NEIGHBOR PROFILE


 
 
Tom Steber
 

With 23 years of retail experience, from stock boy, Senior Buyer and Regional Store Manager with Gayfer’s, Tom made an extraordinary career change decision, to trade in the retail “uniform”…suits, dress shirts and ties for T shirts, shorts and Topsiders! Part ownership and General Manager of one of the most recognized sports fishing marinas on the north Gulf Coast…Tom took that management experience that he gained at Gayfer’s and joined Zeke’s Landing Marina! Tom was introduced to the team of 21 owners of Zeke’s by his Wrangler Jeans sales rep., Fitz Fitzsimmons, and the rest is history. Tom’s decision was hastened by the pending sale of Gayfer’s to Dillard’s, a career direction for which he had no interest.

The Steber family lived in west Mobile, his dad an architect, and mom was a stay at home housewife, who raised 3 sons and a daughter. Tom’s dad was an avid fisherman, and Tom joined him often and learned his fishing skills from those trips. Tom still enjoys the thrill of the catch…just not the boat ride to get there! Tom graduated from Davidson High School, and during those summer breaks from school, he took part time jobs working for the Mobile County Board of Education. Tom and his siblings were educated at the University of South Alabama, where Tom graduated and soon joined the ranks of the retail world of Gayfer’s, after Gayfer’s acquired the Maison Blance department store chain. Tom started as a stock boy, and quickly moved to Buyer, in the piece goods departments, and advanced to Senior Buyer, which required routine trips abroad to meet with the manufacturers. Tom gained tremendous experience from the business relationships, but was not fond of long flights to southeast Asia and other distant destinations. His business activities took him to the local Merchant’s Bank office, where he met bank employee Beverly Squires, and one year later they married. The Steber’s moved to Baldwin County in 1995, and raised a son, Trey, now 31, and Ashley, 33. They both graduated from Auburn, and that relationship has strengthened the family support and commitment to the University.

His initial move to Zeke’s in 1995 was impacted in 2004 when Ivan paid a visit. By that time, the ownership team was down to 9 members, and following Ivan, Tom and 2 other partners bought the marina, and set upon a growth plan that added commercial real estate adjacent to the marina, for retail space and restaurants. The business plan now includes 2 story townhouses with elevators. New tenant, JW Finz, will be opening a casual fine dining restaurant within the next few weeks that will compliment Wolf Bay Lodge on the first floor. One of their many challenges they currently face is the shortened Red Snapper season imposed by the Federal Government. As a proponent of the charter fishing fleet for the Alabama Gulf Coast, Tom and his team are working closely with Alabama government officials to demonstrate that the snapper population is not on the brink of extinction, but the livelihoods of many of charter fishing fleets are, if these restrictions are not altered to allow an extension for snapper season. Tom expressed great appreciation to Congressman Jo Bonner for his support and commitment to this effort at the Federal level, and was very positive about the support that their efforts have received from the State of Alabama departments and lawmakers.

Tom is also pleased with local efforts to build artificial reefs to improve sports fishing sites closer to shore. He was excited about the abundance of artificial reefs that have been created within 3 miles from shore, and opportunities increased for the sports fishing fleets that enjoy a tremendous reputation for successful sorties for the many tourists that flock to Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, wanting to experience the thrill of sport fishing off the Alabama Gulf Coast. Tom and his team are sponsors for numerous fishing competition events, and provide strong support for the local sport fishing fleets.

Tom is very active in local business promotions, and has served 13 years in almost every management capacity for the Alabama Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, including the Chairman of Board in 2006. Tom has been on the Board for the Pleasure Island Rotary Club, and twice as President, which Beverly was also a past President. Tom is also active in Mardi Gras, Founder of the Mystic’s of Pleasure in Orange Beach and is a Marshal in the Mobile Krewe, the Order of the Polka Dots, where Beverly has been active for over 30 years and has been chosen as Queen for 2014’s Parade and Ball. The Steber Family is a tremendous asset to the Josephine community! Family Pride!!

 

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