Cashing In on the Super Bowl

Floribbean Flo's, gift baskets
Jim Renko
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Floribbean Flo's, Nancy and Jim Renko

Guests at the NFL's official Super Bowl tailgate will get their pick of three tropical, Florida-themed cakes for dessert: HoneyBell Orange, Key Lime, and Jamaican Rum, all supplied by Sarasota-based small business Floribbean Flo's Tropical Bakery.

Nancy Renko launched Floribbean Flo's as an online gift-basket company a decade ago. When she opened a retail location, she added the Tropical Bakery to draw walk-in traffic. But the bakery's cakes and cookies have sold well on the Internet, and she and her husband Jim, also involved in Flo's daily operations, are excited about the tailgate as a chance to growth their business.

"It's going to give us national exposure," Jim Renko says. "There are 11,000 people anticipated at the tailgate, so it's a fantastic opportunity, and we're getting paid to do it."

The NFL seal of approval has already boosted their business. While the recession drained away their corporate holiday clients, bakery sales have increased so dramatically they expect to finish even with last year, while many of their competitors have gone under.