By day Stacey Giulianti is the co-founder of Boca Raton’s Florida Peninsula Insurance, one of the largest home insurance companies in Florida… by night he’s the co-owner of one of the hottest comic book stores in South Florida. Here are his answers to our questions on insurance and superheroes.
- Home insurance and comic books are rarely used in the same sentence. How have you been able to balance growing a major insurance company and having a top comic book store in South Florida?
Knowing how to run one business makes it much easier to run another one. The skill sets are very similar. Marketing, human resources, quality control – each are crucial areas to ensure a successful venture. It doesn’t matter if you are selling insurance policies or comic books. What matters is how you treat people – both employees and customers. Learning when to delegate tasks has allowed me to grow a large-scale homeowners’ insurance venture – at Florida Peninsula Insurance we insure about $45 billion dollars of Florida property – by permitting smart people to work without micromanagement. Same with Lauderdale Comics, where I have a terrific manager and loyal employees that love the comic book industry and work to make it a true experience for every customer that walks through our door.
- Last year the entire state of Florida had to deal with the effects of Hurricane Irma, what did we learn from that storm?
We learned that the insurance industry was absolutely ready to handle the large influx of claims and that all the carriers were financially solid. That’s a lot of big feathers in the caps of every company that serves Florida, and carriers closed their claims quickly and fairly. Florida Peninsula, for instance, closed over 90 percent of our claims within 90 days. That’s an incredible feat, and we are lucky to have such motivated and talented staff. Our board could not have been prouder of the dedication and hard work shown.
- Lauderdale Comics is known as a great place to hang, what was your x-ray vision for this store?
I have lived on the east side of Broward for many years, and the closest comic book and gaming store was almost 10 miles away. That’s a solid 45-minute drive with traffic. Downtown Fort Lauderdale is going through a tremendous re-development boom, with people moving in at breakneck speed. My son, Nico, who studies restaurant operations at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, came up with the concept of a comic book store where you could relax, sit, and drink hand-crafted Taiwanese Bubble Tea. My younger son, Daniel, wanted more than comics, and provided insight into toys, games, and collectibles that would fit our curated selection. My wife, a brilliant designer, came up with the overall modern, clean-lined concept – and Lauderdale Comics was born!
- Why did you decide to train your employees at Lauderdale Comics to work with autistic customers?
A close friend of mine from Boca Raton, Jeffrey Kasky, is President of The Autism Channel, and he shared with me the difficulty in finding retail stores that understood the varying needs of customers that are on the autism spectrum. He helped me plan the store out, obtain training for the employees, and introduced us to our first employee on the spectrum.We are committed to be a safe space for people of all abilities, religions, races, and beliefs, and want everyone that enters to feel comfortable and welcome.
- Why is this the greatest time ever for comic books, considering all the big movies and tv show seem to be about superheroes?
As an insurance executive, I can accurately state that the comic book industry is experiencing “the perfect storm” – in a great way! Top notch directors are working with big budgets at major studios to craft visually rich storylines taken right from the pages of comic books. Comic book publishers – which include the big houses as well as dozens of independent presses – have modernized characters and stories, and now include heroes of all races and genders. Toy manufacturers are producing super-detailed, high quality collectibles and novelties, giving fans a chance to stay close to their favorite superheroes wherever they go. We are looking forward to a bright future at Lauderdale Comics.
For more information on Florida Peninsula Insurance visit www.floridapeninsula.com and Lauderdale Comics is located at 1929 S. Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale, www.lauderdalecomics.com.