Florida Trend Business Profile
Guy Harvey and the Art of the Deal
Guy Harvey's fish paintings have made his T-shirts and name synonymous with fishing and Florida's casual lifestyle. Can he push the brand nationally?
Harvey quickly steers business conversation toward marine conservation. He prefers catch-and-release fishing and will only eat sustainable seafood, he says, handing out a wallet-sized pamphlet listing what’s acceptable. He says he almost single-handedly convinced Cayman Island restaurants to stop offering grouper because they are overfished.
Fourteen years ago, he founded the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University at Dania Beach. The institute focuses on scientific research intended to protect marine life from overfishing and habitat loss. The program receives its funding through the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Guy Harvey Inc., licensing fees and grants and donations.
Five years ago, Harvey created the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, separate from the institute, to have more control over how money is spent. “We put about 80% into research work and 20% into education,” he says.
Most of the funding for the foundation comes from sources like Guy Harvey lottery tickets and license plates or directly from the licensees, who pay a percentage of gross sales. Harvey won’t reveal that percentage. “It’s single digits. It’s a lot of money — easily six figures,” he says. The foundation’s expenditures last year were $1.5 million, Stock says, and of that $500,000 went to the Guy Harvey Research Institute.
Sustaining the foundation and his business, meanwhile, has meant casting an ever-wider net. There was a Guy Harvey television show. There’s a Guy Harvey magazine. Along with Harvey-branded scratch-off lottery games and Florida license plates, there are plans for two Guy Harvey documentaries that will be available on iTunes.
Most recently, Harvey licensed his name to the TradeWinds Resort in St. Pete Beach, which rebranded one of its resorts as the “Guy Harvey Outpost.” He has had some failures — a chain of seven restaurants called the Guy Harvey Island Grill closed last year.