Born and raised in Gainesville, Charlie Delatorre rarely goes to the grocery store without running into someone he knows. But this isn’t just where his family is — Gainesville is also where his entrepreneurial spirit took root. When he was in college at the University of Florida, he took his $5 an hour law firm internship and tripled it, working for two other firms (during the same hours) for the same rate.
But then he realized that he didn’t want to be a lawyer.
Fast forward to Charlie’s first few years out of college, where he’s accepted a job in Orlando as the youngest manager at Barnes & Noble. While this experience provided growth, it wasn’t Gainesville — it wasn’t home. So Charlie came “limping back” to the home he loved and took a job selling advertisements.
Dozens of crazy stories later and Charlie found himself pushed (truly — he couldn’t say no) into purchasing a local paper. With this drastic, exciting turn of events, Tower Publications was born.
Come to find out, buying a newspaper was only the first gutsy maneuver Charlie would have to make. Thankfully, his wife and newborn daughter were totally on board, cheering him on and encouraging him to keep taking risks as the business grew.
“She has 100% faith, always had. Never faltered.”
Making this business his own was a challenge. Sure, Charlie owned it, but now he had employees who were looking to him for leadership and direction on a daily basis. One of the first things Charlie did was bring production in-house, relying on one of his employees to figure out exactly what they’d need. This employee, Hank, ended up staying with Tower Publications until May 2020, after years of dedication and having Charlie be the best man in his wedding. For 20 years Hank handled production and Charlie handled sales.
This isn’t the only example of exceptional employee loyalty. When Charlie purchased Tower Publications, he only had eight employees. But four of those employees are still with Charlie today. Those relationships remained strong by allowing talented people the room to express their talents fully.
“In my office, 9.9 out of every 10 good ideas comes from someone else. It does not come from me.”
Collin and Charlie also dove into what it means to let go and outgrow businesses. The entrepreneurial spirit wants what it wants — whether it’s turning to a new passion or taking a current business to the next level. But with each year comes more lessons learned that helps progress projects forward. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.