Where to Prepare

By: 
Dec. 29, 2017

It's one of the go-to stores in town for knives, emergency food and water purification supplies.

Sarasota-based Survive Anything sells a wide range of items people buy to prepare for several worst-case scenarios — hurricanes, civil unrest, floods, even zombie attacks.

The store opened in 2012, and this fall it expanded its storefront from around 600 square feet to 1,800 square feet. It took over the unit next door, where a beauty salon was the previous occupant. Now that Survive Anything has tripled in size, owner Mike Crea says he's able to carry many more survival and outdoor items.

What can customers find in the new Survive Anything space? A lot of new camping gear, stoves and sleeping bags, Crea says, along with a bigger selection of backpacks, survival food, flashlights and some of his bestselling items — knives. “Stuff I know people are going to ask me for we try to bring into the store,” he says.

The larger storefront also means more customers have the chance to see Survive Anything from the street. The store is in a plaza on Siesta Drive, across the street from Westfield Siesta Key. That mall has expanded in the last year, too, adding new restaurants and entertainment options, in an effort to bring more people, and more people spending more money, to the destination.

The expansion, so far, has paid off. “It's definitely increased the business a little bit by allowing people to see what we have and exposing them to new products,” Crea says.

Two months ago, Survive Anything also launched a new website, at SurviveAnythingFL.com. There, customers can buy additional items not sold in the store. That includes guns and gun parts. “There are a lot of gun shops in Sarasota,” Crea says. “I don't want to really have to compete with them.”

He's getting positive feedback from customers who say the new website is easy to use and navigate. He started a blog on the website, as well as a YouTube channel with interviews of employees. Soon he'll add product reviews.

Crea also recently introduced a new feature to the website — an option for people to submit a “best offer” on items. That gives customers the chance to suggest a different, lower price for a product and pay that amount, subject to approval. It's an idea he got from other websites. “On eBay you can do that,” he says, “so I thought it would be cool to do it on my site as well.”

In the store, Crea also gives customers another shopping alternative — a touch-screen computer display that allows customers to browse items offered for sale online, and then have them shipped to the store for pickup at no cost. All the options, both in the store and online, aim to secure sales regardless of a customer's shopping preference.

Crea expects 2018 to be another building year for Survive Anything, and he expects to further improve the new website as well as increase content on the store's blog and YouTube channel.

There are also classes in the works. Crea says he's earned certification through the American Heart Association to teach both CPR and first aid classes. In 2018, Survive Anything will start offering those classes in the store.

The classes represent a natural extension of the Survive Anything brand and philosophy. Customers will soon be able to prepare for a variety of eventualities — not only by buying products Crea has for sale, but by improving their own hands-on survival skills.