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DST in Sarasota Voyage Tampa – January 12, 2021

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Exploring Life & Business with Tamara Hauser of Discover Sarasota Tours

Voyage Tampa — January 12, 2021

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tamara Hauser.

Hi Tamara, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
From our website known as a highly creative, no-nonsense, never-say-never lover of challenge, Tammy Hauser relies on her instinct for seeing the opportunities that others do not. Tammy brings those instincts, skills, and talents to Discover Sarasota Tours, which is part entertainment, part history, and partly a love story for Sarasota, the only place she ever chose to live. She is also seen slinging nostalgic ice cream treats in her 1979 vintage ice cream truck since the pandemic forced a major pivot in April of this year. Thank goodness Tammy knows how to pivot coming from the world of theater. “I learned everything I need to know in the theater,” says Tammy. “As a performer, director, and producer, I enjoy the creative process of bringing stories to life. And as a businessperson, I saw an opportunity to do that here with tours that focus on Sarasota’s amazingly rich culture and history.” For 18 years, Tammy was the CEO of a consulting firm for arts organizations and other nonprofits called Blue Sky Thinking LLC. Prior to her consulting career, Tammy spent 15 years working in Minneapolis as an arts administrator for museums, regional theater and dance companies, and historic presenting halls for Broadway Theater, concerts, and live radio shows. Before that, she was an arts educator, grantmaker for arts organizations and performer. She is also the creator of The Ultimate Pajama Party™, a grown-up girls’ slumber party extravaganza and commercial theater enterprise. Tammy has two children who share her love of travel, entertainment, and tours. She is an avid dog lover and credits Poppy, her Pomeranian princess rescue dog with helping her come up with the idea for Discover Sarasota Tours—after Poppy fell in love with trolleys in Kennebunkport, Maine. Max the Papillon is the newest addition to the DST team serving dual roles as The ChillMobile’ s Head of PR (puppy relations) and as a Trolley Cottage mascot. How did DST begin? There were no tours offered of the city of Sarasota, yet we are a huge tourist town with a lot of fun and interesting history. So, I created tours to reflect on those aspects. We started with a City Tour, A Circus History Tour and a Haunted Tour and have grown to offer 14 unique tours. Twelve run seasonally and the rest run year-round with new tours offered each year. Our cute and charming Vintage Sarasota Gift Shop in our charming Trolley Cottage depot add to our visitor’s fun experience. We carry the largest selection of authentic Sarasota and FL gifts, collectibles, memorabilia and just fun zany stuff. We also have The ChillMobile our vintage 1979 Good Humor Ice Cream Truck for guests and residents of Sarasota. As an aside, Tammy’s story has been featured in many magazines and papers and will be a feature in the Feb 2021 AARP national magazine with 23 million circulations as an example of one woman’s mid-life pivot.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Of course not! We started in Red Tide and have just survived through COVID. We faced all the challenges any new business does with cash flow issues and constant work and struggles to create something new and make sure people know what we are offering and keeping the quality consistent. We act like a reparatory theater company since most of us come from that world. We create new tours together using people’s skills and interests, so we keep things fresh and fun. It takes time and the right mix of people to make a family work and we had just come together in a great way when disaster struck. Just when we were hitting our stride, we were shut down on March 20th and reopened in June of 2020. Our ChillMobile went on the road full time to sell ice cream in April and that has provided a new unexpected source of revenues when we could not offer tours. Since then, each month has been a new challenge. In November we purchased a 12 person passenger van and will be offering half-day specialty tours starting in January. Tours have been much slower since the end of October, so we are really looking forward to the season!