Hi Patrick :-) Welcome to the community.
I took a look at your site, and the first thing that struck me was exactly what you`re trying to do: Personality. It`s excellent! I really like the name and the logo.
That said, I`ve got some thoughts that may or may not help. The logo is REALLY excellent, but it sort of disappears too fast. Why not blend it with the oval where you have your typeface name? In other words, perhaps put the gator behind the oval or something, resize it, and put it in the main banner?
The "theme" is what`s going to generate half your personality, and that theme carries through every page on the site. If the gator is in the banner, that`ll accomplish a thematic and visual sense of character.
Sidebar: When I was somewhere else and clicked your main logo, I didn`t go back to the main page, but got a redirection. From "Home" to "Equipment," I clicked the logo itself (not the "home" tab) and ended up with:
I went to Equipment and right-away got messed up because you have your category names above the pictures, not below. Maybe I`m just dyslexic, but I suspect that with so many sites putting titles below pictures, it may lead to some confusion for other folks. That, or put some whitespace between the "rows."
Your "related products" is an excellent idea. Is it automated, or do you personally pick and choose which products are related? Very good concept.
Tried your "Search" option, looking for a sizzle plate. You don`t have one. But you have a "click here" for advanced search, and a "please try again." I`d put the "try again" as a link back to the search page.
When I pressed the "for more extensive search" it simply repeated the search and found nothing. But there was no easy way to search again, right from there. Yes, I could use the Search box again, but why not have a link to a search page?
The content could include, "At this time we don`t have the `search-term` you searched for. If you`d like to contact us, we can order it for you directly."
Then have a contact form on the "no results" page. Intead of "E-Mail sign up for Killer Deals!"
Remember, I`m already upset that I couldn`t find my sizzle plate. I`m not inclined to sign up for deals, I want my plate. :-D This would be a customer service opportunity.
I see the sign-up on the Contact page, but I think you should have a "Newletter" tab. There, you could put an example of your current monthy-weekly newsletter, and that`s where you`d say, "Sign up for our newsletter." The "killer deals" is okay, but it`s hype and should be used *sparingly.*
I went to Al`s Buyer Guide and it`s empty at the moment. Be sure to have some content before you go live. And be sure to include your logo with the gator on those articles, perhaps as a signature.
You could build a whole personality around the Gator. You might enjoy reading this topic from awhile back, about how to differentiate "muffins." Another interesting topic was on advertising for a PC repair company.
I`m thinking of Food TV, where you take a decent chef with some personality, and build on the personality. Most people can figure out how to cook, but adding in Emeril`s or Bobby Flay`s personality is what makes the particular shows.
How can you create a character background for Gator? Who is he (or she), where did he come from? What was life like growing up as Gator?
Now think about that restaurant franchise (can`t remember the name) where they sell southern foods like catfish and fried alligator. Or any restaurant chain. They have that back-story, and you could do something like that.
You might end up losing *some* customers, but I think you`d develop a more loyal following of those customers who identify with the story. In today`s economy, I think customer loyalty is better than customer volume.
Anyway...just some thoughts. :-) Great site, though...except for that sizzle plate thing. LOL!