By Geoff Fox
APOLLO BEACH – I’ll be the first to admit that my sense of direction is as bad as my sense of fashion. I could get lost going up a flight of stairs; it’s an issue, possibly genetic, but who knows?
But it turns out I’m not the only person to ever pull a few U-turns while trying to find Frandorson Circle (yes, I Googled it first), where this magazine is headquartered alongside myriad other businesses inside a complex called South Hillsborough Commerce Center.
Paul Heywood, who runs a shoe repair shop and The United Kingdom Mini Market at 100 Frandorson Circle, Suite 103, laughed about the confusion his location has caused many of customers.
“My street view didn’t even know where I was at,” said Heywood, a native of England. “It was showing a chiropractor’s office that used to be here a few years ago. I had to call up Google and have them fix it. But no one knows (Frandorson Circle) is here. My customers laugh with us all the time about it.
“Another thing is, people don’t know (this complex) is called Commerce Center. If you call up directions on your phone, you’ll just keep going in circles. I had a customer come in the other day. He said he drove by a few times. Then, after he was here, his phone said, ‘You’ve reached your destination.’
“I always end up telling people, ‘We face Bank of America,’ or ‘We’re in the two-story buildings behind the gas station.’”
Heywood laughed and rubbed his head.
“I always thought it was the weirdest thing,” he said.
Other businesses in the four-building South Hillsborough Commerce Center include Red Bug Tees, Rae’s Accounting, Hers & His Plumbing, Canadian Meds South, Shear Tastic, Graham Capital and Apollo Beach Massage Therapy.
While I was walking back to the magazine office (200 Frandorson Circle, Suite 206) a man was standing in the middle of the driveway facing Apollo Beach Boulevard, talking on a cellphone and waving at an SUV in the median. I heard him tell the caller to look to their left several times. The SUV pulled out of the median and went straight, missing the turn onto Commerce Center Boulevard, which would have taken them to Frandorson Circle.
Things might not have gotten much easier had they not missed the turn, as the sign alerting you that Frandorson Circle is on the right is blocked by several trees.
Tracy Wilkerson, a dealer liaison with Specialty Administrative Services, understands the confusion as well as anyone. People must ring a bell to enter her building, but they often find out that, even after finding Frandorson Circle, they’re not at the right building.
“I’m like the concierge,” Wilkerson said. “They’re like, ‘Hi, I’m here to see the therapist or the accountant.’ They can never get the suite and the building right. They might have an appointment next door and they’re confused about which building. One lady argued with me the other day. She’s like, ‘It says 200 Frandorson Circle,’ and I’m like you need building 200.’
“By now, I think I know where every business (in the complex) is located.”
Is this a massive issue confronting the community? No. Could it be fixed by better signage on Apollo Beach Boulevard and possibly the Commerce Center buildings? Probably, but that would take money and time to go through Hillsborough County and Florida Department of Transportation signage processes.
In truth, Frandorson Circle shouldn’t be hard to find.
If you’re traveling south on U.S. 41, make a right on Apollo Beach Boulevard; there’s a CVS on one corner and a Marathon gas station on the other. Make an almost immediate left onto Commerce Center Boulevard (watch for drivers taking a left in front of you, because they will) and then take the first right. That’s Frandorson Circle.
And make sure that, whatever building you’re looking for, you turn to the right − Frandorson Circle is a one-way street.