season or as a final destination.
  2. Tourists. Located in Marathon, Florida, the heart of the Florida Keys, tourism is what keeps the Keys alive.
  3. Locals. Realistically the local residents should be the bread & butter for a year round consistency in sales. Specials and events specifically for local residents will be offered.

With three specific target markets, three marketing strategies will be implemented:

  1. Cruising community:  A significant and well known presence in the boating/cruising community will continue for both Eric Stone & Kim Hess. This will happen through national boat shows and marketing with popular cruising magazine(s).  Side note: Eric is the official entertainer and Kim writes the Healthy Cruising column for Cruising Outpost magazine (formerly Latitudes & Attitudes)
  2. Tourism: National marketing campaigns through the travel industry, in addition to billboards along US1 promoting venue and directing traffic to location. Discounts offered through local and South Florida hotels. Ads on tourist channel tv
  3. Local Residents: Local radio and appropriate print media. Involvement in the community. Special events geared to local involvement. Bring back a “new & improved” Dockside, which has been a landmark in Marathon for years. Focusing on name recognition with new reputation.

We have identified the following avenues of marketing to increase our brand awareness:

  1. Distribute postcards and advertising to all Keys businesses that promote to tourism (i.e. tourist destinations, hotels/motels, gas stations etc.)
  2. Billboards on both sides of town
  3. Press releases to industry publications and local newspapers
  4. Magazine ads
  5. Local radio/television ads
  6. Large internet social media presence
  7. Posting flyers about special events and weekly schedule/specials
  8. Line of signature logo apparel and gear (self promotion)
  9. Song written & recorded by Eric Stone (think Margaritaville)
  10. Word of mouth: by offering exceptional and consistent products and service, new and old customers will not only continue to frequent the venue, but spread the word


Eric Stone - Co-Owner/Operator

Singer/songwriter, and independent musician with 13 published CDs and a growing fan base. 

Eric Stone is singer/songwriter, and a hard charging independent musician, with a long music career with 13 published CDs and a growing fan base. Eric had the vision to define and leverage a niche for his genre of music with staying power. Whether performing at venues from Australia to the Caribbean, his fan base and popularity continues to grow. Wherever Eric performs, you can count on a crowd developing and a party ensuing. Eric has made an art out of balancing the demands of a touring performer while managing a business and a brand. Eric has consulted with numerous established restaurants, liquor brands, and boat charter companies to help them extend their brands through music, including development of theme songs for numerous companies. Dockside will leverage the music business Eric has developed to grow its business with music being a core draw for Dockside.

Kim Hess-Stone - Co-Owner/Operator

Successful yoga instructor, author and business owner marketing her own brand.  

Kim has developed her own business expertise as a yoga instructor and yoga business operator, author, and product marketer including her own yoga training book & DVD and several ongoing blogs for well known magazines. Kim’s prior experience has included co-development of a gourmet delicatessen and wine bar, from concept to fruition, resulting in a currently thriving enterprise in Idaho. Kim knows customer service, merchandising, and business development. With a deep understanding of customer service and quality and how they relate to the success or failure of a business like Dockside, she will play a critical hands-on role in the success of Dockside. Eric & Kim, both being of the creative entrepreneurial mind, are the perfect combination to fulfill the necessary steps needed to create, implement and maintain a healthy, successful business. Having seen businesses thrive or go under in tourist locations, they both understand the importance of exceptional and consistent products and service. Together they have a vision to restore Dockside to its glory.

Rod & Cathy Sainsbury - Restaurant Development Advisors

Successful restauranteurs in Idaho, Mexico & Montana 

Rod & Cathy know a thing or two about restaurants, bars, and the hospitality business; or make that a thing or three! Award winning owner-operators of 3 successful bars located in Idaho, Mexico and their newly established, highly successful Buffalo Bar & Casino in West Yellowstone, Montana. Both of them have also run successful business of their own before they met. Team Sainsbury is providing their deep expertise in bar and restaurant management, including all facets of the operation from sales, staffing, training, and ensuring quality and efficiency from top to bottom. Before the bar and restaurant business, Rod owned a successful construction, design and development company for 35 years, putting him in an excellent position to provide guidance and advice on the Dockside renovation.

Rags & Kathy Laragione - Business Development Advisors

President & CEO, Director & CFO, respectively, of Maritime Institute, San Diego, CA 

Rags and Kathy are the principles of the Maritime Institute, a US Coast Guard accredited national leader in training for professional working mariners. Founded in 1976, the business has grown to two core locations, in California with training delivered world-wide. When not training marine captains and Navy Seals, and new private sector marine trainees, they bring skills and advice in business and financial management, marketing, and strong business fundamentals to the Dockside team.

Kevin Block - Business Development Advisor

Business Development/Strategy Executive in Palo Alto, CA 

A business development executive with a leading high tech firm in Silicon Valley. Kevin brings deep expertise in sales, marketing, business strategy, partners and alliances, as well as applying technology to business. Kevin’s extensive career has spanned the high tech, energy, and hospitality sectors, along with a couple of software startups in the agriculture and cable television industries. Kevin advises the team in numerous strategic areas including identifying the leadership and talent skills needed to sustain operations.

Bob & Jody Lipkin - Branding & Marketing Development Advisors

Founders of Cruising Outpost Magazine, President & VP respectively 

Bob is a serial entrepreneur, seven-time author, and president of FTW, Publishing Inc., with Jody bringing deep expertise in special event management and merchandising. Since the 70‘s, Bob & Jody collectively have been responsible for the launch, management and success of numerous publications including Biker Magazine, Tattoo Magazine, Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine, a nationally syndicated television show, and currently Cruising Outpost Magazine. Bob & Jody bring extensive business experience within one of Dockside’s primary target demographics: the recreational and cruising sailing population. Their business acumen around retail, merchandising, and advertising will help ensure Dockside’s success.

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