FOCUS Plant City 17-03

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Contents Table of

focusplantcity.com / Issue 17-03 / March 2018

L O C A L + F E AT U R E

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This issue contains the 49 winners of Focus Magazine’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards. These were selected from among 153 nominated businesses and 18 folks who serve or bartend at local establishments. Don’t miss this chance to discover who you can congratulate as you shop local. Through our RCA Showcase you can discover those nominated and selected by the local voting public in the annual Readers’ Choice Awards. One theme in their business stories is constant: Customers Matter Most!

BUSINESS

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Pinch-A-Penny Pool Supplies is pleased to invite the community to their Grand Opening on March 27 and their Veterans Celebration on April 14. Two brothers, Casey and Chad Wiley, operate the family-owned franchise with the motto, “Faith, Family and Friends.”

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From The Publisher Publisher Mike Floyd mike@floydpublications.com Office Manager Candy Owens cowens@floydpublications.com Account Manager Chris Stovall chris@floydpublications.com Managing Editor Cheryl Johnston cjohnston@floydpublications.com Art Director Anthony Sassano asassano@floydpublications.com Distribution Tony DeVane Staff Writers Cheryl Johnston | Barbara Routen | Kelli Tharrington Katie Loudermilk | Sherrie Mueller | Anthony Bolesta Contributors Gil Gott | Jo-An Lusk | Nate Davis | Candy Owens Natalie Sweet | Wanda Anderson | Heather Davis | Layla Keeler Drawdy

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hat fun it was last month to celebrate our 17th Anniversary with the nominees and winners in the annual Readers’ Choice Awards.

As usual, Keel & Curley Winery proved to be the perfect venue for a large group gathering. With more than 153 companies nominated to compete in 53 categories, it was a perfect time for their employees to enjoy an evening that included dinner, live music, and a little suspense. In this issue, we’re celebrating the 49 winners! Be sure to read the half-page overviews of the businesses they represent and learn a little more about who does what in Plant City. We hope you enjoyed some special fun and made some new memories at this year’s Florida Strawberry Festival. Thanks to the Festival’s staff and thousands of local volunteers, we can all take pride in a safe and family-friendly community event that attracts more than 500,000 visitors each year. So far, 2018 is proving to be a berry, berry good one.

Got a story idea? Looking to advertise in Focus? Contact us for more information. Floyd Publications, Inc. 702 W. Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd.Plant City, FL 33563 Office 813.707.8783 Fax 813.764.0990 www.focusplantcity.com Standards of accuracy: The goal of the writers at FOCUS Magazine is to provide heart-warming stories that are accurate from the start. Being human, however, we sometimes make mistakes. Please forgive us. So if you notice anything that is incorrect, then please do not hesitate to contact the editorial department and inform it about the fact error. To do so, call (813) 707-8783 or e-mail editorial@floydpublications.com. The staff will fix the error in a timely manner.

On another note, our Junior Royalty Queen, Morgan Pierce, could use our continued prayers for the strength to endure another heavy round of high dose chemo in her fight against an extreme progression of neuroblastoma. When her mother Emily asked Morgan how the community might help, Queen Morgan responded with “thoughts, prayers and well wishes.” Unselfishly, Morgan also asked for donations to Jensen’s Heart of Gold Foundation to help other kids fighting cancer make memories with their families, and to Cookies for Kids Cancer to help fund research. Here are the links: www. jensensheartofgold.com and www.cookiesforkidscancer.org. Every dollar can make a difference. Emily added, “It will be a difficult few weeks for her but she is getting herself ready. Our girl has strength beyond recognition and we are so blessed to have her in our lives." As always, thanks for reading and thanks for supporting local.

FOCUS Magazine is published monthly and is available through local Plant City businesses, restaurants and many local venues. Advertisers warrant and represent the descriptions of their products advertised are true in all respects. Focus Magazine assumes no responsibility for claims made by advertisers. All letters and their contents sent to Focus Magazine become the sole property of Floyd Publications, Inc and may be reproduced thereof. All views expressed in all articles are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Floyd Publications, Inc. Use or duplication of material used in this publication is prohibited without approved written consent from Floyd Publications, Inc.

Warmest Regards, Mike Floyd PAGE

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Town Talk of the

Submit your good news to: editorial@floydpublications.com or call it in 813.707.8783

Congratulations to Trey Mueller, recently appointed unanimously to the University of Florida Alumni Association Board of Directors. His term begins July 1, 2018. The Plant City High School graduate (1997) and University of Florida College of Dentistry graduate is a partner with Dental Associates of Florida and practices dentistry in Brandon. Trey and his partners have been recognized twice as Gator100 recipients for the fastest growing business run by Gator Graduates.

This new awning overtop the seating for St. Clement Catholic Church’s “Make Your Own” strawberry shortcake area replaced the one damaged by Hurricane Irma. Designed by Randy Larson Construction Solutions and constructed by Plant City Awning and Aluminum Products, the update provides more space and a cooler environment.

Congratulations to Leola McDonald, who celebrated her 100th birthday recently! PAGE

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Join the East Hillsborough Discovery Quest fun on April 7 to connect with more than 70 resources and programs for job and volunteer opportunities. Meet helpful sponsors in the Charlie Grimes Agricultural Building at the Florida Strawberry Festival grounds. Door prizes, activities and entertainment continue from 9AM 3PM at this free event.

Congratulations to Plant City brothers, Nate Davis of Florida Mortgage Firm (left) and Aaron Davis of Florida Agency Network (right), who were both recognized on February 2 at the prestigious 2018 Gator100 Awards event in Gainesville.

Congratulations to Don Walden for recognition as Plant City’s 2018 Citizen of the Year.


What fun it was last month to celebrate our 17th Anniversary of Focus Magazine with the nominees, winners, and their friends and families in the annual Readers’ Choice Awards. As usual, the award-winning Keel & Curley Winery proved the perfect venue for our party. With plenty of space for the photo op entry and group conversations, we loved watching the guests sharing smiles and laughter. Among the 153 companies nominated by our readers to compete in 53 categories, 93 provide professional services, 60 provide food, and 18 individuals serve in local dining establishments. The categories covered the gamut from professional services like health care, financial, and legal to construction, pest control, and local dining. The evening of February 17 was a time when employers and employees enjoyed dinner, live music, and a little suspense. In this issue, we’re celebrating the 49 winners! Please flip through the following to learn a little more about who does what in Plant City.

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Other Nominees: Luke Carvalho [Edward Jones] Stephen Shouse [Edward Jones]

BEST FINANCIAL PLANNER

Michael Cameron One thing fifth generation Plant City native Michael Cameron loves most about his work is the opportunity for friendships and community involvement. Cameron Financial Management provides assistance with investments, insurance, and financial planning. If you need advice regarding stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, life insurance, gold, silver, college savings or any other money-related topic, "whether you have $1,000 or $1 million," Cameron looks forward to helping you with your needs and goals—and on your schedule. He enjoys his work of “quietly making money for people,” explaining, “It’s been a tremendous year for our clients.” ”People here are sincere, friendly and they want to help. This is my town, and these are my people. It’s a great place to live, serve, and connect." For a complimentary financial portfolio review and consultation—on a no-pressure, no-obligation basis—contact Michael Cameron, an advisor you can trust. Cameron Financial Management | 110 W. Reynolds Street, Suite 109 | Plant City, FL 33563 813-759-8485 | cameronfm.com Other Nominees: Hillsboro Bank Regions Bank

BEST MORTGAGE LENDER

Florida Mortgage Firm An entrepreneur, U.S. Marine, proud husband and father, Nate Davis is blazing trails and turning heads in the mortgage industry. Florida Mortgage Firm, with 21 employees and one office, is ranked in the Top 1% of firms in the U.S. for mortgage brokerage volume, despite only originating loans throughout the State of Florida. Nate describes his company’s culture as Marine Corps meets big business initiatives with small town care. He’s also proud to be included in the 2018 Gator100, which honors the 100 fastest-growing Gator-owned or Gator-led businesses in the world. The company’s wholesale lending model enables it to offer better interest rates and costs than major national competitors because overhead costs are less and savings are passed onto you, the customer. The firm’s loan officers have an incentive to get you the best deal and close your transaction in a way that generates more referrals. As to their company, Nate and his wife Natasha know for certain that “Continual improvement is vital to our long-term success. We want to be THE best, not just Our best. Every client matters. Every transaction. Every time.” Florida Mortgage Firm (813-707-6200) is
an Equal Housing Lender, NMLS #289323, NMLS #294701.

2216 S Alexander Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-707-6200 | floridamortgagefirm.com PAGE

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Other Nominees: Strong Vision Center Value Optical

BEST OPTICAL CENTER

Gaffney Eye Clinic Dr. Barry M. Gaffney, founder of Gaffney Eye Clinic, has provided thorough, quality eye care to the Plant City community since 1978. He is grateful to have acquired so many loyal patients and appreciates those who continue to visit the clinic; he is now seeing the fourth generation in some families! Because the practice continues to grow, Dr. Jeremy H. Gaffney joined the practice in June 2011 and Dr. Daniel G. Gaffney joined in October 2015. Dr. Jeremy Gaffney brings the latest in eye care practices to the clinic and in October 2011, he started the Dry Eye Center of Central Florida as part of the Gaffney Eye Clinic to help treat Dry Eye Disease. Dr. Daniel Gaffney specializes in medical and comprehensive optometry. Through continuing education and with the latest technology, the doctors offer the latest in ocular disease treatments and visual services, including glasses and contact lenses. The dedicated doctors and staff treasure each friendship and are always delighted to welcome new patients to their practice. Call for your appointment today! 2002 South Alexander Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-754-3593 | drbgaffney.com Other Nominees: John Aimé, MD Suncoast Pediatrics

BEST PEDIATRICIAN

Plant City Pediatrics The professionals at Plant City Pediatrics believe “children are a gift from the Lord” and view patient care as an investment in our future. With a goal to provide the finest pediatric medical care available, the practices places priority emphasis on excellence, compassion, and cheerful service. Truly, they view service as a mission. And it’s obvious from the online reviews and referrals that Plant City Pediatrics is accomplishing that on a daily basis. As parents already know, it’s important to have a highly-regarded pediatrician’s number handy on their phone’s speed dial. When accidents happen, Plant City Pediatrics advises: “Call us first. We may be able to save you a trip to the ER.” The practice accepts new patients from birth to 18 years of age and accepts most insurances including the following Medicaid HMO plans: Amerigroup, Humana Medicaid, Staywell, and Sunshine Health. For great advice about the immunizations and medical assessments your child needs at specific ages or to access necessary forms before your child’s first visit, view the helpful website tabs. Remember, your child’s best medical care is only a phone call away. 2370 Walden Woods Drive, Suite A | Plant City, Florida 33563 | 813-659-9800 plantcitypediatrics.com PAGE

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Other Nominees: Creamer AC & Heating Starboard A/C, Inc.

BEST A/C COMPANY

Gould’s AC & Heating Quality, efficient service and honesty is the philosophy that drives the Gould’s AC & Heating business. Plant city native Tony Gould credits his community’s home and business owners for the company’s success and continued growth. “We always look to do the best work at the lowest price,” he explains. “Quality work, efficient service, and honesty are the philosophies that drive us to take good care of our neighbors.” Specializing in same day and 24-hour emergency service, Gould’s technicians show up on time and complete the necessary work in a professional manner. They will repair or replace your heating/cooling system, but the goal is never to “upsell.” Gould’s is also wonderful at providing information and education. Many questions can be answered on the GouldsAC.com website, but calls are always welcome. Tony offers, “If I can help you over the phone, I will.” Quality help for your AC/Heating systems at a fair price is only a phone call away. It pays to shop local, and it matters to Tony and his team that “we are trusted in our community.” Customer referrals definitely support that desire. Gould’s AC & Heating | 601 Hitchcock St., Suite 101 | Plant City, FL 813-752-1970 | GouldsAC.com Other Nominees: Bingham Septic Calhoun Septic

BEST SEPTIC SERVICE

Quality Septic, Inc. Since 1994, the state licensed and insured Quality Septic, Inc. has offered septic repair and installation services. Hillsborough County native and company president Kevin Johnson takes great pride in his education and experience with installation and design of septic systems for a wide variety of customers. Quality Septic prides itself on hiring the best to accomplish the company’s #1 goal: Customer Satisfaction! He and his OSCA-trained staff are backhoe experts and accomplish precision workmanship with minimal tear-up of one’s yard or jobsite. And with repeat customers and great referrals for more than 20 years, it’s obvious this mission is being accomplished. Call now for a free consultation and estimate! Quality Septic, Inc. | 1412 E Baker St, Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-754-9891 or 813-651-2323 Hours: Mon-Fri 7AM–5PM FOCUSPLANTCITY.COM

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CS_PlantCity9x10FocusMagazineAd.qxp_Layout 1 3/14/18 10:57 AM Page 1

LOCAL MARKET DRIVEN

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WORLD CLASS SERVICE

We would like to thank the community for voting

CenterState Best Banking!

Plant City Branch:

813.759.2265 1804 James L. Redman Pkwy. • Plant City, FL 33563 Downtown Plant City Branch:

813.659.8049 102 W. Baker St. • Plant City, FL 33563 CenterStateBank.com

“Like” us at: www.Facebook.com/CenterStateBank

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RELATIONSHIP BANKING

Personal Banking Services • eChecking Account • Community Hero Checking • Future Leaders Checking • Free Debit Card • Free Online Banking & Bill Pay • Free Mobile Deposit* We Have Money To Lend! • Business Loans • Home Loans • Home Equity Lines of Credit • Operating Lines of Credit • Car Loans • Personal Loans • Personal & Business Credit Cards Business Banking Services • Small Business Checking • Community First Checking • Treasury Services • Merchant Services • Free Debit Card *Mobile carrier data rate plan fees may apply.


Other Nominees: Pipe Pros True Plumbers

BEST PLUMBER

Freddie Mullis The proof of quality work lies in a company’s reputation. The multiple awardwinning plumbing business has been owner-operated by lifelong Plant City resident Freddie Mullis for over three decades. This explains why the bonded and licensed Freddie Mullis Plumbing guarantees every job it completes. From service and repair, including re-piping and backflow prevention, to kitchen and bathroom remodeling, the company philosophy is: “You become our personal investment when you call on us. From diagnostics, repair, complete plumbing to service & repair, or kitchen and bathroom remodeling - we do it all, for you.“ Call today for friendly, professional and guaranteed service. 607 N. Merrin Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-754-0317 | fmplumbing@aol.com Other Nominees: Hillsboro Bank Regions Bank

BEST BANKING INSTITUTION

CenterState Bank CenterState Bank is growing in Plant City! And the capable staff members are determined that the company’s five core values guide their operations: Local Market Drive Long Term Horizon World Class Service Relationship Banking Faith and Family CenterState’s Community President, Jerry Ball, is thankful that colleagues are also committed to community volunteerism, giving generously of their time and talent in helping make Plant City a better place to live. The professionals at CenterState look forward to meeting you soon and assisting with your every banking need of your family and business. 1804 James L Redman Pkwy | Plant City, FL 33563-6914 | 813-759-2265 centerstatebank.com FOCUSPLANTCITY.COM

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Other Nominees: The Tancredo Law Firm, P.A. Williams Moore Law Firm

BEST ATTORNEY

Other Nominees: Solaris HealthCare Plant City Stone Ledge Manor

Byrd & Barnhill Azalea Oaks Place

The general practice law firm of Byrd & Barnhill in Plant City’s historic downtown is only two blocks from the courthouse. The experienced attorneys represent clients with cases in family law, probate, estate planning, DUI and criminal defense, domestic violence and business law. Johnnie Byrd, a member of the Florida Bar (since 1977) and Alabama Bar, practices: business law/litigation, criminal defense, family law, probate and guardianship law, contested and uncontested divorce and auto accident law. A graduate of Auburn University and University of Alabama College of Law— Byrd served in the Florida House of Representatives, 1996-2004, and as Speaker of the House from 2002-2004. He is also Legislative founder/board member of the Johnnie B. Byrd, Sr. Alzheimer’s Institute at the University of South Florida David H. Barnhill earned his law degree from The University of Florida and has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1998. He practices business litigation, criminal defense, and family law. Offering affordable legal work by accessible attorneys, Byrd & Barnhill promises: You will always be able to speak directly to your attorney. Their approach is forceful and, in addition to learning the fact and law of your case inside and out, they will move your case forward aggressively. Byrd & Barnhill desires to provide “Fast work for fair fees.” Call today to schedule a consultation. 206 N. Collins Street | Plant City, Florida 33563 | 813-759-1224 | Byrd-law.com PAGE

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BEST ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY

“At Azalea Oaks Place seniors are our passion,” shared owner Dena Martin. “I have always had a special love for the elderly,” Dena explained. “It has long been a dream of mine to create a community where my elders will receive the best care and be able to live out their lives with dignity and enjoyment. They have spent a lifetime collecting memories, knowledge, and experiences. My staff and I greatly enjoy hearing their stories. My dream has come true!” Most definitely, the happiness of Azalea Oaks Place residents is management’s #1 priority. From the compassionate staff of certified Assisted Living Caregivers, the beautiful home-like setting, the aroma of delicious freshly prepared meals and baked treats to the spontaneous, fun activities and visits from children—and a small lovable dog, families can rest assured their loved ones are in good hands. Along with individualized personal care services, family-style dining, and fullyfurnished, spacious accommodations with Wi-Fi and cable, residents also enjoy outdoor rocking chairs. A wide variety of activities ensures everyone can be involved in daily life at Azalea Oaks Place. Call today for a visit and conversation about the rich life your loved one can enjoy at Azalea Oaks Place. License #12460 | 902 Charlie Griffin Road | Plant City, FL 33566 813-704-6504 | azaleaoaksplace.com


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Other Nominees: Hoppy’s Paint & Body Jarrett-Scott Ford

BEST BODY SHOP

Elite Auto Collision and Glass Elite Auto Collision and Glass is a full-service collision center offering collision repair, painting, glass repair, and detailing services. The professional, experienced technicians use state-of-the-art equipment to return your vehicle back to pre-accident condition. In providing the best customer service, Elite wants customers to know that that the main thing is they work for YOU, not the insurance companies. The company believes, “A good sign of repair is no sign at all.” And another good sign are the many positive reviews from satisfied customers. It’s obvious that the good folks at Elite Auto Collision and Glass take their work very seriously! 1313 E Baker St | Plant City, Florida 33563 | 813-719-7900 Other Nominees: Universal Car Sales Group

Billy Herold BEST AUTO DEALER – USED

For the last 42 years, Billy Herold has helped families find vehicles they need for prices they can afford. In fact, he suspects he’s been involved in selling more than 25,000 vehicles in Plant City, perhaps more than any one individual. With a fondness for friendships and a lifelong passion for cars, his dealership specializes in clean, dependable pre-owned vehicles priced typically under $10,000. While Herold’s has more expensive cars on occasion, its primary focus is assisting people with cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks for the best price-value in town. Rather than buying auction cars, Herold’s purchases great trades from about a half-dozen new car dealers and individuals, too. Customer satisfaction, repeats, and referrals have built the reputation of Billy Herold’s Auto Sales, which is why the dealership provides a 30-day unlimited warranty, regardless of mileage. Let this expert put his experience to work for you. He’ll also offer advice if you’re looking to sell. Plain and simple, stop in. Billy Herold’s Auto Sales wants to earn your business! 201 E. Baker Street | Plant City, FL 33563-3417 | 813-767-6317 | billyherold@hotmail.com PAGE

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Other Nominees: Walden Lake Car Wash Oasis Auto Bath

BEST VETERINARIAN

Animal Clinic at Southside The helpful folks at Animal Clinic at Southside provide modern medical care with old fashioned service. Open since 1999, this full-service veterinary hospital offers complete medical services—to include preventative medicine and wellness, custom vaccination programs, sick and routine exams, and surgeries. In addition to a complete pharmacy and a supply of premium products like Heartguard, Frontline Gold, Advantage Multi, Science Diet, and prescription diet foods, your pets can grow strong and healthy. The clinic also offers complete boarding services. The educated staff loves answering your pet care questions and instructing owners about proper care. Visit the website for a wealth of information. With the finest medical care using the latest diagnostics such as digital x-ray and ultrasound, pet patients are the #1 priority at Animal Clinic at Southside. The staff believes wholeheartedly that your best buddies deserve long and happy lives. Appointments are encouraged and appreciated, but walk-ins are always welcome. 3012 S. Jim Redman Parkway | Plant City, Florida 33566 | 813-707-0520 www.vet-specialties.com Other Nominees: Walden Lake Car Wash Oasis Auto Bath

BEST CAR WASH

Octopus Car Wash The Octopus Car Wash team’s experience in this industry dates back to 1960. The goal has always been to provide a clean, fast car wash using environmentally friendly products at a reasonable price. Florida’s climate means heat, humidity, rain, salt air, hot sun, and last but not least BUGS! It pays to be pro-active in protecting your investment with regular washes. In addition to its state-of-the-art brushless car wash technology, Octopus Car Wash also offers complete auto detailing and a variety of products to keep your ride looking its best. For details of interior, exterior and complete packages or ala carte services, visit octopuscarwashflorida.com. Also check out the company’s Charity Fundraising Program. As strong supporters of local schools, churches, non-profits and multiple individuals, Octopus offers an environmentally friendly, unique opportunity for your non-profit organization's next effort. Shopping local is always a win-win! 1503 S. Collins Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-754-0777 FOCUSPLANTCITY.COM

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JULES BURT STUDIO

Paint your own glassware  Corporate Team Painting Kids Art Lessons  Private Parties Adult Art Nights  Summer Classes

RESERVE YOUR SEAT TODAY

609 S. Alexander Street | Plant City, FL 33563 813-843-6886 | @JBurtGallery

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Other Nominees: Florida Insurance Agency Ralph Feola Allstate

BEST INSURANCE AGENCY

Poppell Insurance, Inc. The full-service independent Poppell Insurance agency understands that folks don’t need one-size-fits-all coverage. For more than 50 years, this family-owned and operated agency has provided their customers personable care with plans tailor-made for their needs. Poppell offers an array of plans including personal, auto, and commercial, including employee benefits. The Poppell brothers, Jon and Tom, have been proud to continue the legacy of hard work, integrity, and generosity their father started in 1964. “Our goal, like his,” said Jon, “is to protect our client's valuable assets as if they were our own. If you have a loss or claim, it pays to know there is a company you can trust to protect you and your family.” Customers come first at the Poppell Insurance agency. Expect to be impressed by the level of service you’ll receive. This hometown company wants to earn your business—and keep it for a lifetime. 503 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard | Plant City, FL | 813-752-4155 poppellinsurance.com Other Nominees: Wishing Well Barn Blake Hall

BEST EVENT VENUE

Keel & Curley Winery Keel and Curley Winery’s award-winning fruit-based wines and craft beers are legendary. The venue also offers great dining daily, introduces local musicians on Friday and Saturday nights and presents weekly trivia and karaoke nights. Tours of the winery and brewery are available to the public. Keel and Curley will host the eleventh annual free Blueberry Festival April 14, 15, 21 and 22 and Biertoberfest every fall. This local hot spot has become a desired event destination. The picturesque rural setting of Keel and Curley Winery offers beautiful areas to stage weddings, celebrations and corporate events for 50 to 500 people. The 4,000-square-foot covered deck holds up to 300 guests, the rustic party barn and adjoining playground can accommodate up to 100 and the west wing another 80. Lush lawns and vineyards, an elegant gazebo, natural sunlight, a seasonal firepit and strings of white lights help create the right ambience for any festivities. The business is also well-known for party-planning and on-site catering. To assist with preparations, a detailed wedding guide is available at keelandcurleywinery.com. It includes pricing, descriptions, photos, menu options with prices, guidelines and reservation information. Visit keelandcurleywinery.com or call (813) 752-9100. 5210 Thonotosassa Rd. | Plant City, FL 33565 | 813-752-9100 | keelandcurleywinery.com FOCUSPLANTCITY.COM

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Other Nominees: Myers & Wright, PA Edwards Platt Meyer, PA

BEST CPA

Raulerson Castillo & Company, PA The experienced and friendly professional accountants at Raulerson Castillo & Company believe: “You’ve worked hard to get where you are. You deserve a firm that works hard for you, too.” The firm offers a broad range of services for individuals, business owners, executives and independent professionals. Affordably priced services encompass nearly every aspect of financial life, including general accounting and taxation, IRS problem resolution, estates and trusts, business formation, financial planning, real estate and business sales. As a trusted advisor, Raulerson Castillo & Company provides outstanding service because of their dedication to the three underlying principles of professionalism, responsiveness and quality. To view the helpful tools, resources and information about the Raulerson Castillo & Company team members, visit rcwcpas.com. Call for a free initial consultation. 1907 S Alexander St, Suite 2 | Plant City, FL, 33566 | 813-752-6604 | rcwcpas.com Other Nominees: Carapezza Construction Stine Construction, Inc.

BEST CONTRACTOR

Dykstra Construction, Inc. Dykstra Construction, Inc. has served in the building industry since 1997. Although the third generation General Contractor [# AEC-0915] and Certified Building Contractor [CBC058998] grew up in Plant City, he’s known for his commercial work throughout Florida. He has established a reputation for quality work with such major brand companies as RaceTrac Petroleum, Circle K, 7-11, Dollar General and here in Plant City with professional business parks like Alexander Oaks here in Plant City. Dykstra and his 40 employees are grateful for the opportunity to live and help businesses expand in the Sunshine State. 1409 E. Baker Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-707-0082 PAGE

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Other Nominees: Backbone Roofing, Inc. Jewelco Construction Co.

BEST ROOFER

Carapezza Construction & Roofing Co., Inc. “We don’t just build homes. We build relationships.” This has been the philosophy behind the family-owned business operated by Jim and Annie Carapezza since they first opened more than 20 years ago. The Carapezza Construction & Roofing Co., Inc. serves customers throughout Central Florida. In addition to building custom homes, the licensed and insured building and roofing contractor performs renovations, additions, commercial or residential buildouts, and repairs/installs roofing in all phases of construction. Call or e-mail Jim@CarapezzaConstruction.com to discuss your next project and meet the construction professionals you can count on. 5812 Bruton Road [Soon @1601 N. Wheeler St., 33563] | Plant City, FL 33565 | 813-982-9713 Other Nominees: Planet Fitness Limitless Fitness

BEST GYM/FITNESS CENTER

I Hate My Trainer The transition from his Boston birthplace to Plant City found Mike Gartz making a home in the community that embraced his lively personality and can-do attitude. His fitness expertise and motivation have inspired many, many folks to lose weight, get in shape, and just plain feel better. If you’re ready for some extra help in those areas, Mike Gartz is your man! 117 E. Reynolds Street | Plant City, Florida 33563 | 813-786-1541 | Online: Facebook PAGE

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Other Nominees: Home Protection Pest Control Plant It Earth, Inc.

BEST INDOOR PEST

Cross Pest Control

What's Bugging You? Bugs are no laughing matter. They are nuisances in your home and business and can be a hazard to your health and property. Before you “Bug Out,” give Cross Pest Control a call. Centrally located in Plant City, Florida, the licensed and insured familyowned business has been helping residential, commerical, and industrial neighbors in Hillsborough, Southeast Pasco, Polk, Pinellas and Manatee counties become – and stay – pest free since 1952. The trusted service providers at Cross, known for their longevity with the company, will take what is “BUGGING” you seriously. Technicians treat you, your home, or business with respect and about providing the best service. Utilizing an assortment of odorless, eco-friendly pest control options for the safety of your family, pets and environment, they can handle everything from annoying and dangerous bugs (including termites) to disease carrying rodents and roaches, Best of all, Cross Pest Control options won’t break the bank. Call today for a free estimate! Home Office: 606 S. Evers St. | Plant City, FL 33563 | 800-226-1571 Info@crosspestcontrols.com Other Nominees: Green Life Environmental Consolidated Lawn Care & Pest Control

BEST OUTDOOR PEST CONTROL

Plant It Earth, Inc.

Established in 2003, Plant It Earth offers the best lawn care program at the most reasonable prices, with customers always being the company’s top priority. Nothing makes the Plant It Earth team happier than green grass, healthy trees and shrubs, and a pest-free environment. The combination of expertise, personalized service, and attention to detail has made Plant It Earth the fastest-growing lawn care company in Central Florida. Benefits for lawn/tree/shrub care and weed/pest control include: NO contracts, two technicians per truck, custom mixed treatments and quality service guaranteed. Services focus heavily on the part of the yard you don’t see – the root system. Grass, trees, and shrubs require healthy roots to absorb the vital fertilizer and moisture that keep them nourished and green. Plant It Earth’s experts are equipped with compartmentalized tanker trucks, to make sure a precise blend of nutrients and other treatment material is applied to your particular lawn. Technicians will evaluate your lawn, trees, shrubs, and pest management needs and customize a lawn repair plan just for you. Ask also about services such as irrigation, aeration, and fertilization. 3208 Sydney Road | Plant City, FL 33566 | 813-777-7938 | plantitearthflorida.com FOCUSPLANTCITY.COM

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Other Nominees: Blue Sun Realty Plant City Realty, Inc.

Other Nominees: J & G Jewelers Your Family Jeweler

BEST JEWELER

Brown’s Jewelers Keller Williams Realty, Inc. BEST REAL ESTATE OFFICE

Beyond their outstanding performance as Realtors®, Keller Williams Plant City agents live, work and believe in the community they serve. They have been active participants in Habitat for Humanity, United Food Bank, Florida Strawberry Festival, YMCA, and other local organizations. Now the largest real estate franchise in North America, Keller Williams has almost 90 offices in 51 countries worldwide. The Plant City office is part of the “Chadwick Group,” with a local network of over 1030 agents working to support buyers and sellers. Ultimately, the company recognizes that real estate is a local business driven by individual real estate associates and their local image. Congratulations for another RCA win! 1607 S. Alexander St. | Plant City, Florida 33563 | 813-966-4304 PAGE

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Since 1986, Brown’s Jewelers has taken great pride in offering friendly, affordable service for all your jewelry needs. It’s a name you can trust for quality in fine jewelry, watches, and expert repairs. Plant City native Russell Brown started working with jewelry at age 15 when his dad learned the business from his brother-in-law, who was a gold wholesaler. “We’ve built our family-owned and operated business through loyal locals and their referrals,” explained Rusty. “The kind people in Plant City and surrounding communities are friendly and happy.” Brown's Jewelers specializes in fine jewelry, custom designs, and affordable repairs. They also offer free inspections and free cleaning. Showcases are filled with wedding, engagement and class rings, charms, necklaces, bracelets and watches. Stop in soon! 1705 Jim Redman Pkwy, Suite G | Plant City, FL 33563-6900 | 813-754-2360 plantcityjewelers.com | brownsjewelers@yahoo.com


Other Nominees: The Artistry Salon & Spa Textures

BEST SALON

Ooh La La Hair Studio Crystal Butler has a mission for her Ooh La La Hair Studio: to provide a Christian environment of tranquility and well-being so clients can enjoy a restful and positive experience while stylists work to make them even more beautiful. And from customer reviews and referrals, it’s obvious the salon is accomplishing that goal. Stylists at the salon include: Crystal Creel Butler, owner; Hailey Barta Casas, Amber Colleran, Amanda Duncan, Jennifer Hinder Horn Celeste Howard, Charli Jervis, Brandie Mejia, and Becky Schreffler. Appointments are invited and walk-ins are welcome, too. Visit Facebook to see photos of the latest creations. 2412 James L. Redman Pkwy [Walden Woods] | Plant City, FL 33566 | 813-754-4141

Other Nominees: Super Service Auto Repair Olin Mott Tire Stores

BEST AUTO SERVICE

Jarrett-Scott Quick Lane® Jarrett-Scott Quick Lane® Tire & Auto Center provides all the services your car or truck needs most, performed by factory-trained experts and on your schedule. The Jarrett-Scott team at “Florida’s Oldest and Most Trusted Ford Dealership” [est. 1912] takes great pride in the high level of customer satisfaction the dealership earns and the referrals it receives as a result. The dealership can take care of any make or model, using quality parts from trusted brands like Motorcraft® and name-brand tires from Goodyear, Continental Tire, Michelin and more. Common services include oil changes, belts and hoses, battery checks, cooling system, and brakes. Give Jarrett-Scott Quick Lane® a try and you'll see why life is better in the Quick Lane®. 2000 East Baker Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | jarrettscottford.com Sales: 877-751-9729 | Service: 877-597-2603 | Parts: 844-338-9718 FOCUSPLANTCITY.COM

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Other Nominees: 813 Chinese Lin’s Express China One Hibachi Express

BEST ASIAN

Wasabi Japanese Steakhouse Wasabi Is a classic Japanese Steakhouse with hibachi flair and a full sushi bar. Experienced chefs ensure every meal at Wasabi is one to remember. Dine in or take out. Catering is also available. Wasabi is a great place for large group celebrations, too. 203 W. Alexander Street | Plant City FL 33563 | 813-754-8866 Other Nominees: First Choice Southern Bar-B-Que Smokin’ Aces BBQ Sonny’s BBQ Taylor Que Ribs n Such, LLC

BEST BARBEQUE

Johnson Barbeque Over the past 50 years Johnson Barbeque has refined the family’s recipes to serve the best barbeque you've ever tasted. Each cut of meat is slow-smoked onsite for 16 hours with homemade rubs and sauces. And each dish is handcrafted through a detailed process to ensure every bite is tender and flavorful. While staying true to the family recipes, Johnson Barbeque is modernizing the proud tradition of southern barbeque with specialties like Fried Smoked Chicken, BBQ Tacos and Smoked Ribeye Steaks. Sauces and rubs are still homemade, and the smokers are working 24 hours a day to ensure your cut of meat is fresh, juicy and tasty. The professionals at Johnson Barbeque are committed to serving handcrafted southern barbeque in a relaxed neighborhood atmosphere. And they continue to believe today, as Elton Johnson did in 1954, that a love of great food— and especially authentic barbeque— is something shared by all. 1407 W. Dr. MLK, Jr. Blvd. | Plant City, FL | 813-759-0009 Open Mon – Sat: 11AM - 8:30PM PAGE

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Other Nominees: Carrabba’s Italian Grill Esposito’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria Nick’s Pizzaria Olde Town Pizzeria

ABC Pizza BEST ITALIAN

In 1950, six Greek brothers came to America with the dream of one day owning a business to create a better life for their family. After several years of all the brothers working on the docks, the eldest brother (William Fotopoulos) created ABC Pizza®. With the power of family and the dedication to making the perfect pizza at a reasonable price, it was impossible to keep customers away. What started in Connecticut as one store in 1966 was quickly turned into eight locations. Since 1974 when the ABC Pizza® chain started to develop in the Greater Tampa Bay area, the company now has 12 locations to serve central Floridians. The success of ABC Pizza® has been from daily family involvement, hard work and great customers. Known especially for its high quality pizza, fresh salad, and baked spaghetti, the huge menu also includes a wide variety of appetizers, seafood, and pasta specialties. Affordable, fresh-made food and reliable service keeps customers returning over and over and over again. 114 N. Alexander Street | Plant City, Florida 33563 | 813-752-5146 | abcpizza.com Other Nominees Pizza: ABC Pizza Carrabba’s Italian Grill Esposito’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria Nick’s Pizzaria

Other Nominees Salad: ABC Pizza Applebee’s Grill & Bar Johnson Barbeque The Corner Store

BEST PIZZA & SALAD

Olde Town Pizzeria & Pasta Company Olde Town Pizzeria is renowned for its pizza, sandwiches, calzones, baked pasta dishes and a wide selection of salads, one of which is their signature “Strawberry Walnut Salad.” Yummy, for sure, and one you’ll find yourself craving! Affordable prices, excellent service, and delicious food are consistent mentions in reviews on social media. With something for every taste, It’s the dining choice the whole family can agree on. All menu items are made-to-order from the freshest, top-quality ingredients available. Plant City loves its Olde Town! 3011 James L. Redman Pkwy | Plant City, FL 33566 | 813-752-5800 | oldetownpizzeria.com FOCUSPLANTCITY.COM

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Other Nominees: Dukes Brewhouse Nick’s Pizzaria & Wings O’Brien’s Irish Pub Smokin’ Aces BBQ

Other Nominees: Dunkin’ Donuts Hole In One Donuts Starbuck’s Wawa

BEST WINGS

Beef O’Brady’s

In 1985, Jim Mellody dreamed up the idea of a family-friendly restaurant, a neighborhood pub where friends and families could gather to enjoy good food and sports in a fun, comfortable atmosphere. Together, with his wife Jeanette, they embellished the Brady family name and created the now-famous Beef 'O' Brady's®. After opening their first sports bar and grill in Brandon, Florida, regulars quickly nicknamed it "Beef 's®." Sports lovers enjoy the big screen TVs and décor with authentic sports memorabilia. As a final touch, Jim made sure a traditional Irish Blessing graced every menu, bidding good fortune and happy times to all who visited. As the Beef 's® story has grown, so too has the menu’s variety. In addition to the award-winning wings available in 12 signature sauces are other signature favorites with an Irish twist. Today, Beef 'O' Brady's® is one of the fastest growing kid-friendly restaurants in the country. The company is also known for its charitable outreach efforts. Families have learned to love restaurant food deals like Burger Mondays, Tacos Tuesday, Wing Wednesdays, Chicken slider Thursdays and Seafood combo Fridays. With great food, friendly service and exceptionally affordable prices, It’s no wonder Plant City makes Beef ‘O’ Brady’s its favorite sports bar restaurant every game day, from the little leagues to the big league. Come join the fun! 2418 Jim Redman Pkwy | Plant City, FL 33566 | 813-757-0300 beefobradys.com/PlantCity PAGE

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BEST COFFEE

Krazy Kup

For almost five years, the Trunzo family has welcomed friends new and old to their four-time Reader’s Choice Award-winning Krazy Kup coffeehouse in historic downtown Plant City. With a charming décor inside the red-brick, two-story building and the gated Krazy Louie’s Kourtyard outdoors, Krazy Kup has plenty of space for chillin’ and chattin’ with friends. And on Friday and Saturday nights, talented performers showcase their musical abilities for the audience’s enjoyment. As Krazy Kup approaches the half-decade mark, the locals are thankful to have such a “kool go-to, happening-hub" where they can enjoy high quality coffees, teas, soft drinks, shaved ice, pastries, biscotti, salads, wraps and chips. Krazy Kup is as successful as it is popular, for which the Trunzos are grateful. At the 2018 Best of Plant City Awards presented by the Chamber of Commerce, Krazy Kup was recognized for “Business of the Year,” “Entrepreneur of the Year,” and “City Beautification Award.” Frank explained, “We thank God for helping us to serve this community and for helping us to be a safe haven for all.” 101 East J. Arden Mays Boulevard | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-752-1220 | krazykup.com


Other Nominees: Norma’s Plant City Cuban Sandwich Shop Strawberry Hut Brooklyn Bridge Deli Dairy Queen Strawberry Town Café

BEST CUBAN SANDWICH

Strawberry Hut Established in 1993, the always popular Strawberry Hut has earned ten “Best Cuban Sandwich” awards. Six days a week, the 300-square-foot walk-up eatery is busy serving made-to-order sandwiches, soups, salads, real-fruit strawberry milkshakes and year-round strawberry shortcake. Longtime Plant City residents Troy and Betty Wilson never cut quality. They purchase fresh produce from the farmer's market and have fresh bread delivered daily from an Ybor City bakery. Their success, with God’s help, prompted them to open a second Strawberry Hut in early 2015—a 3400-square foot, air-conditioned restaurant in Lakeland. They credit our local community for their 24 years in business. Betty explained, "We’re grateful that Plant City has been so good to us. Our customers feel like family.” 1505 N. Wheeler Street | Plant City, FL | 813-752-3779 | Thestrawberryhut.com Other Nominees: Twistee Treat Outback Steakhouse Chili’s Grill & Bar Dairy Queen

BEST DESSERT

Tani’s for Dessert Tani’s for Dessert is a unique dining experience that specializes in "Dessert, Dessert, and Only Dessert." Enjoy a classic dessert in a warm and comfortable environment. A favorite stop for families or for “date night,” the intimate atmosphere encourages conversation and relaxation. Customers can also stop in to order or purchase directly from the Buttercream Bake Shoppe that bakes Tani’s specialties. If you’re in need of custom cakes, cookies, or cupcakes for your event, Tani’s can help. 2804 James L. Redman Parkway | Plant City, FL 33566 | 813-704-5947 FOCUSPLANTCITY.COM

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Other Nominees: Publix Popeye’s Plant City Hometown Buffet Fred’s Market Restaurant

BEST FRIED CHICKEN

Maryland Fried Chicken Since 1969 Maryland Fried Chicken has been a tantalizing taste-teasing delicacy in Plant City. Prepared with Maryland's famous recipe, fresh plump tender boilers are seasoned with flavorful spices and pressure-cooked in pure peanut oil by special equipment, which seals in all the juices and natural goodness of the chicken. To accomplish the delectable taste treat, the restaurant’s chickens are never par boiled, and have never been frozen. They are completely cooked the Maryland way; TASTY, TENDER and DELICIOUS! Complete dinners for eat-in or take-out are available with chicken or seafood in the apex at the corner of Thonotosassa and Alexander Street, just north of South Florida Baptist Hospital. Stop in soon to savor the flavor that has charmed locals for more than 50 years. 315 N. Alexander Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-473-6883 | plantcityfriedchicken.com Other Nominees: Beef O’Brady’s Fred’s Market Restaurant Snellgrove’s Wayback Burgers

BEST HAMBURGER

Brick House Café The new Brick House Café in the historic downtown feels like your mama’s kitchen with its quality food and prompt, friendly service. When the old jail house became available to lease, owner Shari Sarris saw an opportunity. The dining room offers plenty of seating for hungry diners. As a thirdgeneration restauranteur, Sarris has followed in the footsteps of her grandmother and mother. Most of the recipes were her grandmother’s. From the French toast to the Salisbury steak, you can’t go wrong with “comfort food.” Brick House Café offers huge portions for breakfast and lunch. It’s obvious the crowds love not only the food, but also the hometown, local feel. “I know they can spend their hard-earned money anywhere,” Shari said. “I sincerely appreciate when they choose us.” 206 S. Evers Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-752-8546 PAGE

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Other Nominees: Nidia’s Latin Grill Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant El Rincon Mexicano Taco Rey El Mirasol Bakery

Mi Casa BEST MEXICAN

Dining at the family-owned Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant offers customers an affordable cultural taste sensation in three rooms with a view. And along with their dedicated wait staff, the Gama family, is dedicated to serving the finest, freshest foods in a welcoming atmosphere that brings folks back again and again. Using only the best quality ingredients to prepare all dishes as they’re ordered, fresh meals and friendly service is always the goal at Mi Casa. With colorful brick-framed Mexican scenes gracing the adobe-textured interior walls, families thoroughly enjoy the festive atmosphere and authentic music as they munch on their first crunch — house-made chips and salsa, delivered soon after they are seated. Conveniently located in the Plant City Crossings plaza, there’s always plenty of parking and while the spacious Mi Casa is a busy eatery, typically there is little or no waiting. Warning: Simply reading the menu will make your mouth water and your tummy growl. And, without a doubt, the delicious food is what keeps folks and families coming back for more, time and time again. 2613 Thonotosassa Road | Plant City FL 33563 | 813-752-0057 | micasamex.com Other Nominees: Crossroads Steak & Seafood Johnson Barbeque Outback Steakhouse Maryland Fried Chicken

BEST SEAFOOD

Linda’s Crab Shack

Known by locals as a great casual dining spot for tasty seafood, Linda’s Crab Shack is a regular stop for those visiting during the historic downtown Plant City’s monthly car shows, too. Open for lunch and dinner from Monday through Saturday, there’s no need to drive long distances to satisfy your cravings for fish, shrimp, or Linda’s famous deviled crabs. Stop in soon to see the newly remodeled restaurant that once served as a bus stop. 202 E Reynolds Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-754-0492

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Other Nominees Breakfast: Brick House Café Snellgrove’s Restaurant Brooklyn Bridge Deli Waffle House

Other Nominees Home Cookin': Brick House Café Buddy Freddy’s Restaurant Plant City Hometown Buffet Snellgroves Restaurant

Other Nominees Overall Service: Brick House Café Johnson Barbeque Olde Town Pizzeria O’Brien’s Irish Pub

Fred’s Market Restaurant BEST BREAKFAST, HOMETOWN COOKIN', OVERALL SERVICE

“We are deeply honored to win these awards and gracious of everyone who took the time to vote.” Fred's Market Restaurant serves up a special taste of farm-to-plate freshness on its MarketTable. Food cooked slowly in a natural and unprocessed way is served in a cozy atmosphere full of warmth and fun. Fred’s doesn't compromise on quality or character, whether it's the ingredients in the specialties or the attitudes of its staff. It's southern comfort that's pure and hearty all the way to the core and it's all found at Fred's Market Restaurant.

Slow Food, Fast. Visit any of Fred’s four locations in Plant City, Lakeland, Riverview, and Lake Mary. 2120 Harden Blvd., Lakeland FL, 863-603-7080 6501 US Hwy 301 S., Riverview FL, 813-741-9101

1401 W. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Plant City FL | 813-752-7763 FOCUSPLANTCITY.COM

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Other Nominees Overall Service: Karen Williams Julie Frank Emily Killian Karen Fuentes Amber Clark Denise Snell Courtney Greene Doris Nipper

BEST SERVER - FREDS MARKET RESTAURANT

Marci Wiggins Marci Frohlich Wiggins says, “I have the perfect job and I don’t ever want to lose it.” The Plant City native loves working at Fred’s Market Restaurant, where she’s served friendly customers for the last twelve years. Her only other waitressing job was directly out of Plant City High School at Red Lobster. After raising her children, she decided she wanted to work at her favorite restaurant and applied. “It took me six months to get hired because they had no openings," she shared "There’s very little turnover at Fred’s.” Marci is married to her childhood sweetheart, Kenny, who she met at age 11 when they lived in the same neighborhood. Together they have “two married daughters and four grandbabies that we love to spend time with.” Their granddaughter Caydance just won “Most Beautiful Baby” in the 13-15 month-old category at the Florida Strawberry Festival. The still-very-much-in-love couple enjoys attending church at The Crossing, deer hunting in Georgia, and family time at Crooked Lake, where they’ve vacationed and fished for more than 30 years. Marci’s work schedule at Fred’s includes four days. You can find her from 5:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m for three of those and the other from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. She shares, “I love my job because I love the people in general, and including those I work with, starting with Grandma [Evelyn] Johnson. We have a circle – Fred is good to us, we’re good to our customers, and they are good to Fred by returning on a regular basis. The employees are close-knit; we’re good friends who share Christian love and support.” “Our customers are the best. It’s a local gathering place and because I was born and raised and went to school here, it’s so good to see classmates and friends from years and years ago,” Marci explains. “We never get negative responses from our diners, which makes our job so much more fun.” “A lot of people have congratulated me on this win,” she said, “even some I don’t know, which is so nice. Now we’ll be new friends.” As to her personal menu favorites, Marci mentioned the vegetables and rutabagas in particular, the chicken wings, and the breakfast she eats on workday mornings during the break between nine and ten. So, Plant City, if you don’t already know Marci, she’d like to make your acquaintance. She’d like to personally thank all who voted for her RCA win and for all the kind words. Her invite is “I feel so blessed, Please come to Fred’s. You’ll find someone you know!” FOCUSPLANTCITY.COM

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Other Nominees: Outback Steakhouse The Corner Store Carrabba’s Italian Grill Norma’s Plant City Cuban Sandwich Shop

BEST SOUP

Whistle Stop Café

The family-owned and operated American traditional restaurant is a favorite Plant City lunch spot, specializing in exceptionally affordable sandwiches, soups, and salads. Breads are baked fresh daily and high-quality produce is provided by local vendors. Diners return again and again to enjoy the great food, the cozy, soda-fountain style décor, and the hugs from co-owner Marti Lofstrum. Situated on the corner of Collins Street and East J. Arden Mays Boulevard in the historic district, Whistle Stop is the perfect place to watch trains pass by McCall Park and reminisce with the locals. Outdoor seating is also available. 102 S Collins Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-752-7340 Other Nominees: Carrabba’s Italian Grill Smokin’ Aces Johnson Barbeque Crossroads Steak & Seafood

BEST STEAK

Outback Steakhouse

“Made with an Australian flair, born under the Tampa sun.” The beloved Australian-inspired Outback Steakhouse starts fresh every day to create the flavors that customers crave. Best known for award-winning grilled steaks, ribs, chicken and seafood, Outback also offers a wide variety of pasta entrees, seafood, crisp salads and freshly made soups and sides at family-friendly prices. New creations and grilled classics are made from scratch daily using only the highest quality ingredients. The leader of the steakhouse pack takes great pride in serving up variety in generous portions and emphasizes consistently high quality delicious food delivered in a warm, welcoming environment. Bloomin' Brands, Inc., based in Tampa, FL, was founded in 1988 by those who love hospitality, sharing, quality, being courageous and having fun. In addition to Outback Steakhouse, this company of restaurants also owns and operates Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. 1203 Townsgate Ct | Plant City, Florida 33566 | 813-759-4329 www.outback.com/locations/fl/plant-city PAGE

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Other Nominees: Caring Concepts Chiropractic Dunn Chiropractic

Other Nominees: Busciglio Smiles Tooth Caboose

BEST CHIROPRACTOR

Dukes Chiropractic Health Clinic

Established in 1985, Dukes Chiropractic Health Clinic, P.A. exists “To Love, To Serve, and To Give Out of Abundance.” Dr. Brenda Dukes desires that people are healthy—mentally, physically, and spiritually. Discovered in 1895, the healing art, science, and philosophy of chiropractic is the most widely used natural health profession in the world. The effective, safe, and drugfree treatment respects your body’s natural healing and recuperative abilities. In an effort to remove nerve interference and correct subluxations—the misalignments of vertebrae which impact every area of health—chiropractors study the nervous system, which includes the central, autonomic, and peripheral. Many seemingly unrelated symptoms often arise from spinal imbalances. As opposed to simply treating symptoms, Dr. Dukes looks for the underlying causes of disease, discomfort, and pain. Once the root of the pain is determined, the practice is dedicated to creating a personalized course of treatment initially and for wellness. Some of the wonderful programs include: Spinal adjustments, ultrasound and electro muscle stimulation, massage therapy (MM#74100), VibraWav (whole body vibration), traction, custom orthotics (postural balance), nutritional counseling (some highly recommended products for even cardiovascular), patient education, and Digital Pulse Analysis (DPA) to assess arterial vessel conditions. For your best health, call today! 2401 Walden Woods Drive | Plant City, FL 33566 | 813-752-2524 dukeschiropractichealth.com PAGE

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BEST DENTAL PRACTICE

Dental Associates at Walden Woods

Dental Associates at Walden Woods has all the dental services you need to make your teeth look and feel clean, offering general and cosmetic dentistry and oral surgery. Patients can have their teeth examined, cleaned, whitened, straightened or extracted, or have a root canal, crowns or bridges fitted – all in one office. What a convenience for patients that this can all be handled under one roof ! Dr. Ray Gutierrez and Dr. Helen Hoveida are assisted by an experienced team of technicians, hygienists, and office personnel. Cosmetic dentistry is also a popular reason to visit Dental Associates at Walden Woods. The practice offers dental crowns and bridges, Invisalign® straightening, veneers, white fillings and Lumineers. Additionally, Dr. Gutierrez is certified for IV sedation for those who are a little anxious about pain or major dental work, such as restorative dentistry. Dental implants and dentures are also specialties here. 512 E. Alexander Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-752-3030 www.dentalassociateswaldenwoods.com


Other Nominees: HealthPoint Medical Group, Plant City Andrew John Saranko, MD

BEST FAMILY CARE PHYSICIAN

Specialist Doctors Group At six convenient locations, Specialists Doctors’ Group has multispecialty offices that focus on family care and internal medicine, as well as podiatry. Both Primary Care offices are in Plant City; Podiatry care is available in Plant City and Lakeland; and Urgent Care is offered in Plant City and FishHawk. Owned and operated by the Chaudhry family, the goal at SDG is “to consistently provide honest, quality medical care at affordable prices with an emphasis on friendly and timely service. The group’s medical director, Dr. Michael Salvato, has worked more than 20 years in Plant City. Under his direction, staff members and physicians demonstrate the highest level of compassion and professional care for all patients. They understand the importance of listening to their patients’ concerns and needs and believe in building strong doctor/patient relationships. SDG promises to treat you with care and respect during your treatment visit. Whether you're visiting for a complex foot injury or a simple flu shot, patients can expect to receive the same quality care.” Primary Care Offices | Dr. Michael Salvato | 210 N. Alexander St., Suite B Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-719-3525 Carlina White Youssouf ARNP | 1910 W. Reynolds St. | Plant City, FL 33563 813-754-4980 Podiatry Office | 210 N. Alexander St., Suite A | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-754-FOOT

Other Nominees: Under My Thumb Brenda Chandler

BEST MASSAGE THERAPIST

Maylene Shackelford

Since 1998, Maylene Shackelford has specialized in neuromuscular techniques and practices the UpLedger method of CranialSacral Therapy, with massage styles ranging from stress reduction/relaxation massage to sports massage. For nearly a decade, Maylene was part of the health care industry as co-owner of and with daily oversight responsibilities for her husband’s chiropractic clinic. She continued to practice with local chiropractors and area businesses and is now engaged in private practice. Maylene has presented educational workshops to a variety of audiences on the health and wellness benefits of massage. Her mission is to support individuals in achieving life balance through personal wellness. A firm believer in the inseparable connection between body/mind, Maylene is a proponent of massage for relieving physical as well as emotional stress. She believes strongly in massage as a viable modality for enhancing overall health and well-being. Together with her husband Walter, the lifelong resident of Plant City has raised their three children and are the proud grandparents of nine. If you’re experiencing pain, call Maylene to schedule an appointment that just might change your life. Maylene Shackelford, LMT, CNMT {MA#0034743] | 607 S. Alexander Street, Suite 105 Plant City, FL | 813-404-1267 FOCUSPLANTCITY.COM

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Chad Smith, the 2018 Readers’ Choice Award “Best Bartender,” credits “a handshake and a smile” as the icebreaker to knowing his customers. “I like to know my customers by name,” he shared. Chad has worked for the Applebee’s in Plant City for the last five years and prior to that at TGI Fridays in Lakeland. The Toledo, Ohio native moved to Florida in 2000. Most people are unaware that the father of two sons, Zachary, 9 and 6-month old Carter, has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. When not serving customers at Applebee’s, he enjoys spending time with family and keeping up with his favorites sports – football, basketball, and baseball. And obviously, following these make for great conversations at work. As to the RCA win, Chad offered. “I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for me. Your continued support is greatly appreciated. 1204 Townsgate Ct | Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 719-1500

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(863) 825-5245 5212 US Hwy 98 N • Lakeland, FL 33809 beehavenfl.com /BeeHavenHoneyFarm

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LOCAL

Steer & Swine Sales & Showmanship BY TARYN STORTER

Show on March 7, during which each steer was placed in one of 10 weight classes and grouped as lightweight, middleweight, or heavyweight. Champions in each of these three divisions then competed for overall grand champion. Two brothers took the high honors this year for their animals in the middleweight division. Jake Stines of the Plant City FFA Chapter exhibited the overall grand champion steer, which was purchased by Astin Farms for $15/pound. Jace Stines of the Tomlin Middle FFA Chapter exhibited the overall reserve grand champion. Division champs include: Lightweight Grand - Cole Hanson Reserve - Amanda Clark Heavyweight Grand - Dakota Allen Reserve - Angelic Alex

In the Florida Strawberry Festival’s Mosaic Youth Swine Show 2018, Jake Stines of the Plant City FFA Chapter exhibited the overall grand champion steer, and his brother Jace Stines of the Tomlin Middle FFA Chapter exhibited the overall reserve grand champion.

The 2018 Florida Strawberry Festival provided many students the opportunity to not only earn money for their future, but also to learn about the agriculture industry through participation in the annual Swine and Steer Shows and Sales. Seventy-six exhibitors showed swine in the annual Mosaic Swine Show in the Patterson Companies Livestock Arena at the Grimes Family Agricultural Center on March 1. Each pig is placed in one of eight weight classes. The winner of each class then competes for the title of Grand Champion. This year’s Grand Champion was owned by Tytan Gill from the Alafia Kids 4H Club. His project was purchased by Central Drywall Contractors for $16 per pound. Chase Braglin, a Farm Fresh Cloves 4H Club member, won reserve Grand Champion. West Coast Enterprises purchased his swine for $8 per pound. In total, 76 exhibitors PAGE

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sold their pigs in the sale where no exhibitor earned less than $5 per pound. In the Swine Showmanship contest, also on March 1, showmen are judged on how well they present their animals to the judge. The division results are as follows: Senior 1st - Tanner Ashley 2nd - Cassidy Eramo 3rd - Jon Farnsworth Intermediate 1st - Jackie Marvin 2nd- Ava Hasting 3rd - Michaela Carmichael Junior 1st - Addison Griffin 2nd -Tytan Griffin 3rd - Chase Braglin Ninety-one exhibitors showed steers in the Mosaic Youth Steer

In the Steer Showmanship event, held March 9, students were judged

on how well they presented and handled their animal. Winners in each division are as follows: Senior 1st - Noel Walls 2nd - Jake Stines 3rd - Cecily Llauger Intermediate 1st - Amanda Clark 2nd - Kendall Gaudens 3rd - Cole Hanson Junior 1st - Bailey Vogt 2nd - Matthew Diem 3rd - Blake Zajac “Our local families and businesses offered great support to our swine and steer exhibitors,” said President Paul Davis. “Our youth are a significant part of our festival, and we appreciate these buyers investing in their futures.”


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STA AN TH ON Y BO LE IN TE RV IE W BY

Will Rinehart B

orn on August 25th in Plant City’s South Florida Baptist Hospital, William Rinehart has been a lifelong member of the community. Immediately following his graduation in 2000 from Plant City High School, he joined the United States Marines as a Helicopter Mechanic. He served seven years until he left in 2007 for civilian life and to “watch his two daughters grow up, since you only get that shot once.” Will and Ashley, his wife of 10 years, have two daughters: Kavery, 7, and Kamryn, 11. Currently, Will is employed with CSX, where he’s worked for the last four years after leaving a civilian helicopter mechanic job with Airmethods. Due to his time in the military, he has become a well-traveled individual to points all around the world, including Dubai and Thailand. The hobbies he shares with his children, however, happen right here in the Plant City area. Often, he finds himself searching for ancient arrowheads and sharks’ teeth from prehistoric times. The family visits places such as the Alafia River and just “dig around in the mud looking for things just waiting to be discovered.” As the community-minded Mr. Rinehart continues to help raise the newer local generations, he has set a personal goal for himself. Adding to an exceptional life that

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has encountered many cultures, he would really love the opportunity to run for Mayor of Plant City. Would you do the Marines again if you could go back in time? “Oh absolutely, if it wasn’t for the Marine Corps, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I would love to start from the bottom again and experience that responsibility.” Favorite part of PC? “I love the Strawberry Festival— anything with strawberries I love, even the strawberry onions. I think Plant City goes above and beyond when it comes to the productions they put on.” Favorite business in the area? “I bring my daughters to Fred’s every other week. The youngest loves the grits. But I will say that I am my own favorite chef.” Travel Destinations in the future? “I promised my daughter if she earned principal’s honor roll all year that I would take her to Paris, and it’s looking like that is going to happen.”

Find more People of Plant City on Facebook. Connecting the community one story at a time. facebook.com/peopleofplantcity Find more People of Plant City on Facebook. Connecting the community one story at a time. facebook.com/peopleofplantcity


LOCAL

Turkey Creek FFA Hosts

Berry-Pickin’ Kindergartners BY JENNIFER JORDAN

said, “I was excited about this project because we worked hard in the field and I love the FFA. I want the kindergartners to enjoy farming and be a part of the FFA when they get older.” Austin Holcomb, TCMS FFA vice-president offered, “It’s cool to watch the kindergartners smile and get excited about the berries and to teach them interesting facts about them. Farmers are important and this project might get them interested in Agriculture so we can continue to

have farmers for years to come.” The kindergartners even went into the classroom to learn more. TCMS also hosted its annual public U-pick on February 24 from which all proceeds will benefit Relay for Life. With Turkey Creek Middle school having such a delightful and engaging FFA project, these kindergartners probably had a “seed planted” in their brain about the possibility of a farming career in the future. Our world needs all the farmers we can encourage!

Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Smith show some of her students which berries are riper.

O

n February 21st, 2018, Students in the Turkey Middle School FFA and kindergartners from Robinson Elementary School came together on February 21st, 2018 in the strawberry field across the street from TCMS for their annual FFA Strawberry Project. More than 100 kindergartners from six different classes at Robinson Elementary came out not only to pick the strawberries- with help from the Turkey Creek FFA students- but also to learn about the berries from the FFA students. “This project has been going on for many years, and it’s a great activity for the kids,” said Allison Sparkman-Bender, an FFA Advisor and AG teacher at TCMS. She continued, by “The goal of this project is not only to teach our students from both schools how to grow and harvest the berries, but it’s also to encourage the Kindergartners

to get more interested in farming and maybe join the FFA in the future.” Since 1936, the school’s FFA Chapter has been making history. FFA Advisor and Ag teacher Buddy Coleman explained, “Until 1956, TCMS was known as a “strawberry school,” and would close for three months during the strawberry picking season.” In those days, everyone picked berries. Although things are different today, Turkey Creek is still very involved in growing, harvesting, and selling strawberries with the help of Astin Farms, Tres McQuaig and the McQuaig Farms, who sponsor the project, in addition to farmer Mike Connell, who oversees and maintains the field and field and berries. Once in the field, kindergartners were excited to pick the berries and have a hands-on learning experience with the FFA students’ help. TCMS FFA Chapter president Lisee Griffin

FFA historian Kristina Chavez helping kindergartners walk to the field safely

FFA Vice President Austin Holcomb shows a kindergartner how to handle the berries. FOCUSPLANTCITY.COM

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FOCUSBUSINESS

Pinch-A-Penny Supplies and Service for Pool-Patio-Spa BY KELLI THARRINGTON

W

ith summer quickly approaching, it’s time to get your pool ready! Pinch-A-Penny is your one stop shop for supplies, maintenance, repairs, installs, and pool games, toys, and floats. Don’t miss the Grand Opening on March 27! You will be pleasantly surprised to find a family-owned business operated with family values. Brothers Chad and Casey Wiley are now fully invested in their businesses. Honesty and loyalty are two virtues near and dear to the heart of these brothers. Casey explained, “We run our business with honesty and loyalty and we pass that on to our clients.” Chad Wiley decided to go into the pool business with his brother after eight deployments and ten years of military service with the US

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Army Special Forces Green Berets. “Faith, Family, and Friends” is the motto we live by in business and in life,” he shared. Understanding the importance of quality family time, Pinch-APenny provides many services to maintain your pool. “It can be a real headache sometimes and we are here to help,” said Casey. Keeping integrity in mind, one of the brothers will be at your home or business to do the work for services such as chemical balance, cleaning, installs or repairs. “We are fully invested in the business and the community,” said Chad. One way they plan on investing in the community soon is to host a Veterans outreach event on April 14th at the Plant City location during their spring sale event. There will be cooking demonstrations on the Kamado Joe Grill and Smoker

with free samples for customers, of course. Joffrey’s Coffee will be on hand as well to serve tea and a special coffee roast called the Valor Blend, from which Joffrey’s donates one dollar per bag sold to support the Task Force Dagger Foundation. The Task Force Dagger Foundation is the only Special Operations Forces specific charity that provides rapid response and immediate needs support to active and veteran SOF operators and support personnel. “We believe if the soldier is injured that the whole family is injured and that is how the TFDF works,” said Chad. “We want to get the word out that Special Ops Veterans are great Americans.” Proceeds from the Spring Sale event will go to the charity as well. The Task Force Dagger Foundation supports active military and veterans in many ways. They support immediate needs with an average response time of two

hours, assist in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress and look for alternatives to medication, along with recreational therapy to promote rehabilitation and recovery. “We are just very excited to be a part of the Plant City Community and to show our support, not only to the families that live here, but also to the families of our military,” said Casey. “ It's just something that is close to our hearts.” Visit today so Pinch-A-Penny can get your pool ready and take pride in knowing your business will help support local veterans and their families.

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REAL ESTATE The February sales are as follows:

Walden Lake Review BY NATALIE SWEET

T

he Walden Lake Community Association Board Meetings are the third Monday of each month at the Walden Lake Community Association office building on Griffin Boulevard in Walden Lake. The next meetings are scheduled for March 19th and April 23rd at 7:00 PM. The meetings are open to all Walden Lake residents. Watch the announcement boards at all entrances for dates and times for special meetings and events. The Annual Homeowners Association Meeting scheduled for April 19th at 7:00 at The Plant City Church of God on Mud Lake Road. This meeting is when new directors are elected and all members should return their ballot if they are unable to attend. The annual yard sale is scheduled for April 7th. There is no need to get a permit and the HOA obtains a permit that covers the whole community.

A much-requested Pickleball court will soon be added to the Sports Complex. This is a fun sport for all ages and skill levels with easy to understand rules. Pickleball combines many elements of tennis, badminton and pingpong. Due to the high cost of water, a well will be added for irrigation of the Sports Complex and will pay for itself in three months. During the month of February, there were 7 sales in Walden Lake and one sale in Walden Lake East with an average sale price of $216,738. The average days on the market were 50 days. The average price per square foot of these 8 sales is $114. There are currently 10 Active listings for sale in Walden Lake and Walden Lake East with an average list price of $372,452 and an average of 75 days on the market. There are 2 active listings

Address

Sales Price

Living Area

Pool

201 N Granada Court

$145,000

1542

Community 2 Car

2305 S Fairway Drive

$155,000

1874

No

1801 Preservation Drive

$179,000

1576

Community 2 Car

1505 Paddock Drive

$200,000

1520

No

2 Car

2103 E Timberlane Drive

$220,000

2078

Yes

2 Car

4305 Longfellow Drive

$230,000

1711

No

2 Car

4010 Thackery Way

$255,000

2215

Yes

2 Car

2805 Wedgewood Drive

$349,900

2633

Yes

2 Car

that are over $500,000 and without these 2 listings, the average list price is $273,075 and 59 days on the market. There are 21 properties Pending Contract with an average list price of $249,200 and average of 47 days on the market. The market continues to remain strong for homes that are priced well and in good condition and this could be a very good time to put your home on the market given the very low inventory. Although interest rates are beginning to tick up a bit, interest rates are still

Garage

2 Car

considered low, making this still an affordable time to purchase. We are beginning to see a bit of an increase in the number of days on market. Our HOA office on Griffin Boulevard is a drop off center for non-perishable items to be donated to The United Food Bank. Although the Holidays are past, the Food Bank is always in need of donations. Feel free to contact me about this article via email me at NSweet@KW.com or 813-758-9586.

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3BR/2BATH/2-CAR Wood burning fireplace/Florida room

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COMPARE OUR QUALITY AND INCLUDED FEATURES!!! 3/2/2 WITH NATURAL GAS FIREPLACE FOR $249,900 K, 75x117 FT HOMESITE (1) 75 FOOT WIDE HOME SITES (2) FOAM FILLED BLOCK WALLS AND REFLECTIVE ROOF PANELS, DOUBLE PANE WINDOWS (3) EXTERIOR GRADE WEATHER RESISTANT STUCCO OR BEAD BOARD ON PORCH CEILINGS (4) NO FAKE FOAM PLASTIC EXTERIOR TRIM (5) REAL HAND LAID BRICK (6) CEMENT BOARD BEHIND BATH TILE AND UNDERLAYMENT ON FLOOR TILE (7) NATURAL GAS INCLUDING TANKLESS HOT WATER HEATER (8) LIGHTING PACKAGE INCLUDES EXTERIOR COACH LIGHTS AND YARD LIGHT AND FLORESCENT GARAGE LIGHTS (9) GARAGE DOOR OPENER (10) WHOLE YARD SPRINKLER SYSTEM AND FULLY LANDSCAPED (10) SECURITY SYSTEM

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SPORTS

Sports Team of the Month PCHS Boys’ Soccer Team Wins State Championship BY TARYN STORTER

The Raider Boys’ Soccer Team pose as the 2018 FHSAA Class 5A State Champions.

T

he Plant City High School Boys’ Soccer team accomplished something no other Raider team has in more than 35 years. They scored their way to victory in the FHSAA Class 5A State Championship! The entire school body is ecstatic and so proud of their team. The PCHS Athletic Booster’s club is even selling t-shirts to commemorate this incredible occasion. Caleb Roberts, head coach for the state champions, is grateful for the support the community has shown the team this season. Coach Roberts explained, “We entered the game knowing Miami Beach was a very good team but were excited for the opportunity to showcase our players. During the game, my guys worked relentlessly to stick to our game plan. It didn't go the way we hoped in the first half, so during the halftime break, there were not a lot of tactical changes or comments to make. I just spoke to

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them about believing in themselves, and never giving up.” Roberts continued, “And the second half was completely different. We were on the front foot all half pushing the pace of play. I continued to shout, ‘Just keep going,’ and ‘It's coming guys.’ And they did. They worked the entire game and finally got an equalizer with less than three minutes left in the game. Heading into overtime, they felt confident and were believing they could win.” “Our concept of being ‘ALL IN’ throughout the season, helped us in the championship game to fully commit to giving the game our best effort,” Roberts added. The two assistant coaches are Cheyne Roberts and Trent Lott. Interestingly enough, all three of these coaches played Raider soccer at PCHS. That makes this win even more special, having contributed to a state title for their alma mater.

The majority of the Raider boys are involved with a club soccer team, either the Plant City Lancers or the Tampa Dynamos. Mayor Rick Lott of Plant City coaches the Tampa Dynamos, where many of the boys play. He has known most of these young men since they were very young. Since his son Rex Lott is on the Raiders’ State winning team, Mayor Lott has a very special connection to this PCHS soccer program. He described the team as “a very talented group of boys.” The championship was held at the Spec Martin Stadium in Deland, against Miami Beach Hi-Tides in a very heated game. After an intense shootout, the final score was 2-1, with the Raiders taking the victory. Since the championship, the boys have been recognized at many events throughout the community. They participated in the Florida Strawberry Festival Grand Parade, where they passed out beads and waved to many

fans, young and old. They were also recognized at First Baptist Church of Plant City on Sunday morning, March 4. These athletic gentlemen are an inspiration to the entire Plant City community. Congratulations for a job well done by the 2018 Plant City High School Raiders State Champion Boys’ Varsity Soccer Team members. These include : Gustavo De La Garza (Senior), David Jalomo (Junior), Manuel Contreras (Freshman), Deonte Oliver (Senior), Elvis Castro (Junior), David Ruiz (Freshman), Juan Lamas (Junior), Paulino Ramirez (Sophomore), Alexis Garcia (Junior), Samuel Felix (Senior), Eric Ugarte (Senior), Ricardo Rosales (Senior), Anthony Ruiz (Freshman), Luis Leos (Junior), Jair Garcia (Junior), Alexes Quiroz (Junior), Joel SantaMaria (Junior), Richard Negron (Senior), Zachary Spivey (Freshman), Joshua Cortez (Senior), Rex Lott (Sophomore), and Epifanio Castro (Sophomore).


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EXTRA

Candy’s Corner BY CANDY OWENS

Welcome, sweet springtime! We greet thee in song. Flowers awake ye, burst into bloom. Springtime has come and summer is nigh. Sing ye birds, oh sing. Sunshine now wakes all the flowers from sleep. Joy giving incense floats on the air. Ah! How my heart beats with rapture anew, as earth’s fairest beauties again meet the view.

O

h! How I love to see spring make its return. I love to see and smell all the beautiful flowers in bloom, eat all of the delicious fruits and vegetables at their peak, especially the melons and berries, and to go outside and take in the natural beauty that comes only with spring. I can remember as a child playing in the front yard on a sunny, breezy, spring afternoon and hearing the wind blow through the corn stalks in my father’s garden. I can remember watching my mother hang wet clothes on the backyard clothesline, seeing the towels flap back and forth in the wind and sun as they dried, and smelling the Cheer detergent and Downy fabric softener. I can remember cupping my hands over my eyes and looking up at the sky to watch a single airplane putter through the clouds and thinking to myself that God made all of this. Back when I was a little girl in the early 1960s, people spent a great deal of time outside. They would sit out on their front porches and talk or just sit quietly enjoying the fresh air. Kids would almost always play outside. We rarely ever sat in our bedrooms to play unless it was raining or we were sick. I can remember my mother

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helping us spread an old blanket out in the front yard for us so we could color in our coloring books, play a game, read, or just talk. Sometimes we would just lie back on the blanket, stare up at the sky, and make pictures with the clouds. We played dolls, dress up, school, and Cowboys and Indians. We rode our bikes and trikes, and pulled our wagons a million miles. We Hula-Hooped, built forts, and took long walks. We played ball, turned cartwheels, ran races, played hide and seek, played under the water hose, drew on our Etch-A-Sketches, played board games, cards, and ran through the sprinklers. As kids we had every reason to play outside on a beautiful springtime day. One of my favorite childhood memories of playing outside on a beautiful and sunny spring afternoon was when my sister and I got a brand new Slip ‘N Slide. Manufactured by Wham-O in 1961, this water toy was a long sheet of thin plastic, flanked lengthwise on one side by a sealed tubular fold. The tube could be attached to any ordinary garden hose. Water ran through the tube and out small perforations, spraying onto the sliding surface, which became very slippery and allowed kids to take a

running jump onto the plastic and slide the length of the sheet. Boy, did we have fun! We were the envy of all the kids in the neighborhood! Until…well…all the bumps and bruises. My sister and I invited all our neighborhood playmates to come over and try it out. They all lined up and giggled with excitement as they waited their turns. It all went well until everyone got impatient and took running jumps and we all landed on top of each other. think I came out of that experiment with a busted lip. Before too long there were television and newspaper reports of kids suffering sprains and even broken bones from their Slip ‘N Slides. That is all that it took for my parents to say: “NO MORE SLIP ‘N SLIDE!” My sister and I were not happy with that choice. I remember my Father putting our prize possession water toy in the garbage. Well, the next day when my Father was at work and my Mother was inside the house doing something, I went straight to the garbage can and retrieved my Slip ‘N Slide. I put it out in the front yard, hooked it up to the water hose, and even went inside the house and got my Mother’s liquid dish soap. I was going to make it all the more interesting. Several neighborhood kids saw me doing this and decided to join in the fun. We were having a blast!...Until my Father came driving up. You have never seen little kids run away so fast! There I was…all by myself, just me, the bottle of liquid dish soap, a yard full of bubbles, and the Slip “N Slide. Needless to say, after it was all over “I never Slipped “N Slided again! Another favorite springtime memory is when my Granny and Granddaddy Owens would have

us over for homemade ice cream. My grandparents would take a trip to South Carolina every year and return home with watermelons, cantaloupes, and peaches. Granny would cut up a basket of fresh peaches, cover them with sugar, and let them sit overnight to make a heavy syrup. We would all gather in their carport and sit around in folding chairs talking and waiting on our turn to help churn the ice cream. It seemed like it took forever for the ice cream to freeze. Once it was ready, my Grandmother would go in her kitchen and return with the big bowl of peaches and a tin can of Hershey’s Chocolate syrup (There were no plastic bottles back then). Boy! Now that was good eatin’! Every Spring my Mother and Father would fill our yard and the flower pots on our front porch with petunias, pansies, and snapdragons. My sister and I would help water the flowers every day and we waited with excitement to see the first flowers bloom. My Father would always take a picture of my sister and I standing beside our beautiful blooming flower pots. We would pick a few at a time and take them to our teachers for their desks or put a few in a bowl of water for our Mother. It has been many years since I have tasted a bowl of homemade ice cream with Granny’s peaches, stood beside one of my Father’s blooming flower pots, or taken a dive headfirst on a Slip ‘N Slide, but every Spring when I smell the fresh peaches and I plant pretty new flowers in our flower pots, or I hear a single airplane buzzing through the clouds, I smile and think of how God made the Spring time and all of this for us. As for the Slip ‘N Slide…well, I think that I will just forget about that! HAHA!


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Johnson Barbeque: Winner Best Barbeque!

THANK YOU PLANT CITY!

Fred’s Market: Winner Best Breakfast, Home Cooking, Overall Service and Marci as Server of the Year!

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IN N E R 20 18 W

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events can’t miss CAN'T MISS EVENTS

Apr. 7 Sat. East Hillsborough Discovery Event 9 AM - 3 PM Learn more about opportunities with over 70 resources & programs (non-profits, service providers, businesses, and community organizations) Activities, door prizes & entertainment thru-out the day Florida Strawberry Festival Grounds Charlie Grimes Family Agriculture Center 2508 Oak Ave., Plant City EastHillsboroughDiscoveryQuest.com

Apr. 14 Sat. 1st Annual Praise in the Park 3 – 9 PM (after Railfest ends) Enjoy live Christian music and worship with area bands/groups at this family-friendly community outreach to embrace faith & unity. Bounce houses, face-painting, & activities for children Churches can welcome visitors & distribute literature Free event; purchase food from specialty trucks Krazy Kup Kourtyard & Railroad Museum area 101 East J. Arden Mays Blvd., Plant City Info: Riyza Jose, community@krazykup.com

MARCH

21

Wed.

Capitol Coffee 8:30 - 10 AM Post-Session Conversation with Plant City area elected officials. John R. Trinkle Center 1206 N. Park Rd Cost: Registration required; free for Chamber Members; $10 for Non-Members Info: Plant City Chamber of Commerce, 813754-3707 Color Pencil Portraits 10 AM - 4:30 PM Learn to create your own loved one’s portraitfrom photograph, to line drawing to color pencil. Classroom Gallery in 1914 Plant City High School Community Building 605 N. Collins St Info & registration: Mark Mendez menendezartstudio@yahoo.com Fees: $50 PAGE

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23-25 Fri. - Sun. The Story Fri/Sat 7 PM; Sunday 10:15 AM Enjoy the story of God from Genesis to Revelation presented in music/drama/narration by locals. Plant City Church of God 2103 Mud Lake Rd Info: 813-752-4591 All are welcome; no cost; bring friends!

24 Sat. Jessikah Stahl Concert 8:30 PM Original country music Krazy Kup 101 East J. Arden Mays Blvd., Plant City

25 Sun. Easter Sunrise Service 7:20 AM Honor the resurrection of Christ with the Plant City community. Bring your chair or drive your golf cart. Walden Lake Park @ W. Timberlane Dr.

31

Sat.

Easter Egg Hunt @PCCoG 11 AM - 2 PM Photos with the Easter Bunny, egg hunt and prizes. Plant City Church of God 2103 Mud Lake Rd. Info: 813-752-4591 Easter Festival 11:30 AM – 1 PM Egg Hunt Ages: 2-9 years Hamburgers, Cotton Candy, Popcorn, Snow Cones, Bounce House, & Giveaways Bring your own Basket for the Egg Hunt! All are welcome to this free event Life Family Church 600 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Info: 813-708-2783; Lifefamilychurch.net Easter Egg Hunt 1:30 - 3 PM Family fun, great photo-ops, and adorable animals like Merlin the pony, Callie the horse, goats, cows, and more A Land of Delight Natural Farm 2514 Leaning Pine Lane, Plant City Free Admission

APRIL

04

Wed.

Karaoke Night 10 PM - 1:30 AM Applebee’s Grill & Bar 1204 Townsgate Ct., Plant City

29 Thurs.

07

2018 Plant City Photo Archives and History Center Gala 6:30 - Champagne Reception Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, along with complimentary fine wines Meet celebrity hosts Kathy Fountain and her husband Frank Robertson, WTVT- Channel 13 newscasters; Kathy was born over the Central Pharmacy and her mother, Edith McCall Fountain, is sister of long-time City Manager, Theo Jeffers McCall, for whom McCall Park is named. Live piano music, photo exhibit/trivia quiz, heritage, and awards Attire: Dressy casual or business Cost: $50 106 S. Evers St., Plant City

Pregancy Care Canter “Walk For Life” 10 – 11 AM EDT Annual fundraiser to raise $25,000 for digital sign Pre-register before the event or 9:30 day of; Walk begins at 10AM All are invited to meet at City Hall parking lots and walk Thomas, Wheeler, Reynolds & Baker streets 7 times to total 2 miles. Info: Darlene @517-442-8217 or Sandi @813759-0886

30 Fri. Craft Beer & Coloring 5 - 9 PM Get your color on while sipping craft brews, tasting new bites & enjoying awesome music! Coloring pens/pencils and coloring pages for this kid-friendly event are provided by the Arts Council of Plant City. The Corner Store 121 E Reynolds St., Plant City

Sat.

2nd Annual "Cars For Christ and Craft Show” 10 AM – 2 PM Free family event w-market booths for clothing, jewelry, handmade crafts & furniture Free car registration at shilohpc.org or @9AM on 4-7-18 to be judged; (2017-2018 popular vote only) Trophies, dash plaques, crafts, food and music Shiloh Baptist Church 905 W. Terrace Dr., Plant City Info: 813-752-8345 or @ http://Shilohpc.org The Florida Opry 6 – 9 PM Show features emcee Randy Scott; Larry Mangum—Classic Country Music Journey from Hank Williams to Alan Jackson; and Jerry Mincey's Dirk Roads Scholar with Tony Macaluso. Cost: $15/adults; $8/students 1914 Plant City High School Community Center 605 N. Collins St., Plant City Info: Shelby Bender 813-757-9226 ehhsoc.org/the-florida-opry.html Plant City Community Chorale Presents “Sing On!” 7:30 PM Diverse musical selections from South Africa, Broadway, Mozart, and I Hear America Singing! Tickets: $10/advance; $15/at door Eastside Baptist Church 1318 E. Calhoun St. Info: 813-951-5166 or www. pccchorale.org/buy-tickets

09

Mon.

Plant City Garden Club Meeting 10:30 AM Speaker: Alan Bunch, owner of The Exotic Plumeria Walden Lake East Community Center 1304 Teakwood Dr. Info: Lisa Firm 813-404-4922

13

Fri.

John Gold and Alex Retro LIVE 7:30- 9:30 PM Live music and local coffee! Krazy Kup 101 East J. Arden Mays Blvd., Plant City


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A T G H S O R E R OW E A W E D X 4 D S E A S L E S O V A B O I L A P L E R T 4 M S E M I T R A C Y E L K E R T WO T H E R C I N G U S T


11th Annual

Blueberry Festival 5210 Thonotosassa Rd. Plant City, FL

! s d n e k e e W o

Tw

April 14 & 15 April 21 & 22 8 am - 6 pm

U-Pick Blueberries 8 am - 4 pm Free Admission Live Entertainment Craft & Food Vendors Kids’ Zone

Keel & Curley

Limited Edition Strawberry Shortcake Wine $10 Blueberry Wines

Two Henrys

WINERY BrewerY


Why go to an emergency center that’s connected to a hospital? What if you need the rest of the hospital? When it comes to your health, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Which is why during an emergency such as a stroke or heart attack, every second counts. We don’t want to risk our patients’ lives by transferring them to a different hospital for emergency surgery. Here, if you need to be rushed to surgery, it’s down the hall, not down the road. We also have access to cutting-edge equipment and some of the best doctors, nurses and specialists in the region are only a few feet away. If you need a pint of blood, no problem, we’re connected to a blood bank. Not to mention that our rehabilitation, orthopedic, oncology and maternity departments are only a wheelchair ride away. The best place to go during your emergency is a facility designed to handle any emergency. And that’s right here at BayCare’s South Florida Baptist Hospital.

18-337254-0218