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Building Friendships & Securing Lives See their profile on pages 2 & 3

Florida Insurance Center Securing Life, Building Relationships

Working for the Community / Excited About Their Business / Teamwork At Its Best / There for Customers Growing is something Florida Insurance Center knows a lot about; from their own growth out of an historic home serving as an office to the office complex they own today, not to mention the growth of the businesses and families they insure. Celebrating their 30th anniversary this year is a milestone they credit to a family owned and operated business, a great staff, and the town of Plant City. Florida Insurance Center began in 1977 with a staff of two commercial lines people and two personal lines people. Carl Brownlee purchased the agency from Gary Ham in 1984 and is still involved in the agency today, where they now have 13 commercial lines agents, eight personal lines agents, and two Life and Health agents. Sons Bruce Brownlee (Vice President of Personal Lines and Treasurer) and Dennis Brownlee (Vice President of Commercial Lines and Secretary) run the day-to-day operation. Over the years, business was not always as good as it is today, recalls Carl. “I remember the day I purchased this agency in 1984, it seemed like overnight, the insurance market turned south and carriers just quit writing business. Here I was try-

Dennis (left) and Bruce Brownlee

ing to build an agency and carriers were looking at ways to get out of agencies. In fact, I ended up losing one of my top carriers soon after the purchase, making it even more difficult to grow the business. However, I knew if we stuck to our principals and

continued to work hard, be honest and treat people fair, things would work out.” I guess things do work out when you have the right attitude and a great staff around you. “This is the only job we’ve ever had,” Bruce commented. “Our dad’s been in insurance as long as we’ve been alive. As a kid, you kind of think insurance is boring, but once I got down here and started helping him out, I realized how much fun it was to help people. 22 years later, I’m still very excited to be here and I still love my job.” Those who make up the staff of Florida Insurance Center can say they love their jobs, as well. “We have a great staff,” Bruce continued. “The best staff members any agency could ask for.”

Employee Trent Hinds (left) enjoys watching the families of his customers grow.


Employee Sandy Becker (seated) with satisfied customer Lori Proctor.

Employee Debbie Sims (right) with Patricia Wheeler.

Employee Heather Houston (right) takes time to remember a special events in her customer’s lives.

Employee Karen Angel (left) keeps up with all of the happenings in her customer’s lives.

Employee Dawn Sutorus (left) gives her best wishes to Melissa Hardwick.

Employee Tami Schloss (left) with Debbie Williams.

Linda Allen has been with Florida Insurance Center as their Commercial Lines Manager for over 14 years, commenting, “I like it here. It feels like family, and the environment is great!” Allen enjoyed her work so much she recruited and trained her sister, Judy Platt, who has now been with the company as a Commercial Lines Account Manager for over 10 years. “We have great bosses,” Platt enthused. “It’s pretty cool!” Tami Schloss is a Personal Lines Agent, and she enjoys the “camaraderie between the owners and the agents. It’s a family style business combined with a professional atmosphere, and they encourage all of us to grow and stretch together.” The seven-year employee enthuses. “It’s fun to come to work!” Although the company has just finished revamping their motto and logo, the grounds it was founded on remain the same. FIC is a full lines agency offering commercial lines, personal lines, as well as employee benefits including life, health, and variable annuities. The majority of their clients are close to home, although they do write policies as far as Key West to Pensacola. They’re also here when their customers need them. Dennis remembers a Christmas Eve night when the entire family was gathered together at his parent’s house and a phone call came from one of their insureds. The client proceeded to inform them that a car had just driven through the wall of their business and was literally sitting inside his business. “He called us at home, which was not a problem, and my dad and I got in the car, went out there to make sure everybody was alright and to

assure them they would be taken care of and be up and operational again as soon as possible,” Dennis recalled. Remember Hurricane Charley in 2004, the one that looked like it was headed straight for us, but then dealt a heavy blow to Polk County? All of Plant City collectively breathed a sigh of relief when they realized their weekend was saved, but the staff of Florida Insurance Center was at the office that Saturday morning, waiting for any claims calls to come through from their Polk County clients. “We started calling our Polk County clients just to see if anyone had any problems,” said Bruce. “That made people feel we were not just another insurance agency.” Florida Insurance Center would like to thank all the individuals and businesses who have worked with them over the past 30 years for their support. They believe their clients are the reason they’re still in business after 30 years serving Plant City and the surrounding areas.

Employee Linda Allen (left) laughs with Connie Honey from Dallas 1.

Florida Insurance Center 414 North Alexander Street Plant City (813) 754-3561 BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 3

Alexander Woods Town Homes Plant City’s Premier Luxury Town Homes!

Filling a Gap / Great Location / Many Packages to Choose From / Variety of Financing Options

Townhomes are available now from Alexander Woods!

Although Plant City has a wide selection of land, homes and apartments, town homes are hard to come by. Alexander Woods Town Homes fill that gap beautifully, with an upscale product that shows quality of construction inside and out. Realtor’s Bob and Joyce Pemberton, of South Shore Group Real Estate, were thrilled when they were approached by Cantera Development to market this exclusive, gated community to potential home owners. “There’s a definite need for town homes in Plant City,” Bob commented. “People who come here desiring town home living for the maintenancefree security haven’t found any other options

Master Bath of 3-bedroom model.

The beautiful living room of 3-bedroom model.


Kitchen of the 2-bedroom model.

in Plant City. We are filling a gap, and we’re proud to do that!” Whether you are a professional looking to upgrade from an apartment, a young couple looking for your first residence, a busy family with no time for yard upkeep or a “seasoned citizen” wanting to downgrade from a large home, these town homes are just the solution you have been looking for. Located on Maki Road (on the east side of Plant City High School) with easy access to I-4 and Highway 60, not to mention the heart of Plant City itself, location is a huge plus for this gated community that offers maintenancefree living and a community pool, and is just minutes away from the YMCA.

Master Bath of 3-bedroom model.

Kitchen of 3-bedroom model.

Two-bedroom and three-bedroom town homes are available, with Silver, Gold and Platinum option packages that start at $164,900 for a two-bedroom home and $179,900 for a three-bedroom home. Current available inventory includes upgraded models in all three option packages. Floor plans include eye-catching features; a 20-foot high ceiling with an open spindle staircase in the three bedroom, nine foot four inch ceilings throughout both models, wood cabinets, crown molding, granite counters, porcelain tile, along with stainless steel appliances. The key word at Alexander Woods is “options” and there are plenty of them. With three coordinated option packages, buyers can choose from name-brand appliances, granite countertops,

Master Bedroom of 3-bedroom model.

crown molding and solid wood flooring. Each unit also comes with a private outdoor area. Three-bedroom units include a private deck, and the two-bedroom features a recessed lanai. All units are solidly built with block construction and a firewall. All combined in either 1,426 or 1,534 square feet total under one roof. Alexander Woods works with several lenders to offer buyers a variety of finance options, including zero-

A variety of styles and upgrades are available for any model.

A variety of styles for cabinets and countertops.

Closet and extra storage space comes in abundance.

down move in. For home owners who would like to move but are concerned about selling their current home, Alexander Woods works with lenders who offer a “bridge loan,” allowing home buyers to move now and make only one mortgage payment for up to one year until the sale of their current home. If the process is begun now, the Pembertons agree most potential buyers can be living in their new town home within 30 days. There are units that are ready

The spacious living room of the 2-bedroom model.

for move-in now, or buyers can choose and customize their town homes to move in six to eight-months from now. Alexander Woods is run through a homeowner’s association, which includes services such as basic cable, lawn care (mowing, trimming, edging), water, sewer, trash removal, pool maintenance, picnic and play area maintenance, common area electric, insurance and maintenance, along with gated access, ir-

Staircase leading from the livingroom of 3-bedroom model.

Bedroom #2 of the 3-bedroom model.

Kitchen of 3-bedroom model.

rigation repairs, landscape maintenance and reserves for future repairs. If you’re in the market and would like more information, but are not able to speak during normal business hours, no worries! Visit their website at www. or call the 24/7 pre-recorded message line at 888-338-2628. Only speak Spanish? Se Habla Espanol, Iris Wilson, at (813) 857-3444.

The beautiful living room of 3-bedroom model.

The beautiful living room of 3-bedroom model.

Extra space is given wherever possible in the 3-bedroom model.

Alexander Woods Townhomes South Maki Road Plant City (813) 391-7361 (866) 217-2355 (Toll Free) (813) 719-3121 (Message Center) BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 5

Black’s Financial Services Specialized for Your Financial Needs

Passion for Finances / Community Involved / Flexible Appointment Times / Trusted by Customers Chris Black has been running his own company for six years now, but has years of experience to his credit before Black’s Financial Services was created. Born and raised right here in Plant City, he finds satisfaction in helping people in this town with their retirement planning, estate planning, employee benefits, asset management, and wealth accumulation and preservation. A 1983 graduate of Plant City High School, Black went on to Florida Southern to obtain a degree in Management, and has been in the field since 1991. He was the individual employed the longest at Zare’s Distribution Center in Plant City, worked with a small local company selling health insurance and then went on to work with Florida Insurance Center, beginning their Employee Benefits Department and managing it for the Brownlee family. “I guess I hit a mid-life crisis, and I had always wanted to be out on my own and have my own business, so I decided to begin Black’s Financial after about 10 years with Florida Insurance Center.” Although he has a small office, Black finds that his clients are more comfortable with him going to their homes for consultations. “People are private about their finances and feel more comfortable in their own environment,” he commented. “I started out with a large office, but found out I was doing more home visits.” Although he still does a bit of health insurance for people, the planning he does to help his clients – who typically range from 35 to 70 in age – in their finances is his passion.

Chris Black


Black offers very convenient appointment times. “If someone needs me to work later in the night, I don’t mind doing that,” he stated. “I schedule around my client’s time. I don’t like to work weekends because of the kids, but I have done

Chris works with Scott McElveen from McElveen Construction.

some Saturday and Sunday appointments if they really need to do that, so I am very flexible.” With four children and as the Director of Plant City FC Lancers, flexibility is great for Black. He also feels his services are unique in the fact that “I’m independent and I can work with a lot of different companies. I can take each individual, realize their differences and give them that kind of treatment. I don’t try to stuff somebody into someone else’s portfolio.” Scott McElveen from McElveen Construction commented, “Chris Black has been working in this industry for many years, and I know Chris will handle my insurance and retirement needs. I do not need to be sold some insurance that will not benefit my company, and I know Chris would never do that to me. Chris has always been an asset to my company, and I know he will continue to do his best for me.” Leon Waller from Waller’s Power Equipment had this to say: “Chris has worked with all my employee benefits for years. He helped me start and maintain a suitable program for all my employees.”

“Chris took the time to make sure my life insurance policy was affordable and suitable to my individual needs,” Angie Hunter of Image Depot commented. Coming from Plant City family who is dedicated to families, Black’s mom is a principal at Springhead Elementary, his brother is a principal at Knights Elementary, his wife is a principal at Cork Elementary, his father-inlaw works in the Hillsborough County School System, and his dad was a football coach and teacher for 36 years at Plant City High School. Although he may not be in a conventional form of education, Chris Black is in the business of educating clients on how to handle their finances, and he’s proud to offer his assistance to his hometown.

Black’s Financial Services Plant City (813) 299-2449

Leon Waller from Waller’s Power Equipment has been a faithful customer of Black’s Financial Services for many years. BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 7

Brewington’s Towing Service Taking Pride in What They Do Best

First in Plant City / Still Family Owned & Operated / Latest Equipment / Ranked 3rd Nationwide In 1931, Dylan Brewington had an idea. Although he already ran a successful service station here in Plant City, he began to see the need for other services. Like any good businessman, he rose to the

challenge and filled the need, first with a sling on the back of a pick-up truck. Little did Dylan know he was creating the foundation for what we know today as Brewington’s Towing Services.

Still family owned and operated, Dylan’s son David and his sons D.J. and Chris, along with daughter-in-law Kristie are the Brewington’s who keep the company running. Herman Stewart, David’s brother-in-law, just recently retired after 31 years of running the dispatch lines. Brewington’s provides services all throughout the entire state of Florida. With little competition when it comes to rates, and no competition whatsoever when it comes to service, the staff knows that when you’re in an accident, although your first call should be 911, your second call should be to Brewington’s Towing. Towing Services include:

Brewington’s Service Station…back when gas was only $0.18 per gallon!

Emergency Road Service – fuel delivery, lockout service, tire change and jump starts Towing – accidents breakdowns, all motor-clubs, dealerships, import and exotic cars, fork-lifts, generators, trailer or skid mounted Transport – all heavy-duty equipment and vehicle Recovery – winchouts, rollovers, any size tractor trailers, trucks, cars, equipment and airbag In order to provide top-quality services, any company needs top-quality equipment, and Brewington’s has that in abundance. In fact, they are one of the only companies in central Florida who own a 50ton Rotator Wrecker, among the following:

Brewington’s Amoco in 1985. BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 8

2007 Kenworth 50-ton Rotator Wrecker 2008 Peterbilt (20,000 pound capacity bed) Rollback 2 2006 Ford F-650 Rollbacks 2005 Ford F-650 Rollback 2003 International 12-ton Wrecker 2001 Peterbilt Tractor 1998 Kenworth Tractor 2001 53-foot Landoll Trailer

Partners and brother-in-laws Herman Stewart (left) and David Brewington, a few years back.

This is only a portion of the Brewington’s fleet.

2006 53-foot Lowboy Trailer 2004 Ford F-250 Off-Road Recovery Truck Air-Cushion Recovery Trailer Allen Merrill is a dispatcher and driver with Brewington’s, and has been with the company since 1994. “I was part of the group who worked

hurricane relief,” Merrill remembered. “To help those people who have just lost everything they own, it makes you appreciate the things you have. I also appreciate being able to meet many people from many different places, and I want to thank the Brewingtons for allowing me to work with them, and Plant City and the surrounding area for supporting our company over the years.”

companies, and when including towing and road service companies, Brewington’s comes in at 11th place – NATIONWIDE – out of 4,715. “The towing business is where my heart is at, and has always been,” commented David Brewington. “It makes me so proud to see my sons, D.J. and Chris, take as much pride in this business as I’ve always had.”

To give you an idea of the level of quality Brewington’s operates on, observe the following:

No matter the size of the vehicle, Brewington’s has what it takes to set things straight.

In the first five days of July (not even one entire week), Brewington’s ran at a 93% acceptance rate and an average ETA of 43 minutes, already reporting customer compliments, no complaints and no damage claims. The company was ranked 3rd place as a tow company vendor not including road service

Brewington’s Towing Services 302 East Calhoun Street Plant City (813) 754-8697 BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 9

Busciglio Orthodontics A Family Tradition

Many Treatment Options / Highly Qualified / Children & Adults / Free Consultation Dr. John Busciglio originally founded his practice Busciglio Orthodontics 35 years ago in Brandon, Florida. He focused his practice around the ideals of providing the highest quality of orthodontic care in a family like environment. Busciglio Orthodontics continues to grow and is pleased to announce Dr. Derek M. Busciglio has joined the practice. Both Dr. John Busciglio and Dr. Derek Busciglio are Diplomates of the American Board of Orthodontics. Only one in four orthodontists have successfully completed the educationally and clinically stimulating process of certification by the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) to earn the title “Diplomate of the ABO.” The American Board of Orthodontics is the only orthodontic specialty board approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). About the Doctors Dr. John Busciglio was born in Tampa and graduated from Hillsborough High School with honors. Dr. Busciglio entered the University of Florida and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Phar-

Welcome to Busciglio Orthodontics! BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 10

macy in 1962. In September of 1963 he entered the Medical College of Virginia Dental School. While in school, he worked as a Pharmacist for 4 years until graduating with a DDS in 1967. He then entered the Air Force Dental Corp as a Captain from 1967 to 1969 in Biloxi, Mississippi. After working a year as a general dentist, he entered Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts to study Orthodontics and received a Master of Science degree in 1972. He continues to update his orthodontic skills with continuing education courses. Dr. Busciglio and his wife Diana have 6 children and reside in Plant City. Dr. Derek Busciglio began his education at Plant City High School graduating with honors. Throughout his high school career, Dr. Busciglio excelled in academics and athletics. Upon graduating from high school, he pursued a similar path at the University of South Florida where he also achieved many honors including academic excellence and earned an athletic scholarship on the university’s inaugural football team. Dr. Derek Busciglio, like his father, completed his dental training and orthodontic residency at the prestigious Tufts University in Boston Massachusetts. While

enrolled at Tufts, he was part of the student/teacher honor initiative program where he taught radiology and emergency clinical care to fellow students. What is an Orthodontist? Orthodontists are qualified dentists, who after graduating from dental school, go on to additional full-time university-based education in an accredited orthodontic residency program supervised by orthodontists. Just as there are specialists in medicine (such as cardiologists, gastroenterologists, neurologists, etc.), there are specialists in dentistry. Orthodontists are dental specialists who dedicate their professional lives to correcting misaligned teeth and jaws. The residency training lasts two to three academic years after dental school. By learning about tooth movement (orthodontics) and guidance of facial development (dentofacial orthopedics), orthodontists are the uniquely educated experts in dentistry to straighten teeth and align jaws. Selecting an orthodontist is an important decision and can be confusing. Only orthodontists may be members of the American Association of Ortho-

The doctors and technicians at Busciglio hard at work!

Clear/Ceramic braces

Lingual/Invisible braces

dontists (AAO). By finding an orthodontist who is member of the AAO, you can be sure that you have chosen a specialist of orthodontics. Dr. John Busciglio and Dr. Derek Busciglio are both members of the AAO.

bones and muscles. Early orthodontics enhances self-esteem, minimizes removal of permanent teeth, and creates more stable long-term results. Orthodontic treatment is a worthwhile investment in a lifetime of beautiful smiles. Busciglio Orthodontics offers flexible payment plans including Visa, MasterCard, Discover and many dental insurances. The initial consultation is always free and includes a full clinical exam, photographs, x-rays, and a comprehensive diagnosis by Dr. John Busciglio and Dr. Derek Busciglio. Call today for your FREE consultation!

TREATMENT OPTIONS Some of the treatment options available at Busciglio Orthodontics include: Conventional Braces for Adolescents and Adult Clear/ Ceramic Braces Functional and Holding Appliances Dentofacial Orthopedic Appliances Teeth Whitening Invisalign – A Clear Alternative to Braces Comprehensive In-House Orthodontic Laboratory Today, orthodontic treatment is not only for children but it is also a viable option for almost any adult. As a matter of fact, approximately 20 percent of orthodontic patients are adults. It is well recognized that when left untreated, many orthodontic problems may become worse. When you have a malocclusion, also known as a “bad bite”, your teeth may be crowded, excessively spaced or may not fit together correctly.

Invisalign braces

Such conditions may lead to dental health problems. Crowded teeth are hard to clean and, given time, may contribute to tooth decay, gum disease and even tooth loss. Bad bites can also result in abnormal wearing of tooth surfaces, difficulty chewing and damage to supporting bone and gum tissue. Poorly aligned teeth can contribute to pain in the jaw joints. Many of these issues can be treated and resolved with orthodontics. When should I bring my child for a consultation? Orthodontic treatment should begin as early in life as possible – with an initial consultation recommended by age 7. Dr. Busciglio can then design treatment to work with a child’s rapidly growing

Teeth whitening

Busciglio Orthodontics Brandon Location 515 Corner Street (813) 681-WIRE (9473) Plant City Location 2309 West Reynolds Street (813) 759-9474 Dr. John A. Busciglio

Dr. Derek M. Busciglio BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 11

Chris Welbon Karate Clubs Building Skills for a Lifetime

For Entire Family / Faith-Based / Champion Instructor and Students / Building Self-Discipline Not many people can say they are living their dream, but Chris Welbon can easily make that statement. It started as a kid with a passion for karate, and in high school he started teaching for his instructor, Mark Pinner. His instructor started a class in Plant City at South Florida Baptist Hos-

pital, which Chris Welbon took over for him. He realized then how much he enjoyed teaching, and a decision needed to be made: further his education or see how far karate would take him. After deciding on pursing his passion, he then moved on to teaching at the previous Plant City YMCA, and then began a class at Hope Lutheran Church. From Hope Lutheran he went Students Jared, Liam and Noah enjoy the friendship they’ve built at Chris Welbon Karate Clubs

to Hillsborough Community College, where he stayed and taught for five years before opening Chris Welbon Karate Clubs exactly one year ago in August of 2006.

Students demonstrating a front kick

The Cribbs siblings are students at Chris Welbon Karate Clubs BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 12

The Clancy family partakes in lessons at Chris Welbon Karate Clubs

“I love this location,” he enthused, regarding his 602 South Collins Street address. “I had planned and dreamed about this for a long time. There were a few other places that came available, but none of them were just right, and I was actually the first person to sign the lease here. It was just blank land. They actually built everything exactly to how I wanted it.”

Entire families train together at Chris Welbon Karate Clubs

Chris Welbon assists student Abby with a side kick

Jr. Instructor Jordan helps a younger student with class preparation

Chris helps Kyle demonstrate a round kick

Students performing a reverse punch drill

Chris Welbon

Prayer is important at Chris Welbon Karate Clubs

Chris Welbon Karate Clubs targets the entire family, although the ages of his students range from 4 to 60. “It’s really for anybody who wants to get physically active, have some fun with their family and get some exercise,” Welbon commented. He has also worked with women’s self-defense and disabled children.

things that sometimes happen to young children. If I can touch one life and help one person, then I’ve done my job. That’s what it’s about to me. I love what I do; I can’t imagine doing anything else. When I’m here teaching, it just doesn’t feel like work. When I’m out on that floor, and I’m teaching class, it’s a joy.”

Welbon offers Private Lessons, Intro Courses and classes determined by age and rank all week long. He also offers a weapons class.

With a supportive booster club, students at champion level have nowhere to go but up, Welbon says, “I feel like Plant City picked me; I don’t feel like I picked Plant City. I’ve tried this same program several other places, and this is the only place it fits.”

girl or boy, it doesn’t matter. He walks in, he’s looking at the ground, he’s real shy; he doesn’t really want to talk. As they get older and you work with them over the years, you see how martial arts and what they’re learning here, the confidence and self-assuredness and selfdiscipline they’re building, how it’s carrying over into other parts of their lives. Now they look people in the eye. They’re shaking adult’s hands and saying hello. That is so good to me to see that. Seeing the difference and knowing it’s not all about the kicking or punching. It’s about all the other qualities that come along with doing this.”

“Weapons are just another skill to enhance training,” he explains. “Weapons were originally farming tools, and developed from there, as the Japanese peasants weren’t allowed to have weapons.” “We are a family-oriented martial arts school founded on Christ and the Christian faith.” Welbon believes in God and shares his faith through his classes. “I want to help as many people as I can,” he stated firmly. “I have two little daughters myself, and I see these horrible

Although this former Champion and World Team member now prefers to teach others the skills, his favorite moments on the job are when he sees a shy, intimidated child begin to change into a strong and confident person. “I’ve seen the same scenario happen several times, and it’s enlightening every time. You have that shy little kid that walks in the door,

Chris Welbon Karate Clubs 602 South Collins Street Plant City (813) 752-9800 BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 13

Caring Concepts

Proven Experience with a Fresh New Face Practice Begun in 1950’s / Doctors Desire to Help Patients / Three Staff Doctors / Latest Technology

The doctors and staff of Caring Concepts are here to serve you!

Caring Concepts is excited to welcome Dr. Garrison to the practice!

Over the years of its existence, Plant City has produced all sorts of influential citizens. Some go out into the world and never return, making a difference in the lives of those around the globe. Some disappear and are never heard from again. But some leave our town, obtain the knowledge they have been searching for, and then return, ready to help the community they will always call home. Dr. William (B.J.) Garrison is one who left, and has now returned to serve the people of Plant City at Caring Concepts, a chiropractic clinic begun originally as a private practice by Dr. Victor Kohlmeier in the 1950’s. As the practice grew, Vel Garrison partnered with Dr. Kohlmeier and Dr. Todd Glenn in 1990 to form the Caring Concepts we know today, which stands at the intersection of Baker and Dort Streets. BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 14

Dr. Garrison says the number one reason he wanted to go into Chiropractic was to help people. “I enjoy being around people and seeing them get better, that’s the biggest reward, having people come in and say they feel better,” he commented. After graduating from Plant City High School in 1996, Dr. Garrison obtained his Bachelor’s of Science from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, graduating from that institution in 2000, where he was a standout baseball player for the Mocs. He then went on to play professional baseball for four seasons, and at the conclusion of his sports career due to an injury, he decided to attend Palmer College of Chiropractic in Port Orange, Florida. His choice of Palmer was based on their high standards of excellence in chiropractic education. “This is a great location,” he commented of the Plant City office. “It’s a beautiful practice with an excellent staff. I really enjoy working with the founding doctor, Dr. Vic Kohlmeier, and Dr. Todd Glenn, as well. We get along great together. My mom, Vel Garrison, is also here as Clinic Adminis-

trator, and we all enjoy a terrific working relationship.” Anyone experiencing pain is welcome to visit Caring Concepts. Although categorized as a General Chiropractic Practice, Dr. Glenn is Board Eligible for Diplomate in Orthopedics, and Dr. Garrison is nearing completion of requirements to be Board Eligible for Diplomate in Neurology, This specialty education allows them to offer more customized care to patients who experience problems in those areas. A brand new concept coming to the practice is called Science-Based Nutrition (, which Dr. Garrison explains as treatment for those who “can’t really find anything to help them with chronic health conditions. We do blood work, hair and urine samples and then base a specific nutrition plan on the results of these lab tests. We have already gone through all the training on the program, and I am anxious to initiate this service within the next few weeks.”

trigger-point therapy and acupuncture are offered. Two licensed massage therapists are on staff. “We are a full-service clinic with on-site X-ray. Our services are broad, in order to reach the patients where they stand,” Dr. Garrison said. With many established and new patients coming through the office each day, although the practice is run via appointment, if an individual walks into the office in pain the doctors do their best to fit them in.

Doctors and staff members at Caring Concepts work together for the good of the patients.

More than chiropractic adjustments are offered at the Caring Concepts Clinic, such as treatments like Flexion/Distraction, Power Plate Rehab and Decompression traction therapy. Decompression traction therapy is a non-surgical procedure

for healing herniated discs and relieving low back pain; it’s a method Caring Concepts has had much success using on those who qualify as candidates. Exercise machine and various levels of therapies and modalities, including ultrasound,

Dr. Glenn and Dr. Garrison consult over a patient’s X-Ray.

Dr. Garrison would like to welcome any of his Plant City friends to drop by and say hello, and also would like to thank the rest of the staff who have welcomed him to the practice. Lisa MacPherson (Front Office Supervisor/Chiropractic Assistant), Monica Bostick (Insurance/Billing Specialist), Crystal Schism (Receptionist), Cindy Layton (Chiropractic Assistant), Nicole Jackson (LMT) and Shannon Aguilar (LMT) and Kay Ballard (Transcriptionist). Plant City would like to welcome Dr. William (B.J.) Garrison home!

Caring Concepts, Inc. 1215 West Baker Street Plant City (813) 754-CARE (2273)

Dr. Garrison performs an adjustment. BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 15

DaVinci Innovations, Inc. Bringing the Art of Technology to You Great




“Service is the lifeblood of any organization. Everything flows from it and is nourished by it. Customer service is not a’s an attitude.” This is the motto by which Brian Barry runs his business. Since he incorporated his company last year, conducting IT consulting for businesses and individuals, each of his days is spent helping his clients.




“I’m always happy when I’m with computers, so it just seemed to be a natural fit,” he said. “My formal training is in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). I was working in that field, and every time there was a problem with the computers they would send their IT guy up to fix it. I became more interested in IT than GIS. So when I found I really enjoyed IT, I made the switch.”

The Plant City Chamber’s ribbon cutting for DaVinci Innovations, Inc BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 16





With large IT companies such as Agilent and Intergraph on his resume, Brian is now glad to make his home in Plant City, offering his convenient services to our town and the surrounding area. “Brian has been what I’ve been looking for: A computer geek who understands customer service. And at a reasonable price,” said Steve Sagraves, Fresh Fruit 2 Go president.

Some of the features Brian offers through DaVinci Innovations include home/office visits, knowledge of multiple platforms including Windows, Apple and Linux, and customized technology solutions.

by phone or at least get a call back within minutes. That’s very cost efficient, especially if the problem can be dissected right over the phone and sometimes solved without even an office visit. With our large client base, any downtime is very disruptive.

efficiency by reducing our critical down time to when we were least impacted.” Although Brian primarily works with businesses, he also enjoys helping home users solve technological difficulties. DaVinci Innovations charges by the hour and also offers a service contract depending on customer needs. “I’m very focused on being cost effective and letting people know how much something is going to cost, so they’re never thrown a curve ball with me,” Brian said. “I have found that customers really appreciate that.”

Brian enjoys assisting the businesses he works with make money by helping them use their technology more efficiently. “I never try to sell someone something they don’t need,” he said. “I won’t try to sell them something of mine when they already have something that’s working just fine. Lots of times, companies aren’t using their infrastructure properly. If they would just update things in their office, it would pay for itself in a couple of months.”

Brian’s service keeps us going. We highly recommend him.” Selena Brewster, the Controller at Hopewell Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens, agreed. “Brian has great work ethics and is very reliable,” she said. “Although he has only been in business for a short while, he has developed a great working relationship with his clients and is quick to answer any problems that have arisen.”

Customers of DaVinci Innovations have great things to say about the service they’ve received from the company.

Keith Chaisson, Inventory Controller at Next Conveyor, said he appreciates Brian’s flexible scheduling.

“The great thing about Brian’s company is the quick response,” said Jim and Carolyn Young of ITEX-Tampa Trade Exchange. “When our network goes down or we have a problem with one of our computers, we can usually reach someone

“Brian provided rapid response to our needs,” he said. “As we are a busy organization, he adjusted his schedule to meet our need to do much of the maintenance during periods when there was minimal impact on our users. This helped us maintain

Brian Barry

DaVinci Innovations Plant City (813) 650-6720 BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 17

Dr. Vinyl of West Central Florida Leather and Vinyl Care and Repair

Saving Damaged Leather / Mobile Service / One-Year Warranty / Exceeding Expectations

Dr. Vinyl’s most appreciative customer was perhaps the gentleman whose Doberman puppy chewed holes in his leased Ford Expedition’s leather seats. So pleased in fact, he rewarded Dr. Vinyl’s owner, Sean Gonzalez, with a $50 tip and called for additional service the following year before the car’s lease expired. The $200 invoice had saved this customer $1,500 for replacement cost. “We literally filled every tooth mark,” chuckles Sean. Dr. Vinyl of West Central Florida is the franchise Sean purchased four years ago and operates with friend, Tom McCurdy. The mobile service van travels to homes, marinas, airports, restaurants, professional offices, furniture showrooms, auto and boat dealerships and places of employment to repair, replace or restore damage and discolorations in leather, fabric and vinyl upholstered products. Examples of services include: + Upholstery repair, restoration and new installation (vehicles, jet planes, office furniture, hotels, etc.) + Striping and graphic work on cars, boats, planes, motorcycles, jet skis, etc. + New car warranty work for Bill Heard Chevrolet and other area auto dealerships + Pre-owned auto interior vinyl and leather damage repair + Chemical treatment which restores life, luster and color to vehicle trim moldings + Deodorizing fog treatment to clean vehicle air vents, eliminating cigarette or moisture odors + Kits to change interior upholstery from cloth to leather (almost one-third the average cost) + Glaze and cloud correction for plastic vehicle headlights common to certain brands

Tom McCurdy, Associate (left) and Sean Gonzalez, Owner of Dr, Vinyl of West Central Florida BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 18

Eventually, Gonzalez and McCurdy plan to establish storefront operations in their west central Florida territory

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to house repair facilities and market vehicle performance products. Since Dr. Vinyl is the only company of this type which warrantees products and service for a year, they have almost no competition. Evidence of the affordability factor comes in the long list of repeat commercial customers such as Outback Steakhouse, Applebee’s, O’Brien’s, Peso’s and many others. The upscale Galatis Yacht Sales, whose wealthy customers expect perfection, also regularly use Dr. Vinyl’s services. Another satisfied individual customer is the teenager who borrowed his dad’s car for the evening. When he saw the cigarette burns his friends left in the leather upholstery, he panicked. Then he remembered hearing about Dr. Vinyl and their services. Sean and Tom saved the student from embarrassment and apologies to a predictably unhappy father. A key selling

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point for Sean when he purchased the franchise was the guarantee to customers to “meet or exceed your expectations more than 94% of the time, as we repair or restore to new and stronger condition than prior.” Business owners have peace of mind when products and services they represent have commitments like this. Franchise operators update their skills through periodic Dr. Vinyl training programs and new approaches to service. These age 20-to-30something young men from Brandon are now extremely excited about a product unveiled at the recent Dr. Vinyl convention. Once applied, the treatment is guaranteed to eliminate the need for waxing vehicle painted finishes. Owners simply spray with water only and wipe dry for a shiny clean, showroom quality appearance. Both Sean and Tom enjoy cars, sports and fishing, and know their customer base will expand

dash kit after

greatly as they promote this work-reducing product. Dr. Vinyl is a name you can trust, so tuck this phone number and services list away for future reference. Affordable repairs to upholstery and special services to enhance the appearance of vehicles are just a phone call away. Depending on the project, repairs and restoration are usually accomplished from within 30 minutes to several hours. Sean and Tom provide a quick response to your request and might even have another great repair story to share with you. Dial (813) 681-4002 to schedule appointments.

Dr. Vinyl Plant City (813) 681-4002

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chair after BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 19

Farm Credit

Not Only for Farmers Any More Evolved / Longtime Organization / Cooperative Structure / Customer Service at its Best

The Plant City location of Farm Credit sits at the bend on Thonotosassa Road

When most people hear the name Farm Credit, they simply assume it’s a financial institution unavailable to them if they are not in the agricultural industry. Although that is how the organization originally began, Farm Credit has stepped into a new field, no pun intended. While agriculture will always be the root of Farm Credit, it has evolved, along with everyone else, and through that evolution can lend to other than farmers. “With agricultural income, we can lend for most any purpose – operating expenses, boats, airplanes and even college tuition. Without Ag income we can make loans in rural communities for home purchases, construction, remodeling or refinancing, and even for recreational purposes like hunting, fishing or just getting away and enjoying nature. But we also make secondary market loans that we don’t


keep in our portfolio that allows us to make loans for homes everywhere, including a condo on the beach or investment properties” stated Vonda

Fulwood, Residential Lending Manager out of the Plant City Office.

Farm Credit of Central Florida Member, Bill Lomax (L) and the association’s Residential Lending Manager, Vonda Fulwood (Right) relax on the porch of his log home located on 22 acres near Clermont. “Vonda really went to bat for me in getting this property financed. Four lenders had told me they didn’t finance log homes or the acreage was too large, but Vonda even took my calls on the weekend to help us close the loan,” Bill said.

Strength is a positive feature of this organization. “Farm Credit was established in 1916, with the purpose to serve the farmer, because the local banks didn’t understand their plight. Farmers were being foreclosed upon and they were losing everything! Thus the Farm Credit Act was established and Farm Credit saw its beginnings. How many financial institutions can say they’ve been around strong since 1916? We have heritage

and history; and we are proud of it!” commented Glenda Tomlinson, Assistant Vice President out of Farm Credit’s Administrative office. Farm Credit is not a bank. Its cooperative structure means that it is actually owned by its portfolio member-borrowers and a portion of the profits generated from its lending activity is returned to these borrowers in the form of

patronage refunds. These refunds are based on the proportion of interest earned on an individual loan and significantly reduce the cost of borrowing for its members. The Farm Credit System as a whole covers all of the United States and Puerto Rico, although federally chartered, each association is locally operated. Each has their own Board of Directors, elected by their members, governing and setting their own rules. Farm Credit of Central Florida covers thirteen counties from coast to coast along the I-4 corridor, with service centers in Plant City, Lakeland, Lake Wales, Apopka and Brooksville. Not only does Farm Credit make their locations convenient, but they also send their loan officers right to their customers. “We’re very service oriented,” Stephany Brower, Loan Originator, stated firmly. “Everybody says that, but we make it a point to put our customers first and work around their schedule. We go above and beyond to be there for them.” A belief in adhering to sound cooperative principles is forefront to Farm Credit and while their slogan may be “putting our profits in our Members’ pockets”, it’s also their policy. The mission of Farm Credit is to “Make Farm Credit of Central Florida the Lender of Choice to the agricultural and rural communities by providing sound, constructive credit, as well as related services, on a timely, professional and profitable basis.” With approximately 85% of their staff having been employees for more than 20 years is a complement to the company as a whole. Between their competitive rates, personal service and extensive local knowledge, Farm Credit has a solution for your financial needs. If you need lending, contact Farm Credit - they will customize a loan that will work for you!

From Left to right: Janet D. “Debbie” Simpson-Assistant Vice President and Senior Loan Officer, Joseph Sweat-Senior Loan Officer, and Vonda Fulwood-Assistant Vice President/Residential Manager

Farm Credit 2301 Thonotosassa Road Plant City (813) 719-7341 BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 21

Fred’s Market Restaurant & Grandpa Johnson’s Barbeque

Family Owned Operations a Staple in Plant City Family in Business since 1954 / Providing Great Quality / Southern Comfort / More to Come! Any individual who lives in Plant City or the surrounding area knows exactly what it means to “Meet me at the Market.” Ask the average individual on the street what the phrase means, and without a doubt they will answer, “They want you to have breakfast, lunch or dinner with them at Fred’s Market Restaurant.” Said individual could then go on to tell you just where the establishment is located. In the same manner, if you are looking to enjoy slow-smoked pork, beef brisket, turkey, chicken and ribs, the general recommendation would be for Grandpa Johnson’s Barbeque. It’s easy enough to find; it’s right next door to the Market! The Plant City location of Fred’s has been in business since August of 1998, but Fred Johnson so no stranger to the restaurant world. In 1954, Elton and Evelyn Johnson began selling sandwiches at their SuperTest gas station. Through the years, the family was known for their involvement in food, as well as in the commu-

An award-winning staff!

nity. In 1980, Buddy Freddy’s Restaurant opened, named for the Johnson brothers. Although the family sold this particular chain in 1998, there are still several locations serving this area. “We grew up knowing about this kind of business,” Fred stated, regarding himself and his brother, Buddy. “When we decided to come back to this business, I had a degree in Citrus and Soil Science from Florida Southern, and was selling fertilizer and agri-chemicals. Buddy was in law school. We both hated what we were doing, and decided to return to our roots. It’s good to be doing what you love.” The passion for serving the community through food doesn’t stop with Fred and Buddy. Fred

Everyone loves the buffet at Fred’s Market Restaurant! BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 22

Fresh salads are a favorite at Grandpa Johnson’s.

has three sons. Owen, the oldest, runs Grandpa Johnson’s Barbeque. Owen explains, “I love doing this work; I love the restaurant business! The people my wife Heidi and I work with are great. It’s been a family business so far, and with two boys of my own now, I hope it continues to be a family business in the future. It’s very rewarding for me.”

to feel comfortable and taken care of, and that’s what we do.” The Johnson family is excited that there’s even more to come! Already with a location and their corporate offices in Lakeland, by the end of this year there will be another Fred’s Market location in Bartow, with the second location of Grandpa Johnson’s right next door.

Caleb is in the Marine Corps, with a year and a half left to serve and has thoughts of becoming involved with the Sheriff’s department afterwards. Michael is currently in New York City, preparing for enrollment in culinary school. Fred laughs, “I guess it runs in the family!”

Fred gives the credit for these well-run operations to the employees. “We try to hire people with our values and hold them to performance according to those values,” he commented. “We don’t lose people easily. They stay because they like the environment.”

“Our goal is to provide a great value, the best quality we can put out there, and to treat people like they’re at our home,” Fred continued. “I think that appeals to everybody. Everyone wants

One of his fondest encounters is each morning at a single round table which sits in the Plant City location of Fred’s Market Restaurant. “We call it the Round Table, or the Joint Chiefs; it’s a group of

guys who get together every weekday morning to solve the world’s problems,” he explained. “We’re at about 20 guys, but the number fluctuates every day. All the politicians hoping to be elected are invited to come through during their election cycles. I really enjoy these guys as friends, and I’m proud of the fact that those guys want to be associated with us here.” Fred’s Market Restaurant and Grandpa Johnson’s Barbeque: two of the reasons why there’s no other place quite like Plant City.

Owen Johnson works along with the staff at Grandpa Johnson’s Up close and personal at the Lakeland location of Fred’s Market Restaurant.

Barbeque is the signature of Grandpa Johnson’s.

The staff of Fred’s Market Restaurant wants you to be at home while they serve you!

Fred’s Market Restaurant Plant City Location 1401 Drive MLK Jr Blvd. West (813) 752-7763 Fred’s Market Restaurant Lakeland Location 2120 Harden Blvd. (863) 603-7080 Grandpa Johnson’s Barbecue 1305 Drive MLK Jr Blvd. West Plant City (813) 759-0009 BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 23

Got Green Sod

Quality at First Glance Formerly Chancey’s Sod Service / Years of Experience / Competitive Quality / Free Estimates Josh Chancey grew up on his grandfather’s strawberry farm, right here in Plant City. For the past three years he’s been running his own business, built from the love of agriculture instilled in him by Ted Chancey. Formerly Chancey’s Sod Service, now titled Got Green Sod, his goal is to help individuals and businesses add value to their property with a quality first impression. Chancy began his work with a highly reputable lawn company doing fertilizations some years back, and as he performed his job he began to realize just how many people needed to have their lawns repaired. “It gave me the incentive to start my own company,” he remembers. Although he admits anyone can go to Home Depot, buy a few pallets of sod and throw it down, Chancey knows his company can provide incredible quality for a competitive price and save any do-it-yourselfer lots of labor and sweat during these hot summer days. BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 24

Josh and Shanna Chancey

For anyone interested in having their yard redesigned, Chancey will go on-site and provide a free estimate. Once the customer decides to go through with the project, the Got Green Sod team arrives to spray a product on the current lawn to kill it. After approximately seven days (which gives the lawn a chance to die and the chemicals to become ineffective), the crew returns to cut all the old sod out. They grade the property and check any irrigation system to make sure it is

functioning properly, and then assess the area so they know exactly what type of grass will be best for the yard they are working with. Once the grass is installed, Got Green Sod will also provide the property owner with a referral to a company that specializes in maintaining yards like those Got Green Sod provides. The entire process takes 14 days and comes with a 20-day warranty, beginning at the date of completion, along with complete landscaping subbed out to

Do you want us to tell you a joke? All the other sod companies will leave you broke! Go with Got Green Sod!

Next Level Landscaping Services, if the customer is interested. “If the sod doesn’t take for any reason, we’ll replace it at no charge,” Chancey promises. He also offers an open-door policy for his customers. “They can call me anytime if they have any questions, even after the process is completely over.” Chancey and Got Green Sod have done large projects, such as miles of the stretch along Highway 60, but they specialize in residential areas, as well. Chad and Kellie Morrow recently used the services Got Green Sod offers. “They offer great prices,” Chad commented. “An excellent quality of grass, a timely response, and the company really went the extra mile after my grass was installed.”

Good customer service is a top priority for Got Green Sod. “With this business you can call and speak to the owner, you don’t have to talk to 20 people before you get to me,” Chancey stated. “If there’s a problem, I’m the one who takes care of it. I’ll always be that way. I don’t care if I’m a 10 million dollar company or a $100,000 company, you’ll always talk to me.” Chancey remembers re-sodding a yard for a property management group who had a home listed that just would not sell. After the landscaping and the sod was complete, the house sold three days later, at $15,000 more than what it was originally listed for, proof that the impression a yard makes is a lasting one.

The next level for Got Green Sod is coming soon in the form of their very own sod farm. Chancey looks forward to being able to offer all of his customers even better prices and more options when the farm gets underway. Take your property to the next level with the original Got Green Sod!

Got Green Sod Plant City (813) 376-9089 BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 25

Hillsboro Bank

Welcoming Customers in Established and Brand New Locations Established by Community Leaders / Personal Service / Community Involvment / Wonderful Atmosphere Gary Boothe never thought he would be in banking. He worked in the farm equipment business for many years with his father, and when his dad passed away, he continued to run the business for about 13 additional years. A gentleman began courting him regularly with intentions of buying his business, and after a few years and quite a bit of persuasion, he sold.

Your Plant City branch of Hillsboro Bank

Needless to say, about the same time Boothe sold his business, the old Hillsborough Bank was bought by Sun Bank, and those in charge were looking for new lending officers. They began courting Boothe, due to his business experience. Ultimately, about three weeks into what was meant to be a long vacation, the honey-do list became too long and he began talks with Sun Bank. He was easily recruited after that, still claiming, “I just kind of got into banking by accident!”

His new-found career turned him into a bit of a problem solver, as he began to visit various branches and “clean them up”, so to speak. About 10 years ago, a group of individuals in the community came together with Boothe, deciding they wanted to form a new bank, and Hillsboro Bank was born. They just celebrated their 9th anniversary last month at their location at 509 West Alexander Street (just across the street from Plant City High School).

The ribbon is cut at the Hillsboro Bank’s grand opening in Valrico BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 26

The staff of your Hillsboro Bank in Plant City is here to serve you!

Now, with approximately 22 years in the banking business under his belt, Boothe still sees himself not as a banker, but as a businessman. “We go after the small to medium-sized commercial business,” he stated. “The people that the big banks overlook and the credit unions don’t get involved with. The ones who fall into those categories are really our target audience.”

The Valrico location is now ready to serve you!

While Boothe admits you can’t drive through Jacksonville, see a Hillsboro Bank and stop to cash your check, he believes the personal service offered greatly outweighs the number of branches across the state. “You get to talk to a person, an actual person who will answer the phone,” he emphasized. “You’ll get personal service and a decision is going to be made right then. None of this

‘we’ll get back with you’, or like the old Barnett Bank commercial from years ago where you had to go to Georgia to get an answer, and they all load up on the truck. No, when you call us, you’ll get one of us, and you won’t have to bounce from phone to phone to phone.” Those real people are also incredibly involved in the community on their own; from the Lions Club to the Civitans to the Rotary, community involvement is important to the key players at Hillsboro Bank.

The bank has created a wonderful atmosphere for its customers. Boothe laughs when remembering a gentleman who used to come in each and every morning, cash a small check and then sit in the waiting area and ready the day’s newspaper. “We would watch him every day. We also have people who just come in and say, ‘Hey, I was just driving by and I wanted to see some of the tellers or some of the girls’. Just wanted to say hello! It’s a family type deal.” Boothe wants to give credit to all of the bank’s employees and directors for where the institution is today. “After all, they are the core of our business!” he enthused. “We tell people our motto is basically that we want to acknowledge people,” Boothe continued. “We want them to feel like they’re welcome, because we don’t exist without customers! We don’t want to be accused of paying too much attention to producing hamburgers and French fries, so to speak, and not waiting on our customers that are the core of our business. Our deal is, our customers come first. We understand that because we are one of them ourselves.”

Plant City native Jennifer Baskin trusts Hillsboro Bank with her dollars


A beautiful grand opening was held for the new Valrico location

Ronald D. Daniel, Chairman of the Board Antonio C. Azorin, President and CEO Gary L, Boothe, President and CEO Dorothy H. Harkala, Real Estate Executive William A. Mueller, CPA, Partner Bryan M. Smith, Jr., President Michael S. Sparkman, President and Owner Donald K. Stine, President Alfred H. Varnum, Central Maintenance

Jeff Campbell (left), Vice President and Gary Boothe (right) President

Plant City 509 West Alexander Street (813) 707-6506 Valrico 1016 Bloomingdale Avenue (813) 657-8989 Businessmen speak of the benefits the new location of Hillsboro Bank will provide

Those gathered for the grand opening listen as Jeff Campbell welcomes the crowd BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 27

Harold’s Feed Store

Offering Much More Than the Name Implies Not Just Feed / Pet Products & More / Service-oriented Employees / Supports Local Businesses It takes the staff of Harold’s about 30 minutes to open the store each day, as all the outdoor displays are set up each morning and taken down each evening. “We like people to see something different out front when they come,” stated Burnette. “When we run a promotion, we put it out front so people can see it. We like to build new displays and make things different, and give people something different to look for.”

Besides the changing displays, there is always plenty of movement at Harold’s. In order to keep supplies well-stocked, almost any customer can observe a semi truck being unloaded, an order being checked in or bags of animal-tailored feed being weighed out. Except on Saturdays. “It’s a good day for us. It’s a relaxed day,” Burnette commented. “Service is important to us, to all the employees here. We want to take care of

Harold’s Farm Supply is located at the corner of Highway 574 and McIntosh Road

Celebrating their 10th anniversary this year is just one small indication of the place Harold’s Feed Store holds in our community. Bill Burnette has been in this area of business since before high school, when he used to help out at his local feed store. After high school, he went to the wholesale side when one of his suppliers hired him, then he moved on to own the Feed Depot of Brandon, and now he’s happy at the corner of McIntosh Road and Highway 574. His father and daughter work with him, along with 11 other employees. “We’re definitely a family owned and operated business,” Burnette stated firmly. Harold’s Feed Store holds almost any item an agricultural individual could want for, and if they don’t have it, they’ll “make a call and get it for you,” Burnette promises. However, he also comments on the cross-section of people who are now visiting the store. “We’re really not just feed anymore. We do a lot of different things. We have a great selection of products for pets; dogs, cats and fish. We offer water softener salt, and still do a lot of fencing. Our newest venture has been the Traeger wood pellet grills, and those are doing incredibly well.”


Shipments arrive daily at Harold’s

Customer service is of utmost importance at Harold’s

The future of Harold’s Feed Store

A variety of food options are always available at Harold’s

Burnette converses with his future son-in-law over a new shipment

the customers and service them. We want them to feel welcome, feel comfortable, and not feel like they’re wasting their time.” Burnette keeps a good number of employees simply to keep from being shorthanded when customers are in need. “If a customer wants to get loaded immediately, I want to make sure they can get in, get their stuff and get out, not have to wait around. If they just want to shop, we want to make them feel comfortable that way, too. We want to make sure they know we’re always there to service them.”

Feed can be measured out to a customer’s exact specifications

Each outside display at Harold’s is carefully placed every morning

An important philosophy Burnette abides by is that of supporting your local businesses and organizations. A supporter of 4H and FFA in the surrounding schools, as well as his church and the Brandon Football League, he stated of his community, “We support them and I would hope that they would support us, and even if they don’t support us, we’ll go on supporting them.” Burnette provided a perfect example of the way he does business. “I have a customer who owns a nice horse farm and other businesses. She bought a lot of supplies from us. One day, I asked about her, and our manager here told me she hadn’t

Anthony is the manager of Harold’s Feed Store

bought anything in several months. I looked up her phone number, called her and asked her what was going on, told her I missed her. I just shipped her a monster delivery yesterday. That’s just typical of the way I like to do business.”

Harold’s Farm Supply 12990 Drive Martin Luther King Jr Dover (813) 689-1570

Bill Burnette with his new line of Traeger Grills BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 29


Memorial Gardens & Funeral Home Over 35 Years in Business / Cemetery on Grounds / Many Options for Memorialization / Local Staff

Hopewell Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home is a family owned business, serving our community for over 35 years. Since its inception, the cemetery and funeral home operations have been under the direction of managing partners, Margie Willis and her sister, Glenda Haney, licensed funeral director. The sisters are descendants of a pioneer family, the McDonalds, who in 1868 settled the community of Hopewell. The descendents’ families have lived and worked on this land for seven generations, so it seemed a natural fit to establish their businesses under the same community name.

Seated: Edwena Haney. Standing 1st row, left to right: Selena Brewster, Lori Carson, and Jeff Haney. Standing 2nd row left to right: John Willis, Michael DaGrosa and Marsha Passmore BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 30

Hopewell is the Plant City area’s only funeral establishment with a cemetery located within its grounds, giving families the flexibility to have both cemetery and funeral needs met at one location. Families choosing the services of our licensed perpetual care cemetery can be assured the cemetery grounds will forever be maintained. This commitment is possible because of our perpetual care trust funds.

The cemetery is a progressive memorial park, and we offer many options for memorialization. They are traditional in-ground burial, an open air mausoleum for those wishing to have above ground entombment, or columbarium with niches giving families an option for memorialization of cremated remains, other than ground burial. Our full-time lawn and maintenance staff work daily to maintain the grounds. Mowing, trimming, pest control, cleaning statuary, painting, installation of markers, and preparation of the committal site for services are but a few of the jobs they perform.

The funeral home property is adjacent to the cemetery and situated on three acres. The community we serve is deeply rooted, people know their neighbors. Our service chapel can accommodate 250 people, with additional overow seating. We have ample parking which is well lit in the evening, and our staff is available to offer assistance parking your vehicle. The funeral directors, administrative, management and support staff are local residents. Some have lived here for several years, and others for generations. Many old acquaintances have been renewed in our lobby. When families are grieving it is comforting to see a familiar face. Hopewell Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home is located at 6005 State Road 39 South in Plant City, FL. Their phone number is (813) 7373128, or you may email for more information to

Co-owners, Glenda Haney and Margie Willis

Hopewell Memorial Gardens & Funeral Home 6005 State Road 39 South Plant City (813) 737-3128

Left to right: Bob Pietras, James Laundry, Rob Blankinship (supervisor), Mike Jones, and Justin Laundry BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 31


A New Revenue Stream Award-Winning Couple / Increasing Business’ Capital / Providing Cash Customers / Purchasing Power ITEX is an exploding business exchange with over 24,000+ businesses in the U.S. and Canada doing more than $300 million a year in business to business transactions. This 25 year old publicly traded company provides a new source of revenue which improves the cash flow of these businesses. In the Tampa Bay area, the ITEX franchise is led by a dynamic duo, Jim and Carolyn Young and their office staff. They bought the local franchise just five years ago, winning the “Rookie of the Year” award their first 12 months in business and most recently earned the prestigious “Broker of the Year” award, competing against 95 offices internationally. However, they are most proud of earning the company’s “Circle of Excellence” award for the quality of care they give their clients. Carolyn gives credit to their clients’ many referrals for helping their local exchange grow and achieve so much in such a short period of time. The Young’s have now helped their local businesses complete over 20+ million dollars in transactions over the past five years. That… is serious cash profits saved for just their local business owners. We recently sat down with Jim & Carolyn and asked them some in-depth questions on how ITEX works: Focus: How does ITEX affect a business? The Young’s: We bring our members new customers that pay them full price for their goods and services. We increase the capital they have to run their business and help them increase cash profits or make investments they were unable to make before. ITEX is also a great tool for moving their excess inventory at retail prices.


Focus: How do clients use these ITEX funds? The Young’s: The member uses ITEX dollars the same way they use cash dollars, to buy products, services and “especially advertising”, which brings them new cash customers. These purchases are bought from other member businesses and are paid for with an ITEX check or a direct online transaction. Here’s a strong example of a company’s attitude on using ITEX funds… we were recently at a meeting with one of Florida’s largest, high end furniture companies where the CFO instructed his marketing and department heads in no uncertain terms, that the ITEX checkbook was to be their “default checkbook”; savvy business owners understand and treat ITEX as a serious business leverage. Focus: What is the net effect on a business? The Young’s: They can grow their business while conserving their cash profits, enhance their lives, penetrate

new markets, capture their competitors’ customers and increase their own exposure in the local business community. What an advantage! Focus: Give us a scenario on how it would work.

Dynamic duo Jim and Carolyn Young

Jim Young is ready to help your business grow

The Young’s: Ok… let’s say a business needs a $1,000 worth of vehicle repairs. Our Trade Director finds them a local automotive shop in ITEX and they pay for the repairs with an ITEX check --- no different than a cash transaction, just a different currency; but not from their hard earned cash profits. Now, because their ITEX dollars came from new business they would have never had, they can realize that they are buying goods and services for “only” their cost of goods sold. A tremendous economic advantage over their competitors! Our members typically have a cost

Carolyn Young is excited about expanding your business!

of goods or services somewhere between 10% to 40% in their ITEX dollars, so, in effect, they are buying this repair job at only 10 to 40 cents on the dollar, giving them a tremendous purchasing power. Focus: How does a business decide if ITEX is right for them? The Young’s: If they’re looking to attract new customers that bring a new source of revenue, along with the greater purchasing power of the ITEX dollar, they should call our office. ITEX works for the small business owner, all the way up to the largest Corporate CEO. ITEX is

simply a “Smart, Financial Business Tool”. Visit our corporate website at and call us, Jim or Carolyn Young, at (813) 759-9122. ITEX dollars work…isn’t it time they started working for you?

ITEX Tampa Trade Manager 813.759.9122 813.763.4519 BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 33

Jackie’s Dance Studio Full of Family Fun and Excitement

Teaching Beneficial Skills / Performance Opportunities / Many Classes Offered / Talented Teachers Dance creates a truly special bond between you and your child. Music establishes a reassuring and comforting routine. Movement enhances healthy development; intellectual, emotional, social, motor and language skills. Jackie’s Dance Studio offers great family fun and excitement. You and your child can enjoy being a part of the prestigious annual dance shows. They include the Strawberry Festival events, Gasparilla Fun Festivals, Fashion Shows, Plant City Children’s Theatre, Clogging Conventions, Disney World Shows and professional auditions ages 8 – 98. Miss Sharon holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance & Theatre. Jackie and Sharon’s new routines and exciting classes anchored by tradition assures you the best in dance theatre, clogging, gym & hip hop. Miss Jackie’s students in Walt Disney World’s “Sparkling Christmas Show.” Miss Jackie was one of the choreographers for the grand opening. When Miss Sharon was only ten years old, this was her first professional job.

Mondays 11:00 – 9:00, Pre-School – Mommy & Me Gym, Ballet, Clog, Hip Hop Musical Theatre “Annie” Voice and Acting, Ballet, Pointe: Nutcracker

Miss Jackie relates her success to the many different programs that she has offered over the years and still offers. Her classes consist of “The Fun School” for today’s dancer; Clog, Gym & Hip Hop. She offers the following:


Tuesdays 1:00 – 9:00 Adult Fun Class, Gym, Hip Hop Pre-school Gym, Hip Hop, Pre-teen & Teen Club Wednesdays, 10:00 – 9:00 Adult Tap

New All Star Cheer Team, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Tap, Clog New Adult Tap and Adult Competition Tap

Thursdays 3:00 – 9:00 Ballet, gym, hip hop, clog Jr. Showcase Clog, Ballet, Gym, Hip Hop New Adult Tap, Intermediate Adult Tap Fridays 2:30 - 9:00 Showcase New Friday Country Jamboree Mother / daughter; clog, line dance Expert Pre-School New All Star Dance & Drill Team

Saturdays 11:00 - 3:00 New All Star Competition Team Former students include: Karen Goff, United States Naval Academy; Michelle Labrabra, High School Teacher; Jamie Hall, Professional Dancer, Cruise Ships, Opryland. Teachers are: Robin Dawn, Private and Duets; Vic Larson, Tap; Cassie Butler, Voice & Acting; Becky & Jamie Conn, Clogging; David Chernault, Acting – Broadway; Erin Beattie, graduate of Royal Academy of Dance in London & choreographer & Teacher of All Star Cheer International World Champion.

Jackie’s Dance Theatre & Gym 507 North Wheeler Street Plant City (813) 752-1683 BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 35

Long View RV Superstores Never, Ever Undersold!

Family Operated / Largest Location / 46 Years in Business / Highly Trained Staff In 1959, Fran and Shirley Roberts had an idea. In 2007, their idea has turned into four locations in four different states, the newest of which is right in our backyard, at the junction of Interstate 4 and McIntosh Road. The company can now claim the title of the largest, oldest, family operated RV business in the country. One visit to any of their locations will prove why to any prospective buyer. The newest and largest location opened out of portable buildings at the same time construction was begun on the main campus in December of 2004. With 22 acres of land this “flagship location” is perfectly situated to be easily accessible from anywhere in Central Florida. In fact, the location is so easily accessible the former Leesburg and Kissimmee locations have merged into this newest spot to guarantee Long View RV customers the finest sales and service experience possible. Entrepreneur Fran Roberts has created his own “private franchise” with stores that look the same and run the same. Although he still works from the northern USA, he was ready to create this location in the south after doing an evaluation of his current customers. “In 46 years, we’ve acquired lots of customers,” he explained. “We’re selling

The largest Long View location is right in our own backyard!

to the great-grandchildren of our original customers and they’re using RVs to visit their parents in Florida.”

These beauties are waiting for their owners to come pick them up! BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 36

41 service bays are available at Long View RV, in an atmosphere created with an intentional peaceful setting. Buyers are made to feel at home, and staff members make sure a visit to Long View

The inventory at Long View can’t be beat!

isn’t much different than dropping by on some old friends; friends who are offering Class A, Class B, Class C, 5th Wheel, Trailers, Pop-Ups, Toy Haulers and Mobile Offices, of course. New and used, they can all be found at our location. Service, parts and rentals are also available. The staff members at each Long View location are highly trained and highly trusted. What else would a man who has built a business from the ground up ask for? Each customer who visits a Long View sales lot is called within three days to learn about their experience and to evaluate the salesperson’s knowledge and helpfulness. Fran and Shirley ran the original dealership themselves during the first 10 years, for the sake of perfecting their business model and developing a team they could count on. Bringing their son, Frank, into the mix was a huge plus for the company, as well. With a degree in Marketing and as the corporate sales trainer, Frank created a manual to walk new sellers through the sales process and offer tips on how to close more deals. “It’s so simple, someone should be able to read the manual and be ready to hit the sales

Some Crescendo models

Many of these models are available to customers of Long View

floor,” said Frank, who has just been promoted to President of the company. Each Long View dealership features a sales corridor through which buyers must pass in order to get onto the lot. Once on the lot, they are free to wander unescorted through the units. “Having buyers check in is our one and only way to begin a relationship,” said Roberts. “With over 200 units on the lot, just checking in helps us save buyers time by showing them where units of interest are located.” In the end, both Fran and Frank give credit to Shirley. “But, this business wouldn’t look anything like it does today if it weren’t for Shirley

keeping Frank and I focused on day-to-day details,” said Fran. “She had a tremendous vision for where we could take the company. Frank and I were always sales focused, but Shirley would ensure that we remained grounded in providing the level of service that Long View customers have come to expect.”

Long View RV SuperStores 4811 McIntosh Road Dover 877-386-4878

Sundance is one of the many models Long View offers BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 37

Markley Chiropractic & Acupuncture

A Family Partnering for Your Health Family Practicing Together / Proven Results / Treating All Ages / Offering Nutritional Supplements Chiropractic care is a holistic approach to wellness care that involves adjusting the spine and integrating herbs and other natural remedies. “Examination, pre and post X-Rays are diagnostic tools used to assess the problem, find the root cause and make sure the spine has changed after completing the regimen of care,” Dr. Guy Markley of Markley

Chiropractic and Acupuncture commented. Dr. Guy began his practice 27 years ago with the support of his wife, Judy. As time went on, Judy furthered her acupuncture and nutritional education, and now partners with her husband in the business. The family business, apparently, as the couple’s

The staff of Markley Chiropractic is looking forward to serving you! BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 38

daughter, Robyn, is now a practicing chiropractor, as well. “I used chiropractic care personally before I even became involved in the business myself,” Dr. Guy commented. “I became a chiropractic patient when I was in 4th Grade, when I suffered from a sports

physical therapy direction of her degree and focus on chiropractic. “We work with patients as young as a few days old, all the way up until…as long as they’re breathing,” commented Dr. Robyn. “We treat everybody!” Some people visit their office for back pain, some for sinus and allergy issues, some for sports injuries. Those with headaches and who have suffered in automobile accidents are regular patients, as well, and the three agree that each day is different.

Judy Markley helps a patient through acupuncture.

injury. The chiropractor helped resolve the problem, and the pain was instantly eased. That made a big impression on me as a kid.” Dr. Robyn laughs, remembering how she originally didn’t want to have anything to do with chiropractic as a teenager. The turning point was when she injured herself playing sports in college, and was out for approximately a year. As a result of chiropractic treatment and acupuncture, she was able to play the entire next year, and decided to turn from the

Acupuncture, which is Judy’s specialty, has been an effective, powerful medicine for centuries, strengthening the immune system, treating and preventing diseases, controlling pain and increasing one’s ability to function. With the application of a needle or electric acupuncture, patients can be treated for a wide variety of ailments or diseases, and patients are delightfully surprised to learn that acupuncture needles are very different from Western medical needles, allowing for little or no sensation while they are being used. Also offering many nutritional supplements, once the Markleys are able to diagnose a patient, they are able to offer them options in the form of dietary supplements, and tailor their treatments even more specifically. Realizing that each patient is different, their goal is to locate the root of the problem(s) and then support the system so it can respond and promote the harmony in the body. Dr. Robyn speaks of a patient who had been in a head-on 70-mile-per-hour car accident and had been through a long medical route to recover. She was still faced with extreme arm pain and daily headaches. After acupuncture and chiropractic treatments several times each week for approximately one month, the patient had very few headaches and no arm pain at all. “She said she didn’t think she could ever feel this way again,” commented Judy.

Dr. Guy Markley

Dr. Robyn Markley performs an adjustment

“Her doctors said the arm pain was permanent,” Dr. Robyn stated. “We proved that wasn’t the case.” Those who live in chronic pain daily need to know there is an answer, and it comes from a family who has dedicated themselves to finding a solution. This trio enjoys working together as a family to serve families in Plant City and the surrounding area, and they look forward to continuing to serve those in need in the future! “At Markley Chiropractic and Acupuncture, you can expect extraordinary, compassionate care. We provide an array of healthcare services to ensure a complete, comprehensive approach to meeting all of your healthcare needs.”

Markley Chiropractic & Acupuncture 1802 West Baker Street Plant City (813) 752-6001 BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 39

Edward Jones

A Trusted Company, A Knowledge of Community Agent Born & Raised in PC / Teaching Consumers About Money / Investing Know-How / Community Involved

Michael Cameron

In July of 2001, Michael Cameron decided too much of a good thing could never be enough. A long-time client of Edward Jones, he decided to make it his personal mission to provide expert investing consulting to his hometown, through a company he had come to trust with his own funds. Born and raised in Plant City, Cameron graduated from Plant City High School, attended Hillsborough Community College here and then went BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 40

on to obtain Business and Agricultural degrees from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. A position with a top-ranking national company had taken him to Birmingham, Alabama, but Cameron felt Plant City calling him home. “Born here, married here, hope to be buried here, and no time soon!” Cameron joked. “I believe it’s important that the person you deal with financially is also someone you bump into in Publix. Not only do I have a vested interest in my company, but also in my clients and in Plant City as a whole.”

“I love what I do,” Cameron enthused. “I have the opportunity to teach young people starting out to make money for their needs later on, and I can teach older people about investing, and make sure they never run out of money in their lifetime. It’s very satisfying to me!” For anyone interested in knowing more about investing, Michael Cameron stands ready to provide assistance. Whether you are young with plenty of time to your advantage, middle-age

ber; you don’t have to go through an automated system to reach me. Only the best service comes from this Edward Jones office. Office Administrator Darlene Schenck is in the top 3% in the entire nation when it comes to her job, and the company has also been given the J.D. Power and Associates award for the Highest Investor Satisfaction, as well as their continued inclusion in Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies, of which they have been number one in the past and are included once more this year.

Darlene Schenck

with a large sum of money to invest, or older and ready to decide on how to pass what you’ve attained on to your children, Cameron has a solution for you. He also offers specialized program for women who want to make sure their financial future is completely secure, without having to rely on anyone else. Cameron takes care of the clients he has, and through this process his current clients send him their family and friends. Thus his business grows, not by what product he can sell, but simply through the good words of those who trust him.

you have to have time. Whatever combination of those you have, your time is disappearing.” The Edward Jones company is a limited liability corporation. It is a partnership, is not publicly-traded, and as the fourth largest firm in the investing game, the combination of big business backing and home-town setting cannot be beaten. “We’re going to do business face to face,” Cameron stated firmly. “I don’t have an 800 num-

Michael Cameron offers free seminars often at his Edward Jones office. His next event will be a Retirement Decision seminar and will be held on September 13. Sign up to attend by calling (813) 759-1491 or visit

Edward Jones Michael Cameron’s Office 2501 Thonotosassa Road Plant City (813) 759-1491

Trust is a high compliment for Cameron, the President of the Plant City Lion’s Club, the outgoing President of the Friends of the Library, a member of Network Professionals of Plant City, Toastmasters of Plant City, First United Methodist Church of Plant City, a board member of SAC at Plant City High School, a member of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee to the Hillsborough County School Board, an Ambassador of the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Greater Plant City Chamber Business Council, and a Committee Member of the Pig Jam. “It’s important to begin the learning process today, so you can make informed decisions when the time comes,” he continued, speaking of investing. “You either have to have money, or

Michael Cameron takes the time to speak about life’s building blocks with his clients BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 41

Millennium Homes & Development

Becoming More Environmentally Friendly Custom



Millennium Homes & Development is more and more becoming a familiar name here in Plant City, as construction projects pop up all throughout our town bearing Millennium’s Mark. However, the company has now been in business for about four years, and they’re currently doing work in Tampa, Keysville, Lakeland, Riverview and Ruskin, as well as here in our town.






Joe Rodrigues is the owner of Millennium, and has been in the construction business for close to nine years. “We did 30 houses last year, and by the end of this year we’ll have completed 40. Even so, we are breaking into the commercial market at the same time,” he commented on the growth of the company. “We’ll go around this area, anywhere within 30 miles.”

What’s left standing after this hurricane was built with ICF walls. BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 42




Rodrigues is a creative person who enjoys seeing a finished product. In a great business to do so, the former optician who always dreamed about spending time outside in the Sunshine State now enjoys creating custom homes. “Custom home-building gives me a way to put my own input into homes; what I think will work aesthetically as well as functionally. I can’t think of anything else I’d want to do.”

One of Millennium’s current homes being built with ICF block

Always researching and on the lookout for ways to save their customers money, Millennium is now offering new options in energy efficiency for structures they build. One such product is called the ICF (Insulating Concrete Forms) Wall, which is a concrete brick surrounded by the latest technology in insulation. “When you have a block wall and the sun hits it, the wall will heat up,” explained Rodrigues. “Cement is a great conductor of heat. Even at night if you walk to a block wall and touch it, you’ll still notice that it’s warm. With the ICF blocks the insulation goes on the outside and the cement on the inside, so the cement always stays cool.” Another great factor about the ICF wall is that, by

having the cement on the inside of the insulation, it hardens twice as hard because it’s hardening slowly. Although this is an energy-efficient product, it’s also been proven against hurricanes. To give a bit of perspective: in a regular block wall there are still empty cells in between each block. Every four feet a cell will be filled with with cement. Imagine a large object flying towards your house due to a bad storm or a hurricane. Penetrating a block wall through one of those empty-cell areas would be relatively simple. ICF creates a full sheet of cement, therefore making it much more resistant than anything else on the market. “Eventually everyone will be going ICF,” commented Rodrigues. “It’s an incredibly energy-effi-

The inside of an ICF block.

cient product. Air conditioning bills will drop about 30% with the ICF walls.” Millennium is also incorporating standard energy efficient products in their homes, such as insulated windows and better insulation as a whole throughout their projects. The entire staff has been trained in how to work with ICF, and they are beginning construction immediately with the new product. For those at Millennium, their constant education on how to help their customers save energy through the best products possible is a high priority. “I don’t think any project out there should be built by anyone else but us, because we will give every customer the attention and professionalism they deserve,” Rodrigues stated firmly. “We’ll do a quality job, hands down. I could go to the home of any of my customers and be invited in for dinner, right now - that’s how happy they are with our services.”

Millennium Homes & Development 110 West Reynolds Street Suite 104 Plant City (813) 757-9727 BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 43

Music from the Heart Not Your Average Piano Lesson

25 Years Experience / Loved By Kids & Parents / All Music Styles / Encourages Success How many of us took piano lessons when we were small children? Many did it out of obedience to their parents, never taking what they learned any further into life. It was a duty to be accomplished, not a joy to be anticipated. Sherri Iturriaga has been teaching piano for 25 years, and she’ll be the first to tell you that she could never tire in doing so. “I’ve always had a heart for music, especially piano,” she enthused. “That’s where the name of the business came from.” Also a secretary at Plant City High School during the school year, Sherri doesn’t want people to feel they are just another paycheck to her. “Music is my heart.

Sherri was a part-time music minister at her church as her four children were growing up. During that time, she also made time to share her passion of teaching piano, most of which was done out of her home. Lisa Hall and her 11-year-old daughter, Kaitlynn, met Miss Sherri through a studio that she was temporarily teaching in. “We had signed up for music lessons in the studio where Sherri used to work, and she was our teacher,” Hall explained. “We decided to stick with her and come to her home to take lessons because she was great in encouraging Kaitlynn with her technique, posture and self esteem. We felt here, in her home, Kaitlynn would receive

Sherri Iturriaga

the epitome of one-on-one attention, and be comfortable in learning whatever Miss Sherri was teaching her in a more relaxed setting.” “She’s a good teacher,” Kaitlynn added enthusiastically.

Sherri with a few of the girls who’s lives have been changed by Music from the Heart


Sherri most enjoys seeing students that need to be challenged excel, and taking those who have been “stuck in a box” and allowing them to play the kind of music they want to play. She remembers in her own piano lessons as a child, her teacher taught strictly classical music. “I swore I would never teach anyone music they didn’t enjoy,” she stated firmly. “I teach them

Sherri working side by side with her students.

the basics and all the fundamentals, and then I introduce them to all different styles of music and let them pick what style they like. If you let students pick what they enjoy playing, they’ll practice.” “Miss Sherri is very awesome,” stated nine-anda-half-year-old Madison Manley with a wide smile. Debra is Madison’s mom, who remembered, “We actually had started piano somewhere else, and Madison just needed a little more of a push. Sherri has been fabulous. She’s taught her so much, and we’ve seen a lot of growth in just a year’s time.” One of Sherri’s practices is not only getting to know her students in the area of music, but to also know them personally, in order to provide them with a well-rounded experience. “Teaching them here can help them other than just musically,” she believes. Sherri’s four children, who are now all grown, have benefited greatly from learning how to play the piano at an early age. Her children Alysa, Ashley, Amber, and Brad all play more than one instrument. They’re

Learning is fun for students of Music From the Heart.

also currently in the band at Baylife Church as instrumentalists and singers. Lorrie Kiely, mother of Chelsea, age nine, agrees. “Chelsea has always liked music. Her friend was taking lessons with Miss Sherri, and Chelsea is good at math; I heard piano was great for kids with mathematical talents.” Chelsea, who says Miss Sherri is “very nice!” agrees, as well. Sherri teaches all ages of children and adults. “If a child can recognize their alphabet and count 1-10, they’re ready for piano,” she ex-

Sherri with her daughter, Amber.

plained. “Their attention span should be about Kindergarten level, in order for them to really benefit from the experience.” “I love my students,” she continued. “It’s so important to me for my students to succeed, and I know piano can change their entire life if they will allow it to.”

Music from the Heart Plant City (813) 704-4411 BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 45

Olde Town Pizzeria

High Quality Ingredients, High Quality Atmosphere Years of Experience in Food Service / Award-Winning Dishes / Extremely Fresh / Hometown Employees About a year and a half ago, a new restaurant came to Plant City. Everyone loves pizza, so it was easy for our town to welcome Olde Town Pizzeria to the community. However, David and Patty Grossman stand by the fact that their restaurant is not just another fast-food pizza place. The Grossmans have an extensive background in the food service industry; they owned two of the largest restaurants in the Miami and Ft. Lauderdale areas before coming here to pursue their plan of opening multiple Chicago-style pizzerias in the Tampa Bay area. “We’re from Chicago,” Patty explained, “And here in Florida we couldn’t find a good place to get an authentic Chicago-style pizza!” So when all else fails, do it yourself seems to be this couple’s motto. Now, with another location in Brandon and one due to be placed in Lakeland in the future, quality is still tops on the list of priorities for their restaurants. “We don’t ever want the quality of our eating establishments to dwindle because we’re branching out too much,” Patty emphasized. During the lunchtime hours, Olde Town Pizzeria is normally filled with business people. The atmosphere is conducive to meetings, working on laptops or taking in some news from a paper or one of the wall-mounted televisions. A great lunchtime feature is the fact that customers can call in their order ahead of time, so their food is either ready or just minutes away from being placed at their table by the time they arrive at the restaurant. In the evenings, families frequent the Pizzeria, calling the atmosphere warm and friendly, a BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 46

The Plant City location

place each one of them can enjoy a meal tailored for their tastes, and spend time with each other at the same time, without mom having to cook several meals to accommodate all. High quality ingredients are incredibly important to Olde Town, who feel their customers deserve no less than the best. Their meats are shipped directly from the Chicago Meat Packing Company. Their Mozzarella is the best Wisconsin brand to be found, and all of their food is made fresh each day. Nothing is taken out of a package, not even their salad, which is prepared using freshly chopped lettuce every morning. Each pizza order placed is started from a ball of dough, and custom-created to the customer’s specifications. Adding to the quality is the actual baker’s oven that is used to finish the orders, instead of the common pizza oven.

“Our theory is different from other pizza places,” Manager Karen Christie stated. Karen spent 11 years working at Plant City’s ABC Pizza House, and loves the atmosphere at Olde Town. “We use the best ingredients for a better product.” Karen herself instigated the lunch hour at the restaurant, which was nonexistent their first few months in business. “We have lots of regular customers who come in several times a week,” Karen enthused, “And we love to see them! We even had one gentleman who came in every single day at 3:00 p.m. for at least eight months straight for his pizza!” David and Patty are grateful for all of the Olde Town employees, especially Carlos Renteria and Carolina Leon, who run the Plant City location’s kitchen each day. The majority of the younger

staff members are products from our own Plant City High School, including Rudy Romero, Kira Story and Danielle Childers, who have all been with Olde Town since day one, and have helped in both stores. Many of those employed in Plant City also volunteered to work the Brandon loca-

tion when it opened seven months ago, which creates a great working atmosphere in either restaurant, although the Plant City location will always hold a special place in the hearts of its owners.

“Plant City was the perfect spot to open our first store,” Patty commented. Both she and David are happy Olde Town has been well received, and they are greatly enjoying the company of the friendly residents of Plant City. “No matter how many restaurants we open in the future, Plant City will always be our favorite, because it was our first one! We’ve had great customers we got to know personally, and much of our staff have become our family; many of which we will probably know for many years to come.”

Olde Town Pizzeria 3011 James L Redman Parkway Plant City (813) 752-5800 115 West Bloomingdale Ave. Brandon (813) 684-4200 Some satisfied customers!

Olde Town employees enjoy their work and the atmosphere of the restaurant

Olde Town employee Danielle greets each customer with a smile and the promise of a great dining experience

Multitasking is part of Manager Karen Christie’s typical day BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 47

Plant City Internal Medicine Specialists, PA

Pleased to Welcome Dr. Tony Lewis Willson! Envisioning Complete Doctors / Teamwork for Health / Passionate About Medicine / Much Offered The Plant City Internal Medicine Specialist practice was started by Drs. Christopher Berchelmann and Steve Smith in January of 1992. Up until March of 2002, the office was located on Palmetto Avenue (behind South Florida Baptist Hospital) but is now housed at the main entrance of Walden Lake West. A growing practice, in 2004 Dr. Sheyla Hopkins came

on board, and now, as of August 1, the group is excited to welcome Dr. Tony Willson!

in Family Practice, he specializes in Sports Medicine, Dermatology and Adult Medicine.

Dr. Willson is a graduate of St. Matthew’s University, and performed his residencies at the Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Colorado. A former patient of Dr. Berchelmann’s, although Dr. Willson is trained

“I wanted the skills to be what I envisioned as a complete doctor,” Dr. Willson commented. “I’m able to practice OB, do minor surgeries, deliver babies; so I get to do a whole lot of things that cross the spectrum. It’s easy to be

The staff of Plant City Internal Medicine Specialists, PA, back row from left to right: Natalie Carpenter, Jewell Gay, Angelina Santos, Twalla Mange, Janet Sweeney, Sharon Blocker and Angela Cephas. Front row from left to right: Donna Goldhammer, Jessica Register, Deatrice Gaines and Jessica McMichen BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 48

Other services, such as echocardiograms are also available in the office, as well as a Lipid Clinic for patients on Fridays, directed by Mary Weiss, ARNP. “Honestly, our doctors are some of the nicest people you ever want to meet,” Twalla continued. “They’re down to earth, wonderful people to talk to, very caring, very understanding, very compassionate. I admire that in them. I know Dr. Willson is the perfect addition to our staff, and I’m excited for Plant City to get to know him!”

The Doctors who practice at Plant City Internal Medicine Specialists, PA, from left to right: Dr. Sheyla Hopkins, Dr. Christopher Berchelmann, Dr. Tony Willson and Dr. Steve Smith

a jack of all trades, but I wanted to master a couple. I found a lot of interest in Dermatology, mainly because of the procedural aspect of it. I’m an avid sports fan, so that was the attraction to Sports Medicine.” Dr. Willson believes that he practices medicine as a team composed of himself and his patient. His goals for his time at Plant City Internal Medicine are to be an adjunct to the practice, adding to the skills already in play. He will be doing procedures in the office, and hopes to round out the practice as a whole. Married with a four-year-old daughter, Dr. Willson is excited to be in Plant City with his in-laws here in town and his own family living in Jacksonville. “We really feel that we’re back home,” he commented. Twalla Mange is the Office Manager for the practice, and has been with them since Drs. Berchelmann and Smith partnered together. “All of these doctors just have a passion for medicine,” she commented. “They love their patients! I have patients tell me every day how

Plant City Internal Medicine 1601 West Timberlane Drive Suite 100 (813) 754-3344

comfortable they are in this office. Patients come, and they really become family.” Keeping things professional, as well as personal, is what these doctors do best, treating ages 16 and up mainly in specific areas such as cardiology, diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol and various conditions that relate to those issues. Even though the practice is slated as Internal Medicine, the doctors still see the common cold, the earaches, the sinus infections, and other somewhat generic conditions. To many patients, they are primary care doctors, also able to perform other procedures such as women’s PAPs. Over the years, conveniences such as in-office stress tests have been made available to patients. “There’s something about the secure feeling in going to a familiar place to have something done that can be very scary,” Twalla commented. “With their doctor actually performing their stress test, our patients can come to an office where they’re familiar with the people. It gives them a little peace of mind and a little more security.”

Dr. Tony Lewis Willson


Railroad & Industrial Federal Credit Union A Better Way to Bank

One of the Nation’s Oldest / Personalized Service / Vehicle Loans / Member-Owners Credit Unions were first formed in Germany in the mid 1800’s, the idea being to make financing easier for the common man. “As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, a credit union returns earnings to its members in the form of high interest rates for deposits (dividends) and lower loan rates,” said Ken Lawrence, real estate professional and credit-union researcher. “A volunteer board of directors oversees the financial integrity of the credit union.” Every member owns an equal share of the credit union. One of the nation’s oldest credit unions is Railroad & Industrial, established in 1935. The founding employer group was the railroad. The credit union owes its growth and longevity to the original 14 men who formed the credit union. Their foresight has allowed the credit union to thrive. As times have changed, the credit union has changed, too. In addition to the railroad, the credit union offers membership to over 400 companies in Central

From left to right: Sherry Paulk, Melissa Sanabria, Debbie Lott, Sharon Howe, Elvira Rivera, Evelyn Washington and Cindy Thomas. (Not pictured, Amanda Driscoll).

Florida. Headquartered in Tampa, branches can be found in Plant City, Lakeland, Riverview, Temple Terrace and Valrico. The Plant City branch opened in 1991. Art Wood, CEO, lives in Plant City, where he is active in and dedicated to his community. Cindy Thomas serves as the Branch Manager in Plant City. “We’re all just like one big family. We know our members by name, and as we get new members, we bring them in and adopt them into the family, as well. That’s the difference from being a member of a larger bank. You just won’t get better personalized service; we love our members!”

Sharon Howe BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 50

One interesting aspect of the credit union way of banking is the process of obtaining a vehicle

loan. The credit union provides connections to a panel called Auto Advisors, whose only goal is to assist members in their purchase of a new or used vehicle. Auto Advisors work closely with the employees and members of the credit union in giving information and advice on car buying, pricing and making the right choice for the buyer’s individual situation. At the credit union the employees pride themselves on delivering world-class-service to all members. Only wanting the best for their members, there is a pledge to the member-owners on the level of service they can expect. The goal of every employee is to have member-owners to trust the credit union with all their monetary issues. Monthly, the credit union offers free educational seminars to assist member-owners with

Debbie Lott

Evelyn Washington assists Railroad & Industrial Credit Union customer Linda of Linda’s Cleaning

Cindy Thomas

their financial insight and decision making. Three favorite topics are Auto Buying, Home Buying and Managing Credit. Workshops are offered on a rotating basis between the main office in Tampa and the Plant City location. Pam Griffiths is the Vice President of Marketing for the credit union. “Our member-owners are our best source for new members. They are advocates for us and they willingly suggest our credit union to their co-workers and family. This speaks directly to our service level; we excel in personal service and it shows.” “We offer many of the conveniences you’d expect from a big bank,” Griffiths commented. “We have free online services including bill payer and online banking, our ATM/debit card can be used worldwide through many free ATM providers and we hope to launch a suite of commercial services in early 2008.”

Loyal customers of Railroad & Industrial Credit Union: Aisha Box, Felicia Box, Jasmine Hewitt and Richard Hewitt

Railroad is involved in community activities from Lakeland to Tampa, contributing time and money annually to the Children’s Miracle Network, All Children’s Hospital, Pyramid House, Relay for Life and various clinics in the area. They have donated computers and other office furniture to a group home serving autistic residents in Tampa; locally they are involved in the Strawberry Festival and Christmas Parade, and are also a member of the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce. If you are interested in obtaining more information on the Railroad & Industrial Federal Credit Union,

visit them at 1701 West Baker Street, call (813) 621-6661 or go online at

Railroad & Industrial Credit Union 1701 West Baker Street Plant City (813) 752-4209

Melissa Sanabria and Sherry Paulk BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 51

Regions Bank Expect More Simple

Formerly AmSouth / Combined Now Stronger / Run by PC Residents / Free Checking

Staff of Regions North Plant City

Been seeing a lot of green lately? No, not regarding any kind of movement towards better fuel options or protection from global warming, though these things are important. Green means Regions Bank, and no matter where you’ve been in Plant City or the surrounding area, from running errands to watching TV to browsing the web, you may be seeing more green than you realize. 2007 has been a fantastic year for Regions Bank! Their merge with the former AmSouth Bank is now official, and with two convenient locations right here in Plant City, the future can only become brighter by the day.


“This merger was unlike any I have ever been through before,” commented Gail Lyons, Vice President and Branch Manager for both Plant City Regions Bank locations. With 30 years of banking experience, this lady not only has been through her fair share of mergers, but she also knows her stuff. Benefits of the merge she notes include more locations, greater convenience, a fresh look and a stronger company. Lyons has been in Plant City since the first AmSouth opened five years ago, and recalled that “it felt like going home when they offered me the position here.” Remembering how the banker in the town she grew up in was regarded in the community brings a high standard to the work she

completes, and it’s a standard she passes on to her staff, each of whom have risen to meet the challenge and serve this community. When the second branch in Plant City was launched this past March, the staff as a whole was overwhelmed at the support the community offered upon their grand opening. Approximately 1,000 people came out to wish them well. Regions employees are not just found inside the bank’s branches. Each one of them are Plant City residents “true and true”, selected by Lyons herself, and if you don’t catch them out running their errands, you may see them giving away gas at a local station, paying for your morning coffee or handing out dollars in front of the Dollar Store.

Staff of Regions South Plant City

Random acts of kindness, they call these bright spots in the days of many, and creative ways to thank the people of Plant City for their support. There’s no particular niche Regions Bank goes after when it comes to the people they serve. From individual to commercial, their goal is to provide excellent service for anyone who walks through their doors, no matter the type of account matter at hand. “The people we have working for us are really our best asset,” Lyons commented. “Our clients ultimately come in because of who we have working here, because they know they can trust our employees, and because everyone is looking for the quality that we can provide. We put the customers first.”

Another recent way Regions has partnered with the community is through a Back to School Drive, which they hosted beginning July 16 and will continue through August 18. Along with The Eagle (107.3) and WDUV (105.5), they have been distributing school supplies through our local YMCA to families without financial resources. Customers were asked to drop off school supplies, as well as larger items like helmets and bikes, giving everyone a chance to work together to make the up-coming school year a great one for families in need. With free checking, CD specials and great rates on home equity lines of credit, not to mention the convenience of two locations and an incredible Plant City resident staff, if you are looking for financial services, Regions is the answer.

Gail Lyons of Regions Bank

Regions North Plant City 2303 Thonotosassa Road (813) 659-2165 Regions South Plant City 2903 James L. Redman Parkway (800) 267-6884 BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 53

Sedita Kilton Life & Wealth Managment, LLCs

A New Approach to Financial Planning Life By Design / Business Conducted by Priorities / Personalized Plans / Educators on Preparation Like their website,, states, this company is not your average bean counter! While traditional CPA firms act more as historians, telling about the past, Sedita, Kilton & Company takes a more comprehensive approach to planning for its clients. Sedita, Kilton & Co. has been in business 30 years this October. Joseph Sedita, a graduate of the

University of South Florida, believes that planning should include not only finances, but goals and dreams, as well. The firm’s Life By Design comprehensive planning process helps clients visualize, articulate, quantify and clarify their personal and financial goals. The process provides great value as it assists clients in defining who is important, what is

important and when it is important with respect to their financial and lifetime goals. The priorities by which they conduct themselves say a lot about how they conduct their business. “We have a very high concern for what’s best for our clients, and for our employees and for our firm,” says Nate Kilton, who holds an Accounting degree from FSU, a Finance degree from USF, and

Front Row: Jana Tombrink, Fran Brozak, Brittany Griffin 2nd Row: Nathan Kilton, Judy Smith, Jan Mackenzie, Paula Sedita, Joseph Sedita BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 54

Joseph Sedita, Nathan Kilton

an MBA from the University of Tampa. The values and beliefs that govern their own lives are evident in the approach they take towards their clients. Success is helping clients achieve their goals, and the company understands that success must first start with them. Not only does Sedita, Kilton & Co. offer traditional CPA services, but in cooperation with its sister firm, Sedita, Kilton Life and Wealth Management, they also offer services including, but not limited to, estate planning, comprehensive tax integrated financial planning, retirement planning, life insurance audits and services, and business succession planning. They are able to facilitate comprehensive planning which may seem like a daunting task for the client, but is one they handle with ease. For the company to be so thorough, they confidentially get to know your goals and aspirations before analyzing detailed financial information to create a personalized plan for you. “It’s all

about doing the best job we can to help our clients achieve the dreams for their lives,” says Kilton.

it is they want out of life and how they go about getting that.”

With many people holding an aversion to planning, the company knows it’s important for clients to understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Kilton adds, “The way that our business is structured is such that it really makes it easier for people to plan. The old paradigms out there required a client to involve many different service providers, making it a challenge to even know where to start. We can quarterback everything for our clients and there isn’t much that we can’t do under one roof.”

While Sedita and Kilton work hard for their clients, they know that it would be impossible to provide top-notch service without the support of their outstanding staff and loving families.

It is important to plan for the future and be prepared for what lies ahead. Seeing themselves as educators, Sedita, Kilton & Co. wants to give you the tools and expertise for financial independence by planning for your future today. Says Sedita, “We help people plan and help them focus on what

Securities offered through 1st Global Capital Corp., member NASD, SIPC Investment advisory services offered through 1st Global Advisors, Inc.

Sedita Kilton Life & Wealth Managment, LLC 104 N. Evers St., Suite 202 Plant City 813-752-4197 BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 55

Southern Equipment

Not Just Selling Iron, but also Providing Solutions Experienced Employees / Targeting Growers & Producers / Service, Parts & Sales / Customer Efficient

The Plant City location of Southern Equipment.

With all of the agriculture we observe each day in Plant City, it’s easier for the average consumer to go to the grocery store and purchase their produce, never thinking what it took for that tomato or strawberry to be placed on the shelf. Making

Palmetto is the corporate headquarters location for the company, still on the same premises where the John Deere store began in 1944. Southern Equipment bought the previous business out in 1988. The Plant City location on Highway 60 opened

Paul Smith is the Branch Manager of the Plant City location.

between Plant City and the Palmetto locations of Southern Equipment. “I became interested in the Plant City business because of diversification and agriculture,” Coffman

The John Deere line stands strong at Southern Equipment.

a huge impact in our area is Southern Equipment, the authorized John Deere equipment dealer in Plant City who also offers service and parts departments for those in agriculture. BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 56

in 1995, when Southern Equipment took over the John Deere dealership and re-stabilized it. Chief Operating Officer Gary Coffman has been with John Deere since 1983, and now spends his time

commented. “The market looked good here, with good people and it seemed like there was a need for us to be here.” Coffman, a Certified Global Business Professional, worked as a Purchasing

Helping customers find the best parts for the best bargain.

Agent with various refining companies before coming to this position.

Repairs to machinery are done on-site.

and it’s important that we step up and help them through that. We really do try to go above and beyond for our customers.”

Southern Equipment offers many Stihl products.

help their customers become more efficient in their businesses.

Southern Equipment is focusing in on the grower/ producer as their target audience. Nurseries, sod companies, strawberry farmers, citrus farmers, ranchers and some of the dairy farmers are all able to benefit from the services offered at this conveniently-placed location. Commercial businesses in the landscape fields are also long-standing customers. Although most customers are businesses, the consumer product line of John Deere equipment is always readily available.

“We’re trying to partner with our customers, that’s our ultimate goal,” Coffman stated. “Saving money and energy over time are issues we can deliver on. We don’t benefit unless our customers benefit, and we’re thankful and blessed to have so many good customers and to have a good line of John Deere equipment that’s been around since 1837. John Deere is the second oldest company on Wall Street, and it’s been part of America like apple pie and baseball!”

The Service department mainly works with repairing John Deere Products, while a Parts department is also available for those who are in need of a specific replacement piece for their equipment.

The future looks bright, with various options and technology to explore, such as Ethanol and precision farming. Coffman summed it up in stating, “As we partner with our customers and other companies who want to help those in agriculture, we know everyone will benefit from the possibilities.”

“We’re committed, and we stand behind the products we offer,” Coffman stated firmly. “In all businesses today there are a certain amount of things that happen, delivery issues, manufacturer issues, human resources issues, whatever it might be. As a company, if there is a mistake that happens, we stand behind that. We don’t cut and run.” Coffman speaks of what he calls “moments of truth”. “When the chips are down, what are we going to do about it? Any one customer may have a moment of truth that’s critical to their business,

A successful repair completed, this piece of equipment is on its way back to its owner.

Gary Coffman, Chief Operating Officer of Southern Equipment & Machinery.

“This business and this customer have evolved,” he continued. Most of the businesses that deal with Southern Equipment have seen increased input costs over the years, and the company is sensitive to that. Southern Equipment’s goal is to

Always ready to help customers

Scott Coffman, Sales Representative

Southern Equipment & Machinery 2805 State Road 60 West Plant City (813) 737-1660

An array of John Deere equipment.


State Farm

Your Good Neighbor, Right Here in Plant City 16 Years Experience / Insurance & Financial Planning / Open to Walk-Ins / New Location on the Way ages are typically those who take advantage of what State Farm has available, the company’s clientele spans the entire gamut. Auto Insurance is a huge part of State Farm, but everything from residential (house, flood, life insurance, medical, disability, etc.) to commercial (business, liability, worker’s compensation, etc.) is offered. Many do not realize there is also a financial planning side to the company, dealing with retirement plans, IRA’s, 401 K’s, mutual funds, college savings, car loans, mortgages, home equity loans, CD’s, credit cards, etc. Paat says her office is different than one in Tampa. “We have a tremendous amount of people who come to visit us every day, which is unusual. We have to be ready for that,” she enthused.

Paat’s State Farm office pays tribute to the company’s history

In a little over 80 years, State Farm has grown from a small, farming-community-based mutual auto insurer to one of the world’s largest financial institutions. Where better for 16-year State Farm veteran Courtney Paat to set up shop than Plant City? “I worked for State Farm as an employee in the Fire Underwriting department,” Paat remembered. “I wanted to pursue an agency career, own my own business and be self-employed, with all of the benefits and responsibilities that come along with that. At the time, State Farm was only appointing agents to replace agents that retired. Charlie Fraser had been an agent here in Plant City for 35 years and he retired. State Farm re-located me to Plant City to take over his agency.”

Paat says she is in business to build a long-term relationship with customers and their families, and remembers times when insurance has made an incredible difference in a family’s life.

Paat graduated from Florida State’s Business School with a degree in Risk Management/Insurance. She started with State Farm fresh out of college at age 21, and admits to getting her feet wet and learning a lot. “I enjoy the insurance part of it, but it’s much bigger than that,” she stated firmly. “It’s all about the relationships with the clients. Being a State Farm agent in a town like Plant City is ideal, because of the small-town atmosphere. It works really well with State Farm’s culture and their philosophy and my own philosophy.” State Farm’s mission is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams. Through over 80 different products and services, although Middle America and families of all Courtney Paat


The staff of Paat’s State Farm office are here to serve you!

“A family had a teenage son killed in a car accident. It’s a terrible situation, one of those memories I will never forget. Unbeknownst to them he had purchased a small life insurance policy on himself, which is something most young men don’t have the responsibility to do. They were surprised to find that out after

the fact, and that policy enabled them to have the kind of funeral they would have struggled to have otherwise. It made an impact on them in being able to celebrate his life and not be struggling to figure out how to pay for a funeral. That’s a strong memory for me.”

State Farm is now writing homeowner’s insurance, tackling a big challenge the marketplace is facing right now. “The biggest asset is the financial stability of State Farm. There is no doubt they will be here after a hurricane and will be prepared to settle your claim,” Paat stated. 2008 will bring a much anticipated new location for Paat’s State Farm office, which is now in the engineering/permitting process. She and her six licensed, professional team members are looking forward to the opportunity to expand and better serve the Plant City community.

State Farm Insurance Courtney Paat’s Office 2414 James Redman Parkway Plant City (813) 754-1725 Courtney Paat is excited about the future office location! BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 59

Wells Memorial Funeral Home Their Family, Caring for Yours

Serving for Over 110 Years / Many Options / Kind & Compassionate / Goal is to Help Families

Wells Funeral Home was founded in 1896 by the Wells family, who were pioneer settlers in the Plant City area. Wells and Green’s Funeral Home, which was founded by another pioneer family, merged in 1936. Wells has continued to serve Plant City and the surrounding areas for over 110 years.

In the early 1990’s, Wells became affiliated with SCI (Service Cooperation International), a Dignity Memorial Provider, to offer many extended services to the families they serve. One of those services is Making Everlasting Memories (MEM). Families can bring in pictures with

captions and the staff will create a memorable video. Lacey McClellan has served Wells as Funeral Director in Charge for Wells for 46 years. He began his work with funeral homes during his high

From left to right: Mike Ritchie, Debbie Allen, Shandel Berrios, Bobbie Foote, Don Corley, Lacey McClellan, Don Derryberry, Verna McKelvin, George Barbee, Marie Hagan & Tonya Rogers. Not pictured: Funeral Directors Kent Setser and Tonya Rich, Larry Dunn, Ted Mercer, Barbara Pease, Fred Palmer BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 60

From left to right: Don Corley, Verna McKelvin, Don Derryberry, George Barbee, Lacey McClellan, Marie Hagan, Shandel Berrios, Debbie Allen, Bobbie Foote, Mike Ritchie, Tonya Rogers. Not pictured: Funeral Directors Kent Setser and Tonya Rich, Larry Dunn, Ted Mercer, Barbara Pease, Fred Palmer

school years, and has continued on with dedication. “There’s a lot of satisfaction in serving people and helping them in a time of need. It’s more than just a business, it’s people serving people, our family serv-

ing your family. We have families who have come to us for many years, again and again,” he stated. Verna McKelvin, Location Manager, has been with Wells since 1999. She came to the company after experiencing their kindness and compassion during the days surrounding the unexpected death of her first husband in 1985. She states, “I know what the family is feeling because I have been one of those family members that sat at the conference table making arrangements. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible. You know you’ve made a difference when they come back in the days and weeks that follow just to say thank you. It is rewarding to know you have created a service that can help a family get through a difficult time.” Mike Ritchie, Senior Funeral Director, has been in this area serving families since 1963. “It’s been about 44 years,” he commented. “I just want to help families. I hope to ease someone’s mind, and make it so they had an easier day than what they started out with.” Along with McClellan, McKelvin and Ritchie, Wells currently has 17 full time and support staff,

Mike Ritchie (Senior Funeral Director), Verna McKelvin (Location Manager) and Lacey McClellan (Funeral Director in Charge)

made up of local residents, to assist the families who come to the Funeral Home for service and guidance. Each team member is just as important as the other. They combine their efforts and experience to better serve families in the area. One of their services offered is through a Family Service Counselor, who can assist a family before a death occurs by prearranging the funeral service. “When it happens suddenly, you don’t always know how to answer questions. We encourage everyone to write some things down and let your family know what you want,” McKelvin stated. Whether we are following up with someone after a funeral, assisting someone to make arrangements before they need us, or comforting someone in their time of sorrow, for those at Wells, each day is spent serving their families.

Wells Memorial Funeral Home 1903 West Reynolds Street Plant City (813) 752-1111 BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 61

Women’s Care

Truly a Center Devoted to Women Highly Skilled Physicians / Peaceful Atmosphere / Natural Products Offered / Convenient Locations From the time a patient walks into Women’s Care in Brandon, the idea that no small detail has been overlooked permeates the entire appointment, immersed in the beautiful décor and sounds of nature, including two aviaries and a four-foot waterfall. The skilled doctors and ARNPs who are employed at Women’s Care are: Keith Whitehead, MD; Maruja Fernandez, MD; Greg Den Haese, MD; Francine McCain, MD; Lisa Martin, ARNP-C; Cynthia McKinnie, ARNP-C; Tina Fallen, ARNP-C; Linda Woughter, ARNP-C. These devoted individuals offer Gynecology, Infertility, Urodynamic Testing, SURx Procedure (Minimally Invasive Outpatient Procedure for Bladder Incontinence), Obstetrics, High Risk Deliveries, Support for Natural Childbirth

Keith Whitehead, MD BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 62

Choice, FREE Childbirth Preparation & Refresher Classes, Ultra-Modern Bone Density Scanning (Fully clothed testing takes less than 30 minutes), 3D/4D Ultrasound and Natural Alternatives to Weight Loss services. Women’s Care, a division of Tampa Bay Women’s Care, currently has three convenient office locations - Plant City, Brandon and Lithia. A fourth location at Big Bend is in the construction stage and is due for completion in July of next year. Dr. Jerry Stein opened the first office in Plant City, and was in solo practice for approximately nine years before Dr. Keith Whitehead joined him in 1989. The first part of the Brandon office was opened in 1992, and several years ago renovated and nearly doubled in size to make the current office large enough for the expanding practice and provide a medical experience unparalleled for our patients, utilizing the latest in technology. These incredible offices are nothing like a typical medical appointment may offer. Each examination room is intricately themed and decorated according to various doctor’s tastes, complete with a beautiful lighted photo panel in the ceiling to offer solace as each patient relaxes on the examination table. By also providing 100% all natural, innovative products that are proven effective in transforming your body and your life, Women’s Care Resources, a part of Women’s Care, offers products that improve your skin, increase your vitality, boost your immune system, help you with weight loss and symptoms of PMS, migraines and sleeplessness. They also offer natural hormone replacement, an alternative to using chemical laundry detergents and an amazing air purification system. If you are interested in any of these products, there is a bi-monthly Total Women’s Wellness meeting you can attend!

The procedure room at the Brandon location of Women’s Care

Call Sue Temple or Tracei at (813) 681-9171 extension 203 or 206 for more information. Dr. Whitehead chose this field of medicine because he feels that “GYN is almost like doing detective work or working on a puzzle. It’s something where our hands and our minds are our best tools. I find it always interesting, and I feel very comfortable with what we do. We get to provide general medicine, deliver babies and perform surgery. Every day is an adventure and extremely fulfilling.” Although his career is important, so is community involvement to Dr. Whitehead. He is active with Bell Shoals Church, was awarded the Brandon Chamber’s ‘Man of the Year’ several years ago, and founded the Statewide

The doctors of Women’s Care from left to right: Keith Whitehead, MD; Francine McCain, MD; Linda Woughter, ARNP-C; Lisa Martin, ARNP-C; Cynthia McKinnie, ARNP-C; Tina Fallen, ARNP-C; Maruja Fernandez, MD; and Greg Den Haese, MD.

Advocacy Network on Disabilities with his wife, whom he has been married to for nearly 27 years. One of their three children is 19 years old and has Down’s Syndrome; he is the reason the Whiteheads founded STAND. “In so many ways I would give everything I have for him to be normal,” Dr. Whitehead commented. “But at the same time, I wouldn’t change a hair on his head. In working with disabled kids, I’ve found they’re not kids with disabilities, they’re kids with alternate abilities.”

Dr. Whitehead also trusts in the abilities of his fellow doctors and staff. “Patients will never find another group of doctors who are as genuinely and sincerely interested in their overall well-being and trying to do the absolute best job we can to take care of them through each stage of their life,” he commented. “That’s the goal.” To schedule an appointment at any of the conveniently located Women’s Care offices, call toll-free 1-(866) 418-3489.

The Brandon Location of Women’s Care

Women’s Care in Plant City 103 Southern Oak Drive 813.754.7561 Women’s Care in Brandon 731 South Parsons Avenue 813.681.9171 Women’s Care in Lithia 5470 Lithia Pinecrest Blvd. 813.699.1006 Toll-Free Number for scheduling appointments at all locations: (866) 418-3489 One of the peaceful waiting areas at the Brandon location of Women’s Care

One of the beautifully themed examination rooms at the Brandon location of Women’s Care BUSINESS FOCUS PLANT CITY Part 3 of 3 • PAGE 63

FOCUS Plant City Business 06-08 August 2007  
FOCUS Plant City Business 06-08 August 2007  

FOCUS Magazine, Plant City, 2007