Brothers Zack and Ryan Thompson, founders of Tap It Gainesville Growlers, are pushing their fully grown beer and wine shop out of the nest.
In early February, Jim Tortorelli, who runs the business with the Thompsons, will become the sole owner of Tap it.
“It’s almost like a child is turning 18,” Zack Thompson said. “We’re releasing them into the world, and we feel like we’ve done a good job prepping them. Now we’ll watch them grow.”
Tortorelli said he decided to purchase the business from the Thompsons, so he could “have some flexibility to open a franchise.”
He plans to open other Tap It locations in Athens and Cumming this year.
“I’d like to be able to own 100% of it, so I can dictate where the brand is,” Tortorelli said. “The Thompson brothers have always been great partners. They’ll focus on their landscaping business, and I’ll be able to focus on the beer and wine industry.”
The Thompsons brought on Tortorelli as the shop’s third co-owner in November 2018, after Brad Sample, one of the founders, left for other career opportunities. In addition to the growler store, Tortorelli co-owns the upcoming wine and charcuterie bar, Cork It.
Although the Thompsons have owned Tap It since 2014, Zack Thompson said he felt like the time was right to sell the store.
“Jim has been running the store for a year with Ryan and I pulling back in a limited role,” he said. “We thought it was a good idea, and we’re happy to sell it to him.”
The Thompsons will still operate Pro Touch Landscape, which is behind Tap It on 1859 Thompson Bridge Road. Zack Thompson said they now plan on devoting their time toward building their landscape business.
“His (Tortorelli’s) personality is perfect for Tap It,” Zack Thompson said. “The community has really embraced that business, and we’ve made a lot of friendships there. We feel that Jim and the staff do a good job.”
In addition to making Tap It a franchise, Tortorelli has other development ideas in mind. He recently purchased a building located at 110 Maple St. in downtown Gainesville. He plans to transform it into an apartment and retail space.
The retail area will encompass the downstairs. Tortorelli said he hasn’t decided what type of shops could go in that space, but he is considering a juice bar or an art gallery.
The upstairs will have about three apartments. The spaces will include two bedrooms and bathrooms, and be rented out for $1,100-1,200 per month — utilities and parking spaces included.
Tortorelli said he intends on investing around $250,000 into the Maple Street building. He also plans on applying for funding through Gainesville’s midtown tax allocation district, which uses property tax payments to support development or redevelopment.
That request must go before the nine-member TAD committee, and then to the City Council for a vote.
“It’s a work in progress, but I’m hoping to partner with the city and maybe other entities,” Tortorelli said.