It will still be The Spot for tacos, but in a different location.
Laura Betancourt, the owner of The Spot Taco Catering & More, is planning to move the business from its current space in the Red Barn Flea Market, 1707 First St., to a restaurant space in Robin’s Apartments. Betancourt’s business had a good stay at the Red Barn, she says, but she wants more room and flexibility with the schedule.
“We were looking for quite some time, and we were lucky enough to find something right next to the Red Barn,” said Betancourt, 35.
She looked at properties in Sarasota and one on Anna Maria Island, but neither worked out. The Robin’s Apartments space was a little big for her taste, but after speaking with property manager Vallerie Guillory, together they devised a floor plan that would work for both of them.
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Plus, Betancourt didn’t want to leave the Bradenton fan base she’s built through the Red Barn and catering.
“Going to Sarasota or the beach would have been starting all over,” Betancourt said. “Here, literally, you can walk from the parking lot to the new location.”
The Robin’s Apartments location, which will seat about 50 people, also takes the weather element out of Betancourt’s business, which she’s relieved about. If the weather was too hot or too cold, or if it rained or the wind blew too hard, Betancourt saw a decline in business.
Going to Sarasota or the beach would have been starting all over. Here, literally, you can walk from the parking lot to the new location.
Laura Betancourt, owner, The Spot Taco Catering & More
“It’s tough to find good employees, and it’s even tougher to find them to work in an oven, because that’s what it is,” she said.
The business is about half catering and half restaurant sales, and Betancourt would like to see both grow. The restaurant feeds catering leads and vice-versa, she said, so closing one or the other has never been an option.
Betancourt hopes The Spot’s move will benefit her authentic Mexican food business as well as be a boon for the Robin’s Apartments population.
Along with growing the restaurant, Betancourt hopes to grow The Spot’s staff after moving to Robin’s Apartments. She is working with Guillory to train and employ some Robin’s Apartments residents. Guillory’s nonprofit, Trinity Without Borders, was brought to Robin’s Apartments to encourage a live, learn and earn philosophy with residents.
“Basically, I’m trying to develop a partnership with The Spot Taco so our residents will be able to have jobs, have training and have good meals at a price they can afford,” Guillory said.
Guillory also tag-teams cooking community meals with other residents, and she’s excited to have Betancourt’s help with that.
“Only three of the residences have cooking and stoves,” Guillory said. “And Trinity Without Borders has been doing community meals.”
Robin’s Apartments has 240 residences in total.
Nearly a year ago, the property at 2303 First St. began transforming from a motel to a housing complex. Betancourt said some remodeling work has to be completed on the space at Robin’s Apartments, but she hopes to be moved in within a couple months.