Maurice Loeb, owner of Gulfport’s coffee lounge, SumitrA, bought the entire building at 2838 Beach Blvd. S., which houses five businesses, to avoid the property being snatched up by a real estate company.
He purchased the property from previous owner Albert Espinoza under a holding company, Maullie Holdings with investor Allison Cass after catching wind that a real estate company was interested in buying.
Maullie Holdings also owns a rental property in Gulfport.
“If someone were to come from out of town with their own intentions, I have no control,” Loeb said. “It was really time to put my money where my mouth was. It came down to ‘How bad do I want to stay here?’’’
Pretty badly, apparently.
“The sale was significant. I’d say it was the biggest sale in downtown Gulfport, but I’d prefer not to say the price,” Loeb told the Gabber.
The building, coined the 1926 Business Center after its year of completion, is home to not only SumitrA’s cafe and Sea Dogs, but Synergy Sports Medicine and Fitness, Mother Ocean Studios and The Revel Studio.
Loeb saw the building being rebuilt from apartments and a laundromat in the early 2000s. He always liked the structure, and opened the coffee house in 2019 with intention of bringing in more business.
“You have to recognize its beauty,” Loeb said. “It’s really come alive these last few years. But the whole goal of this is so nothing will change.”
@ Sea Dogs
Loeb also became a co-owner of Sea Dog Cantina, a part of the national Sea Dog chain, but separate as a “cantina-style” Mexican restaurant at 2832 Beach Blvd. S.
“In order for Sea Dog to work, there needs to be a bridge between the cantina and Gulfport,” Loeb said.
That’s where he comes in.
After a multi-week shut down and reboot, the restaurant reopened on September 1 with Loeb as partial owner of the Gulfport version of the chain, which is headquartered in Maine.
“Since reopening it’s been nothing but incredible,” Loeb said. “The fact that they did this shows that they want to be a part of Gulfport’s community”
Staff and management changes went down as part of the cantina’s shift, but the food and expansive outdoor seating area will stay mostly the same, said Loeb.