FOCUS Plant City 17-08

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UNMATCHED CREDENTIALS Former Senior Assistant Attorney General in Florida Successfully Prosecuted Murderers & other Violent Offenders

COMMITTED TO PUBLIC SERVICE Investigated Attorney Misconduct for the Florida Bar


Volunteer Teen Court Judge in Hillsborough County Worked to help people with disabilities for over a dozen years

STRONG COMMUNITY ROOTS Raised in South Tampa Proud Father of Two Children

Local 2294



Contents Table of / Issue 17-08 / August 2018



Three stories this month center around music – in a summer camp, in a Local Talent Showcase, and in an invite to join the Plant City Community Chorale. Other fun reads involve the American Legion School Medal Award winners, the Plant City High School FFA Ag Issues championship, the annual New Teacher Coffee, and the Happy Soles sock ministry.



Shari Sarris, owner of The Brick House Café in downtown Plant City, appreciates the dining support locals have always given her restaurant. Through hard work and with great help, Sarris continues to offer up great food to all who enter her doors. Her real secret to success has always been your loyalty.



For our annual Focus on Business issue, we think you’ll enjoy the stories of 38 local enterprises. It’s such fun to learn the backstories and to read how in their own style, fellow entrepreneurs are accomplishing success in our community. Please tell them you read theirs in Focus the next time you shop local.



Tani’s for Dessert has become Plant City’s go-to place for satisfying a sweet tooth in our town. Folks can treat themselves or guests to the best cakes, pies, and other specialties while they enjoy conversation in a quiet atmosphere or they can take home a sweet surprise from the Buttercream Bake Shoppe. If you need sweets, Tani’s has you covered. PAGE




From The Publisher T

he beauty of traveling with family is that the best part of home goes with you.

My parents and I were privileged this month to take a very special motor home trip out West and back with my sons—Zane and Zy—and my nephew Gavin. In the 21 days we were away, we visited family in Arkansas and then headed to some of America’s majestic national parks in Utah and the Grand Canyon in Arizona. We camped at Circus Circus in Las Vegas and even made a side trip so the boys could see Route 66 and the Hollywood sign and Rodeo Drive in California.

Publisher Mike Floyd Office Manager Candy Owens Account Manager Chris Stovall Managing Editor Cheryl Johnston Art Director Anthony Sassano Distribution Tony DeVane Staff Writers Cheryl Johnston | Barbara Routen | Kelli Tharrington Sherrie Mueller | Anthony Bolesta | Cierra Craft Contributors Gil Gott | Jo-An Lusk | Nate Davis | Candy Owens Natalie Sweet | Wanda Anderson | Heather Davis | Layla Keeler Drawdy

Along the way, we spent a refreshing day cliff jumping and rope swinging at Beaver Lake (in water without gators or snakes) and gazed at the 1,000 foot cliffs from a rented boat on Lake Powell. We visited the Cadillac Ranch, and toured The Alamo in San Antonio. Talk about a beautiful country – America is it. And what a pleasure it was to meet so many nice people everywhere. Of all the memories we made together on this 7,000-mile trip, a few I’ll never forget. We ALL enjoyed the meals we grilled together in the campgrounds, while we talked and laughed like families should do every night around the dinner table. We enjoyed just being together. The dad in me enjoyed watching the boys collect pocket knives (and then worried when they wanted to throw them). And because we limited ourselves with the luggage, we even enjoyed the necessary laundry stops along the way. Remarkably, we only suffered two mechanical issues with the motor home, and amazingly both were repaired in ways that didn’t hinder our trip. I’m pretty sure we experienced an “angels unaware” visit by a homeless gentleman in Memphis, too, when our hydraulic line burst to empty all the fluid on the ground. He pointed us to an adjacent auto repair shop and within two hours, we were back on the road again.

Got a story idea? Looking to advertise in Focus? Contact us for more information.

I’m proud to say we also toured the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. We all learned so much and were reminded of how so many sacrificed so much for our freedoms. And how grateful we should be – always.

Floyd Publications, Inc. 702 W. Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd.Plant City, FL 33563 Office 813.707.8783 Fax 813.764.0990

Not surprisingly, I didn’t budget enough for a 21-day trip with six people. But in the end, this excursion was an investment in our lives. When I consider the money typically spent on useless material things, I realize there’s not enough money to replace memories that will last a lifetime. 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 The staff will fix the error in a timely manner. FOCUS Magazine is published monthly and is available through local Plant City businesses, restaurants and many local venues.

My mother, who planned much of our route and activities, blessed me when she said this was her best trip ever. And so far, I would have to agree. Although it’s wonderful to be home again, this I know: We plan to continue this family summer getaway tradition while we’re healthy. Truly, life is too short and this country has so many sights to amaze. I’d love to hear your recommendations for our next adventure. Here’s hoping your family had a great one, too.

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




Town Talk of the

Submit your good news to: or call it in 813.707.8783

Found on Facebook: Congratulations to newly appointed Fire Chief David Burnett! For 11 years, Chief Burnett has served within Plant City Fire Rescue as Deputy Chief and Interim Fire Chief. City Manager Bill McDaniel announced the promotion on Wednesday, July 25.

Chief Duncan and the Plant City Police Department’s K-9 Unit honored Anthony “Doc Y” Weirather with a plaque of thanks for his many years of veterinary care to PCPD’s K-9 partners. Doc Y owns the Animal Clinic at Southside and has decided to leave his practice to slow down. Thank you to Doc Y for years of selfless service to Plant City’s furry friends. Mary Heysek, Executive Director of the United Food Bank of Plant City, and Beth Tancredo, Immediate Past Chairman of the Board, were presented with a donation from Alice Bullard with The Plant City Lion Club and OnPoint IT Solutions. Heysek says the UFBPC is the only food bank of its kind serving eastern Hillsborough County, serving 1.2 million pounds of food to 40,000 people.

The FFA Parliamentary Procedure team (Par Pro) from Tomlin Middle School won the state championship trophy at the June convention in Orlando. Shown L-R are Brenna Sturgis, Bailey Blanton, Landen Robert, Dalton Blanton, Sophia Pal, Meghan Hiers, and FFA Advisor, Mr. Steven Johnson. Way to go, Team! PAGE


Durant FFA Sr. Chapter donated 15 backpacks to students at Trapnell Elementary School on August 8th. School supplies were in each backpack to help students have a successful 2018-2019 school year.

*Over 600 infant care items, including diapers, wipes, soap, clothing and cribs, were donated to the Pregnancy Care Center of Plant City by the Knights of Columbus’ “Christmas in July” event. The KoC chapter at St, Clement Catholic Church has donated items to the center for three years. Pictured L-R are: Back row: Sandi Nelson, Father Mike O’Brien Front Row: Tony Buffa, Mike Bosler (kneeling), Tony Defrancesco (kneeling), Larry Minich, John Smik, David Bourie, Joseph Herrmann, Andrew Bryant, Greg Richard




American Legion School Medal Award Program

Norman McLeod Post 26 Earns Statewide Honor and Recognizes 8 Local Students

• • •


Plant City HS Samantha Gutierrez Benjamin Cribbs Simmons Career Center Savannah Trapnell Tyler Kemp Strawberry Crest HS Michelle Garcia Michael Kohlen

Middle School Recipients • Marshall MS Isabella Wilson Peyton Strawn • Mulrennan MS Sydney Sullenberger Lucas Phelps

• •

Tomlin MS Emma Futch Dalton Blanton Turkey Creek MS Adamaris Chavez Austin Holcomb

The American Legion Post 26, located at 2207 Baker Street in Plant City has 119 members and always welcomes more. Along with members of their Ladies’ Auxiliary, the group serves in various projects throughout the year. For additional information, call 813-752-8608 or visit the Florida American Legion Headquarters at

The Norman McLeod Post 26 received statewide recognition in a plaque presentation recently for their efforts to reinstate and maintain the American Legion School Medal Award Program in the four middle schools and four high schools in our local community.


or the last several years, the Norman McLeod Post 26 of the American Legion in Plant City has invited area middle and high school personnel to select a boy and a girl from the 8th and 12th grades who have demonstrated high qualities of courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship and service. Those qualities, necessary to the preservation and protection of the fundamental institutions of our government and the advancement of society, are recognized at each school’s year-end award presentations program. Each student receives a framed certificate and medal as winners of the statewide “American Legion School Award.” The medal is the highest honor awarded by The American Legion. The Post 26 committee chairman, Ray Cliburn, is assisted in this effort by legionnaires Alvin McGary, Wayne



Smith, Dan Cabrera, Randy Wells and Rob McGregor. Interestingly, Cliburn himself received the award in 1947 as a ninth grader and again as a twelfth grader in 1950, both times at Turkey Creek Jr/Sr High School. In addition, Post 26 received statewide recognition in a plaque presentation recently for their efforts to reinstate and maintain the Award Program in the area served by American Legion Post 26. Congratulations to the students who received a certificate of “Distinguished Achievement” and a medal to commemorate their recognition as 2017-2018 honorees. These include: High School Recipients • Durant HS Alexia Nyiri Carlton Potter

Ray Cliburn, committee chairman for the American Legion School Medal Award Program himself received the award in 1947 as a ninth grader and again as a twelfth grader in 1950, both times at Turkey Creek Jr/Sr High School.



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Happy Soles Sock Ministry BY ANISA BROWN


aking a difference one sock at a time As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another. (1 Peter 4:10) Over a year and a half ago, the First Baptist Church of Durant started a ministry that stands out from the rest. Instead of going the usual route of feeding the homeless, donating old clothes, or giving school kids a new pair of sneakers, they have decided to distribute socks through their Happy Souls Sock Ministry. “We have an adult Sunday school class at the beginning of church on Sunday mornings and our pastor, Kevin Wynne, mentioned it as doing something different for the community,” said Summer Rains, Children’s Leader at First Baptist Church of Durant. “To see how we could reach others in a different way. We wanted to find something that we could go deeper to help the little



kids who don’t have anything.” The non-profit Happy Souls Sock ministry following God’s word by being the hands and feet of Christ and clothing the feet of others. Working alongside the Junior Women’s Club in Plant City, Happy Soul Sock Ministry provides socks for the new shoes the children receive each December. Happy Souls also includes socks in care bags the church’s youth distributes around the community in an attempt to serve the homeless. “Some people don’t think socks really need a ministry, but they do,” said Rains. “If you ask a business woman who wears high heels all day, the last thing she’s going to think about is a pair of socks. But, if you ask the guy on the side of the road that’s been wearing tennis shoes all day it’s like ‘Oh my gosh.’” Within the last year, Happy Souls has donated 2250 pairs of socks, approximately three pair per person.

This year their goal is to double that by donating 4500 pairs of socks to 15 elementary schools across Hillsborough County. “We are aiming for the 4500 this year to double the amount of socks,” said Rains. “Then, the other goal is to give them out everywhere, not just Hillsborough County. The one thing we want to do in Plant City is a sock drop and events to grow our reach bigger and bigger. Many people don’t know about the ministry except through our Facebook page.” “It’s seeing the joy on the people’s face or the kids’ faces when they get new ocks,” said 12-year-old

Happy Souls member, Taylor Smith. “We went to a bunch of schools and all the people in the office were like ‘Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, thank you so much, thank you so much.’ so it’s cool to see their reactions.” “It’s just fun to see how happy they get and how thankful they are for the socks we give them,” said 10-year-old Happy Souls member, Keegan Smith. If interested in helping the Happy Souls Sock Ministry or for additional information, please call Summer Rains at 813-967-7077 or visit First Baptist Church of Durant on Facebook.




New Teacher Coffee:

Chamber hosts breakfast to welcome new school staff BY CIERRA CRAFT

Principal Pam Bowden and teachers new to Durant High School pause for a pose with Mr. Berry.


he Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce began the 20182019 school year with the New Teacher Coffee, where over 100 new teachers and administrators were welcomed to Plant City schools. The event was held Tuesday, August 7 in the TECO Expo Hall at the Florida Strawberry Festival. The new educators were introduced to School Superintendent Jeff Eakins who spoke about high quality of the schools in Eastern Hillsborough County. Edwena Haney of Hopewell Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens invited all of the attendees to the 33rd Annual Veteran’s Day Celebration in November to become further involved in the Plant City community. Typically, each school presents a prepared skit, but this year, attendees took a “pop quiz,” and competed for a trophy. Each school came to the stage, introduced their new staff members and read their assigned question aloud. Questions



included what year was Plant City established and in what year did Plant City set the world record for the largest strawberry shortcake. The New Teacher Coffee was sponsored by the Florida Strawberry Festival, Suncoast Credit Union, South Florida Baptist Hospital and the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, Jason Jones, says the New Teacher Coffee is the chamber’s way of showing support for the new educators and local schools. “This is our way to give back to our teachers who take care of our young,” said Jones. “We want the teachers to know the city, community and the chamber support them.” The social mixer allowed the new teachers to meet each other, community leaders and learn more about the community. “It [the event] introduces them to the community and it’s a great

way for them to met all of the other teachers,” said Jones. “Our hope is that the teachers will exchange ideas as well.”

Although new teacher welcome events happen all over Hillsborough County, Plant City Chamber of Commerce Committee member and Community Service Coordinator of Hopewell Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens, Marsha Passmore says Plant City began this tradition years ago. “The Plant City Chamber was the first to start the New Teacher Coffee, so it’s like being a part of history,” said Passmore. “We couldn’t do it without all of the sponsors and the community.” At dismissal, teachers and administrators were visibly elated for the new school year. The 2018 Little Miss Plant City Queen and Court were on hand to pass out tote bags to each attendee. These tote bags were full of tools and supplies from community donors to help each educator in the new school year.

Springhead Elementary School's new staff poses with Florida Strawberry Festival mascot Mr. Berry. The Florida Strawberry Festival sponsored the event and each school took a photo with the beloved mascot.





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Plant City High School FFA Ag Issues Team 2018 State Champions to Compete at Nationals BY ELIZABETH MICHAELS

The Plant City team decided to cover the beef industry since it is the largest single segment of the agriculture industry in America. Each girl had a part to play in the dramatic presentation showcasing all sides and views of the beef industry. They discussed this controversial topic with representatives of each belief. Kendall Gaudens expressed, “Being onstage for the awards was one of the most nerve wracking experiences of my life. Most of our team had been working on this contest for three years, and we all put in countless hours of preparation, starting months in advance. Because of the endless work put forth throughout the contest, being named state champions will always be one of the most humbling experiences for me. I am so thankful for the six people standing by my side onstage that night.” In October, the team will travel

to Indianapolis, Indiana to compete at the 91st National FFA State Convention and Expo. They are ecstatic about this opportunity. They depart on Tuesday, October 23, participate in the preliminary competition on Wednesday, and hope for a victory at the final event on Thursday. Team members include Delaney Flowers, Madilyn Conrad, Kendall Gaudens, Reagan Brown, Lily Batley, Taryn Storter, and Brooke Varn. Their advisors are Julia McConnell, Michael Paul, Steven Delgado, and Cassie Miles. The team is accepting donations to help them as they as they make their journey to Nationals. To offer your support as they represent Plant City High School and the State of Florida, please direct your contributions to Raider Champions of Plant City High School. Be sure to specify funds are for the FFA Ag Issues team. Thank you so much, Plant City, for your support and consideration.

The 2018 Florida FFA State Champion Agriculture Issues Team, shown L-R, include Taryn Storter, Reagan Brown, Kendall Gaudens, Madilyn Conrad, Delaney Flowers, Lily Batley, and Brooke Varn.


he Plant City High School FFA Agriculture Issues team placed first at the 90th annual Florida FFA State Convention and Expo. After competing against incredibly talented teams from all across the state, these seven Plant City girls waited onstage with three other teams to discover the results. As each of the others were called and after the second place team was named, the PCHS team realized they were the winners. The excitement was overwhelming as the girls celebrated their victory and the reward for all their efforts. Brooke Varn, an upcoming junior, explained that in the moment of the announcement, “I was so relieved, knowing all of our hard work had paid off. I also began to feel excited that we get to compete on the national level.”



After countless hours of preparation and practices, starting many months ago, the PCHS team presented their agricultural issue to a panel of judges. Delaney Flowers said, “Agriculture Issues is a contest that takes so much hard work and determination. I am beyond blessed to have been able to work with six amazing girls this year and win states with them by my side. I love being able to watch all of our hard work pay off and I cannot wait to represent Plant City High School together in October.” The Florida FFA Agriculture Issues competition is designed to give students the opportunity to learn about various matters facing the industry. FFA members create, practice, and present a 15-minute presentation on a topic of their choice.

The PCHS FFA “Agriculture Issues Team” dressed for their presentation.



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Live Music Talent Showcase:

1916 Irish Pub and Duke’s Brewhouse hosts live music contest BY CIERRA CRAFT | PROVIDED BY CIERRA CRAFT & CHRIS STOVALL

1916 Irish Pub was packed with patrons, some whom were dancing. The pub was abuzz with excitement as everyone enjoyed the artists’ musical compilations.


916 Irish Pub and Duke’s Brewhouse hosted the Live Music Talent Showcase, a three-week contest where local artists presented their best original and cover songs. Contestants competed for the first place prize of $750 cash. The competition was sponsored by Pepin Distributing Company and Republic National Distributing Company. Contestants were required to sign up at 1916’s Tuesday Open Mic Night. Each participant was assigned to perform at either Duke’s Brewhouse Plant City on July 15 or Duke’s Brewhouse Lakeland on July 22. Judges selected the top 9 artists to participate in the July 29 Final at 1916 Irish Pub. Lanny Zeigel, a musician known professionally as LANNY Z, emceed the event and says supporting live music is crucial.



“I have run the open mic night every Tuesday for over a year now at 1916 Irish Pub…” said Zeigel. “As a full-time musician myself, I think it’s vital to support live local music. Not to mention the fact Duke’s and 1916 provide live music every week, it was a privilege to be asked to host this event.” The final nine finalists to perform at the July 29 event were Abby Emmons, Noel Rochford, Gregory Milo, Bryan James Betelho, OakLee Music, Katherine Woss, Billy McKnight, Emmanuel Velez and Rob Hamm. 1916 Irish Pub was packed for the final competition, with the crowd buzzing as each artist took the stage. With drinks in hand, the crowd sang along to the artists renditions of their favorite songs and some folks hit the dance floor to

sway to their favorite beats. $750 in cash was award to first place winner Billy McKnight, who in addition to his original songs, covered “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley and “3AM” by Matchbox 20. Country/Rock group, OakLee Music received the second place prize of a Yeti brand cooler and $100 gift card. Third place winner, Abby Emmons, received a $100 gift card.

This competition not only brought the two businesses together, but allows local artists to share their passion for music with one another. These artists and other local musicians can be heard at Tuesday Open Mic Night at 8PM at 1916 Irish Pub and Fridays from 8PM to 12AM at Duke’s Brewhouse Plant City and Duke’s Brewhouse Lakeland.

The first place prize of $750 cash was awarded to Billy McKnight by event judges Chuck Jamieson and Duke Mendel. The two establishments were brought together in support of local musical talent.

Host, Lanny Zeigel, announced the judges had selected Abby Emmons as the third place winner. Emmons performed renditions of artists such as P!nk! and Katy Perry.

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Join the Plant City Community Chorale Singing, Concerts and Friendships BY CHERYL JOHNSTON | PROVIDED BY PCCC


tarted in 2008 with fewer than ten members, the 501©(3) non-profit Plant City Community Chorale now presents quality music performances to a wide audience and provide opportunities for local singers to perfect their skills. As a premier singing group celebrating its 10th year, the Chorale now averages 25-35 members for each of its four annual performances -- and is actively inviting more singers to join in the fun! In this fourth season under the direction of Claudia Liliana Bolano Becerra, rehearsals began on August 20 and continue each Monday evening from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church. Several car pools assist folks from Plant City get to Valrico for rehearsals. Through music, the PCCC hopes to educate and inspire the community. Carol Byers, one of the original singers from 2008, explained her passion for the PCCC. “To be part of a group that brings



joy, laughter and sometimes tears to our audiences is amazing…and “to be told we will be performing in Portuguese or in an African language at our first rehearsal is exciting, challenging and never the ‘same old stuff.’” Byers credits the “outstanding leadership” of board members, directors and accompanists. “By concert time, we are all amazed at what we have learned and how much we have grown professionally and musically. Variety is the spice of life and we have that.” Members make lasting friendships and support each other through illnesses, deaths, and milestone celebrations, too. They have participated in Relay for Life, Candlelight at Disney, Americana celebrations, Empty Bowls, and at Happy Days RV Community, nursing/rehab centers among other venues. And everyone enjoys their annual singing at “Christmas at the Paddocks” subdivision in Walden Lake because Santa comes to visit the children.

Many members do not read music but no matter. Byers encouraged, “The PCCC is always open to all who enjoy music, would like to be part of a beautiful supportive family, and want to touch the hearts of Plant city and area residents.” Executive Director Carol Walker joined the choir in 2012 after her husband took her to a concert. Describing herself as “hooked,” she shared: “Finding the chorale has filled that part of me that needs to sing. Our director has increased my skills and given me an appreciation for performance excellence. The exhilarating concerts are worth all the preparation.” Prior to accepting that top position for the 2018-2019 season, Walker served as the board’s treasurer, directed ticket sales, recruited concert greeters, and posted publicity online and in local newspapers. Now acting as CEO, she will setting board meeting agendas, preside over meetings, ensure adherence to regulations for non-profit status and work with the Treasurer to set the annual budget and monitor financial transactions. And she’s always inviting, “Our chorale is its own community of people who love to sing, who want

to be challenged beyond what they believe they can accomplish, and who enjoy having a great time together…Plant City Community Chorale is the place to be!” The very affordable tickets typically are available at www., by calling 813-951-5166, and by purchase directly from any Chorale member. Upcoming performances include: • October 13, 2018 (Celebrating 10 Years) at Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church, 604 N. Valrico Road, Valrico • December 8, 2018 (Christmas) at First United Methodist Church, 303 N. Evers Street, Plant City • 2019 - Spring concert in April; Patriotic concert in June Always in need of additional support, the PCCC offers donation levels from $25 to $1,000-plus, along with advertising in concert programs. Hopewell Funeral Home sponsors the Christmas and Patriotic concerts, but the Fall and Spring concerts are still available. Since music is a community effort everyone can enjoy, please consider attending, donating, or joining. PAGE







Independence Academy Hosts Summer Showcase BY ANTHONY BOLESTA

Academy were not the only contributors to the showcase; as both Dance Quest International from Brandon and Plant City’s own Dark Horse Music played important roles. The Academies have a strong community amongst themselves. Dozens of families interact and all are dedicated to helping one another improve, learn, and hopefully continue to pass down the traditions of the arts. With great teachers and talented

children, the two academies are always looking to assist in making the youth in the area reach their full potential. They are always eager to see a new face and would love to grow as a community. Call either school or visit online for additional information: Independence 813-473-8600 ( or Advantage 813-567-0801 (https://www. advantageacademyhillsborough. com)

Music teacher, Mr. Georgie, rocking out with his students, also expressed his appreciation for the hard work they accomplished during the camp.


very person and every culture on earth has been exposed to music in some form. More than just an art form, music is a tradition passed down through generations. During the summer, the Independence Academy school at 12902 U.S. Highway 92 in Dover hosted a summer camp so children in kindergarten through Grade 8 could learn and enjoy the expressive arts of music and dance. “This isn’t about the money, it’s about passing knowledge to the next generation,” was the ideal that the Independence Academy in Dover and Advantage Academy in Plant City wanted to express while the children performed in front of their classmates, families and friends. Guided by their teachers, the children presented their selections from a wide array of genres, ranging



from the iconic song, “ABC” by the Jackson Five, to a more contemporary hit in the form of “Believer” by Imagine Dragons. Autumn Bargeron, who performed in the kindergarten/1st grade’s take on the song “Africa,” later returned to the stage after Advantage’s performance of ABC with an instrumental performance of “Mary had a Little Lamb.” Mr. Georgie, the show’s host and one of the teachers who has spent a lot of time working the children, emphasized that “these kids are all incredibly talented, outgoing, and hard working.” “They have only been playing for two months,” he added, truly showing his admiration for the next generation’s talent and drive to learn and improve. Independence and Advantage

Dark Horse Music Studio, a sponsor of the event, with their merchandise stand.

Students performing a cover of imagine dragons song, Believer.




Corina De La Garza


ashion and style lover Corina De La Garza is a Plant City native. A graduate of Plant City High School and Hillsborough Community College, De La Garza is slowly building a following on Instagram (@corinadelagarza) as one of Plant City’s top fashion and style influencers on social media. Pairing simple pieces such as black jeans with bold pops of pattern or color, such as leopard print boots or a red lipstick, De La Garza believes fashion doesn’t have to be expensive nor complicated. The young stylist says she finds inspiration all around her, from colors to even music and nature. How would you describe your personal style? “It’s not one thing, it’s not girly, it’s not preppy, it’s something with an edge. It’s a mix of a lot of styles.” What style icons do you look up to? “I find inspiration from people around me, rather than style icons. I am inspired by textures, colors, or even inspired by music or nature. I also find a lot of inspiration from my brother.”



Where do you buy your clothes? “I shop online, Forever 21, Nasty Gal, and Target. I also shop at thrift stores. Fashion doesn’t have to expensive. Follow trends but do them in a different way can really set you apart... Anyone can have style” What is one item all women should have in their closets? “Statement accessories, like shoes or jewelry can dress up a plain white tee or other basic pieces.” What are your goals for your online presence? “I want to eventually have a lifestyle and fashion blog for people my age looking to be on a budget with decor, fashion, etc. I would also like to be a personal stylist or work for a production company as a stylist.”

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


On Tuesday, August 2nd The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting at the Victory Office for the Plant City Republican Women Federated Club located at 3108 Central Drive, Plant City. From the club: "We are so blessed to have been offered this beautiful facility by Mike and Shelly Jemison to conduct what we do for our candidates. We will be organizing call banking, walks, forums, and debates from this location. Yard signs, information packets, and offices are available to any Republican candidate running for office in the State, County or City. As a Club we do not support any one Republican over another during the Primaries. After the Primary we will hit the road running to elect our chosen candidates. We are so fortunate to have a deep bench of intelligent, conservative and dedicated candidates. The National Federated Republican Women (NFRW) has been around since 1938, the Florida State Club (FFRW) was formed in 1950 and the Plant City Club (PCRWF) has been in existence since 1999. The power of an organized group of Conservative women cannot be underestimated."




Did You Know?

Two of Greater Plant City’s Black Communities (Part 2 of 2) BY PLANT CITY PHOTO ARCHIVES

E.L. Bing is second from right in the second row.

By Plant City Photo Archives and History CenterBy 1932 the Bealsville community organized to build a new school. They raised over $1,100 and, this time with the partnership of the school board, built a new three-room school on ten acres donated by William Glover. The school was later renamed Glover School and operated as a school for black children until about 1972 when it became a sixth grade center and kindergarten for both blacks and whites. By the mid 1900s these two communities had developed their own unique characteristics and institutions. Bealsville was primarily agricultural and the Laura Street community had its own commerce – restaurants, theatres, grocery stores, barbers and hair salons, rooming houses, bars and night clubs, a black Masonic lodge, a funeral home, a taxi service, a number of well-attended churches, and more. Many residents of these PAGE


communities attended their local schools, developed full professional careers, and became prominent citizens. Two examples of the products of these communities are Elijah Lutrell (E. L.) Bing, Jr. and Dr. Sam Horton, Jr. Elijah L. Bing, Jr. was born in the Laura Street community about 1921 and attended Midway Academy; because there was no further education available for blacks locally he attended junior high school in Jacksonville while living with relatives. He returned to Plant City and completed high school in Lakeland, probably Washington Park High School. Bing served in the U.S. Army and upon his return he completed his undergraduate education at Florida A&M University. He received his master’s degree in education at Columbia University in New York City. Bing returned to Plant City and served as principal at the Glover School from 1949 to 1954 and then

at the all-black Marshall High School from 1954 to 1967. In 1967 Bing was named Director of Federal Projects for the Hillsborough School District and later became an Assistant School Superintendent. Bing also was appointed to a vacancy on the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners. After his retirement he assumed the position of Provost of the Hillsborough Community College Ybor City Campus. Dr. Sam Horton, Jr., born in 1929, grew up in Bealsville and attended the Glover School then Midway Academy, which then served grades one through twelve. He received his B.A. degree from Florida A&M University and later completed his doctoral studies at Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Horton taught in local schools from 1949 until becoming principal at Lincoln Elementary in 1965. When E. L. Bing left Marshall High School to take the position with the

school district, Dr. Horton took over as principal at Marshall, where he was responsible for implementing the integration program. In 1978 Dr. Horton was appointed general director for secondary education for the Hillsborough School District, where he served until retiring in 1991. In addition to these two men themselves, the communities of Bealsville and Laura Street are memorialized by two structures, both related to the lives of these men. They are the Glover School in Bealsville and the Bing Rooming House Museum at Allen and Laura Streets. These two men and two structures are symbolic of the spirit and the culture of the historically significant communities of Bealsville and Laura Street, communities the Plant City area can be proud of. Sources: James W. Loewen, Lies My Teacher Told Me; Quintilla Geer Bruton and David E. Bailey, Plant City; Its Origin and History; Mark W. Kerlin, Plant City, Florida, 1885-1940: A Study in Southern Urban Development; U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places; The Tampa Tribune; Tampa Bay Times; Plant City Photo Archives and History Center.





Brick by Brick

Shari Sarris finds success with Brick House Cafe INTERVIEW AND PHOTOS BY CIERRA CRAFT

Brick House Cafe owner, Shari Sarris entered the restaurant industry in 1997, working in a kitchen in a Lakeland restaurant her family purchased. The self-taught cook passed her skills along to her son, Spiros, who has worked alongside his mom since he was 13 years old. Then, on December 11, 2008, Sarris opened Brick House Cafe on Plant City’s Prosser Drive. After ten years of success at that location, Brick House Cafe now calls 206 Evers Street home. This truly family run restaurant also has other family members on staff, including Shari’s husband, daughter, daughterin-law and sister-in-law on the restaurant staff. As Sarris reflects on the last twenty-one years of her life as a restauranteur, she shares the story of how Brick House Cafe came to be. PAGE


The Brick House Cafe staff pride themselves in offering friendly customer service and classic home cooked meals to patrons.

Shari’s daughter-inlaw, Mellisa, makes all of Brick House Cafe desserts by hand. Mellisa’s cakes and pies are so popular, Shari says customers pre-order desserts to take home.

Born in Northern Michigan, Sarris moved to Plant City in 1977 and is a graduate of Plant City High School. In the late 1990s, she was working in real estate and at the United States Postal Service. Sarris then began cooking in a restaurant purchased by her family in the neighborhood of Lakeland Highlands. “I knew I could cook but I had never cooked on a flat top, so I watched and practiced until I mastered it,” says Sarris. She took a leave from the post office to pursue cooking full-time, after noticing how popular her food was among customers. At the time, her son Spiros was 13-years-old and her daughter, Carissa, was 11. The children began working alongside their mother in the family restaurant. “One day, a food critic from the Ledger [Lakeland Ledger] came in, we didn’t know he was a food critic, but my staff told me ‘there is a guy ordering everything on the menu,” said Sarris. “After he ate, he wanted to speak with me. He told me ‘I’m about the make you famous.’ Our business skyrocketed.” After 11 years of culinary success in Lakeland, Sarris decided in September 2008 to pursue other endeavors and leave the restaurant business all together. But, in November of that year, she realized she made a bad decision and she decided to open a new restaurant in Plant City, her hometown. “The only location available was the old Pizza Hut,” said Sarris. Inspired by the brick interior of the building, the Brick House Cafe opened its doors December 11, 2008. Sarris knew that her home cooked food would be well received and a restaurant like hers was needed in Plant City. Despite PAGE


naysayers who said they could put Brick House Cafe out of business, Sarris said those who doubted her motivated her even more. “I was going to do whatever it took to make it,” said Sarris. Brick House Cafe breakfast options are what established the business as the place to get a good home cooked meal, but once Plant City residents found out about the restaurants’ burgers, she said it was a “voilà” moment. “I don’t think there is another restaurant in Plant City that offers hand pattied half-pound burgers for around $5.00,” said Sarris. The cooking at Brick House Cafe is award winning: Brick House Cafe has won FOCUS Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards for “Best Burgers” for the last four years and “Best Breakfast” two of the last four years, and “Best Service” one year. Additionally, the Brick House Cafe has won Tampa Bay Times’ Silver Award for “Best Breakfast.” Sarris says FOCUS’s Reader’s Choice Awards were instrumental in the success of her business. “The FOCUS Awards led to more recognition and new people trying our food,” said Sarris. In late 2016, the Prosser Drive location needed major repairs. The owners of the building decided to sell the property and terminate the Brick House Cafe lease. Sarris and her family began looking for a new property to relocate the beloved restaurant. She inquired about a space in a strip mall, but ultimately she chose 206 Evers Street as the new Brick House Cafe location. The building was once the Plant City Jail, then a dance studio, and a former meat market. However, the location was

completely gutted when Sarris and her family came in to set up the restaurant. While the reconstruction took longer than anticipated, Sarris said she is in love with the restaurant’s new home and the Midtown location has introduced Brick House Cafe to a whole new demographic. Sarris and her husband, Chris, did a complete renovation to turn the space into what it is today. She credits her husband tremendously for all of the hard work he put into creating the family’s vision. “The new Brick House wouldn’t be in existence without all of the work he [Chris] put into it,” said Sarris. The restaurant opened December 1, 2017 at its new home and the response was something Sarris couldn’t have anticipated. But, it wasn’t smooth sailing the first few days. She says the A/C stopped working, she had issues with hot water and she ran out of food, among other issues. But, the spirit of perseverance and strength in Sarris, pushed her and her family to make it through those first days after the relocation. Mother and son had a moment after the first day and she said “I can’t believe we’re here, I can’t believe we served this many people and you and I are still speaking to each other.” Shari said her and Spiros hugged each other and said “see you tomorrow same time, same place, same outcome I hope,” and neither one has ever looked back. Despite the location change, Sarris and Spiros are still serving up their made-from-scratch home cooked meals. As a third generation restaurateur, Sarris knows when she retires, Brick House Cafe will go to her son. “The restaurant couldn’t be what it is without Spiros,” says Sarris. “He is just as big of a reason Brick House Cafe has

become a success as I am.” Spiros is one of many family members working at Brick House Cafe. His wife, Mellisa, bakes all of the cakes, pies, cookies and cupcakes sold at the restaurant. Customers are so impressed with Mellisa’s baked good, they pre-order her desserts to serve at events and gatherings. Shari hopes Mellisa will be nominated for “Best Desserts” in FOCUS’s Reader’s Choice Awards 2019. Sarris loves what she does and feels blessed to have such loyal customers, many who have become personal friends. She said she loves when customers peek their heads into the kitchen just to say hello or call her out to their table. The Food Unlike some restaurant owners, Shari is in the kitchen preparing food daily. Most of which is homemade include the daily specials, desserts, soup and biscuits. • Best sellers include Meat Loaf, Pot Roast and Chicken & Dumplings • Served until 8:30 AM, the restaurant offers a breakfast special called “Old Jailhouse Special” for $4.75, which includes coffee. • Brick House offers 5 lunch specials under $7 including a sandwich and fries, chef salad, or a burger and fries. Shair Sarris wants everyone to come and try the new Brick House, where good food is just the beginning. She knows once you try it, you are sure to become a regular. Remember, you’re only a stranger once. PAGE


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A PEACE of Plant City Photos by Aimee Robinson Nicholas

When Jayme Harris opened A PEACE of Plant City in her childhood hometown on November 11, 2017, most locals had no idea of the circuitous route her life had taken. The story enriches the shopping experience and Jayme’s infectious optimism turns a casual visitor into a regular customer. If you haven’t stopped in yet at her lovely store, now’s the time! A PEACE of Plant City offers an array of items including locally made strawberry-themed shirts, hats, jewelry, organic soaps, lip PAGE


balm, lotions, and bath/body scented salts and oils. Spoil the ones you love with the perfect gift for all occasions. Jayme is also pleased to have offered private event rental space for 15 events this year. “I want people to enjoy and make memories in this happy historic space. Stop in to learn more and schedule your special occasion.” During her high school years, Lewis and Claudia Coleman invited Jayme to live with them so she could graduate from Plant City High School rather than moving to Cleveland, Ohio with

her father, a Vietnam veteran. After graduation in 1990, Jayme’s enlistment in the U.S. Air Force landed her at Eglin AFB as a Fire Protection Specialist. Before departing Eglin after 11 years (both active duty and Department of Defense civil service, she was filling battalion chief duties and crew chief of the base and surrounding counties on a 47-foot ladder truck with a 107-foot aerial. Next came work with KBR Halliburton and as a co-founder of Unity. While serving 34 countries in disastrous situations, the sales

volume of that multi-cultural contract supplier grew to more than $800 million. Jayme’s first book—Dare, Dream, Discover (Greenleaf Publishing) at age 34 preceded another at age 45, as a contributing author to Success Manifesto (NY Times Best Seller and Amazon Top 10 book), published with Brian Tracy. After Jayme married Steven Palmer last year, he left the home base decision up to her. “I wanted my son Dylan to have the sweet small-town experiences I had,” she shared. “Every time I returned to the States and Plant

“I was so unsure how the locals would respond to my boutique’s concept. The overwhelming support I’ve received means the world to me. It is a true honor to serve my community and add to the history books by becoming a business owner in Plant City’s historic downtown. I don’t take lightly the huge responsibility of trying to fill the shoes of previous owners at 120 N. Collins Street – businesses such as White’s Pharmacy and the Camellia Rose Team Room. I'm so thankful to have true Peace now that I'm living in this special place. Thank you Plant City!” Jayme also offered, “A special thank you to… • my husband for believing and investing in me to make this dream possible • my best friend Alison Coleman for supporting me and loving me for over 30 years • my dear friend since high school, Aimee Robinson Nicholas for graciously accepting the coffee invitation upon my return to Plant City which led to business discussions for a boutique in downtown • Grits & Berries for becoming the heartbeat of my store • and last but not least, to God for blessing me with the greatest gift of all, my son, Dylan James Harris. For a fun shopping experience, visit Jayme online or in person. You’ll appreciate the smiles, the selection, and the new friendship.

photo by Aimee Robinson Nicholas

City, I could sense something rare here and always felt so welcomed.” Even as Steven continues his government contracting work, Jayme and Dylan are deepening those community roots. The Plant City Chamber of Commerce member has also started mentoring a PCHS student through the Hillsborough Education Foundation. “Invest and believe in a kid who could use hope and they can change the world,” offered Jayme. “That's what the Colemans did for me.” As another means to mentoring the next generation, she has also selected her first “Brand Ambassador,” a teen who will represent the business at various functions throughout the year. “It is very important to me to express my sincere gratitude to what I consider the greatest community that exists. After leaving Plant City in 1990 to search for success and satisfy my yearning for world travel, I would never have imagined the old saying “All roads lead to home” would ring true for me. Since opening my boutique in one of the most historic locations and buildings in the Winter Strawberry Capitol of the World, I now realize that what I have so long searched for, and even more during my explorations, included acceptance, balance, happiness and peace. I'm proud to say that by moving back home, I have truly found all I’ve searched for all these years.” “Opening a business always involves risk,” Jayme continued.

Jayme Harris, A PEACE of Plant City owner, appreciates all things strawberry!

120 N. Collins Street, Suite 101 | Plant City, Florida 33563 | 813-704-5773 Online: Facebook & Hours: Monday-Friday 10AM – 5PM; Saturday 10AM – 4PM PAGE



Ace Realty Advisors, LLC Knowledge – Experience – Results From start to finish, the full service brokerage firm of Ace Realty Advisors, LLC, provides complete solutions to property owners and purchasers throughout Plant City and beyond. Estate services and real estate auctions are also company specialties. With nearly 125 years of combined experience in today’s dynamic marketplace, the seasoned professionals at Ace have outstanding networking and industry relationships. No wonder a wide and varied client PAGE


base trusts this team to promote, market, sell and even manage their properties. MEET the TEAM – Local Knowledge and Nationwide Capability In 2014, colleagues John Haney, Attorney Joseph Nolan and his wife Gigi formed a partnership. “Joe was in the process of founding Ace and we felt we could build a viable, full-service brokerage firm that specialized in commercial, residential and auction sales on a local and regional basis,” Haney

explained. Although their office was in Lakeland then, they could see Plant City was positioning itself for growth and wanted to be a part of it. Fourth-generation Plant City native John Haney, shortly after graduating college, sold real estate across the country for a nationwide auction company, travelling annually through 15-20 different states selling surplus property for corporations like Walmart, Alcoa and Textron. He always enjoyed selling property locally as well. As managing broker, co-

owner, and company president, Haney has more than 18 years in local and national real estate, with sales in 41 states and several foreign countries to his credit. He also sells real estate at auction and regularly donates time to assist a number of different charity auctions. Co-owner Joseph J. Nolan, Esq., serves as CEO and General Counsel for the firm. As a graduate of the University of South Florida and Stetson Law School he has specialized in real estate since 1987..Along with his wife Gigi Nolan, a USF graduate

and the company’s CFO/Closing Administrator, they operate the Law Office of Joseph J. Nolan, PA. Together, they handle real estate closings, wills, trusts, estates and general business law. In addition, Joe serves as corporate counsel for Ace. Interestingly, the firm has closed transactions in all 67 Florida counties. As Sales Associate, Realtor and Auction Consultant, Earl Williams does much more, making sure listings are marketed correctly, working with buyers and sellers, and assists other agents as needed. He is also a Plant City native and graduate of the University of South Florida. Together, the ACE team combines over 125 years of experience in virtually every facet of the real estate industry. With successful sales in all 67 Florida counties and 49 states, the firm’s Realtors, Auctioneers and in-house Attorney provide an incredible level of expertise to which every ACE client has access. The team also includes: • Tom Haney - John’s father; company advisor & Auctioneer • Cynthia Clonts – Tampa & Temple Terrace Sales Associate • Buddy Johnson – Sales Associate • Jim Owen - Auctioneer • Julee Shepherd – Office Administrator

clients. “We wanted to be based in the heart of downtown Plant City because it’s an important way to maintain connections with the locals,” said Haney. “For our office renovations, we used local contractors and we always enjoy supporting local vendors. He added, “We feel the positive attitude toward business growth and the future for downtown and even beyond Plant City is impressive and very bright. It’s a great place to live and work.” In a show of local support, the firm holds memberships in the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce and the Plant City Economic Development Corp. Haney also serves as the Club Secretary with the Plant City (Noon) Rotary Club and as a board member with Plant City Main Street. On a personal note, Haney is a Plant City High School graduate (Class of '95), attended HCC, and received his Business Administration degree from the University of South Florida. In 2001, he married Plant City

native Amy Ballard. She is the School Counselor at Knights Elementary, where their son Ryan is a fifth-grader. They live in rural Plant City where they have maintained a cattle ranch and farm for many years.

MARKET OUTLOOK “I think this is the most active real estate market we have seen in more than a decade,” Haney offered. “Desirable properties are selling quickly with plenty of bargains still out there for buyers with the Plant City area seeing good demand.”

Training the next generation - John Haney and his son Ryan - working together!

COMMUNITY COMMITMENT Ace Realty Advisors believes the totally renovated 3,000 square-foot building it owns at 111 South Palmer Street to be the perfect place to meet with

111 S. Palmer St. | Plant City, Florida 33563 | 813-567-7198 Online: Facebook & PAGE



Aspire Hearing and Balance Dr. Kayla Gaschler Wilkins, Board-Certified Audiologist and Owner of Aspire Hearing and Balance Now is the perfect time to schedule your hearing evaluation. No matter the age, everyone should have a baseline evaluation that can prove helpful in the event of future hearing problems. And Aspire Hearing and Balance is the perfect practice to visit. In a state-of-the-art facility, Board-Certified Audiologist, Dr. Kayla Gaschler Wilkins, specializes in identifying, diagnosing and treating hearing and balance disorders. Aspire Hearing provides comprehensive hearing evaluations, evaluation and programming of hearing aids, cochlear implants, boneanchored hearing aids, tinnitus PAGE


devices, cerumen removal, treatment for balance issues and more! Dr. Wilkins advises, “Your first step to better hearing is an evaluation by a BoardCertified Doctoral Audiologist. Audiologists recommend that people age 50 or older schedule an annual hearing test. Even if a hearing loss is not detected, it’s important to track your hearing abilities year by year. “As we age, the ears should decline together,” she shared. “Onesided hearing loss is more of a concern. Definitely, you should make an evaluation appointment if you notice a change in hearing, ringing in the ears, pain

or excessive cerumen (wax) buildup.” “The longer people put off a hearing loss checkup, there is an increased risk of cognitive decline,” she continued. This is because persons with hearing loss start to pull away from social situations leading to less stimulation of the brain because it is getting used to the quiet.” The good news is that this wonderful doctor can provide so much help through her advanced medical and technological training. Dr. Wilkins is a peopleloving problem-solver whose specialty is ears, hearing, and balance. Make your appointment today!

A State-of-the-Art Practice and Provider Selecting a qualified hearing healthcare provider is one of the most important keys to your success in experiencing life to the fullest. Aspire Hearing is a very patient-centered practice and one which values building long term relationships with those in their care. As a familyowned and operated business, this “Gold Standard Best Practice” is not obligated to a hidden agenda or any quota. Decisions regarding your hearing healthcare are about you, and made in your best interest. “Our biggest concern is your hearing and our goal is

your satisfaction,” explained Dr. Wilkins. “We strive to provide an exceptional patient experience with every single visit. From the friendly voice on a telephone call and fresh brewed coffee in our reception area, to the feel of ease during your evaluation appointment and your joy in hearing your loved ones again with your new hearing treatment, we are dedicated to your hearing journey and happiness!” The award-winning “Best of the Best” practice earned awards for Best Audiologist in Polk County and second place for Best Hearing Aid Center. This is amazing when one considers that Aspire Hearing is a relatively new hearing solutions center. Aspire Hearing’s goal is “to help you hear your best because your life is worth hearing” and an evaluation is your first step. Meet the Doctor Dr. Kayla Gaschler Wilkins, owner and operator of Aspire Hearing and Balance, is passionate about and dedicated to providing her patients, their families, and the Central Florida communities with the highest quality hearing healthcare. Presently, she is the only BoardCertified cochlear implant service provider who services and programs all three cochlear implant manufacturers in Lakeland. “I am a doctor who specializes in hearing,” she explained. “People deserve to be treated with great care. Especially when their health is involved, you don’t want to see a salesperson. You want to see a doctor.” On a personal note, the Plant

City native and PCHS graduate enjoyed serving as cheerleading captain and with the Florida Strawberry Festival Queen’s court in 2006. Dr. Wilkins earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, as well as her Doctor of Audiology degree, from the University of South Florida. She participated in a fellowship program at Bay Pines VA Hospital in St. Petersburg and completed her clinical residency at Tampa Bay Hearing and Balance Center in Tampa, Florida. Then as a new doctor, she joined the team to work four more years with world-class otologist, neurotologist, and skull-based surgeons. Together, Dr. Wilkins and her husband Thomas are raising two-year-old Colton and caring for their Corgi named Tucker. She enjoys family time, hunting, fishing, and cheering on her USF Bulls in football. Aspire Hearing and Balance values its Chamber of Commerce memberships in both Plant City and Lakeland. Community service is a priority, too. Along with charitable cause donations, Dr. Wilkins presents educational talks to nursing home residents, professionals, and other groups. She serves also as the Veteran Administration’s area evaluator for Veterans with hearing issues. Dr. Wilkins also gives back to her alma mater by supervising USF audiology doctoral students during their third and fourth year in graduate school. Hearing Aids – Choose well with expert help Better hearing is an investment, both emotionally

Patient Care Coordinator, Keli Gaston (left) greets visitors with Dr. Kayla Wilkins at a Chamber of Commerce business event..

and financially. The cost depends on your lifestyle needs. Hearing aids serve as little mini-computers behind or inside your ears and they require follow up care and maintenance. They are developed by hearing aid manufacturers who invest millions of dollars and years of time in research and development to make sure they are of the highest quality and best performance. The practice offers hearing aids from various manufacturers in multiple levels of technology. In addition, Aspire Hearing is unique in offering hearing devices in all levels of technology at affordable prices and different length service plans for care and maintenance of the hearing devices to be more budgetfriendly for their family of patients. Aspire Hearing offers the most advanced and upto-date technology to include rechargeability, Made for Iphone capability, and invisibility. We have a treatment solution to fit

each person’s individual needs and desires! FREE Upcoming Events Want to experience what the latest technology looks, feels, and sounds like? Come to our one-day only special “Demo Day” event on October 10th! This is a complimentary demonstration with our BoardCertified Audiologist, Dr. Kayla Wilkins, and technology expert, Dr. Rachele Orsini from Starkey Hearing Technologies. Spaces are limited! Reserve your spot today! Mark your calendar for our Better Hearing Event called “Hear for the Holidays” on November 5-7. For three days only, come enjoy complimentary hearing consultations, hearing screenings, look in your ears, special discounts on hearing aids, and door prizes. Schedule your appointment today! Visit Aspire Hearing and Balance – Soon!

635 Midflorida Drive, Suite 2 | Lakeland, FL 33813 | 863-646-EARS (3277) Office Hours: MTW: 8:30am - 4:30pm, Thu: 8:30am - 12:30pm, F: 8:00am - 4:00pm PAGE



Broke & Poor team members shown L-R are Blake Register, Manager, Zachary Mousseau (back), David Martinez, Justin Pumphrey, and company owner Ted Brock.

Broke & Poor Surplus Building Materials, Inc. “New, Used, and Abused” To save time and money for home repair, remodeling project and even new construction materials, shop first at Broke & Poor Surplus. The company has been featured on local news channels for its extensive array of inventory, which also includes some intriguing antiques. According to company president Ted Brock, “We have everything from high-end items to basic-need items. We also sell used products—even antique claw foot tubs.” Since 1985 the familyPAGE


owned-and-operated business has been supplying customers with everything they need for building projects and always for a more affordable price than competitors. Ted oversees the operation, which started initially by his parents Donald and Sandra Brock simply to supply materials for repairs on their own rental properties. Over the years, however, it has grown to include so much more. Today, two full warehouses and areas outside of the buildings are filled with a variety

of supplies, everything from custom-fit cabinets for home or office to wind-code approved windows and doors. Customers looking for “new, used, or abused” items can shop here also for: • Awnings and Carports • Screened Rooms • Wood Paneling • Vinyl Siding • Steps and Skirting • Roof Overs • Metal Roofing • Shower Stalls, Sinks, & Bathtubs

• Plumbing Supplies • Trim Molding • Vanities • Antiques The antique department’s inventory contains primarily items Don and Sandra discover during their summers in the Blue Ridge Mountains. They’re always on the lookout for unusual finds. Once the company sold a handmade Thompson boat built in 1942 and child-size claw foot tubs from the mid-1800s. Broke & Poor also stocks a supply of extremely durable hand-built

baskets in various sizes, woven by locals from trees in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Their granddaughter Jennifer Brennan manages the detailed recordkeeping for the company’s accounts, so customers can trust they’re getting the best value for their money. The Broke & Poor philosophy is simple: Purchase excess inventories from other sources and pass the savings along to Broke & Poor customers. Company manager Blake Register adds, “Whether you are a contractor or a homeowner, we’re proud to offer you excellent products and superior customer service. “ Brock credits all six employees for their knowledge of construction, plumbing, and remodeling. “They’re here to answer any of your questions,” he said. “Service is our main thing, and we thoroughly enjoy helping someone find just what they need for their projects at prices they can afford.” As members of the Greater Plant City Chamber of

Commerce, the Broke & Poor staff members feel an obligation to help customers locate the needed materials in an efficient and timely manner. “We were all born and raised here in Plant City and we’re proud to have many regular customers,” said Brock. “We love working with our own family and local families, with “real people” who like to be wise about how they spend their money.” “We also like to think we are being environmentally conscious by offering some recycled or reclaimed products,” he added. Save big time when you visit the store, phone or e-mail to request an estimate for building materials. You can communicate and get some great insights through Facebook as well. The company is also happy to help with recommendations for many trusted local contractors or handymen to assist when customers need the professional touch.

“The Broke & Poor philosophy is simple: Purchase excess inventories from other sources and pass the savings along to Broke &

Ted’s parents, Donald and Sandra Brock started the business initally to supply materials for repairs on their own rental properties. Over the years it has grown to include so much more.

Poor customers.”

2670 E US Highway 92 | Plant City, FL 33566-7531 | 813.752.3378 | Hours: 8:30-5PM Monday-Saturday PAGE



Busciglio Smiles

Premier Orthodontic and Pediatric Dental Care There’s no question—the Busciglio family knows smiles. Dr. Derek Busciglio has followed in his father’s reputable footsteps by creating the family-owned and operated Busciglio Smiles. The practice offers the best possible orthodontic services throughout the Tampa area, while also specializing in pediatric dental care. Whether you are looking for an orthodontist in Brandon that provides Invisalign® clear aligners, you need a new pediatric dentist in Plant City, or you have any other Tampa orthodontic needs, Dr. Busciglio PAGE


provides dependable solutions to meet your needs in a friendly atmosphere. As one of six children growing up in the Brandon, Florida practice opened by John Busciglio in 1971, Derek developed a passion for dental health. Subsequent to his graduation and earning the title of Homecoming King from Plant City High School, Derek earned degrees at the University of South Florida, where he played football, and Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston. Since that time and with

further education, Dr. Derek is now a diplomat of the American Board of Orthodontics. Today, this specialist is dedicated to providing the most effective, innovative and affordable orthodontic and pediatric dentistry services available, in a “family first” environment, for children and adults throughout his community of Plant City, Florida, as well as Brandon and Lithia. Notably, Teen Magazine recently featured Busciglio Smiles as a “top” Ortho practice in Florida.

Dr. Derek believes his Busciglio Smiles team members enjoy their position at the practice, as it allows them to provide a comprehensive and compassionate approach to dental health. One example being that, rather than using “goop” impression material, Busciglio Smiles uses digital scanning technology, which is a much more pleasant experience for the patient. The established practitioners make every effort to provide a one-of-a-kind experience designed to meet your entire family’s pediatric

dental and orthodontic needs. “Dental office visits should be something patients look forward to,” Dr. Derek shared, “because with proper care, they can expect to have a healthy mouth for the rest of their lives.” Busciglio Smiles is committed to creating beautiful, confident smiles for children, teens, and adults. Each location offers a wide variety of treatment options ranging from traditional, time-proven appliances to the latest innovative orthodontic advancements and Invisalign® clear braces. Invisalign® In addition to traditional treatment options such as metal braces, Busciglio Smiles also provides Invisalign®, the most esthetic treatment option for straightening teeth. As the only Diamond Plus Invisalign® Provider in Plant City, Busciglio Smiles has accomplished an extraordinary and highly valued level of expertise. “Offering Invisalign® and Invisalign® TEEN has been a tremendous service to our younger patients and their parents who desire the clear alternative to traditional treatment,” says Dr. Derek, who also trains other dentists in this exclusive system. Pediatric Dentistry As a pediatric dentistry practice also, patients can have the best of both worlds. From your child’s first visit at age one until they are ready to begin their adult lives, the Busciglio Smiles pediatric experts are dedicated

to providing the highest quality, compassionate dental care that will result in a lifelong, healthy smile! “When we begin seeing them at an early age, the children become very comfortable in our offices,” shared Dr. Derek. “They have no fear and they’re excited about their dental health. It’s also nice to be the one-stop shop provider.” Pediatric dentistry involves learning dentistry of small teeth, along with the behavior management of children. It’s the art of distraction in three basic steps: you tell the child what you’re going to do, show him or her what you’re going to do, and then you do it. What’s important is that there are no surprises for the child. In accordance with Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommendations, Dr. Busciglio recommends your child visit a pediatric dentist in Plant City or Fishhawk no later than their first birthday. Busciglio Smiles has four goals for your child’s first visit: • EDUCATION – Our pediatric dentists first offer information about dietary practices and proper oral hygiene techniques that will help prevent early childhood cavities. • EVALUATION – The specialists check for signs of habit development, abnormal tooth growth, and cavity risks. • FAMILIARIZATION – To create a positive attitude

toward visiting the dentist, children are introduced slowly to the pediatric dental environment. • ASSESSMENT & CLEANING – Our experienced pediatric dentist and orthodontist will assess the health of the child’s gums and teeth, evaluate for oral disease, and perform a cleaning that leaves them feeling great about their smile. As a timesaving convenience for parents, www.TheOrthoDoc. com contains the New Patient Health History Form for printout and completion before the first visit. At Busciglio Smiles, the staff goes to great lengths to educate parents and help children feel excited about receiving pediatric dental checkups and treatments. And the families respond beautifully! Website Fun The Busciglio Smiles website, www.TheOrthoDoc. com is definitely worth an online trip and more than multiple clicks. Here, patients can find wonderful information, tools, and

resources to learn more about dental health and the need to take great care of their teeth. In addition to periodic contests and opportunities to win prizes, Busciglio Smiles encourages young patients to upload photos of their smiles. Community Involvement Activism and community support come naturally to the staff and doctors at Busciglio Smiles. The practice supports a variety of charitable organizations and efforts—especially those that impact children in the local community. Appointments To schedule your complimentary consultation appointment at our Lithia, Brandon, or Fishhawk locations, give us a call today at (813) 681-9473 or visit us online at Rely on Busciglio Smiles as the practice you can trust for reliable orthodontic and pediatric dental care using state-of-the-art technologies in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

Fishhawk/Brandon/Plant City | | 813-681-9473 PAGE



Cameron Financial Management Michael Cameron will always be a lifelong learner His firm, Cameron Financial Management, has the benefit of connection with LPL Financial, the largest independent broker-dealer in the U.S. This partnership allows him the advantages of a nationwide company and the flexibility to offer personal, individualized service with a hometown touch. It also provides him with opportunities to learn more about his industry every day. Having just returned from Focus 2018, a private LPL conference attended by 7,500 investment advisors in Boston, PAGE


he looks forward to sharing new information with his clients. “I learn so much from the workshops at this inspiring annual event and glean great ideas from my industry peers at local lunch and learns as well,” he shared. “I especially enjoy helping individual investors and business owners develop strategies to fit their unique financial needs and goals.” Since LPL Financial does not develop its own investment products, the firm’s more than 15,000 investment professionals are enabled to offer financial

advice free from broker/dealerinspired conflicts of interest. This means Cameron also gets to enjoy teaching and helping his clients make sound decisions, no matter the level of career status they’ve accomplished. He learned how to teach from the best - his father, who taught at Cork Elementary School for 44 years. "My teaching style about investing takes a different approach from most financial management companies," he explained. "I try to help people

better understand the market by explaining their options and how best to protect their assets through a customized program. Then they can make informed decisions.” 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. A typical week finds him busy with office consultations and researching updates on markets, products, and trends. "I really try to focus on their schedules, needs and goals," Cameron said, “so I’ll schedule Saturday appointments when necessary.” His experience in the field of financial advising sets Cameron apart from competitors. Since beginning his career in July 2001 with Edward Jones, he has helped clients through the full-market cycle, from the 9/11 tragedy and the boom of 2007, to the "great recession" of 200809. Passionate about his work of “quietly making money for people,” Cameron credits the strength and growth of his business to the “lasting relationships with quality individuals. Over the years they have trusted me to speak with friends, relatives and colleagues about investment management services,” he continued. “As my clients know, each relationship is afforded the highest standards of confidentiality, as well as thoughtful and courteous service. I only offer investment advice and counsel once I’ve done my homework and thoroughly understand an individual’s needs.” Like his father, the happy, healthy and helpful Cameron believes it’s important to contribute time and energy for the community’s success. Here in his “wonderful hometown,” he has served as a past Chairman of the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce,

as committee member for the Florida Strawberry Festival’s Grand Parade, with the Strawberry Queen Scholarship Pageant and in the Chamber information booth. He is a recent appointee to the advisory board of Suncoast Credit Union and local Chamber events he serves include Pig Jam and Planes, Trains, & Automobiles. An appointee to the City of Plant City’s Safety Pension Board, Cameron assists in ensuring secure pensions for our policemen and fire rescue workers. He remains active in Toastmasters and Friends of the Bruton Memorial Library, too. “We are a tight-knit community, but we encourage everyone to get involved. There’s so much more we can accomplish together.” Although leadership and team building are almost as natural as breathing for this born encourager, he’s now enjoying some behind-the-scenes support for others in those positions. This philosophy has worked well for the third-generation Plant City resident. “I’ve built my business around community involvement and friendships that developed through that. People here are sincere, friendly and they want to help.” Cameron and his wife Terrie, who works with the City’s Utilities Maintenance Department, have one son, Nicholas, a 2018 Plant City High School graduate who will begin classes at Hillsborough Community College this month. When not working, the family enjoys outdoor activities such as gardening, running, and exploring new places. They are

also members of the First United Methodist Church. As a “health-conscious foodie,” Cameron collects vintage Weber grills, cooks, and barbeques, even in contests. “Competitions make great fundraisers for various charitable causes and individuals battling disease or tragic circumstances. Seems like food with a purpose tastes so much better, too.” "We can't just sit around and do nothing,” he added. “We must be actively involved in our wonderfully unique Plant City. This is our town and these are our people, which is why it remains such a great place to live

and connect." Cameron is also especially grateful for his Client Relations Manager, Shawnia McNary Kummelman, a Plant City native who assists his clients in Suite 109 at 110 West Reynolds Street. Today, he is encouraging everyone to “Invest! Don’t Wait. Your best day might have been 20 years ago, but it could be right now as well.” For a complimentary financial portfolio review and consultation—on a no-pressure, no-obligation basis—contact Michael Cameron, your trusted hometown advisor.

110 West Reynolds Street, Suite 109 | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-759-8485 | PAGE



Plant City native Pastor Scott McIntosh leads the City Pointe Church.

City Pointe Church City Pointe Church began as the dream of a small group of friends who felt led by God to reach out to those not already being reached with the love of Christ. With a passion to redefine what church could be they recognized that Plant City didn’t need another church, but needed a different kind of church. Today, the growing congregation is led by the missions-minded, fifthgeneration Plant City native, Pastor Scott McIntosh and is affiliated with the Association of Related Churches (arcchurches. com). “We believe that Plant City needed a contemporary PAGE


interdenominational church that goes after the lost, the prodigal, and the people who love them,” McIntosh explained. “We believe City Pointe Church is a place where God's children are brought together, rather than divided by race, denomination, and economic status.” City Change City Pointe Church desires to be a church that truly changes a city, a state, and a nation—one that has significant impact both across the street and around the world. Ultimately, the church is relational, loving people just as they are, but loving them too much to let them stay that way.

McIntosh continued, “No perfect people are allowed here, but we hope all that come chase hard after God. We want to be a church that those who have given up on church flock to, because they can begin to hope and dream again. We want to see lives radically transformed through prayer, worship, and by experiencing God.” City Pointe Church makes a difference locally by giving back to the community organizations like Every Day Blessings, Marshall Middle School, the City of Plant City, the United Food Bank and the Pregnancy Care Center, among many others. They are approaching

a milestone of giving away $100,000 since they began less than three years ago. The church believes it’s important that the messages, discipleship classes and small group interactions provoke exciting conversations on the ride home to see real life change in its members lives. And if numbers tell the story, they are accomplishing their mission, with over 200 decisions for Christ in the last 30 months. City Focus Leaders desire it to be “awesome for all ages, especially the next generation, where kids love it so much that they bring

their parents to experience it.” City Pointe Church welcomes everyone with the understanding that “people need to belong before they can begin to believe.” All are invited to join the fun in a church that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but takes very seriously the call of God to shine His light into a dark world. “Our goal is to create an interdenominational, intergenerational, multi-ethnic church that’s a glimpse of heaven,” McIntosh offers, “where Christ is exalted, the Holy Spirit is released, and the Father is honored in everything we do. And through His word and our people, you will know that you are loved.” City Pointe’s Pastor Scott McIntosh grew up in church and came to know the Lord personally at age seven, but he has spent the rest of his life learning more about Him, experiencing His grace, and sharing Him with others through a variety of creative means. He accepted the call to ministry at age 20 and has served in a variety of local churches in numerous roles. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of South Florida and his Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas, where he met his wife Elizabeth. Married almost 14 years, they have two children, Isabella and Samuel. Pastor Scott is a survivor of the shooting at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Texas, where he learned that people are God's treasure and did graduate work at Regents Park College in Oxford, England.

His first book, now in process, is entitled Soul Survivor – The Things We Take and Things We Leave Behind. He has done overseas missions work in over sixteen countries and enjoys creating lively messages that cause people to think deeper and to practically engage with the Bible. He believes that the truths of the Gospel are timeless, but that how believers communicate these truths are critical in this day and age. Through media, object lessons, balloon art, and even a 400-pound dead lift demonstration on stage, Pastor Scott is helping his church to connect the dots between words on a page and life in the world, so that they can become difference makers for Christ. He describes his wife Elizabeth, who serves as Director of Missions, as the “much more delightful McIntosh.” With double Master’s degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, she is highly qualified to fulfill that call. But even more importantly, Elizabeth is passionate about helping the church make a practical difference in the world around us. Come and See In addition to Sunday services at 10:00 a.m., City Pointe hosts Worship Wednesdays the first Wednesday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m, where local churches are invited to join together in unity in Christ. You’re invited to come give City Pointe Church a try and experience a difference you’ll love.

503 N. Palmer Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 441-6693 | Service Time: Sundays at 10AM PAGE



Dental Associates at Walden Woods For the convenience of having all your dental needs serviced under one roof, visit Dental Associates at Walden Woods. Here in one office and using the most current technology, the talented team supporting Dr. Ray Gutierrez and Dr. Helen Hoveida helps in providing comprehensive exams, emergency care, extractions, teeth cleaning, periodontal/ gum disease treatment, crowns, bridges, and root canal therapy. The dentists offer general and cosmetic dentistry, as well as oral surgery. Cosmetic dentistry options include dental crowns and bridges, veneers, white fillings, Lumineers, and Invisalign® straightening. A revolutionary orthodontic process, Invisalign® uses PAGE


virtually invisible, customized, clear aligners to correctly position teeth, a benefit cosmetically and to one’s overall health. Additionally, Dr. Gutierrez is certified for IV sedation, which brings comfort to those who are a little anxious about pain or major dental work, such as restorative dentistry. Dental implants and dentures are also specialties here. To ensure clients receive a good first impression, firsttime patients receive a $59 special offer, including a routine cleaning, exam, and a full set of x-rays—all for a $300 value! The office accepts most dental insurances, too. “People are able to try us out for an affordable price at their

Staff members include: (Front row L-R): Jean Ann Davenport, Laural Puls, Jillian Juncal, Ruth Madera, Mirian Santiago Hernandez, Amy Trinkle, Brenda Contreras, Jeanna Beck , Dr. Helen Hovieda (Back row L-R) Marie Scolaro, Dr. Ray Gutierrez, Rashida Linton, Kristan Hammersla, Sarah Money, Marnely Cordero, Melissa Johnston, Susie Blaise, Angela Talavera Not pictured: Kim Bass and Deronda McDaniel

first visit before deciding whether to become a patient or not,” said Jean Ann Davenport, Regional Manager of Operations. “We’re proud to say that most do!” Patients are the heart of the Dental Associates at Walden Woods practice, which is evidenced in that the practice opened more than 20 years ago now serves its second and third generation in local families. For the past eight years, Dr. Ray Gutierrez has been helping the Dental Associates at Walden Woods office provide personable family care for patients. During that time, the University of Florida graduate has also been helping to expand its services with state-of-the-art technology. Of the work he loves, he especially enjoys “the interaction

with patients,” explaining, “I like to see the different families and people continuously throughout the year. You know, establishing those relationships.” The close-knit staff and patients act like a giant family, too. "I love the family practice and focus, [where] we can do everything and help a variety of people," he said. "We always go the extra mile to make sure the patient is taken care of." University of Florida graduate Dr. Helen Hoveida, in her sixth year with the practice, shared, “I love working with Dr. Ray in our family-oriented office and am grateful to be part of an amazing team and town…love the community and love helping patients. My passion is to see their smiling faces and to know

we’ve helped to enhance those smiles.” Roxanne Ross, shared her five-star satisfaction on social media, as many often do. “…I look forward to going! Dr. Ray, so caring and careful, takes dental anxiety into account and relieves it—successfully…The excellent hygienists remember my particular needs...The office staff makes me feel like family, making every call a chat as well. Every aspect of Dental Associates at Walden Woods is exemplary and worthy of the highest praise…” To experience skilled care in a friendly dental practice, schedule an appointment with Dental Associates at Walden Woods soon. Visit the office or connect online at Facebook and www. dentalassociateswaldenwoods. com. This team can definitely brighten your smile! For the convenience of having all your dental needs serviced under one roof, visit Dental Associates at Walden Woods. Here in one office and using the most current technology, the talented team supporting Dr. Ray Gutierrez and Dr. Helen Hoveida helps in providing comprehensive exams, emergency care, extractions, teeth cleaning, periodontal/ gum disease treatment, crowns, bridges, and root canal therapy. The dentists offer general and cosmetic dentistry, as well as oral surgery. Cosmetic dentistry options include dental crowns and bridges, veneers, white fillings, Lumineers, and Invisalign® straightening. A revolutionary orthodontic process, Invisalign® uses

virtually invisible, customized, clear aligners to correctly position teeth, a benefit cosmetically and to one’s overall health. Additionally, Dr. Gutierrez is certified for IV sedation, which brings comfort to those who are a little anxious about pain or major dental work, such as restorative dentistry. Dental implants and dentures are also specialties here. To ensure clients receive a good first impression, firsttime patients receive a $59 special offer, including a routine cleaning, exam, and a full set of x-rays—all for a $300 value! The office accepts most dental insurances, too. “People are able to try us out for an affordable price at their first visit before deciding whether to become a patient or not,” said Jean Ann Davenport, Regional Manager of Operations. “We’re proud to say that most do!” Patients are the heart of the Dental Associates at Walden Woods practice, which is evidenced in that the practice opened more than 20 years ago now serves its second and third generation in local families. For the past eight years, Dr. Ray Gutierrez has been helping the Dental Associates at Walden Woods office provide personable family care for patients. During that time, the University of Florida graduate has also been helping to expand its services with state-of-the-art technology. Of the work he loves, he especially enjoys “the interaction with patients,” explaining, “I like to see the different families and

people continuously throughout the year. You know, establishing those relationships.” The close-knit staff and patients act like a giant family, too. "I love the family practice and focus, [where] we can do everything and help a variety of people," he said. "We always go the extra mile to make sure the patient is taken care of." University of Florida graduate Dr. Helen Hoveida, in her sixth year with the practice, shared, “I love working with Dr. Ray in our family-oriented office and am grateful to be part of an amazing team and town…love the community and love helping patients. My passion is to see their smiling faces and to know we’ve helped to enhance those smiles.”

Roxanne Ross, shared her five-star satisfaction on social media, as many often do. “…I look forward to going! Dr. Ray, so caring and careful, takes dental anxiety into account and relieves it—successfully…The excellent hygienists remember my particular needs...The office staff makes me feel like family, making every call a chat as well. Every aspect of Dental Associates at Walden Woods is exemplary and worthy of the highest praise…” To experience skilled care in a friendly dental practice, schedule an appointment with Dental Associates at Walden Woods soon. Visit the office or connect online at Facebook and www. dentalassociateswaldenwoods. com. This team can definitely brighten your smile!

512 E. Alexander Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-752-3030 Hours: Monday-Thursday 7:30AM – 6PM | Friday 8AM – 4PM PAGE



Discount Screening, Inc. Emphasizing Quality and Customer Service Since 1983, Discount Screening, Inc. owner Marty Johnson and his technicians have believed: “Quality IS everything and the benefits of this strong commitment go directly to YOU, our valued customer.” As a sub-contractor throughout the eighties, Marty had done it all, including aluminum repair jobs. “Whenever there was a damaged lanai or pool enclosure,” he recalled, “I was the one everyone knew could fix it.” Seeing a need in the community for a quality PAGE


screen repair company, Johnson eventually decided to focus exclusively on that work and formed Discount Screening, Inc. From the beginning, he was determined his company would be a leader in responsiveness and quality. Discount Screening only uses the best available materials, long-lasting and durable. “I don’t believe in cutting corners,” offered Johnson, “which is why I don’t like to use imported screen, also known as China screen, because the poor quality doesn’t perform well.” Customers can

rest assured that all labor and materials used by Discount Screening are warranted. Customer service is another key to the company’s success. Johnson shared, “For 30+ years, making customers happy has been my goal,” Since most live here in Plant City, he knows, “It’s important to do a good job,” because “word gets around.” The licensed and insured Discount Screening, Inc. specializes in the repairing and re-screening of all types of screened enclosures. “Whether you need an entire enclosure,

rescreen or just need a few screens replaced, we will breathe new life into your existing enclosures,” Marty explained. “Our company also accepts insurance claims and offers to beat competitors’ pricing. We want to be the best in the business. The quality work we do and seeing satisfaction on my customers’ faces inspires me.” Services Discount Screening offers include: • ALL REPAIRS including Aluminum, Vinyl Window, Individual Panel repairs, screen doors, and pool cage

Nothing tells a company’s success story more than satisfied customer referrals from satisfied. The following recommendations from Walden Lake area neighbors are a few posted at Shirley Raulerson: “Discount Screening is the only choice for me!” Tina Farrington: “One more vote for DISCOUNT SCREENING.”

cable ties. • Replacement of damaged gutters and downspout • Full Enclosure Re-Screening • Pool, Screen Room and Lanai Enclosures • Pressure Washing • Gutter Cleaning • Screen Entryways • Garage Screens (effectively add another room to the house) • Hinges, Doors and Hardware • Floor Track • Pet Doors • Replace fasteners • Replace floor anchors The company also performs a free 10-point check of pool enclosure and screen room lanais. A 5-year warranty is provided on all rescreening labor and materials, with a 10-year warranty for “Super Screen®.” Super Screen® is the newest spaceage technology in enclosure screen protection for pool, patio or porch. This high-quality, long-lasting home improvement investment is the perfect choice for the homeowner who demands the very best in family enjoyment and outdoor safety. Marty Johnson is adamant about doing

everything the right way. He explained, “I only use the best.” He is proud to use products by Phifer Incorporated, a company established in 1952 whose motto is “Weaving Excellence with Innovation.” Phifer consumer products make it easy to enjoy the outdoors from inside. The world’s largest screening producer offers a wide variety of insect screens and exterior solar screens to help keep out bugs and solar heat while preserving the view. Interior sun control fabrics help reduce solar heat and create soft, usable indoor light. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, “A good way to keep your house cool in the summer is to shade it from the outside. Any way that stops the sun before it gets through the glass is seven times as good at keeping you cool as blinds or curtains on the inside.” Another way to improve energy efficiency and reduce interior fading is with the installation of Phifer’s SheerWeave® Interior Sun Control Fabrics. With a variety of openness factors available, light colors reflect the sun’s rays, while dark colors improve outside view and maximize glare reduction. Discount Screening can offer solutions and improvements for every situation.

Chris Berchelmann: Owner Marty Johnson is a very good guy and very fair. He has replaced my screen twice in the 25 years I’ve lived in the neighborhood and both times had the best price and the job was done efficiently. I have referred other people and they were also very pleased.” Evelyn Clay: “I highly recommend them [Discount screening, Inc].” Pat Comstock: “I've used Marty at Discount Screening for many years. He’s always done excellent work and been honest and prompt.” Michael Wolfe: ”Used Discount Screening and will continue to use them for all my needs.” Doris Kelley: “I'm agreeing with both Natalie and David. Marty Johnson, Discount Screening, is the best!” Bobby Blizzard: “You will be happy. Discount screening did mine too—great work at a fair price.” Natalie Sweet: “Marty with Discount Screening is who I always recommend. Fair and honest!” David Patterson: “I highly recommend Discount Screening. Marty is a great guy to work with.” David Davenport: “Go to only! …Fast service you can trust. Been using them for years. Great people! For your free estimate on solutions your home needs, schedule an appointment today with Discount Screening, Inc. at 813-752-3306 or e-mail Marty at To learn more about specific products available, visit

1406 W. Knights Griffin Road | Plant City FL 33565-5202 | 813-752-3306 PAGE



Felton’s Meat and Produce Market Felton’s Meat and Produce Market houses a world of multicultural food items inside its 12,000 square foot grocery store at US 92 and Maryland Avenue in Plant City. Today, Lee Williams and his sister Karen Davis, who grew up in the business, manage the family-owned operation established in 1955 by their parents, Felton and Lucille Williams. Widely recognized for its impressive meat department, Felton’s feels like the neighborhood butcher shop of yesteryear. Great pricing on fresh, frozen, custom cuts, and smoked meats place this local PAGE


grocery in a league by itself. Families can enjoy even more savings by ordering 24 hours in advance from four “meat bundles,” priced $55 to $139. Simply view the packages online, call 813-752-1548, receive an e-mail confirmation, and pick up tomorrow. Regular customers have also discovered a treasure trove in Felton’s freshly smoked or fried meats, smoked onsite or deliready to become the main dish of your lunch or evening meal. To give your home’s cook a break on extra bus days, stop by Felton’s to make dinner a quick one. The store offers smoked specialties such as ribs, brisket,

Boston butt, sausage, picnic hams, pulled pork and chicken or its deli-prepared fried pork chops, chicken drumsticks, and wings. When extra large gatherings demand larger quantities, Felton’s will prepare any meat purchased in the store. Folks can also order smoked turkeys 24 hours in advance and four days prior for smoked whole hogs. Of his approximately 90 regular employees’ loyalty to customers, Williams shared: “For big weekends like the Fourth of July, we feel like we’re going home with them to enjoy the foods they buy. It’s the same for Memorial Day, Thanksgiving and

Christmas, too. We’re part of their family, and they’re part of ours.” Of his work with Felton’s in the meat department since 1957, employee Ed Jackson said, “Everything about this store and the meat business thrills me to death. The people are just like family…You would think I owned it.” Each year, Felton’s looks forward to the opportunity to support the Plant City Chamber of Commerce in its Pig Jam fundraising event when thousands of visitors come for some great barbecue creations. In addition to quality meats and competitive pricing, Felton’s also boasts the “largest selection

of seasonings on the planet,” including meat seasonings, spices, rubs, and sauces for the at-home chefs and BBQ specialists. The store also offers specialties such as Orale!™ spices/peppers/herbs, Jarritos fruit beverages, a variety of rice in 20-pound bags, green and hot boiled peanuts, fresh-made salads, baked beans, potato wedges, and banana pudding. To complement meals, the market’s produce manager purchases fruits and fresh vegetables, including ethnic

favorites, from local growers and markets as often as possible. The store specializes in fresh greens such as collards, turnip, mustard and kale because they’re a big deal in this area. Because of Felton’s rich history with the Plant City community, customer service is a priority. At the store’s service desk, employees enjoy helping shoppers with postage stamp purchases, TECO and Bright House payments, check cashing, Western Union and Orlandi Valuta money orders or transfers,

food stamps/EBT/WIC cards and corporate or organizational accounts. Food Safety Manager Frankie Smith Oakley and her husband, Robert, the Hot Deli Manager, credit Williams for his leadership. “Lee sets the example and we all try to follow.” Felton’s maintains professional affiliations with the National Grocers Association, the Florida Retail Federation, and the Food Market Institute, among others. Williams offered, “Our very

talented people, skilled in their areas of expertise, make Felton’s successful. It’s all about quality, freshness, great prices and positive attitudes.” “We enjoy serving this community,” he continued, “and know that God has incredibly blessed our business and our families. It’s satisfying to give back by helping churches and especially programs for kids in need. We couldn’t do that if customers didn’t support us and we are so grateful they do.”

617 North Maryland Avenue | Plant City, Florida 33563 | (813) 752-1548 | Hours: Monday - Saturday: 7am - 9pm and Sunday: 7am - 8pm PAGE



Flo-Rite Air Conditioning and Heating In the harsh climate of summertime in Florida, we all know how miserable it can be to have your air conditioning unit quit providing you with the merciful reprieve of cool air. Prompt service, customer satisfaction, and attention to detail are the three qualities that set Flo-Rite Air Conditioning and Heating apart from their competition. T.J. Cordero worked for a much larger heating-AC company before deciding to start his own. But having to follow corporate rules and regulations PAGE


left him unable to treat his customers the way he felt they should be treated. “I wanted to provide them with more and the only way to do that was to work for myself.” So in January of 2018 he took his skill set and work ethic and built Flo-Rite Air Conditioning and Heating from the ground up. T.J started out with his brother Josh as his first employee. Pride in a job well done is really the driving force behind Anthony taking the leap of faith to start his own company. “I like to have my hands in everything

regarding our clients to ensure they know we care enough to complete the job to their satisfaction. We want them to feel like members of the Flo-Rite family. This is also why his employees are family. “It’s very important to me that the customer is happy,” Cordero shared. “There’s nothing more satisfying than knowing you’ve helped the client accomplish everything they were looking for.” At Flo-Rite they truly want to build relationships and it shows in attention to detail and doing

the best job possible. When Ed Abernathy needed a new A/C installed, he was most impressed with the pride in workmanship provided by Josh Cordero, Anthony’s brother. “I would not hesitate to recommend this company to anyone. It is easy to find a worker, but not as easy to find workmanship,” Abernathy complimented. Another example of building relationships was on a particularly hot day. In order to help keep customers cool during the service call, Anthony provided the family with fans.”

We knew it was going to take a while and it was a small way to show our appreciation,” he explained. “We want our clients to be as comfortable as possible while any work is being done which means in some cases we would provide portable units to keep them cool.” The Flo-Rite team also takes pride in prompt service. “There’s nothing worse than being hot and having to wait for the repair because of parts or something’s not in stock.” They are honest about the time they can get the job done and keep a large inventory to get customers back to being cool in the least amount of time. “They were quick to repair the A/C within an hour of us calling,” said Dan McCallum,

one of Flo-Rite’s many satisfied customers. He added, “We were back to a cool house in no time.” It was a long road to get to the success of today. Anthony gave up a reliable job so he could do the best possible work for his own customers. The stress involved with passing exams and starting a brand new company was tough, but for Anthony it has been worth it. “I am thankful for the support of my family and friends and for the support of customers who trust us for their needs.” Flo-Rite Air Conditioning and Heating aims to please – every single time they service your home or business. Call today, and then save the number for a future need, too.

813-380-9622 | PAGE



Gould’s Air Conditioning & Heating When you need to beat the Florida heat, or bask in it, look no further than Gould’s Air Conditioning and Heating. Quality, efficient service and honesty is the philosophy that drives their business. Tony Gould, owner, is a Plant City native, so the servicing aspect in his community is the most important to him. He credits Plant City with the success and growth of his business. Many companies in the air conditioning business attempt to “up-sell” the customer on PAGE


air conditioning units and parts. With labor costs added, homeowners or businesses could be looking at another mortgage or possibly having to go without the necessary repair. Tony Gould believes that what sets him apart from other companies is the honesty in the service they provide. “We always look to do the best work at the lowest price.” Gould technicians are not paid on commission. They are trained to complete the service that customers will benefit from. “This approach,” explained the

appreciative Gould, “is what keeps us going.” One of those happy, repeat customers is Lisa Gullinese. “I highly recommend them. They are a hometown company and the only one my family will use.” Gould’s technicians have extensive knowledge and experience with all makes and models including American Standard and Rudd. Another accolade for Gould’s Air Conditioning and Heating is the complete customer satisfaction from beginning to the end of service. They strive

to consistently offer the lowest prices in the Plant City Area. Kelly Ground, a very satisfied customer, was most impressed that the technician was able to keep the house comfortable for her family while he went to get the necessary repair parts. John Kelleher was impressed, too. Gould’s was able to have his unit repaired under the warranty. “As far as I knew, I was on the hook for the repair,” he said, “but the parts needed were under warranty. So, because of their honesty, my A/C was fixed with no cost to me.”

Along with honesty and consistency, customers repeatedly agree that Gould’s is by far the fastest and most efficient air conditioning service around. Gould's shows up on time to do the job right and in a professional manner. “It matters to us that we are trusted in our community,” said Gould. In addition to providing service above and beyond what is expected, Gould’s is also wonderful at providing information and education. Although many questions can be answered with a visit to their website, but the staff never minds personal phone calls. “If I can help you over the phone, I

will,” offered Gould. The company also specializes in same day service and 24hour emergency service to both residential and commercial customers. When you are looking to give your A/C a little TLC, look to Gould’s for quality care at a fair price. For Tony Gould, making Plant City proud makes him proud.

“It matters to us that we are trusted in our community,” said Gould.

601 Hitchcock Street | Suite 101 | Plant City FL 33563-5619 813-752-1970 | PAGE



Burnette Family Businesses: The Care and Feeding of Pets, Livestock, Plants and People Changes are in store for Harold’s Feed & Pet Supply in Dover. The popular business, overflowing a little house at the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (S.R. 574) and McIntosh Road, will relocate next year, when the widening of S.R. 574 commences. The Burnette family, who owns the feed store, will design a new Harold’s building on McIntosh, about 300 yards north of the current location, on acreage owned by the family’s other business — Tampa Garden & Nursery. No date is set yet. “Being in a brand-new building is something none of PAGE


us have been used to,” said Bill Burnette. “It’ll be a good thing for Harold’s to have fresh new walls and higher ceilings. The house where we are now was 40 years old when I bought it in 1997. I’m kind of excited about the change!” What won’t change is that the health and wellbeing of animals – dogs, cats, chickens, birds, horses, cattle – will remain their chief focus. Employee training is ongoing, so they can knowledgeably help with customers’ animal health and nutrition concerns. Another thing that won’t change is that Harold’s Feed & Pet Supply, managed by

Burnette’s son-in-law, Scotty Jenkins, will continue to support the agricultural community, especially 4H and FFA, “whether it be advice, classes, donations or scholarships,” said Burnette. “We try to help out as much as we can with what God’s given us.” Harold’s offers a wide variety of items for animals: health aids, treatments and medications, vaccines, pet supplies, pet food and wildlife/outdoor food, including deer food, squirrel food and wild bird seed. They sell food, shavings, bedding and supplies for indoor pets and caged animals, like rabbits and birds.

A large part of their business revolves around the farm and the rural home: feed for livestock – sheep, pigs, goats, llamas, horses and other large-animal species. They supply hay and equipment such as gates, water tanks, stall mats, flea control, insecticides and herbicides. They feed people, too. It’s hard to ignore the enticing aromas from the smoking Traeger Pellet Grill outside the store. During demos several times a month, they pass out samples of what they’ve cooked to customers lucky enough to be present. These grills are one of their biggest product lines, and

Harold’s also sells Traeger spices, dips, rubs, sauces and seasonings. Bill Burnette became a fan of the grills at the 2006 Sunbelt AG Expo in Georgia. For three days he ate what the Traeger representatives grilled. “It was the best thing I ever ate in my life!” he said. He purchased a grill and told the reps he wanted to sell them, but at the time, they sold them only west of the Mississippi. The Traeger company sent a sales representative and their special advisor, Terry Bradshaw (yes, that one!), to meet with Burnette in Tampa to bring Harold’s onboard as a retail outlet for the grills. Burnette’s first order was 12 grills; now he sells 10 times that many each year and plans to offer cooking (grilling) classes after Harold’s is relocated on Tampa Nursery & Garden’s grounds. Meanwhile, Tampa Nursery & Garden, managed by Burnette’s son, Jarrod Burnette, is growing very well. They are working diligently to put more of the 60-plus acres back into production and currently have approximately 25 acres in a combination of field, shade house and greenhouse growing environments. They sell retail but are mainly wholesalers, with deliveries throughout Florida,

Georgia and Alabama. To beautify any yard or business, Tampa Nursery & Garden carries woody ornamentals such as Indian hawthorn, schefflera, viburnums, podocarpus and varieties of jasmine and azaleas; ground cover like creeping fig and several varieties of Minima Jasmine; grasses such as Liriope Super Blue, Aztec Grass, Mondo, Muhly and Fakahatchee. They also grow tropical plants like crotons, hibiscus, bougainvillea and Hawaiian ti plants along with trees, including magnolias, palms, oaks, maples and pines. Plus, they keep a large quantity of pine bark mulch and colored and natural cypress mulch. Jarrod Burnette, very knowledgeable about plants, has an eye for laying out landscapes and provides designs for individuals, businesses and builders, using a computeraided design (CAD) program that creates blueprints. They just started offering garden curbing, available in Aztec, brick and a variety of concrete colors. Tampa Garden & Nursery has “a positive name out there,” said Bill Burnette. “Just like at Harold’s, we strive to do our best and serve our customers to the best of our ability.”

12990 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. | Dover, Fla. | 813.689.1570 | Hours: Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Saturday – 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Sunday – Closed Tampa Nursery & Garden 3216 McIntosh Road | Dover, Fla. | 813.689.4075 | Hours: Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Saturday – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Sunday – Closed PAGE



Heysek and Kepes Radiation Oncology Scared and troubled after receiving a cancer diagnosis, the caring staff at Heysek and Kepes Radiation Oncology will treat you like family and not simply a patient. Operating since March 5, 1996, they’re conveniently located on the South Florida Baptist Hospital campus. Once inside, you’ll enter subdued, comfortable rooms with soft lighting, pleasant art PAGE


work, reading materials, puzzles, goodies, and coffee. Striving to treat the whole person, the staff organizes individualized resources: counselors, nutritionists, and appointments. Dr. Randy Heysek and Dr. Kathryn Kepes identify the cancer type and then create a treatment plan in an effort to overcome the disease. Various forms of radiation therapy are used in attempting to prevent

cancer cells from dividing. On site nurses, certified radiation therapy technologists, and a medical physicist provide sophisticated treatment. Treatments may involve individualized radiation therapy, 3-D conformal therapy, high dose radiation for skin cancers, and intensity modulation radiation therapy. AccuBoost is an image-guided breast irradiation technique. The doctors use

Valencia, a skin cancer treatment to spare deep surgery. The center houses Varian 600C linear accelorator, an extremely precise machine. Heysek and Kepes is well equipped and experienced in treating cancers in a compassionate, respectful environment. Dr. Heysek earned a B.S. with honors in Biochemistry, continued at the University of Florida College of Medicine,

interned at Baptist memorial Hospital in Memphis, and completed his residency in radiation oncology at the University of Maryland Cancer Center. Dr. Heysek is particularly interested in head, neck, and prostate cancer. He has served as Chief of Staff at Lakeland Regional Hospital and was a previous board member of the American Cancer Society (ACS). Earning her Doctor of Medicine degree from ST. Louis University, Dr. Kepes continued her education with earning

an MBA from the University of Miami. She is especially interested in breast and lung cancer. Dr. Kepes is also an Honorary Lifetime Member of ACS. According to Raquel Fernandes, staff nurse and office supervisor, “We try to make our patients feel like they are a part of our family.� Cancer is a challenge. The Heysek and Kepes team strives to provide total quality care with a difference!

"Heysek and Kepes is well equipped and experienced in treating cancers in a compassionate, respectful environment."




Founding Board Members gather for a photo in front of the temporary home of the Hillsboro Bank in 1998. Front: Tony Azorin, Andy Mueller, Tom Poppell, Dot Harkala Back: Mack Smith, Ron Daniel, Don Stine, Hank Varnum, Mike Sparkman, Gary Boothe

Hillsboro Bank

Community Minded. Community Based. Community Strong. Welcome to Plant City’s only community bank! Twenty years ago, a group of ten visionary business leaders started dreaming together about building a bank where customers would feel known, understood, and supported. They met for months to strategically plan the new financial institution. Since the successful opening in 1998, Hillsboro Bank has built a solid foundation on the personal relationships developed over the years. Customers appreciate that they are a priority. The thriving bank continues to be locally owned and managed by directors, stockholders and employees who have deep PAGE


community ties and share the same philosophy. Together they have worked to tailor banking services to accommodate the needs of each individual customer or business – and to not only meet, but to exceed their expectations. Based on earnings, asset quality, capital, growth and liquidity, the Banker’s Caddy algorithm designated the Hillsboro Bank as Best Community Bank in Florida in 2018 with a #1 ranking for performance. The bank also earned an 11th place National Ranking. Today with three locations, the bank serves the Plant City,

Valrico and Dade City. Originally opened with seven employees, the Hillsboro Bank staff now includes 26 full-time team members. The value of the stock issued in 1998 has more than doubled with stockholders receiving the majority of their original investment back in the form of dividends. While maintaining the hometown values and remaining focused on products that have brought success, the Hillsboro Bank team has been busy developing new technologies so customers can enjoy the time-saving conveniences of banking from home, work or during travels. In addition to the

Personal and Business Checking, Money Markets, Savings, Small Business and Consumer Loans, etc., customers can have the best of both worlds – “personalized banking with individual assistance” and “banking on the go” with smart phones. Additionally, by teaming up with Publix Supermarkets to offer Publix Presto ATM services free of charge, Hillsboro Bank has added another customer convenience. The bank’s website includes a Publix locator icon to help travelers locate the nearest Publix Presto ATM machines and access funds quickly. Pam Warnock, Senior

Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, expressed her excitement about offering customers the best banking experience possible. “Hillsboro Bank will continue to evaluate new technologies as they become available and work diligently to provide those conveniences for our customers. We’re pleased that our new website offers upgraded bill pay, our new mobile app provides remote deposit capture, and our new CardValet app helps clients

manage their debit cards.” While recognizing the importance of convenience banking from personal computers or handheld technology, Hillsboro Bank knows there will always be a need for personalized banking with a knowledgeable banking representative. Customers may register for a Safe Deposit Box to secure important documents and valuables, sit with personal bankers to establish new

accounts or meet with a loan officer to plan for business needs. In personal, face-to-face banking at its best, customers will establish a valuable relationship with folks they can trust to have their best interests at heart. Hillsboro Bank prides itself on that personal touch, which is why employees on site answer the phones and will treat every customer with the respect they deserve. To meet the welcoming, professional staff and begin a

Founding Board members of the Hillsboro Bank gathered for a photo in 1998. Front row: Andy Mueller, Tom Poppell, Ron Daniel, Dot Harkala, Gary Boothe Back Row: Don Stine, Tony Azorin, Hank Varnum, Mac Smith, Mike Sparkman

personal banking relationship that will strengthen over time, visit the community-owned and operated Hillsboro Bank. To hear the friendly voice of a helpful representative on the phone, call 813-707-6506. As their motto invites, “Come bank with your friends and neighbors.”

509 West Alexander Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-707-6506 | Lobby Hours: Monday–Thursday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. | Friday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Drive-Thru Hours: Monday–Thursday 8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. | Friday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. PAGE



Home Protection Pest Control When you find yourself in need of pest control, look no further than Home Protection Pest Control. Established in 2006, husband and wife team Steve and Kathy Paul aim for top notch customer service. With over 20 years of experience, Home Protection Pest Control is the name to remember. The two lifelong Plant City residents met through a cousin’s introduction and within three months of that serendipitous meeting, they were married. Their 43-year marriage has been PAGE


blessed with three children: Mary Joyner, Rachel Almon and son Michael, who even grew up to be an Agriculture teacher at Plant City High School. Home Protection Pest Control offers many residential and commercial services. And every product they use is 100% pet and child friendly. While their applications do not contain harmful chemicals, they do require that customers follow safety guidelines to ensure there will be no problems. “We educate our customers so the products will work

properly,” said Kathy Paul. The main rule of thumb is to give the application twenty-four hours to dry before interacting with the treated area. The application is also free of stains and dyes that could discolor and damage your home. Honesty and work ethic set this company apart from other pest control services. They will guide you in the choice to best fit your needs and only advise you on the necessary treatments. The Pauls even encourage prospective customers to get three quotes before deciding

to use their services. “We want you to know you are getting the best service for the best price,” explained Steve Paul. The couple also advises you to check their company against others with the Better Business Bureau. Home Protection Pest Control prides itself on personal and professional integrity. And since Home Protection Pest Control is a family-owned company, the Pauls believe in treating their employees like family. “I couldn't do it without my team,” said Steve. Mitch Harvill and Ken Butler

are an integral part of the Pauls’ pest control company. They treat every customer with respect and are always honest. And since time is the most valuable resource, they make sure they are on time for each appointment and will reschedule if you need to cancel. “We just want the customer to be happy with their service,” explained Kathy. The Pauls are also happy to provide customer testimonials as needed. Technicians offer the services you need to be rid of pests. If you find yourself in a stinging situation with bees or hornets, don’t fear, as this is a specialty for Home Protection Pest Control. Do you hear something scurrying through your walls?

Home Protection also removes rodents. If spiders, fleas, or ants are the problem, they’ve got you covered there, too. And just as their community has contributed so much support to their company’s success, Steve and Kathy Paul use their position in business to give back. The company supports community youth by supporting the Plant City Chapter of the FFA. So, for pest control solutions for your home or business, provided by a family-owned, local business built on integrity and honesty, please call Steve and Kathy Paul at Home Protection Pest Control. They are always ready to help!

3909 Keene Road | Plant City FL 33565 | 813-757-6752 | PAGE



Conveniently located at 808 W Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd in Plant City, Hydraulic Hose and Cylinder just added another 30X80 section to their building in order to better serve its retail, industrial and commercial customers in this community and surrounding counties. For 22 years, technicians have enjoyed helping customers find solutions and their ability to turn critical repairs around quickly means less downtime for vital and expensive-to-operate machinery. An electronic sign out front makes finding the shop easy!

Hydraulic Hose & Cylinder, Inc. When Glenn Callis established Hydraulic Hose & Cylinder Inc. in Plant City in 1996, that first operation was in a much smaller, less visible location. Today his staff enjoys working in a highly organized, wellventilated and exceptionally clean 14,800 square foot facility built on not quite two acres between Alexander Street and Wheeler Street. The company that supplies hydraulic hoses, hydraulic cylinders, and other hydraulic engineering parts for many PAGE


applications is proud to celebrate 22 years of service to retail, industrial and commercial customers in Hillsborough, Polk and Pasco counties. Callis and his technically skilled staff invite folks to stop in and view the impressive layout, industrial equipment and extensive inventory. Repairing Your Parts & Equipment Expedient and complete repairs and maintenance for hydraulic systems are a company

specialty, too. Hydraulic Hose & Cylinder’s mission is to ensure its customers’ businesses stay up and running as quickly as possible. As one of nine children raised on a farm, Callis learned young to “repair whenever possible.” That skill and attitude have served him well in other businesses he’s owned during his 83-year lifetime. Those included a tree service, a chain saw store and apartment buildings. He’s proud his company’s

technicians thrive on helping customers find solutions. And if you’re in need of tractor hydraulic repairs or pressure washing equipment repairs, this is your place as well. In addition to repairing hydraulic cylinders, hoses, and equipment, the company can also customize hydraulic, LP gas, and brake hoses, and rebuild and reseal hydraulic cylinders. Customers appreciate the ability of Hydraulic Hose and Cylinder to custombuild and turn critical repairs

around quickly, which means less downtime for vital and expensive-to-operate machinery. Extensive Inventory and Outstanding Service The large inventory of in-stock hoses and hydraulic engineering parts includes items such as O-rings, hydraulic pumps, power units, valves, filters, seals, lubricants, tube fittings and metal tubing in bent and flared shapes. Hydraulic Hose and Cylinder can supply especially hard-to-find items, too. “If we don't have it, we'll get it for you,” said Callis. “We assist customers in making cost-effective and correct use of a product, including assistance in planning, installation, training, trouble-shooting, maintenance, and upgrading.” He added, “Our goal is for you to get the most out of what you buy from us.” Local farmers and industrial operations who believe in buying local have found the company’s convenient location, responsive service, and pricing to make the experience of doing business together easy and enjoyable. Callis appreciates his great customers, too. “Plant City has been an ideal place to build a business,” he said. The people are friendly, honest, and loyal and we thoroughly enjoy supplying their hydraulic needs.“

(TOP) With rows and rows of hydraulic seals, fittings and O-rings (both metric and standard sizes), our large inventory is matched by no other in this area. We stock hydraulic oil in 1- gallon, 5-gallon and 55-gallon containers, in addition to tractor fluid, oil dry absorbent, brake cleaner and 5-gallon buckets of heavy duty degreaser. Countless incidentals like large zip ties, hose reels, grease guns and accessories, clear plastic and food grade tubing are only a small portion of the selection we offer.

(LEFT) Custom hose can be made to order while you wait because the company stocks a large volume and variety of sizes of 2 & 4-Wire Hydraulic Hose, DOT tubing, Suction, SynFlex, Non-conductive bucket truck, Stainless Steel Braided, Marine Steer, Air, LP Gas, Brake Line, Hose Wrap, and more. Hydraulic Hose and Cylinder also has a vast selection of crimp-on hose fittings in metric and standard sizes, British and JIS, Kobelco, Komatsu and LP Gas.

808 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-759-0599 Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30AM – 5PM PAGE



The Gutman family - Carlene and Jack appreciate the support of their children Matthew and Samantha.

Jack Gutman for Judge

Experience, Integrity, Community Commitment Jack Gutman would appreciate your support in his candidacy for Hillsborough County Court Judge, Group 8. After 32 years of diverse legal experience with a longstanding record of honesty and integrity, he now desires to serve his community and the State of Florida citizens in this new capacity. Since announcing his campaign, Gutman has thoroughly enjoyed participating in many, many Tampa Bay area events and meeting “so many wonderful citizens.” While learning about their particular charitable causes, discussing PAGE


their concerns for our justice system, and dialoguing in candidate forums, this highly qualified candidate is more convinced than ever that voters appreciate sincerity and a listening ear. Gutman cares deeply about the judicial process and has worked tirelessly to see justice accomplished throughout his 32 years of legal practice. In addition to endorsements by over 100 attorneys and community members which include, 5 retired Hillsborough Circuit judges, 2 past- presidents of the Florida Bar, and 9 pastpresidents of the Hillsborough

County Bar Association, he feels honored to have received endorsements from: • West Central Florida Police Benevolent Association • Tampa Police Department Police Benevolent Association • Hillsborough County Firefighters Local Union 2294 • Firefighters: City of Tampa Firefighters Local Union 754 Derrik Ryan, President of Hillsborough County Firefighters Local #2294, wrote of that group’s support: “Jack Gutman has established a reputation

in the justice community as a competent and tenacious trial attorney. We need Jack Gutman on the bench, serving and protecting the citizens of Hillsborough County.” Gutman’s legal background began in Hillsborough County, but has extended to counties beyond. Gutman,for over 15 years, has received the highest rating from his peers in the legal profession, including judges, for both his legal ability and his ethical standards. A brief career history includes: • Serving as a State Prosecutor for 12 years,

Mike Sparkman, former Mayor of Plant City and current City Commissioner who has served the city for more than 24 years, has endorsed Jack Gutman for Hillsborough County Judge, Group 8.

where he was the Chief of a Felony Division prosecuting some of Florida’s most serious crimes. • Serving as a criminal defense counsel and acting as appointed Special Public Defender on many criminal cases. • 17 years as a Civil trial attorney, including 5 years as a Deputy Bureau Chief in the civil division of the State Attorney General’s Office • Florida Supreme Court certified Circuit Court Civil Mediator A few examples of how Gutman has continuously demonstrated a commitment to

Dr. Steve Chambers of the Chambers Medical Group (center) offered his endorsement of Jack Gutman (2nd from left). Pictured also are his wife Betsy Chambers (left) and his sisters Pec McGinnes and Sherrie Mueller.

his community are: • Florida Bar Grievance Committee chair. Investigated allegations of attorney misconduct for Florida Bar • Volunteer Teen Court Judge for the Hillsborough County Teen Court Diversion Program • Serves on the Board of Directors of the MacDonald Training Center for the past 13 years and is the immediate past chair of the board. The Center’s mission is ‘to empower people with disabilities to live the lives they choose.’ Gutman currently serves and is the chair of the Board’s advisory

committee for the center’s new Excel program, which provides job and life skill training to young adults on the autism spectrum. A Hillsborough County resident for the past 46 years, Gutman grew up in South Tampa. He’s proud of many longtime friendships with Plant City folks and particularly pleased by the endorsements of Mike Sparkman, former Mayor of Plant City and current City Commissioner who has served the city for more than 24 years and Dr. Steve Chambers of the Chambers Medical Group and lifelong Plant City resident Kyle Robinson.

The Tulane University and University of Miami School of Law alumnus resides in Lutz with Carlene, his wife of 26 years. Together they are proud parents of Samantha, a University of Florida graduate now pursuing a nursing degree in Nashville, and Matthew, a University of Central Florida junior, majoring in aerospace engineering. To learn more about Jack Gutman and to view the extensive list of endorsements, visit online at www. and on Facebook at Jack Gutman for Judge.

Paid political advertisement paid for and approved by Jack Gutman for Hillsborough County Court Judge Group 8 PAGE



Lush greenery at Keel and Curley Winery provides a picturesque backdrop for a wedding or other special event.

Something Fun Is Always Happening at Keel and Curley Winery! Whether people head to Keel and Curley Winery for fun, fabulous food, a special occasion, community event, live music, award-winning wines or craft beer, they will find it there. Keel and Curley is open daily for lunch and dinner, and, at least four nights a week, the venue schedules entertainment: live bands, trivia games or karaoke. Reservations for weekend PAGE


tours of the winery and brewery with or without wine and beer flights can be booked online. What better way to sample a variety of Keel and Curley’s signature fusion wines and Two Henrys Brewing Co. beers? Owners Joe and Alicia Keel enjoy supporting the local community by hosting blood drives and events that raise money for charities, and Keel

and Curley Winery is a beautiful space for corporate events, parties and weddings. The 26.5acre site is a lush, picturesque, country setting with varioussized spaces to accommodate small, medium and large crowds. The annual Blueberry Festival and Peach Festival celebrate their namesake fresh fruit, which is raised on the Keel farm. The festivals combine U-pick

opportunities and the fun of a small carnival with the tastings of homemade fruity fusion wines, including the once-ayear, available-only-duringthe-Blueberry-Festival, special Strawberry Shortcake Wine. The Two Henrys Biertoberfest will take place Nov. 3. Occasionally throughout the year, the winery sponsors specialty concerts and shows.

Pick peaches or drink their nectar at Keel and Curley Winery.

Past performers have included Craig Chaquico, Belinda Womack, Karlea Lynne’, the Magic Mike Show Live and Comedians Uncorked: Rahn Hortman, Pat Largo and Bill Ohse. Chef Kenny Clevenger, who came to Keel and Curley in 2016 after 35 years as a chef at The Colonnade, the famous Tampa seafood restaurant on Bayshore Boulevard, creates dining sensations made from produce grown on the farm, eggs from their free-range hens and

fresh seafood. Specialty dishes include stuffed flounder, grouper sandwiches, gator bites, conch fritters and fish and shrimp tacos. Appetizers, salads, burgers, sandwiches, entrees and mouthwatering desserts can satisfy the hungriest appetite. Non-alcoholic beverages, including an organic blueberry soda, are available in addition to proprietary wines, beers and ciders. There’s always something fun happening at Keel and Curley Winery.

Keel and Curley Chef Kenny Clevenger, formerly of The Colonnade in Tampa, prepares signature seafood dishes, like this grouper sandwich.

5210 Thonotosassa Rd. | Plant City, FL 33565 | 813-752-9100 |

Hours: Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. | Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. | Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. PAGE



Owner Stephanie Farmer Marries Edwin Collins Lacy Brown Specialty Advertising, LLC Celebrating Our 42 Years in the Industry

Lacy Brown Specialty Advertising, LLC Celebrating Our 42 Years in the Industry! Every great business started with a small story. McDonald’s started with a burger and Disney with a mouse. For the family-owned and operated Lacy Brown Specialty Advertising business started more than four decades ago, the story started with a shoebox. In 1976, when Stephanie Collins started working for her parents, Lacy and Norma Kay Brown, they collected sales orders and receipts within a shoebox. At age 10, she helped by filing catalogs before growing her skills with other tasks, such as typing orders and cleaning the company’s warehouse. Following graduation, Collins traveled as a commissioned PAGE


saleslady until she left to raise a family (although still helping the business on occasion) Then in 2012 she returned to manage the operations. Proud to have served our country and this community with 22 years in the Army National Guard based at the Plant City armory, Stephanie’s 81-year-old father, Lacy Brown, is pleased to remain involved with the business by helping his daughter. “I love the fact that daddy and I work together, and it's a family business with good people,” Collins said. Norma Brown passed away in 2016 with Dementia. For the past 40 years, her family business has been helping

others market themselves with a diverse array of promotional items. Now offering more than one million items, products include pens, baseball caps, USB drives, umbrellas, cups and mugs, and even a wide assortment of bags. Custom ball caps by Richardson, Outdoor and other brands, as well as Sublimation T Shirts and embroidered polos, are especially popular at the moment. What sets the specialty items supplier apart from other marketing services is the personable human communication and personalized service to offer customers items showcasing their own company’s

personal touch. “When it comes to sales, you won't be dealing with a person sitting in front of a computer wearing a headset or trying to navigate a website,” shared Stephanie. “You will be working with me, the owner, following our family tradition of personalized service.” Collins works one-on-one with her clients to provide personalized items, ensuring customers receive something that reflects their message without having to do all that work themselves. Whether you have a cuttingedge logo or artwork to use for your own promotion or you need an art department specialist

Over 1 million promotional products available!

Richardson brand ball caps are especially popular.

to help you, Lacy Brown Specialty Advertising will provide everything you need. “People can go online and buy promotional products, but here's the problem with that: If you do all the work I do, that takes time away from your ability to run your own it helps to have me step through the door and take care of your all specialty advertising ideas,” Collins assured. When it comes to promoting her customers, this marketdriven marketer always comes

up with new, creative ideas to help them stand out from everyone else. Anyone can create a USB drive with a custom logo, but went the extra mile for the Florida Sheriff Association, for example. She created USBs that looked like squad cars for a tradeshow give away and they were a hit! Other organizations the company is proud to serve includes the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, Future Farmers of America, and the

4-H youth organization. A huge supporter of FFA and 4-H youth programs, Stephanie maintains a very popular page on Facebook that has more than 3,000 members following since last year. Visit Florida 4-H and FFA Supporters at groups/454128828291193/ and stay abreast of good news and ways you can help. One customer, Layla Keeler Drawdy of Diamond R Fertilizer, posted her thanks online, writing: "If you're looking for a company to do any type of marketing materials…I couldn't possibly give a higher rating to Stephanie Farmer [now Collins]. Everyone could learn something from [her]. Thorough, prompt, affordable, extremely honest and kind. I've made more than a good contact. I've gained a dear friend…I'm

blessed to have her in my life." Joshua Manaugh shared his review on Google: “Outstanding service. As a small business owner, I highly recommend Stephanie and her team at Lacy Brown Advertising.” Stephanie is also happy to share the good news of her recent marriage to Edwin Collins. Following the family wedding festivities in the assisted living center chapel in Tennessee where his aunt resides, the newlyweds enjoyed their honeymoon and sightseeing in Maryland. For more information, call 813-659-0701, visit the website at or email to see the wide variety of more than one million available products, including many made exclusively in the USA.

813-659-0701 | | PAGE



Level Seven Graphics When Michael Pippin follows a calling, he follows through. From strawberries, to youth ministry, to creative art and thinking, Level Seven Graphics was born. Michael Pippin grew up in the strawberry fields of Plant City, so graphics seems a far leap for a career. His father Ron, taught him everything he needed to know through lessons in farming. “My dad really taught me how to think outside the box, to be a problem-solver,” Michael shared. Though his dad was a farmer, he was a creative thinker. That creativity led to inventiveness. PAGE


The Pippin family did not grow only strawberries; they also grew bell peppers. A major problem with growing bell peppers can occur when the Florida weather becomes volatile just before harvest time. The wind and rain can cause plants to fall over, ruining the peppers in the hot sun. To solve this problem an efficient method of staking the bell pepper plants was created. “It doesn't seem like a big deal, but no one was staking peppers at the time.” The year they staked their plants for the first time was the year a major hurricane wreaked havoc upon

most farming communities in Florida. Carl Pippin and Sons Farms was one of the few farms in the state that had bell peppers to harvest. That year, farmers from all over started showing up to learn about this new technique. It was puzzling to Michael that his father would share his secrets with others. It was Ron’s philosophy that if someone wanted to learn, then he would help them. “He taught me that you reap what you sow,” said Pippin. “It was following instinct and doing what he knew was right even though it may not have

been popular that made his father successful, and it was instinct that led Michael to follow his heart into youth ministry, even though it may not have been a popular choice. His parents were Christians and he grew up in church. It was at a church youth camp that he received the vision, “clear as day,” to go into the ministry. His reason for following his heart is straightforward. “No one knows true joy until they know Christ.” It was the deep desire of Michael’s heart to share this with the next generation. It was through the ministry that he found his outlet for his

own inventiveness and creativity. Currently, a student ministry pastor at The Crossings Church in Brandon, Michael found the need to use social media to fill needs within the ministry. “We have a website, we pass out brochures newsletters, you name it. I am a self-taught graphic artist.” Another lesson from the farm was that sometimes money is tight and you can't get a replacement, so you have to fix it yourself. From self-taught to success, Level Seven Graphics

is a thriving, hometown, Plant City business. Believing that art is the mark of this generation, combining his love for both art and reaching youth seemed a perfect fit to lead him into the field of graphic design. Whatever your needs are — business cards, screen printing, embroidery, or signs -- Level Seven Graphics has the original design to fit your needs. “I have to say, that what sets us apart is originality,” said Pippin. He uses his own designs and strives to provide service you won't get

anywhere else. If you have driven around Plant City, then you have seen their work. Level 7 Graphics has created designs and apparel for Cork Elementary, Tomlin Middle, Plant City High School, Pinecrest Pilots, RAOK fashion boutique, and many others. “We love our community and we love to give back,” Pippin said. They have done work for the Relay for Life and offer discounts to churches, youth organizations, and community organizations.

The goal at Level Seven Graphics is unparalleled customer service. “We truly believe in making the customer happy and providing honest service,” Pippin said. It is that sense of community pride, customer service and inventiveness that will make Level Seven Graphics your design and printing team. For assistance, e-mail order@, phone 813-763-6476, or visit http://

813-763-6476 | PAGE



Linda’s Crab Shack Since its opening 25 years ago, Ramon and Linda Garza have enjoyed satisfying the seafood cravings of diners in Plant City and the surrounding areas. Loyal customers return again and again for their favorite meals at Linda’s Crab Shack because of the generous portions, tasty seafood, and affordable prices. That popularity is proven year after year when voters select the restaurant for “Best Seafood” during the annual Readers’ Choice Awards presented by Focus Magazine. Customers continue also to compliment the Garzas for their PAGE


recent renovations at 202 E. Reynolds Street. Those bright and roomier changes included a covered patio for outdoor dining, fresh paint, new flooring, a raised ceiling, updated restrooms and new tables and seating. The Food One of the reasons the Garzas established a seafood eatery in 1993 is because Ramon has always loved seafood. In fact, he eats it in some form every day. So the food quality is of special importance to him in popular items such as grouper, shrimp, clams, catfish, soft shell crab, crab cakes and deviled crabs.

Those “crunchy, deep-fried breading filled-to-the-brim with crab meat” deviled crabs are made fresh from scratch every day. With no onions or pepper in the stuffing, there’s more room for the sweet and tender crab. Since Linda’s sells between 100-150 deviled crabs daily, their recipe is obviously a hit. “People order them to ship to the out-of-state homes , families or friends, even as far away as Alaska,” said Ramon. They are a treat you can get just anywhere.” Many also order large numbers of the deviled crabs for parties like birthdays and graduations. Another amazing surprise on

The team at Linda’s Crab Shack includes granddaughter Abby Garza between owners Ramon and Linda Garza, their son Steve Garza and the ladies (L-R) -- Lexi Nichols, Linda’s sister Doris Nipper, and Steve’s fiance, Amy Hyde.

the menu is Crab Shala (also known as Crab Chilau to those who grew up in Tampa). Very few seafood restaurants offer this blue crab meat dish simmered in a tomato-based sauce with ingredients such as onions, peppers, celery, Italian spices and Tabasco seasoning that is served over spaghetti noodles (and often with a side of warm Cuban bread). Once you’ve tried this dish, you’ll want it over and over again. Other typically-ordered specialties at Linda’s are: • Calamari • Clam Chowder • Coconut Shrimp

• Crawfish • Fish Tacos • Garlic Crabs • Scallops • Grilled Shrimp over Yellow Rice • Shrimp Scampi • Steamed Shrimp • Seafood Platter (fried or steamed) • Smoked Mullet

active in the daily operations, unless they are enjoying their favorite pastime – taking relaxing trips on cruise lines. Today, with the help of their son Steve, Linda’s sister Doris Nipper, Amy Hyde, Lexi Nichols and Sarah Allen, Linda’s is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and until 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

Folks who aren’t craving seafood can have their appetites satisfied with BBQ Pork, Smoked Ribs, Chicken Tenders or Ribeye Steak. Oh, and whatever you order, be sure to try some of the Jalapeno peppers, fried mushrooms, or Linda’s delicious corn fritters! A Brief History Before establishing Linda’s Crab Shack, the Garzas invested years in the dairy business in Riverview. One day when Ramon was presented with an opportunity to buy the property that also contained a Western Union and a Trailways bus station at the corner of Reynolds and Palmer Streets, he made the decision to purchase. “When I came home and told Linda we now owned everything at 202 W. Reynolds, she was surprised,” said Ramon. “But she got busy getting her licenses to become an agent for both businesses.” Then with a friend they decided to replace the beverage drive-thru portion of the building and add a seafood restaurant, which opened in 1993. Eventually the Garzas became sole owners and today remain

Specials When it’s time to celebrate a birthday with family or friends, head to Linda’s for the Birthday Special. With proof of ID, guests can receive a free entrée from the lunch menu or 50% off a dinner entrée. The special is available for dine-in only. Linda’s also offers wine, imported and domestic beer, bottled beer and Corona. Buckets of bottled Bud Light and Corona (5 bottles per bucket) are offered for $12 and $15, respectively. Attitude of Gratitude It’s important to the Garza family and staff at Linda’s Crab Shack that their local customers know how much they are appreciated. “We try to serve everyone with kindness,” Linda shared, “and their loyalty has meant everything to us. It’s a pleasure to serve up the seafood and specialties they love and we work hard to keep our overhead low and maintain affordable prices. This has been our life for 25 years and the people here have made it a good one for us. Thank you so much, Plant City!”

The original menu for Linda’s Crab Shack (circa 1993)

Steve Garza, Ramon Garza, Sr. and Ramon Garza, Jr. Photo taken in 2000.

202 E. Reynolds Street, Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-754-0492

Monday-Thursday 11:30AM to 9:00PM | Friday & Saturday 11:30AM to 9:30PM Lunch: 11:30 to 3:00PM, Dinner: 3:00PM to Close PAGE



Nick’s is renowned for its hand-tossed New York style pizza, available in sizes ranging from 10” to 28”.

Nick’s Pizzaria and Wings Jimbo Sparks, owner of Nick’s Pizzaria and Wings, is pleased that his restaurant is “the home of the best pizza and wings in Plant City.” Since he purchased the popular eatery in April of 2012, sales have increased by 300 percent. “We believe in offering good service, in extending hospitality, and being friendly to everyone who walks through our door,” Sparks explained. “We enjoy being part of this community, supporting our schools and churches, and spreading the good word about other local businesses PAGE


when folks inquire about recommendations.” Sparks also explained that his team’s commitment to excellence builds the company’s reputation ONE customer at a time! Nate Waller, owner of the neighboring Second to None Barber Shop, agrees. He frequents Nick’s often for the lunch specials – two slices of pizza and a drink. “Jimbo and his staff offer excellent customer service,” he said. “The food is great, order deliveries are expeditious, and the prices are exceptionally affordable for the

outstanding quality. I’m happy to refer customers here.” Nick’s is a favorite for its hand-tossed New York style pizza and popular for its Philly sandwiches and hand-pressed half-pound burgers, too. “We sell more than 3,000 wings every week,” Jimbo offered. “They are something our customers crave.” Wings are the jumbo party size, cooked always fresh, never frozen. Diners can choose from any of the homemade sauces including: House or Buffalo in Mild, Medium, Hot, & Scorcher levels; Honey BBQ, Honey BBQ Garlic, Garlic Parmesan, Jerk,

Cajun, Teriyaki, and Lemon Pepper. “Everything here is homemade because we want to serve excellent meals,” Sparks said. “We make a pizza like you would make it at home, with plenty of toppings, even to the edges. We make our dough fresh every day, we use fresh chicken versus frozen, and we shop locally for produce at the farmers’ markets.” Pizzas are available in 10”, 14”, 16”, 20” and the 28” Party Pie (which provides 45-50 3” squares per pie). One thing regulars noticed

immediately after Sparks assumed ownership of Nick’s was that the dough was lighter. “That’s because we have a reverse osmosis filtering system for our water,” he explained. “This allows us to make the crust using less yeast, which is healthier for our customers, too. The taste is improved as well because the system also removes chemicals from the water.” Other popular offerings include a great array of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pasta entrees, and desserts. Nick’s also offers Pepsi products, beer, and wine to complement your meal. Sparks has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 30 years. He grew up in Ocala after his father retired from the Department of Defense, then moved to Tampa. He’s done consulting work for other

restaurants, too, and helped owners improve their efficiency numbers wherever he went. Finally, he decided to do that as a restaurant owner himself. As to his business model, Sparks shared, “As costs go up for ingredients at the wholesale level, we believe that customers prefer we don’t skimp on portions or cut back on the toppings. We adjust our pricing only as necessary, because it’s important to remain affordable. Quality and hospitality will always matter.” He credits manager Kyle Chaffee and John Fontana, Jr.— also known as “Johnny Pizza— for their hard work, wisdom and commitment to serve only the best to customers. Sparks and his team are proud of their Plant City Chamber of Commerce membership and the recent involvement with the Lions Club.

Appreciation certificates from Relay for Life, American Cancer Society, America’s Veterans, and Grue Heide Farm Rescue line the wall left of the entrance – just a small indication of the restaurant’s outreach efforts. “We really enjoy helping our customers and helping them enjoy a tasty meal, too,” he said. “We’re proud to be part of a community that has so many nice, friendly and down-to-earth people who care about others. Our loyal customers come in multiple times, week in and week out, which makes us happy. They become our friends and we like treating them like family.” Two especially popular nights are Mondays when folks can enjoy “All You Can Eat Wings” from 5 to 8 p.m. and Wednesdays when “Kids Eat Free” with an adult meal purchase. For your convenience, Nick’s also offers delivery (with $15 minimum purchase) and catering. To view the daily specials, visit and click on the Facebook link. There you will discover a “Joke of the Day.” We randomly offer: “If you come in and tell that day’s joke

to Jen, the daytime server, you and a friend will eat two for the price of one on that day’s lunch special, which is offered already at a discounted price. So, bring a friend and introduce them to Nick’s! Without a doubt, the extensive, taste-tempting menu is one you’ll want to keep handy in your vehicle, home, and office. Nick’s Pizzaria and Wings team members invite you to “Come in and give us a try.” They’re confident you’ll be pleased by the delicious food and hometown friendly service.

1707 James L. Redman Pkwy. | Plant City, Florida 33563 | 813-757-5900 | Hours: Monday – Open Daily, Monday-Thursday: 11AM - 10PM | Friday & Saturday: 11AM - 11PM | Sunday: 12 Noon - 9PM PAGE



O’Brien’s Irish Pub & Grill Graduating from Ohio’s Wilmington College in 1990, Mike Goodwin began working in the corporate side of brands such as Ruby Tuesday, Kinkos, FedEx Office and Iron Mountain. After doing so for nearly 20 years, Goodwin was ready for self-employment, specifically in the restaurant industry. He decided to relocate from Mobile, Alabama and began looking PAGE


for restaurants available for purchase in the Tampa Bay area. In June 2013, he acquired Plant City’s O’Brien’s Irish Pub & Grill. The restaurant originally opened in 2007, and despite the change in ownership, Goodwin says he was well embraced by the staff and the regulars who frequent O’Brien’s. Goodwin suggests Plant City residents who are first-timers

to the pub try their signature dishes: Fish and Chips and Shepherd’s Pie, Emerald Isle or for a twist, try out the Mac & Cheese Shepherd’s Pie where the mashed potatoes are replaced with creamy macaroni and cheese and topped off with a slice of Irish Cheddar Cheese. Each week, patrons can enjoy 75 cent wings on Monday and $6 burgers on Tuesday. Wednesday

is Kids Eat Free Night, Thursday is dedicated to trivia and live music can be heard on Friday and Saturday. O’Brien’s Plant City hosts fun community events such as a Super Bowl Party in February, Redneck Prom in May, the annual Halloween costume party in October, a Golf Cart Christmas Decorating contest in December and of course, a huge

St. Patrick’s Day parking lot party and celebration with generous helpings of corned beef and cabbage being served. O’Brien’s Plant City, along with their loyal customers, help support local charities, schools and the food bank by donating toys and non-perishable food during the Customer Appreciation Event in early December. Goodwin found success in Plant City due in part to O’Brien’s loyal customer base and veteran team members, so he began considering opening a second O’Brien’s location. In March 2016, Goodwin converted Wesley Chapel’s City Grill into O’Brien’s Irish Pub & Grill Wesley Chapel.

Mike’s brother, Randy Goodwin, relocated from Indiana to become the General Manager at the Wesley Chapel location, situated conveniently off I-75 Exit 279 at Wesley Chapel Boulevard. “There’s a lot of crossover of customers between the Wesley Chapel and Plant City locations, which is a testament to what O’Brien’s has to offer as your neighborhood pub,” said Goodwin. In July 2018, Goodwin closed on a third restaurant. Branching out from Irish fare to ItalianAmerican cuisine, Goodwin has purchased Tampa Joe’s Sports Bar & Restaurant, located at 9316 Anderson Road in Tampa. Serving salads, pasta, pizza,

flatbreads, steaks, burgers and wings, customers can find a wide array of dining options. Goodwin says he has high hopes for Tampa Joe’s. “I believe the concept can be expanded within the Tampa area and maybe one day even in Plant City,” said Goodwin. He credits his strong work ethic to his parents and grandfather who owned a printing business called Prinit Press. As a young man, Goodwin worked for his grandfather at his printing business. Goodwin says he taught him to value his job, no matter what job he is doing. “If my brothers and I came in at 8:05 am, my grandfather would always say ‘good

afternoon,’ because work started at 8:00 am and he stressed the importance of being on time,” said Goodwin. While growing to three locations within five years says a lot about Goodwin as a gogetter, he credits his staff and employees. Goodwin says the key was surrounding himself with the right people in both Plant City and in Wesley Chapel. “Owning three locations within five years is a testament to our customers and the employees,” said Goodwin. “None of the other two locations could have come to be without the Pl

1701 S Alexander Street, Plant City | 813-764-8818

Hours: Monday & Tuesday: 11AM to 12AM | Wednesday-Saturday: 11AM to 2AM | Sunday: 12PM to 12AM PAGE




Supplies and Service for Pool-Patio-Spa With September quickly approaching, it’s time to invest in updating your pool equipment by shopping local. For its annual “Big Fall Sale,” Pinch-A-Penny customers will find the best pricing between September 13-16 on those normally high ticket items such as pumps, heaters and pool sweeps. As your one stop shop for supplies, maintenance, repairs, installs, pool games, toys, and floats, Pinch-A-Penny covers all the bases. The family- and veteranowned business, operated by brothers Chad and Casey Wiley, PAGE


offers affordable pool repair and maintenance services by talented technicians who take great pride in their work. Understanding the importance of quality family time, Casey explained, “Pool cleaning can be a real headache sometimes and we are here to help.” Keeping integrity in mind, one of the brothers will be at your home or business to perform services such as chemical balance, cleaning, installs or repairs. “We are fully invested in the business and the community,” offered Chad. Stop in and ask for details on the

available options for upkeep by the professionals. The sale is also a perfect time to switch your pool’s heating source from solar to heat pump. “We are having huge sales on both gas heaters and heat pumps to extend your pool season,” explained Chad. “More and more families are finding this to be a good investment over the long term.” Another opportunity to save is by signing up for weekly pool service with Pinch-A-Penny, Plant City #74. “Those customers are automatically enrolled in our 24/7 customer service program,”

Casey offered. This means our customers will be able to contact an owner 24/7 with any issues regarding their pool, and one of us will guarantee a rapid response and a possible solution to the issue at hand. No other pool store/company offers this at all, that I'm aware of, which really sets us apart from our competitors and other Pinch-APenny locations. Chad Wiley decided to go into the pool business with his brother after eight deployments and ten years of military service with the US Army Special Forces Green Berets. “Faith, Family,

and Friends” is the motto we live by in business and in life,” he shared. “Loyalty and honesty are important values and guiding principles for us and for our employees as well.” In addition to supporting local efforts that benefit children and families, the Wiley brothers actively represent and volunteer part time with the Task Force Dagger Foundation. This 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. For example, with an average response time of two hours, the Foundation assists in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress, looks for alternatives to medication, and engages recreational therapy

to promote rehabilitation and recovery. “We believe if the soldier is injured, 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.” Casey added, “We are just very excited to be part of the Plant City Community and to show our support, not only to families that live here, but also to our military families. It's just something close to our hearts.” Visit today to learn more about how Pinch-A-Penny can save you money and put your pool in great shape for the cooler months headed our way. And remember that your patronage in shopping local will help benefit local veterans and their families.

Plant City #74 | 1411 S. Collins Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-754-9500 | Monday–Friday 9AM–6PM | Saturday 8AM–5PM | Sunday 10AM–3PM PAGE



Plant City Awning & Aluminum Products, Inc. For over 56 years, Plant City Awning and Aluminum Products, Inc. has helped people just like you add value to their home. Since 1961, the full-service aluminum contractor has been serving home improvement needs in all of Hillsborough County. The Plant City Chamber of Commerce member company is licensed, bonded and insured (RX00066393) and is proud to maintain its A+ Accredited Business Rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Plant City Awning & Aluminum PAGE


Products also offers a full line of home improvement products. Owner and company president Larry H. Johnson is constantly evaluating new products and materials to offer customers many options for the best value. From carports, patio awnings, and replacement windows, to screened rooms, pool enclosures, siding, soffit, and roofovers, this company does it all! Before Johnson joined forces with his father, the company’s founder, to learn the business, he had worked in various other

industries. When his dad was ready to retire, Larry purchased the company in 1992. “I consider the development of customer loyalty as one of my successes,” explained Johnson, who has done business with second and third generations of families. “I also consider it a great success that our company survived the ‘Great Recession’ in 2008, one of the most difficult times for the construction industry.”

Products and Services “We are proud to have served the Hillsborough County area for more than half-a-century,” said Johnson. “Every project is engineered to current code standards. We work with customers to offer the high-quality products and custom details they desire at an affordable price.” Help and solutions for your home or business projects are only a call or click away. Request an estimate by telephone or through the website at plantcityawningandaluminum.

com. The company specializes in: • Screen Rooms • Glass Rooms • Vinyl Windows • Do-It-Yourself Kits • Carports • Concrete • Vinyl Siding & Soffit • Replacement Windows • Pool Enclosures • Patio Awnings • Mobile Home Roof overs • Vinyl Skirting One of the reasons Johnson enjoys his work so much revolves around his love for nature. “I am inspired by so many things in the natural world,” he said. “Being in the environment helps clear my mind, and I hope our additions do the same for others.” Browse the gallery at plantcityawningandaluminum. com to get a better idea of the products and services the company offers. Nothing tells the company’s story any better than word-

of-mouth referrals and recommendations. Many have taken time to write their thoughts, including Gil Gott, Executive Director of the Plant City Photo Archives & History Center. “When a storm brought down a large limb and crushed a portion of my screened room, I called Larry Johnson at Plant City Awning and Aluminum. The job was done quickly, professionally, and reasonably priced. I exercise there every morning.” Frank Cummings, owner of Walden Lake Car Wash, agrees. “We’ve hired Larry for several different projects and highly recommend his company. He’s competitively priced and scheduled work after hours for our customers’ convenience. He follows up and even after a year, stops in to make sure we’re still pleased. Larry takes a lot of pride in his work. You could definitely call it ‘old-fashioned craftsmanship.”

Recent reviews on the BBB website include the following: Dolores K. wrote: “Very pleased with my new screenedin patio. Kept me informed from permit to finish.” Brian S. reported: “A neighbor contracted with Larry and Plant City Awning and had a great experience, so we did the same. I’m glad we did. Larry was very prompt and knowledgeable. The screen room we had installed came out wonderful and we are loving it! I wouldn’t hesitate one second to refer anyone to Larry and his crew if they want any aluminum/screen work done.” David W. shared: “I have had two great experiences with Plant City Awning and Aluminum. Three years ago, they installed a wonderful carport, so when I needed some railings redone, they were my first choice. Larry J. and his crew were great to work with. Rebeka M. in the Keysville area posted on Facebook at

the Plant City Word of Mouth page. “Great business, expert work. Someone suggested this business when I asked for screen porch work. We could not be happier with outcome... we are lucky to have such professionals at reasonable costs who do the work on time. If you need awning, porch or pool screen work, this is the company you want. Five-star business. Brian S. shared on Facebook as well. “Larry and his team were awesome to work with. Very professional and high quality product! We love our screen room. Would definitely recommend!” Don’t hesitate to contact the company to request an estimate or to schedule a free in-home consultation at your convenience. Senior citizens receive a discount. You can also visit the showroom, located at 806 S. Woodrow Wilson Street, Unit #1, Plant City, FL 33563.

Plant City Awning & Aluminum was pleased to construct this shade-providing canopy for diners at the Florida Strawberry Festival.

806 S. Woodrow Wilson Street, Suite 1 | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-659-2501 | PAGE



Plant City Boxing Gym Gym / Physical Fitness / Youth Boxing Center Jose Rodriguez runs his Plant City Boxing Gym at 607 Hitchcock Street with core values he hopes will become instilled in the hearts of every student he guides in the sport of boxing. As Owner/Head Trainer and Manager, Rodriguez handles all the affairs of the gym, from organizing classes to personally training his professional boxers. Having already hosted multiple amateur events, amateur tournaments and the Junior Olympics, he has recently begun working with Fire Fist Boxing Promotions, a Tampaarea promotion hosting local PAGE


professional events. Rodriguez and his trainers model such characteristics as self-confidence, discipline and work ethic that will enable students to lead a successful life. Here in this teaching and learning facility, he and fellow trainers Jason Crosby, Andres Cruz, and Angel Gonzalez help their youthful proteges to be the best versions of themselves. This potential isn’t limited to the ring either. Jose Rodriguez runs his gym with a policy that requires his students to show him their report cards. “They have to be passing in school,” he

reasoned. “I won’t take someone who doesn’t want to do the work, and I tell them, ‘If your grades slip up, you can’t return until you are passing again.’” This approach encourages students to be smart and responsible in planning their lives out, whether it be through work as professional athlete hopeful or any other future career. “I made mistakes in my life,” Rodriguez shared. “But God has given me the chance to learn from my mistakes so I can give something back to the community.” He continued, “That’s what

it all comes down to – how to properly handle your problems and having the mindset to be mature about what life throws at you.” From a very devout Christian family in which several of his relatives are pastors, Jose Rodriguez believes it’s important that he gives all the credit to God for any successes he enjoys today. All these factors have resulted in the reality that he and the gym’s trainers are producing and contributing to the growth of boxers from age eight and older. Two professionals train in his gym as well: Yamaguchi Falcao,

with, it also provides a chance to do and accomplish something they can be proud of, in the right way The young men and women who find themselves under the guidance of these gentlemen in this gym will experience the opportunity to reach their potential and show what they have learned in competitions all

who was the former holder of the World Boxing Council Latino Middleweight title; and William Silva, who as recently as March, fought for and won the NBA and IBO Continental Lightweight Champion at Banquet Masters in Clearwater, Florida. The primary way Jose Rodriguez and his trainers view students involves equality. They teach that “No one is better than anyone.” They believe any student willing to work can become a champion. “Everyone of us have butterflies when we are in the ring,” offered Rodriguez. “I don’t care who you are, but when you are my student, I am in your corner.” For those who have and do work hard—such as Alex Bautista, Eric Denson, and David Torres—that effort all paid off when they were finally named “Champion.” These young men went into several Florida tournaments in 2016, and between the three

across the state. Rodriguez invites anyone who wants to be a part of something very special to visit soon. What folks will discover are life-changing lessons offered through the sport of boxing. Positive energy, exercise and enlightenment – what more can anyone ask!

managed to take home four championships: three from the Sugar Bert Boxing National Championship Series and one from the Florida State Police Athletic League Championship. Even more recently and after being under the gym’s tutelage for just over a year, Jesus Dimas, was named Athlete of the Week by the Plant City Observer. He was especially thrilled by a unanimous decision win in his amateur boxing debut on March 10, 2018. The gym here is more than a place to learn how to throw a punch. It’s a place to gain things that some people just don’t have or have never been given the chance to gain. Here, students and trainers are part of a family, not simply a center promoting physical fitness. The Plant City Boxing Gym is a special place in which young boxers can channel their energy, learn, and grow as a person. For many of the kids Jose Rodriguez and his trainers have worked

607 Hitchcock Street | 813-441-4530 | Visit or Facebook Hours: Monday thru Friday, 5PM – 8PM PAGE



Plant City Rentals

Putting People in their Place since 2008 The highly regarded industry leader – Plant City Rentals Property Management LLC – has been servicing the eastern Hillsborough County community for more than a decade. From offices located in the building owned by Ron Johns at 1701 James L. Redman Parkway, the company also works closely with McGrath Poppell Realty to provide even more real estate and investment services. When the market turned in 2008, Mac McGrath gave Johns his first property management lead. Today their work in property management and real estate PAGE


sales complements both companies. Johns shared, “Since I’ve always enjoyed selling real estate, it’s rewarding to help owners purchase new rental properties and help current tenants to one day purchase their dream home.” With an extremely high tenant retention and a very low vacancy rate, Plant City Rentals manages more than 150 homes and apartments in this community alone. Since new technologies have changed the way prospective tenants locate new housing, most homebuyers today research online before

they physically shop for another home or a different rental unit. As a result, owner Ron Johns and his staff maintain a far-reaching online presence. Leads from ads, signs, internet, social media, multiple affiliated websites, and word-of-mouth referrals average 500-600 monthly. Plant City Rentals outperforms its competitors because the company is constantly improving, always looking for better and more efficient ways to manage in an ever-changing market. Ultimately, Johns still believes people make the difference. He

shared, “We make use of the latest technologies, but we never lose the personal touch with our owners or our tenants.” While services are primarily focused on residential single family, duplex and small to mid-size multi-family properties, Plant City Rentals also provides management for select commercial properties and larger apartment complexes. The professional, courteous, and knowledgeable employees of Plant City Rentals are highly qualified to handle any situation and with their licensed/insured vendors and repair personnel,

they deliver professional quality service at the absolute best rates available. Trustworthy According to Johns, the most important aspect of property management is trust. He explained, “Owners trust that we will work hard to find the best tenants, handle their funds effectively and responsibly, use professional and qualified vendors, and manage properties to protect their investment. And our tenants trust us to handle repair issues promptly and professionally, treat them fairly and with respect, do our best to ensure their safety and wellbeing, and provide them with affordable, quality housing.” In addition to the thorough screening process that includes income verification and criminal, rental, and credit histories, the company also reports its tenants rental history to the credit bureau to help them build and/or improve their credit. Johns offered, “Tenant retention is the core of our business. By providing prompt and professional service, most decide to stay and renew their leases, which saves the property owners thousands of dollars over time.” Teamwork – A Key to Continueal Success Nothing makes the staff happier than matching a family up with a home in the perfect location that suits them to a tee. “When that happens, we feel we’ve made an improvement in their lives and in their children’s lives,” added Johns. “When our tenants renew their lease, we feel like they are saying, ‘Thank you!’” In addition to rent collections and service calls, property

management involves preventative maintenance, legal assistance, risk management, equity appreciation, liability, bookkeeping, and much more. Property managers must keep up with the current Rental Market, Fair Housing Laws, Fire Safety, Insurance needs and requirements, costs of goods and services, and of course, Florida’s Landlord Tenant Act. They also shape policies concerning pets, disturbances, overcrowding, code enforcement, after-hour emergencies, mold, lead-based paint, evictions, liability lawsuits, and many other issues that may arise during the course of a tenant’s stay in the home or apartment. Once a Plant City Rentals tenant herself, office manager Vanessa Strout handles tenant screening (criminal, credit and rental histories), leasing, social media, internet, maintenance requests, and rent collections. With diligence and compassion for people, she has also assisted in developing the policies/ procedures that help find, place, and retain such wonderful tenants. Since 2010, problem-solving organizer Maria Johns has served Plant City Rentals clients with accounting, receivables, and owner payments. With 26 years of experience in the construction and landscaping industries, Joe Forcucci can repair just about anything. Having supervised maintenance projects at Busch Gardens and the Dallas Bull, the quick-thinking, organized Joe is frequently praised by tenants for his promptness and professionalism. A lifelong Plant City resident,

Ron Johns has worked in the Real Estate industry since 2000. In addition to helping folks discover a dream residence, he enjoys opportunities to support local charitable efforts, such as outreaches by the Plant City Elks Lodge, Toys for Tots, and assistance to military families.

Timing is Perfect - Move, Invest or Hire a Management Company John encourages, “Whether you’re looking for full service management, assistance in locating a qualified tenant, or becoming a Plant City Rentals tenant, we are ready to provide a free consultation. Call or visit today!”

"During the two-and-a-half years Ron Johns has been managing our rental properties, profits have increased steadily, tenant turnover has decreased, and we’ve seen quicker occupancy with new tenants. The professional staff has extensive knowledge about all facets of the rental industry, and a network of qualified repair contractors, too. We receive monthly comprehensive reports detailing our rental income, repairs, maintenance, etc. In every aspect, Plant City Rentals has exceeded our expectations. I honestly don't know what we would have done without them." - Diane Rossi, Property Owner "Over the many years Ron has done business with C & G Appliances, I’ve seen how he cared for many properties in detail. This made my decision several years ago to have him manage my own properties a very easy one." ~Corbin Gibbs

1701 James L. Redman Parkway | Plant City, Florida 33563 | 813-752-3000 | PAGE



Poppell Insurance, Inc. When you’re looking for insurance, a “one-size-fitsall” plan may not be the right fit for you, your family, or your business. Instead, you need the best plan available for your situation. It’s also just as important to work with an insurance agency that appreciates its customers and holds them in the highest regard. Poppell Insurance understands this well, which is why for more than 50 years this family-owned and operated agency has provided their customers personal care with PAGE


insurance programs tailor-made for their needs. Today, brothers Mark and Jon Poppell, share management duties as vice-presidents for the company their father, R. Tom Poppell, established in 1964. They are proud to continue his legacy of hard work, integrity, and generosity. Both men grew up learning the business and have worked there since graduating from the University of Florida and Florida Southern. Today, through several acquisitions, the company is much larger. From a family living room to the red-brick building

they own at 503 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, one thing has not changed: Customers come first! The two men have honored their father’s dedication to customer service all these years. “Dad taught us that our business is a 24-7 job,” shared Mark. “Your customers don’t always need you during business hours, so you have to make yourself available to them at all times.” As a full-service independent agency, Poppell Insurance provides an array of coverages, including:

• Personal Lines ºº Homeowners and Automobile ºº Life Insurance • Commercial/ Business Insurance ºº Property ºº General Liability ºº Workers’ Compensation ºº Group Health/Employee Benefits. “Our goal is to protect our client's valuable assets as if they were our own,” Jon explained. Whether you’re looking to protect yourself, your family and/

or your business, their agents will custom design a plan to fit your needs perfectly. As an Independent Agency, Poppell Insurance has partnered with insurance companies and brokers from across the country to ensure their customers receive the highest-quality insurance products at the lowest cost. Poppell Insurance services not only the local Plant City area, but the entire state of Florida. No matter where you live, the agency’s team is sure to provide the personal attention that makes you feel like family. With a number one priority to protect your home, property, or business from any unforeseen event that may be a financial burden to you, rest assured that Poppell Insurance will be right there with you through the entire claims process. As their father did, the Poppell brothers treat customers and the local community as family. Mark and Jon are actively involved with the local community through

the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Strawberry Festival as well. Whether helping their city or their customers, the experts at Poppell Insurance enjoy serving, answering questions and handling insurance related details for folks who need answers or advice. “If you are looking for an honest, hard-working insurance company, [Jon] Poppell is your guy,” wrote one reviewer on Google. “I had the pleasure of doing business with him and really enjoyed the experience. He was very helpful with any questions, worked to get me the best rates and was responsive to my phone calls. I recommend this business.” This hometown and familyowned/operated company wants to earn your business and keep it for a lifetime. For more information, stop in, visit, or call 813-752-4155.

503 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard | Plant City, FL | 813-752-4155 | PAGE



Pat and her grandson Robby Burdette at his graduation.

Signature Realty

Pat Comstock, GRI | Broker Associate Multi-million dollar producer, Pat Comstock of Signature Realty, has been selling real estate for more than a quarter of a century. As a 30+ year resident of Walden Lake, it’s quite natural that she specializes in residential sales in that community. But she is also at ease selling property in rural Hillsborough and certain areas of Polk and Pasco counties. The key to Pat’s success comes from knowing the PAGE


market and listening to her customer. She understands that each customer has unique needs when it comes to buying or selling a home. Her goal is always to guide their expectations to a realistic end based on current market conditions. The satisfaction of sitting at the closing table with smiles all around keeps motivating Pat to continue selling real estate. With the bulk of her business resulting

from referrals from friends and past clients, it’s obvious she is doing something right! On the personal side, Pat’s world revolves around family. Tragically, she lost her oldest son Scott Helms in 2013. Her middle child, Kevin Helms, his beautiful wife Elena (who hails from Venezuela) and two precious granddaughters, Kaylee and Emily just made her life a little more complete when they moved to Plant City last year

to be closer to her. He is still racing and, in fact, became one of racing’s elite when he won his 4th world championship in NHRA Stock Eliminator and was the first racer ever to win a world championship in one of the new Dodge Challenger Dragpak cars! Last year, Kevin was runner up in two classes, so came very close to winning two more world championships! Currently, he serves as the crew chief for Leah Pritchett’s Factory

Kevin Helms and his sister, Leigh O'Steen

Showdown car of the famed Don Schumacher Racing Team. Pat’s daughter, Leigh O’Steen, teaches students at Bailey Elementary. Her grandson, Robert Burdette, currently attends HCC and plans to major in cyber security. Her other grandson and three greatgrandsons live in Arkansas. Pat hopes to encourage folks with this market news: “For buyers, the inventory levels and increase in interest rates can be frustrating because these affect how much they can afford. But there are still great buys and we work hard to discover those.

For sellers, the climb in prices has slowed and sometimes appraisals can be an issue. Overall, however, we are still in a very healthy market. Qualified buyers might benefit from down payment assistance programs and sellers are still seeing a good return on their investment. Real estate is still the best investment you can make!” If you are looking to buy or sell a home, why not give Pat a call? She’s ready to listen, would love to get acquainted, and looks forward to offering her professional real estate services.

Kevin and Elena with Kaylee and Emily at the Clearwater Aquarium

Mobile: (813) 763-5524 | Direct: (813) 759-9449 | Fax: (813) 425-9170 | Email: Website: PAGE



Smokin’ Aces:

The Smokin’ Aces food truck operated for a time to Keel and Curley Winery before establishing a permanent restaurant in Lakeland (now franchised to another owner) and its present establishment off Park Road, just north of Interstate 4.

The Little Business that Could Smokin’ Aces Steakhouse is a family owned and operated restaurant in Plant City with humble beginnings, a handful of hardships, and a heart full of passion for good food and the community. Starting out as two trailers side-by-side on the corner of County Line Road and U.S. Highway 92 in October 2012, the now award-winning, communitydriven business has been able to persevere due to hard work from the Jordan family, generous friends, and dedicated employees. “We would not be where we are if it wasn’t for all the people PAGE


who believed in our goal,” said owner/pit master Robert Jordan. With help from family friends Tammy and Chad Gasaway, Mo and Jerry of Mozart Designs, and Robert’s father Edward Jordan, Smokin’ Aces began serving ribs, pulled pork, and beef brisket a couple of days a week. Once lines started to form and the business started growing, County Zoning informed the Jordan family in December 2013 the food truck was not located on properly zoned land, and they would need to move the business to an area properly zoned. Fearing not being able to find another location, the Jordan

family received an opportunity to set their food trucks up at Keel and Curley Winery in Plant City. With patrons of the winery and owners Joe and Alicia Keel loving the food, the Keels asked the Jordan family to keep their food truck at the winery and become their full-time food provider. While the food truck stayed at the winery from January 2014February 2016, Smokin’ Aces was able to expand outside of the winery and food truck and open two restaurants, one in Lakeland in September 2014, and one in Plant City in August 2015. The Lakeland restaurant

was the first Smokin’ Aces Restaurant, and allowed the Jordan family to serve barbecue five days a week to various workers from surrounding businesses during their lunch break. However, Robert Jordan wanted to serve up steaks and seafood and expand the business by opening a sitand-serve restaurant, and was able to do so, shy of the Lakeland restaurant’s one-year anniversary, by opening Smokin’ Aces Steakhouse off of Park Road in Plant City. All three locations (including the food truck at the Winery) thrived together for some

The “Royal Flush” sandwich is a favorite at Smokin' Aces.

time, with family members and some employees working at all locations to keep the business going. The food truck left Keel and Curley in February 2016, and in early 2017 the Lakeland restaurant was franchised out and has since closed. Despite all of that, the Plant City location since opening has become and remained a toprated restaurant on TripAdvisor. Locals and tourists come for the dry-rub barbecue, sizzling steaks, fried catfish, and smalltown vibes. The company’s food truck is used still for local competitions and events. With a friendly and hardworking staff, Smokin’ Aces has been able to produce awardwinning food, with a shelf full of

trophies and plaques as proof. The company has also donated food to the community, with Forgotten Angels, Autism Walk, and the Plant City Dolphins Football and Cheerleading being some of the many organizations receiving donations. Smokin’ Aces Steakhouse also offers a heroes discount to all military, police, firefighters, doctors, nurses, and teachers. Approaching their six-year anniversary in business, owner/ pit master Robert Jordan shared, “As long as we have support from the community, positivity, passionate employees and consistently great food, we can become and remain a staple in Plant City for years to come.”

Some family members and employees celebrate at the Focus Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards in 2017 for winning recognition for “Best Steak.” Shown L-R are Ashley Jenkins, Robbie Jordan, Robert Jordan, Josh Jordan, Lydia Lindow, Jennifer Jordan, and David Shamblin.

813-704-1374 | 2509 N. PARK ROAD | PLANT CITY, FL. | ( Across from Stingray Chevrolet!) PAGE



Sport Clips Haircuts of Plant City Located at 2404 James L. Redman Parkway, Sport Clips Haircuts of Plant City just celebrated its one-year anniversary on August 1st, 2018. Later this month, they will be having several promotions and giveaways to show appreciation to the community that makes it all possible. The Sport Clips franchise was established in 1993 and is driven by the mission of providing a championship haircut experience for men and boys in a sportsthemed environment. With basketball court-style floors, stadium light fixtures, lockers, and big screen TV’s, every aspect of the store is designed with this mission in mind. This PAGE


year, Sport Clips will surpass 1,800 locations and was recently named the number one midsized franchise to own by Forbes Magazine. “We love the Sport Clips business model for several reasons,” say owners Mike and Lyndi Long. “Sport Clips constantly pushes us to think about what is best for the client. Men love convenience. This is why we have an easy in-and-out location, we’re open every day of the week, and we always strive to have plenty of great stylists so that there is rarely a long wait. We even have online check-in available, where our clients can pick their stylists and save their place in line before heading over

to the store.” While convenience is one important aspect, making guys look and feel great is Sport Clips’ first priority and biggest differentiator. Most clients opt for the MVP Experience, which includes a precision haircut, legendary hot towel, massaging shampoo, and relaxing neck and shoulder treatment. There is even a special Kid’s MVP for the little guys, which adds colored hair gel, Sport Clips eye black - and a lollipop, of course. “When I see little boys come bouncing out of our store with mom or dad and they have their colored hair and stickers under their eyes, it makes feel really good inside,” said Lyndi. “We

wanted to create a place where families can go and have an enjoyable experience that they look forward to each and every time. Women and girls have nail salons where we can relax and get pampered every few weeks, but men and boys need a place where they can feel special, too. Because we live in Plant City, it was very important to us to open our first location here.” “At the end of the day, we couldn’t do what we do without our amazing stylists,” said Mike. “The Sport Clips business model is designed so that we keep our ‘day jobs’, while our managers and stylists take care of the dayto-day operations of the store. We always encourage them

to treat our clients ‘like gold’. They have really taken that to heart and we are so proud of them.” In fact, this year, the Plant City location has spent more weeks at number one in client satisfaction than any other store in Florida. While the stylists are taking care of clients in the store, Mike and Lyndi spend time out in the community promoting the brand and giving back to Plant City. In fact, you may have seen them driving around town in that eyecatching Sport Clips racecar! They are proud Rise and Plant City Chamber of Commerce members, have a Relay for Life Team, and sponsored a Plant City Little League Baseball team. They have also held

several blood drives and in-store fundraisers for Help a Hero, the Royal Rangers, Walden Lake Elementary, and the YMCA. “We really try to help out where we can,” said Lyndi. “Sport Clips lives by three values: Do what’s right, do your best, and treat others the way they want to be treated. We think about those three things with every decision that we make and everything that we do.” It’s core values like these that really shine when it comes to Sport Clips. Truly, they have built something very special here in Plant City. Come and enjoy the experience for yourself! The team at Sport Clips is ready to update your style!

2404 James L. Redman Parkway | Plant City, FL 33566 | (813) 853-0808

Hours: M-F: 9 AM - 8 PM, Sat: 9 AM to 6 PM, Sun: 10 AM to 5 PM Facebook: | Instagram: scfl124 | Online Check-in: Owners: Mike and Lyndi Long | Stylists: Vanessa, Maria, Ravina, Tonie, Cindy, Brittany, Amy PAGE



A line forms as people wait to order and receive their lunches at Strawberry Hut.

Strawberry Hut 25 Years Old and Still a Favorite Troy and Betty Wilson couldn’t be happier that they started Plant City’s Strawberry Hut 25 years ago. They are grateful for the community support that helped them grow their business and make the top six of the Only-inYour-State best Florida sandwich places. Troy’s parents, Loy and Jodi Wilson, owned a Cuban sandwich and donut shop on 78th Street in Tampa before Troy was born. Loy worked at the American Can Company (where IKEA is), and Jodi ran the store. The couple closed the sandwich shop when Troy’s mom was PAGE


ordered bedrest while expecting Troy. Troy recalls “walking around Ybor City when I was small enough to hold my dad’s hand.” They would watch a man in an apron make Cuban sandwiches and stack them in the window of a café. “I remember the taste,” he said, “and the experience of that sandwich in my hand.” His aunt, Charlene Gray, worked at the Silver Ring Café for years and helped him open Strawberry Hut. “I want the taste I remember as a kid,” Troy told her. “I want

people in Plant City to have that experience.” The now-late Gray taught him how to make authentic Ybor City Cuban sandwiches and contributed her Spanish-bean-soup recipe. “Mom and Dad also were a great help when we started,” said Troy. “Dad was our delivery driver—people called him ‘the old gentleman.’ Mom waited on customers at the window. Betty and I made sure everybody got their food.” For his folks, “it was almost a revival of a dream they had. I was the reason they got out of the business—and the reason they

got back in!” The Wilsons added a Lakeland location in 2015. The original Plant City shop is a permanent roadside stand with outdoor, picnic-table seating; the Lakeland restaurant is air-conditioned and holds 100 people. An Ybor City bakery delivers fresh bread daily, and produce comes from the farmer’s market. Sandwiches are four-, eightand 12-inches long. In addition to traditional Cubans, other sandwiches, made on Cuban bread or soft rolls, come with a choice of pork, turkey, ham,

An authentic, pressed Cuban sandwich with ham, salami, cheese, pickles, lettuce and tomatoes is a popular item at Strawberry Hut.

The same great menu is available in Lakeland.

cheese, tuna, vegetables, Phillystyle beef or a 100-percent Angus beef cheeseburger. They are served not pressed or pressed, with plain, garlic or honey butter. A Mini Combo Deal includes a four-inch Cuban, chips, and a 16-ounce drink for $5.61 plus tax. There are salads with popular, customer-inspired honeymustard and ranch dressings, Spanish bean soup and real-fruit, year-round strawberry shortcake, banana splits, hurricanes and milk shakes, even one with real Oreo cookies. Breakfast items, until 10 a.m., include biscuits and Cuban bread with cheese, egg, ham, bacon or sausage gravy and cinnamon rolls. With at least 24-hours’ notice, party trays can be prepared for special events. Prices range from 70 cents to $7.94. Great food at a great price!

Troy and Betty Wilson started Strawberry Hut 25 years ago.

Shaded red-and-white picnic tables give Strawberry Hut patrons a place to sit and enjoy their food.

Strawberry Hut's Lakeland location provides indoor, climate-controlled seating for about 100 people.

1505 N. Wheeler St., Plant City | 813-752-3779

Hours: Monday through Saturday 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. | Closed Sundays

743 E. Memorial Blvd., Lakeland Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. | Wednesday 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Closed Sundays PAGE



Tampa Sheds is a family affair. Pictured L-R are Eric Langston, U.J Pope, Butch Langston, and Mike Langston

Tampa Sheds

Sheds, Carports, Gazebos and Steel Buildings With four locations in Central Florida, Tampa Sheds is on a mission. The company aims to provide customers with top quality sheds, carports, gazebos and steel buildings at competitive prices with a level of service that exceeds their expectations. The friendly, knowledgeable and professional staff are committed to help problem-solve the needs of our customers as they purchase the product that best suits their use. Tampa Sheds are special because they are “Hand-Built to Last” and “Delivered Fully Assembled and Ready to Use.” Customers rely on the excellent service and can see the products before they purchase. The company also prides itself in PAGE


warranty coverage and on-site placement. From the many positive referrals and reviews posted by happy customers, it’s obvious Tampa Sheds is accomplishing that mission. In addition to customer and vendor loyalty, Tampa Sheds is proud of their long term and knowledgeable employees. With their own delivery crew, Tampa Sheds does not subcontract the onsite installations for customers. “This gives us flexibility and allows for more personal service,” explained Eric Langston, who owns/operates the company’s Plant City and Mulberry locations. “We believe our customer service and a quality product is the key to our success,” he added. “The goal is always to please the customer so

they are happy to recommend us to others.” SHEDS, CARPORTS, GAZEBOS, and STEEL BUILDINGS Since 1976, the Tampa Sheds family has used the same manufacturer, Handi House, recognized since 1966 as one of the premier products in the industry. Today with four locations, the company inventories and displays from 150 to 200 sheds so customers can see before they buy. HISTORY It’s always fun to know a company’s backstory and how some families are managing to accomplish the American Dream together. This is one of those.

The Tampa Sheds Family of dealerships began in 1976 with one location—Pope’s Utility Buildings—at the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard (Buffalo Ave at that time) and Orient Road. Ulmer and Rebecca Pope started their humble business with only a few silver pipe frame storage units for sale and grew it into the largest dealership in the Greater Tampa Bay area. Back then, no other business offered the option of blocking and anchoring a storage shed, but Mr. Pope knew it was the right way to serve his customers. So from day one, this service was part of the sale. By 1987 and through wordof-mouth referrals, they became the standard in the industry and

so busy that their daughter and son-in-law, Brenda and Lloyd Langston, opened Langston’s Utility Buildings in Dover. That location achieved great success, along with the Mulberry site they opened in 1997. Since that time the company has added a fourth in Port Charlotte. In 1994 when Mr. and Mrs. Pope retired, their grandson Mike Langston took over the day-to-day operations in Tampa and Port Charlotte. Then in 2014 when Brenda and Lloyd retired, their son Eric assumed management/ownership in Plant City and Mulberry. Having worked in the family business from their teenage years, the combined experience of the two brothers, both Plant City natives, totals more than 60 years in the storage shed business. Today, after 40 years of sincere effort, hard work, and customer loyalty, the business continues to operate on the principals established by their grandparents and parents, those being: “If we serve the customer with excellence and treat people the way we would want to be treated, everything else will take care of itself. “ PLANT CITY INVOLVEMENT The Pope and Langston families have always been givers and doers with their time, talents and money. Here are a but a few examples of their support in Plant City. • Plant City High School Raider Champions

The Tampa Sheds team is serious about providing great products and outstanding customer service.

Foundation – Bronze Sponsor • Strawberry Crest High School - Banner Sponsor • Plant City Rotary Club (Noon) – shed for use at annual cookout • Gift of Hope sponsor • Christmas Lane at Strawberry Festival – donates services • Raining Cats and Dogs Animal Rescue – donations following theft • Numerous other requests throughout the year MEET ERIC LANGSTON, Owner of the Plant City Location While working at the family business through high school and college, Eric accomplished his BA degree from Warner University. In 2005, he obtained

Law Enforcement Standards and from 2005-2015, worked as Investigator for the State Attorney’s Office in the 10th Circuit. He left that position in 2015 to purchase the Plant City and Mulberry operations when his father retired. His wife April Langston is a guidance counselor at Strawberry Crest High School. Their two children—Trey (22), currently in Law School at Florida International University and Morgan (19), currently at USF pursuing a Chemical Engineering degree—have both worked at Tampa Sheds while completing their education. All four family members are Plant City High School graduates.

community, saying, “Our families are very grateful for your support and trust over so many years. We look forward to many more as the third generation of the family is now beginning to serve in the business. We appreciate the opportunity to continue our family’s legacy and tradition of providing quality products and service at affordable prices.” VISIT TODAY The company’s website,, offers a photo gallery of products and the knowledgeable staff members are ready to provide information. For the best sheds, gazebos, carports or steel buildings anywhere at the best prices, call or visit today.

SINCERE GRATITUDE Eric and Mike both expressed their gratitude to the Tampa Bay

Tampa Sheds - Plant City | Langston's Utility Buildings, Inc. | 13285 US Highway 92E | Dover, FL 33527 (813) 659-0141 | Tampa Sheds - Lakeland | Langston's Utility Buildings, Inc. | 4298 State Road 60 West | Mulberry, FL 33860 | (863) 425-0429 Tampa Sheds - Tampa | Pope's Utility Buildings, Inc. | 4015 Orient Road | Tampa, FL 33610 | (813) 626-6289 Tampa Sheds - Port Charlotte | Pope's Utility Buildings, Inc. | 921 Tamiami Trail | Port Charlotte, FL 33953 | (941) 629-1024 PAGE



Curing Financial Ills:

Terumi Nakamura, The Florida Money Doctor, offers a hand and his signature calling card-an origami dollar shirt.

The Florida Money Doctor What can be done about ailing finances—that general sense of malaise that something’s not quite right? The anxiety about there being enough money to cover the bills, college tuitions, emergencies and retirement? The Florida Money Doctor, Terumi Nakamura, of Partners LifeAnswers Financial Group, can help diagnose and prescribe a course of action to treat these ills. As an independent life insurance and annuities agent, Nakamura can find the best product to meet his clients’ financial needs. “If you could put your money PAGE


in a vehicle where you never lose, wouldn’t you want to do that?” he asked. “My mission is to educate people, letting them know they have options.” Nakamura grew up in Alberta, Canada, earned a University of Alberta education degree and taught school for five years. In 1996, he moved to Tampa, where, unfortunately, there was a teacher-hiring freeze. He found work as a laser-printer repairer, Coca-Cola distributor and pestcontrol worker before earning his 2-14 agent license. “I have a servant’s heart,” he said. “I like making a difference

in people’s lives. That’s one reason I left Coke. Am I really improving quality of life by selling sugary products? Probably not. With pest control, I’m protecting you from things that could be damaging to your home or harming your children or pets.” When he moved into the financial industry, he began educating adults, protecting them from “bad things that can take your money,” he said. “I can cure you or prevent you from experiencing financial pain, teach you to grow your money and provide a tax-free income so you can reach the lifestyle you’re

dreaming of.” His goal is to improve his clients’ situations, affecting their lives and their children’s lives for generations. Nakamura attends Mission Hill Church, where he was Awana commander for 11 years. He has three sons, Benjamin, 26, Joseph, 22, and Johnathon, 18. His son Matthew, at age 23, was killed in a car accident in 2017. “Losing a child is incredibly hard. That’s what makes what I’m doing so real. My first death claim I ever had to do was for my own son,” he said. “You don’t think it’s going to happen

to you. I didn’t get the policies for that reason. I got them so the boys would have money to pay for college or their first car or a down payment on a home. A lot of people don’t realize what they have or what they need until something bad happens.” The Florida Money Doctor treats people where they’re hurting. Do they have coverage? What’s their situation? He encourages people to set and take charge of their financial goals and start saving and investing as early as possible. “Everybody’s different, but most of my clients look for two things—growth and safety,” he said. “The biggest fear for baby

boomers is have they saved enough money to make it to the finish line? They’re living longer. If they worked for 40 years, did they put away enough to last another 40?” His analogies put things in perspective: “Do you want a golden egg—a 401K—or the goose that lays the golden egg?” he asked. “Take your money to the casino. Do you want to play an hour? Five? Ten? After 10 hours—40 years—how lucky will you be? With a 401K, heads, you win, tails, you lose. With my products, every time you put the quarter in, you win or get to play again.”

Terumi Nakamura, second from right, with his sons.

Terumi (Teri) Nakamura | (813) 293-1226-C | PAGE



The Bank of Tampa

Plant City Market Team - L to R: Alison LaPointe, Vice President, Private Relationship Manager; Nick Thurston, Senior Vice President, Market Director, Plant City

Invested in Plant City The Bank of Tampa has operated in Hillsborough County since its inception in 1984. Since that time, there has been extensive growth for the organization, adding a total of eight brick-and-mortar banking offices throughout Hillsborough County. In 2012, The Bank of Tampa opened its first office in Pinellas County—adding two more since that time—and the bank just recently expanded to Sarasota, where its bankers cover both the Sarasota and Manatee County markets. In summary, over the past 34 years, The Bank of Tampa has expanded organically, one client PAGE


at a time, to a total of 12 offices throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas and Sarasota counties. The Bank of Tampa is still expanding its reach. However, this time, it’s focusing on its roots. The Bank of Tampa has long operated in Eastern Hillsborough County by having a presence in Brandon, and in 2018, the bank launched a strategic initiative to expand east to Plant City. In an effort to establish a presence as effectively as possible, The Bank of Tampa brought aboard seasoned Plant City banker, Nick Thurston, in February. “Bringing Nick aboard as

our Plant City Market Director was a strategic move to expand our footprint into Plant City,” said Corey Neil, Hillsborough County Market President at The Bank of Tampa. “We realize the importance of the fabric of the Plant City community—I learned that first hand when I spent some time in the Plant City Market during the mid-late 90s. Over the years, Nick has established himself as the perfect leader to bring The Bank of Tampa’s brand of banking to Plant City.” Thurston brings more than 20 years of banking experience to the Plant City market, and has spent years building connections

with individuals and business owners throughout the thriving Plant City community. As a Plant City resident, he understands what differentiates the Plant City market from the rest of Hillsborough County and is both dedicated and personally invested in the Plant City community. “With the recent disruption in the community banking space, we recognized that there was an opportunity to fill a gap and bring a true community bank presence to Plant City,” said Thurston. “We want to capitalize on the momentum the bank has experienced over the years and

Members of the Plant City Noon Rotary Club pictured L-R include: Clayton Jenkins, Assistant District Governor; John Haney, Secretary; Nick Thurston, Member; Brett Mueller, Immediate Past President

we build around that individual and go from there. We’re thrilled to continue to invest in Plant City.” With assets totaling $1.6 billion, The Bank of Tampa is one of the largest community banks in the Tampa Bay area. Today, The Bank of Tampa offers commercial banking, corporate banking—which includes middle market, commercial real estate, SBA lending, and treasury services—personal banking, wealth management, and trust services—truly making it a fullservice community bank. For more information of The Bank of Tampa, contact Nick Thurston at (813) 998-2702. demonstrate to businesses and families in Plant City that we are dedicated to offering the same level of exceptional service and access to The Bank of Tampa right here within their local community.” Thurston’s dedication and commitment to the Plant City community runs deep. He serves as the Vice Chair of the Plant City YMCA Board of Directors, and is the Treasurer of the Historic Plant City Main Street Board of Directors. Nick is also a member of the Plant City Noon Rotary Club. The Bank of Tampa is a trustee of the Plant City Chamber of Commerce, as well as a Board-level member of the Plant City Economic Development Corporation. “The economic development and growth here in Plant City makes it the perfect fit as we

expand our presence, but outside of that, when The Bank of Tampa is involved, its involved 110 percent,” said Thurston. “That spirit is what sets us apart.” As The Bank of Tampa expands its reach into Plant City, the question arises, what’s next for The Bank of Tampa? Neil is transparent about the future. “When you look at how The Bank of Tampa has grown over the years, one relationship at a time, you see that when we commit to a community we are meticulous in our approach. When we go into a market, we lead with an individual that demonstrates the connections and commitment to the community to expand the right way, and Nick is that person for us. Once we feel we have established the level of commitment needed for success,

Brandon Chamber Monthly Luncheon - pictured L-R: Alison LaPointe, Vice President, Private Relationship Manager; Nick Thurston, Senior Vice President, Market Director, Plant City

Nick Thurston | SVP, Market Director | 813.373.9267 | | PAGE



The Tire Shop Ricky & Sara Johns When you pull up to The Tire Shop of Plant City you might feel like you have seen the owner Rick Johns before. It’s probably because you might have met him in the 23 years before that he worked in the same shop. It wasn’t until three years ago that Johns bought the shop, changed its name and started providing top notch service in tire replacement and repair. With his wife Sara by his side and a growing family of six, they PAGE


just decided taking over the shop was right. “I really enjoy what I do,” said Johns. Don’t be surprised when you pull up to the shop and are greeted by the four cute little faces of the Johns children and the bright blue eyes of Rick’s wife Sara. They both grew up right here in Plant City but did not know each other until Rick came in to Longhorn Shoe Repair shop in downtown Plant City. “I knew he was my future,” said Sara. She

was right because four children later they are celebrating 14 years of marriage. At The Tire Shop of Plant City you will feel like one of the family. “I really enjoy meeting people and giving back to the community,” said Rick, “and I really want to be a help to the community, to be a productive part of the city.” That is just what the Johns family has done. In May of 2017 The Tire Shop of Plant City

hosted a car wash to help raise money for families affected by a fire. This year they are providing backpacks filled with school supplies to students in need. “Our customers have always been willing to help and have been very generous,” said Sara. “It’s all about giving back.” That kind of personal integrity carries over into the business. You will get an honest and fair price. They try to get the job done quickly, but safety is

paramount. “We never upsell you and you will be confident that your tires are safe and the job is done right,” Said Sara There is a large selection of new and used tires in stock but if they don’t have what you need they will get it in quickly and provide quality service along the way. With the top brands available like Michelin, Toyo, Nitto and Nexen Tire, they are sure to have what you need. If you are in need of a new set of tires or just a small repair, you can trust the workmanship and integrity of the Johns family at The Tire Shop of Plant City. Their sense of pride in business and community will keep you coming back. Just make sure you treat them like family, because that’s how they are going to treat you.

1604 N. Wheeler Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | (813)752-2532 PAGE



Creative Flower Designs by Glenn When customers walk into the family-owned-and-operated Creative Flower Designs by Glenn, they are greeted instantly with a smile, along with the smell of fresh flowers. Behind the counter, more often than not, is Glenn Mathias, the man who started it all. Making floral arrangements was something the Plant City native enjoyed doing as a hobby. Since Glenn opened that first shop on Wheeler Street in 1979, he has credited his four decades of success to hard work, loyal customers, and great employees.

Those factors are also the reasons the business enjoys supporting the local community’s civic efforts. “We go above and beyond to ensure our customers are more than satisfied with their floral arrangements and our service,” he explained. Team member Sally Schaffer shared also: “We send these beautiful creations out to customers and it makes them happy, so ours is a happy, happy job!” Creative Flower Designs by Glenn is committed to

offering only the finest floral arrangements, backed by friendly, prompt service. In addition to maintaining a large inventory of fresh flowers, the business specializes in the following: • Tropicals and Plants • European/dish gardens • Contemporary and traditional arrangements • High-style floral arrangements • Silk arrangements • Dried floral arrangements • Weddings and Special

Occasions • Funeral designs • Gourmet, fruit, and gift baskets The company delivers in Plant City, Seffner, Turkey Creek, Lithia, and Dover. Let Creative Flower Designs By Glenn be your first choice for flowers. The phone is answered 24 hours a day and the team goes above and beyond to ensure customers are more than satisfied with their orders.

116 W. Alsobrook Street | Plant City FL 33563 | 813-754-7449 | 800-821-9601 | PAGE


A lifestyle you love, a home you love more! The Lakes and the Oaks at CountryWood have stunning new homes for sale! If golfing lakeside peaks your interest, the age-qualified community of The Lakes is for you! Interested in a family-friendly community? The Oaks all age community has it!



Visit us at our Open House! September 8th &The October 6th from 10am-3pm 10am-3pm

Community Features Planned Activities Outdoor Recreation Pet-Friendly Clubhouses RV Storage

Call Today to Schedule a Tour! (813) 703-2666



CountryWood Estates, 745 Arbor Estates Way, Plant City, FL 33565 Must meet residency requirements. Specifications, options, and layout vary by model and are subject to change without notice. Additional restrictions may apply, see sales associate for details. PAGE





ou might not know that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is currently “silent” on this issue, however, we have been given the following guidance from the Atlanta Regional Loan Center as general policy on short sales: If a veteran’s overall credit record is good, the VA does not think that if he or she sold his or her property for less than what was owed, that it should be a bar to obtaining new credit. Nor does the VA think a mandatory waiting period is necessary, which is similar to the waiting period after a foreclosure or bankruptcy.



A short sale just reflects the almost historical collapse of the real estate market. If a borrower’s overall credit is satisfactory, a lender can still determine the veteran is a satisfactory credit risk. Hopefully, the payments on the mortgage were paid in a timely manner, but even if there were some delinquent payments, they should just be viewed from the perspective of the entire borrower’s credit. If you are a veteran who has been turned down due to a prior short sale and feel the above information fits your profile, I encourage you to give us a call

(813.707.6200) for a second opinion. Many mortgage lenders have their own self-imposed “overlays”

that prohibit them from entertaining these scenarios. That is not the case with Florida Mortgage Firm.

Florida Mortgage Firm (813-707-6200) is an Equal Housing Lender, NMLS #289323, NMLS #294701.








Walden Lake Review

The July sales are as follows: Address

Sales Price

Living Area




1703 S Golfview Drive




2 Car


4101 Thackery Way




2 Car

2018 Sycamore Lane




2 Car

2509 Golfview Drive




2 Car

1412 Oakwood Lane




2 Car

3424 Silver Meadow Way




2 Car

3204 Thackery Way




2 Car

4003 Silverspring Way




2 Car

1910 Carriage Way




2 Car

2843 Hammock Drive




2 Car

2706 Barret Avenue




3 Car

be free hotdogs, hamburgers and beverages. This event is put on by our HOA Board of Directors and staff. You won’t want to miss it!!! During the month of July, there were 9 sales in Walden Lake and two sales in Walden Lake East with an average sale price of $235,118. The average days on the market were 28 days. The average price per square foot of these 11 sales is $128. There are currently 33 Active listings for sale in Walden Lake and Walden Lake East with an average list price of $318,888 and an average of 54 days on the market. Seventeen or 51% of these listings are $300,000 or more. By contrast, in March of this year, there were only 10 active listings on the market. We could be seeing a bit of a shift in the market although we still only have a 3 month supply. There are 16 properties Pending

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 August 20th and September 17th 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. School is back in session so please be careful when driving during the early morning and mid-afternoon hours. Save the date for the next Annual Kids ‘n Kanine Howl-O-Ween. This is planned for Saturday October 27th from 1:00 to 4:00. This is always a fun event, with lots of crafts, a photo project, games and prizes. There will

Contract with an average list price of $243,937 and average of 29 days on the market. Five of the pending contracts are over $300,000 or 31% or the these. The market continues to remain strong for homes that are priced well and in very good condition even with the inventory ticking up. Interest rates remain low, making this still an affordable time to purchase.

Our HOA office on Griffin Boulevard is a drop off center for nonperishable items to be donated to The United Food Bank. Although school is back in session, the Food Bank is always in need of donations and is preparing for the Holiday season. Feel free to contact me about this article via email me at NSweet@ or 813-758-9586.

“SWEET” Back-to-School Home Deals from THE SWEET TEAM!

Natalie Sweet, REALTOR Angel Miller, REALTOR






4BR/4BATH/3-CAR Private 1+ acre lot/Cul-de-sac

4BR/4BATH/4-CAR Cul-de-sac/Outdoor Kitchen

3BR/2BATH/2-CAR 3+ Acres/Updated/POOL & Spa







4BR/2BATH/2-CAR 2,500 sq. ft.!

3BR/2BATH/2-CAR Cul-de-Sac + Office/Den!

3BR/2.5BATH Gated Community/POOL




(813) 966-4304 Search for your home at:

1607 S. Alexander St., Plant City, FL 33563



Kasy Skinner Owner/CEO

120 E. Pine Street Ste 5 Lakeland, FL 33801 (863)624-3279



Lisa A. Rhodes

Direct: (813)376-8294 1607 S. Alexander St. , Plant City, FL 33563





10% OFF Expires 9/30/2018





Athlete of the Month Emily Branham

Pole Vaulting State Champion BY TARYN STORTER


mily Branham, a junior at Lakeland Christian School, is currently the Florida Track and Field Pole Vaulting Champion. She has only been learning how to pole vault and working on this sport for approximately six months, but has already achieved much in such little time. At a younger age, Emily was an amazing gymnast. She competed numerous times at countless competitions and became a champion competitor. In her sophomore year of high school,



Emily decided to transition to track,” explaining, “The skills (of gymnastics) translated perfectly to pole vault.” Now, Emily has fallen in love with the sport. At the Track and Field State Championship in May, Emily ran her best meet yet. With a jump of 11 feet and 4 inches, Emily set her school record and won the State Championship. Her thirst is not yet satisfied, however! Emily’s next goal is to break the State Pole Vaulting record of 13 feet and 3 inches. With

hard work and determination, she hopes to shatter this record before she graduates. As to her favorite sport, Emily shared, “Track is my favorite sport, because it is very individual. You are competing against yourself, but at the same time you have a strong bond with your team members, because you train together so much.” Emily is a member of the Lakeland Christian Track team as well as the Polk All-County Track team. Outside of sports, Emily is very involved at First Baptist Church of Plant City, where she serves on the leadership team with the First Student Ministry. She also coaches young people in the sport where she got her start, gymnastics, at Central Florida Gymnastics. In addition to these, she is involved in her school through the Academic Trivia Team and Trial Team. She enjoys being

active in many aspects of her life. Emily explained where she finds her inspiration, “I love to look up to the college athletes and professional pole vaulters, but any athlete dedicated to their work inspires me to work harder and pour everything I have into workouts.” She offered some great advice for other athletes, “Hard work is the only thing that will pay off! You can be naturally talented, but you still have to work hard every day. And it’s never too late to start a new sport! I thought I was too old to start a new sport (at 15), but the timing worked out so well. Don’t discourage yourself from trying new things!” As for her plans for the future, Emily dreams to attend a university to pursue a major in biology or premedicine. She would also love to continue pole vault throughout her college career.




Sports Team of the Month First Baptist Church of Plant City Student Ministry Tri-Cup Tournament BY ELIZABETH MICHAELS

Tri Cup Champion, Jackson Padgett, celebrates victory at the last hole. The entire championship group enjoyed a great time!


hroughout the summer, the First Baptist Church of Plant City’s Student Ministry hosted a tournament for community youth. Led by the church’s student minister, Pastor Ricky Lindsey, the Tri-Cup Tournament consisted of bowling, foot golf, and mini-golf. When asked about the first of its kind tournament, he said, “The Tri-Cup blends just enough weirdness with athleticism to make a fun tournament most anyone can compete in.” More than 50 teenagers vied for top scores in the first phase of the competition on June 28 at the Family Bowl in Plant City. The first two games counted for the cumulative score of the tournament. It was tough competition, everyone bowled with intention, and all enjoyed pizza afterwards in the company of friends. The foot-golf event was held on July 10 at the University of South Florida “Claw” foot-golf course. In foot-golf, the most unique sport



of this tournament, 20 players attempted to sink soccer balls in onefoot by one-foot holes in the ground, maneuvering the course in their golf carts. Scores were totaled after the first two competitions and the top four athletes continued on to the tournament’s final round. These included Chris Glorioso, a recently graduated senior, Jackson Padgett and Taryn Storter, both upcoming juniors, and Zachary Shinneman, a soon-to-be freshman. The championship round of the Tri Cup tournament was held July 30 at the Walt Disney World Fantasia Mini-Golf course. The finalists, along with several other friends, golfed the 18 holes in a tight race, with virtually neck and neck scoring for most of the morning. Approaching the final hole, Chris Glorioso and Jackson Padgett were only one stroke apart, with Jackson in the lead. Ultimately, Jackson Padgett

The four finalists, shown L-R, are Chris Glorioso, Taryn Storter, Jackson Padgett, and Zachary Shinneman.

was crowned the first ever First Baptist Church of Plant City Student Ministry’s Tri-Cup Champion. After receiving his rightfully earned trophy, he shared, “It was an awesome experience with great competitors

who love God. Then he enjoyed a free lunch at Chick-Fil-A! The 2018 competitors believe this tournament promises to be a muchloved tradition for many summers to come.






ames Villa is a self-taught artist from Plant City. I had the pleasure of meeting James when he was attending a local artist gathering at Make Plant City. James got his start only five years ago when he painted on a whim a portrait of Jesus with the Sacred Heart for an auction gala at St. Clement Catholic Church, which was met with much praise. Since that time James has been working when time allows on his own pieces of art, learning and growing as he explores what speaks to him. James feels that what separates us from other species is the ability to create, wander and wonder and to explore aspects of our imagination. Many of his paintings reflect that attitude in having and showing constant wonder and imagination. Instead of being one who replicates exactly what he sees, often James paints from memory a scene or image that captured his imagination. He then puts his own creativity, expression and interpretation of the image, creating a unique and one-of-a-kind painting. Much of James’ artwork depicts abstract and literal scenes of



nature, animals, and human figures. His mediums of choice are water and oils. Even though he has been painting for five short years, James has already placed in both the Hillsborough County Fair and Strawberry Festival art shows. He has also created a mural at St. Clement for the Youth group as well as participated in painting a free library display box. The first painting he ever sold was a commissioned piece of the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima. As an artist, James is continually open to trying, growing and exploring new ideas and art forms. He maintains a constant curiosity about the world around him which further inspires him in his paintings. James says that as an introvert growing up, creating art has given him a voice he didn’t have before, as well as a community of other artists to know and learn from. When asked what his purpose for creating art was James replied it was “to beautify the world and to have the opportunity to leave something behind.” To view the artwork of James Villa you can visit his Instagram or Facebook page @artbyJamesVilla.

WHAT EVERY MAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PROSTATE CANCER Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among American men. It occurs mainly in older men, with two out of three men diagnosed at age 65 or older. Prostate cancer can be serious disease but most men do not die from it. 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed during his lifetime. About 238,590 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed. More then 2.5 million American men who were diagnosed at some point in their lives are still alive today. African-American men are about 60 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer in their lifetime than Caucasian or Hispanic men. Men with an immediate blood relative, such as father or brother, who has had prostate cancer are twice as likely to develop the disease. A diet high in saturated fat, as well as obesity, increases the risk of prostate cancer.

813-719-7705 303 North Alexander Street, Plant City, FL (still located with South Florida Baptist Hospital)




The Mouse on a Shoestring Budget Experience the magic of Disney Springs BY BARBARA ROUTEN

Disney Springs retail, dining and entertainment center hugs the shore of Lake Buena Vista. It can be an Affordable Day Away.


f you want to approximate a visit to “mouse world” without buying expensive tickets, take a trip to Disney Springs. This shopping, dining and entertainment center built on the shore of Lake Buena Vista offers free parking, complimentary WiFi, courtesy water taxis and free musical acts ranging from acoustic pop to Irish dancers to classical strings. Occasionally, superb high school bands and choirs from around the country perform in an outdoor amphitheater near the

World of Disney store. Kids of all ages can see gigantic LEGO sculptures of dragons, dwarves and other Disney characters and build with LEGO blocks, free of charge, at The LEGO Store. Food abounds, with prices varying from reasonable to extravagant. The free “Disney Springs Guidemap” shows which restaurants cost under $15 or more than $60 per adult. Kiosks sell water and sodas for about $3 apiece—or bring your own refillable bottles and

You never know what live music you will find at Disney Springs. Here are the West Milford High School Highlander bagpipers playing "It's a Small World" during a free 30-minute band concert on an outdoor stage. PAGE


save, so you can blow your budget on chocolate treats at the Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop or on mouse-shaped candy apples at Disney’s Candy Cauldron. There are plenty of opportunities to buy Disney toys, clothing and accessories for prices starting at $10 for a Disney T-shirt at UNIQLO. High-end, gallery-type stores carry beautiful merchandise that is much more expensive but wonderful to see, such as a $37,000 blown-glass Cinderella castle. Disney Springs is home to a variety of entertainment options from $3 to $125: a carousel and train for wee riders, an AMC movie theater, Splitsville Luxury Lanes bowling alley (which is also an eatery and nightspot), Aerophile, a tethered hot-air balloon, and Vintage Amphicars. Visit

for prices, hours of operation and reservations. Free water taxis will carry you across the lake to other Disney Springs points of interest. But the best-kept secret? Water taxis also leave every 20 minutes to take you on a free 15-minute cruise from Marketplace Dock to Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-French Quarter, Old Key West Resort or Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. Stroll around the resort grounds and buy some fresh beignets or key lime pie before taking the boat back to Disney Springs. The friendly Disney Springs Welcome Center can help you with services for guests with disabilities, dining reservations and separated guest assistance. Enjoy a magical day at Disney Springs!

Sail past a treehouse villa at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa in a water taxi.

Vintage Amphicars are fun to watch!




Candy’s Corner BY CANDY OWENS

Music brings joy to all our hearts. It’s one of those emotional arts. Sounds of melodies that we truly adore bring us pure pleasure as our spirits do soar. Music that touches us, we can’t help but smile. We’re free to choose genre or style. Music clearly, enlightens our days and makes us happy in so many ways.


hen I think of music, the first person who comes to mind is Betty Barker Watkins. “Aunt Betty,” as she was affectionately called by so many that knew and loved her, was what I consider to be a musical virtuoso. She could play the piano, organ, recorder, accordion, xylophone, cymbals, violin, and even the Glockenspiel. “Aunt Betty” could not read sheet music and never had a formal music lesson in her life, but she could play those instruments! I can remember as a teenager going to visit or spend the night with my best friend JeanAnn Weaver, who lived on Roux Street across the street from “Aunt Betty,” lwho was always practicing the piano or organ for a wedding, funeral, party, school program, social function, church, family reunion, or just for fun. She would open her front door and leave the screen door shut to keep out the flies, cats, or any other unwanted guest that might crawl in for a visit. You could hear her music all down Roux Street. JeanAnn and I would walk over to “Aunt Betty’s “to see what or whom she was playing for (and raid her fridge). Someone was always bringing cookies, candy, or something to “Aunt Betty” to show appreciation for her playing or just simply because they loved her. When “Aunt Betty” would break out the cymbals or accordion, or



play the “Boogie-Woogie”, all the neighborhood kids would come running! Before you knew it, there would be: Madi, Andrew, and Jena Briggs, Erin and Eric Jackson, Melinda and Russell Gandy, William “Gear” McGann, JeanAnn’s brother Curt, and any of his friends visiting at the time, all in the middle of “Aunt Betty’s” living room. Boy, would she put on a show! We would all be singing and dancing, laughing and marching, yelling out song requests, and having the most wonderful time. She would even let the kids “carefully” crash the cymbals, strum one of her guitars, shake the tambourine, play a few notes on one of her organs, tap on her bongo drums, or sit right beside her while she played the piano. We were all so amazed at how “Aunt Betty” could play all those musical instruments and play them so well! I think the last instrument “Aunt Betty” mastered was the violin. Her husband LeRoy made a bet that if she learned to play the violin, he would build her a fabulous new bathroom, complete with make-up station. Well, that was all it took. “Aunt Betty” picked up that Violin without any knowledge of how to play and actually mastered that “wooden box with strings”! I can remember how she would sit on her front porch every afternoon and try to play that

Violin. She would play those songs… or what she thought were songs, over and over. For the longest time, the neighbors shut their doors, plugged their ears, and prayed for her to give up that violin-playing dream. It really did sound like a sick cat crying out in pain and it really was painful! HA!HA! But guess what? She stuck with hours upon hours of practice until she got it down pat. “Aunt Betty’s” attitude was positive and she was not going to let a little “Wooden Box with Strings” lick her (and she didn’t)! “Aunt Betty” won that beautiful new bathroom complete with make-up station and always enjoyed telling her friends how she earned it.

“Aunt Betty” got so much enjoyment out of her fabulous new bathroom for many years, but I bet she had no idea how much joy she showered on others with her gift of music! Well, I say gift, but there was much more to it than just music. She brought everyone together with music, but what we all took from her were the gifts of love, patience, kindness, forgiveness, friendship, family, commitment, self-respect, determination, and the most important gift of all: Through Christ, all things are possible! P.S. Thank You “Aunt Betty” for everything! I will, for as-long-as I live, carry those gifts that you gave so freely in my heart – forever!





f you have little kids, chances are you’ve had your fair share of scrubbing crayon marks off the walls. Let’s look at some helpful tips to make that task a little easier. A great way to remove crayon from walls is to use a blow dryer and regular mild dish soap. Simply turn on the blow dryer to blow hot air on the crayon marks. The wax will heat up and begin to melt, making it much easier to wipe away. Use a cloth or a paper towel with a little liquid dish soap and gently wipe away the crayon marks. You can also rub some mayonnaise on the crayon stains and let it soak in for several minutes before wiping the surface with a damp cloth. Non-gel toothpaste works, too. Just squirt the toothpaste on the wall and scrub. The abrasive in the toothpaste will dissolve the crayon. Finish up by rinsing the wall with water. If you run out of your favorite floor cleaner, no worries! Try a little mild soap. You will need 1 to 2 tablespoons of dish soap mixed into a bucket of water. Floors will be clean and shiny in no time. This works great on linoleum, vinyl and ceramic tile. But don't use soap and water on wood floors because it can

stain or warp from the moisture. Did you know that dish soap is especially effective on removing food-based oils, such as salad dressing, and it is mild enough to use even on fine fabrics such as silk and wool. Corn starch is great for removing grease stains from clothing. Just apply a pile of corn starch on the grease stain and allow it to sit for 12 hours then wash as normal. The cornstarch will absorb the grease directly from the clothing. This works to remove grease spots on your driveway as well. You can also use corn starch to clean spots from carpet. Sprinkle cornstarch on the carpet and let sit for 10-20 minutes before vacuuming. Cornstarch can actually help significantly with smelly shoe odors. Just sprinkle a little cornstarch into the shoes and allow them to sit until the next morning. Dump out the cornstarch the next morning before wearing the shoes. It absorbs the wetness and odors. A great way to remove armpit stains from your clothing is to drop a few aspirin tablets in your wash and let soak. Until next time relax, enjoy and be thankful… PAGE





Candy’s Gettin’ Serious! BY CANDY OWENS

THE WORD TREADMILL. Does anyone out there know the definition of a Treadmill? The dictionary defines a Treadmill as a device generally for walking or running or climbing while staying in the same place. Treadmills were introduced before the development of powered machines, to harness the power of animals or humans to do work, often a type of mill that was operated by a person or animal treading steps of a treadwheel to grind grain. In later times, treadmills were used as PUNISHMENT devices for people sentenced to hard labor in prisons. YOU GOT THAT RIGHT!!! The Treadmill can be hard, it is hard, especially if you listen to your mind – the negative part of your mind that is. I feel like I could have walked to China by now at the gym. There have been so many days my body just does not want to do that darn

treadmill. have said to myself that my legs just are not going to do this today. I have tried to tell myself that I just have to do this for 10 minutes, just 6 times. HAHA! I have tried to slice it and dice it. Anything to make it seem not so long and hard. Sometimes that helps and sometimes it doesn't. Most of the time, I have to make myself put one foot in front of the other and just walk through the pain. Two weeks ago, I actually walked for one hour and 35 minutes. I could not believe it. It was hard and it took everything I had. but...I DID IT!!! I was at a loss for words...and a loss for breath. HAHA. Mike Gartz was so proud of me. He told so many people about how when I first started out with him that I could only do 5 minutes and now look. Well, it does not stop there. With Gartz there is NO finish line. He keeps

asking more and more of me. Now he has me walking outside in the heat, humidity, and in front of people driving by looking at me. That is really something I did not want to do. I really REALLY did not want to do that. Mike looked at me and said that I am ready to take this on. I told him that I did not want people gawking at me. He told me that I am doing this for me! Not for other people! and that it does not matter what people see or say, because this is for Candy! So...if you drive by Elite Home Fitness early in the mornings, chances are you just might see me huffing and puffing down the sidewalk. Each and every day that I spend with Mike Gartz, I Iearn more and more about my health, myself, and my choices. I can choose to stop and sit on the couch because it is just too hard or too much trouble. I can

choose to go home and eat what I want, when I want, or I can choose to follow this new and exciting road to a different place. A place that will make me a much better person. P.S. Last week as I was ready to leave the gym, Gartz walked over to me and said that he wanted me to do one more thing before I go. He handed me this huge weight and I mean HUGE. He told me to walk to the back wall with this weight and bring it back to him as fast as I could. My arms and legs were burnt out from lifting and doing squats and I was about to drop this boulder. I made it back and handed it to him. He looked at me and said: "Do you know what you just did? You just carried 30 pounds to the back wall. That is the 30 extra pounds that you were dragging around with you when you first walked through the doors!"





*Family Law *Mediation *Divorce *Business Law *Real Estate Law *Bankruptcy *Wills and Trusts *Criminal Defense INGRID M. HOOGLANDER









Spicy Chicken Bacon Salad This dish is the equivalent of a spicy chicken sandwich with all the fixins, carried on a bed of greens. A great salad with a heaping serving of raw veggies can have the protein and fats to keep you going if you’re working out, too. Crispy, fresh, and so delicious.

Sweet & Tangy Honey Mustard Dressing Servings: 1 cup Prep: 1 minute Ingredients • 3 tbsp organic dijon mustard* • 3 tbsp organic stone ground mustard • 1/3 cup raw local honey • 1 clove organic garlic • 1/4 tsp paprika • 2 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar • 6 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil • a pinch of salt and pepper Instructions Blend all ingredients except the oil in a food processor until well combined. Add the oil and blend again until well combined, but not too thick. Drizzle over your favorite salad or use as a marinade for chicken! Store in the fridge in an air tight container for up to a week.

Notes: *I prefer a mild dijon mustard for most recipes. Whole Foods and Publix brands have proven to work great! PAGE


Servings: 4 Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes Ingredients • 2 medium organic boneless skinless chicken breasts • 1 tbsp spicy seasoning (recipe below) • 8 ounces organic spinach • 4 slices bacon • 1/2 cup organic grape tomatoes • 1 Hass avocado • 1/2 cup homemade honey mustard dressing* Spicy Seasoning Ingredients: • 2 tbsp organic chili powder (mild) • 2 tbsp organic paprika • 1 tbsp ground organic cumin • 1 tbsp organic cayenne pepper • 1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper • 1 tsp organic garlic powder • 1 tsp organic onion powder

Instructions Have your dressing and your spicy seasoning made and set aside. Rub chicken with desired amount of spicy seasoning, salt, and pepper. Save the rest of the spicy mix for next time! Grill the chicken for extra flavor or cook in a cast iron skillet on the stove until cooked through. Allow chicken to cool. Crisp the bacon in a pan over medium heat. Drain on a paper towel and crumble once cooled. If using lettuce instead of spinach, wash and dry it completely before chopping. (Using both works well, too.) Cut tomatoes in half and cut avocado into small chunks. Assemble the salad. Split the greens into 4 bowls. Sprinkle each with 1/4 of the avocado, 1/4 of the tomatoes, and one slice each of crumbled bacon. Slice the chicken and place on top of the salad. Drizzle everything in that yummy dressing and enjoy! If you try this recipe, be a gem and tag @ahintofgarlic on Instagram and Facebook. Victoria loves hearing from readers and seeing your beautiful photos.








PLANT CITY: 238 W. Alexander St See our full menu anytime at PAGE



Tani’s for Dessert:

One of Florida’s Best Dessert Restaurants BY CIERRA CRAFT 2804 James L. Redman Parkway Suite 106 Plant City, Florida 33566 (813) 704-5947 Hours: Sunday & Monday: Closed Tuesday & Wednesday: 10 AM to 6 PM Thursday- Saturday: 10 AM to 10 PM Facebook & Instagram @tanisfordessert

Creamy Kylee Lime Pie, Tani’s twist on a traditional Key Lime Pie, has a double pie crust, with a zesty citrus filling and garnished with homemade whipped cream.


hen guests step into Tani’s for Dessert, they are in for a treat- literally. Tani’s for Dessert is a classic dessert restaurant offering an exclusive menu of cakes, pies, and crepes, among others. Owned and operated by Tani and Lloyd Summers, the couple takes pride in creating homemade desserts with fresh, whole ingredients. “Everything is made in-house,” said Tani. “We whip our own cream, we make our own crusts, fillings, crepes, everything.” White tablecloths, black napkins and ambient lighting, the mood is set for an ideal Girls’ Night Out or a romantic date. Additionally, Tani says guests can also reserve the dining room for their special event, such as bridal showers, anniversary celebrations and meetings. The



dining room can accommodate up to 50 people. Tani’s for Dessert offers nine wine options including pinot noir, moscato and chardonnay. The restaurant also offers charcuterie boards, a shareable variety of cured meats, cheeses, crackers, spreads and more. The light fare leaves room for dessert as the main course. For guests who prefer fruity flavors or the classic chocolate and vanilla, Tani’s for Dessert offers something to satisfy any sweet tooth. Must Try Items: • Creamy Kylee Lime Pie, Tani’s twist on a traditional Key Lime Pie, has a double pie crust, with a zesty citrus filling and garnished with homemade whipped cream. Each slice is $5.25. • Bananas Foster is vanilla bean

Tani and Lloyd Summers take pride in creating homemade desserts with fresh, whole ingredients.

Always a classic, this Bananas Foster has vanilla bean ice cream topped with warm caramelized bananas and Brandy.

ice cream topped with warm caramelized bananas and Brandy. This classic dessert is $6.50. • Chocolate Mar- Mar, a Martini glass layered with chocolate cake and chocolate mousse, topped with Tani’s whipped cream and chocolate ganache, a cherry and chocolate wafer stick. This rich, yet light and airy dessert is $6.50. • The restaurant’s signature item is the White Silk Cake. Tani says this delectable confection has turned even the most diehard chocolate lover to huge fans. A moist, spongy cake frosted with white almond buttercream, this dessert is an idyllic wedding cake. In the retail suite next to Tani’s for Desserts, titled Buttercream Bake Shoppe, the Summers serve baked goods to-go such as cupcakes,

cinnamon rolls and individual slices of cake and pie. These baked goods are all made-from-scratch with the same fresh, whole ingredients. Tani says customers can also order customer cakes, pies, cupcakes and cookies from Buttercream Bake Shoppe for their special occasion wedding, baby showers, or holiday parties. Whether Plant City residents are looking for a quick baked good to go, a sit-down location for their special occasion or a wedding cake for the big day, Tani’s for Dessert and Buttercream Bake Shoppe can fulfill any dessert need. Visit Tani’s for Dessert during Happy Hour on Thursday and Friday from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, buy one glass of wine, get one free and enjoy a cheese platter before ordering one of the restaurants’ sweet confectionary offerings.



events can’t miss CAN'T MISS EVENTS


2018 Mystery Dinner Theatre Show

16 Thurs.

Friday, August 17 6:30 PM 1950s-themed murder mystery dinner drama, “Murder at Mike’s,” during which attendees solve the crime! Proceeds benefit the Bruton Memorial Library’s cultural/educational programs, facilities, and children’s events. 1950s -style clothing encouraged. Trinkle Center @ HCC Plant City Campus Info: Dodie White 813-927-0595 or Gail Lyons 813-967-6366 Cost: $50/person, tickets can be purchased at Bruton Memorial Library- 302 W. McLendon Street, Regions Bank- 2303 Thonotosassa Rd., Holiday Inn Express- Park Rd at I-4, and Walden Lake Car Wash, 1414 S. Alexander St. Info: Dodie White (813) 927-0595 or Gail Lyons (813) 967-6366

Plant City Candidate Forum Thursday, August 21 Meet & Greet: 5:30 PM, Program: 6:30 PM Hear from the candidates working to represent Plant City at the local, state and federal levels. Trinkle Center @ HCC Plant City Campus Cost: Free and open to the public Info: Government Advisory Committee @ Greater PC Chamber of Commerce 813-754-3707

2018 Salute to Agriculture Luncheon 11:30 AM Join The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce to celebrate Plant City’s agricultural heritage and the winners of the annual Ag Awards. Registration is required. Grimes Agricultural Center @ The Florida Strawberry Festival Register: Info: Sophia Hyde, Community Relations Manager (813) 754-3707

20 Mon. Plant City Community Chorale 7 – 9:30 PM First rehearsal of season; repeats Mondays weekly. All skill levels welcomed; no auditions required Holy Innocents Episcopal Church 604 N. Valrico Road, Valrico FL Info: Carol Walker, 813-965-7213

23 Thurs. Central Florida Job Fair 10 AM - 2 PM Meet the area’s top employers looking to fill positions in various industries. Technical & trade school representatives will also be available to discuss educational opportunities. Ramada by Wyndham Lakeland 3260 US Hwy 98 N, Lakeland, FL 33805 Info: Juanita Halter, (863)248-7537


FOCUS Magazine 1st Annual Hero Golf Tournament Thursday, September 6 Lunch: 11 AM-12 Noon; Shotgun Start: 12:30 PM This 9-hole scramble event will benefit Hook-A-Hero, a local nonprofit dedicated to providing first responders with outdoor adventures. Opportunities to win prizes from business sponsors and taste area breweries finest beers and ciders will be available. Buckhorn Springs Golf and Country Club 2721 S Miller Rd, Valrico, FL 33596 Cost: $100/player Info: FOCUS Magazine (813) 707-8783



03 Mon. Labor Day; Non-Student Day in Hillsborough County schools

08 Sat.

2nd Monday Monthly

Bealsville Yard Sale by Bealsville, Inc. 8 AM -2 PM Community yard sale benefiting the Historic Glover School. Food available for purchase. 5104 Horton Road

Open Mic Night 8:33 PM Come show off your musical or comedic talent Krazy Kup 101 East J Arden Mays Blvd Info: 813-752-1220

10 Mon.

3rd Monday Monthly

Plant City Garden Club Meeting Coffee: 9:30 AM, Meeting: 10 AM Plant City Garden Club will host its first meeting of the season with a potluck event and celebrate its 70th Anniversary with cake. 1914 Community Center 605 N. Collins Street.

15 Sat. 1st Annual Parking Lot Party: ½ Way to St. Paddy’s Day All Day Open to all: Enjoy live music, outdoor bar and corned beef w-cabbage O’Brien’s Irish Pub & Grill 1701 S Alexander Street, Plant City

ONGOING Mondays Weekly Plant City Daybreak Rotary Club 7 AM South Florida Baptist Hospital Community Rm. Info: George Banning, 813-759-1638 PC Community Chorale 7 - 9:30 PM Meets every Monday evening Cost: $35 per season Info: Mary Ella Enciso, 813-417-2808; Online:

1st & 3rd Mondays Monthly Improvement League of Plant City 7 PM Historic Glover School Conference Room 5104 Horton Rd. Info: William Thomas, 813-757-6760

2nd & 4th Mondays Monthly Plant City Commission Meeting 7:30 PM City Hall, 302 W. Reynolds St. City Clerk: 813-659-4237 (December: 2nd Monday only)

Family Community Advisory Council (FCAC)5 - 6:30 PM Welcome to all: The Children's Board Family Resource Center at East County monthly discussions about needed services. Children enjoy playgroup care. 639 E. Alexander St., Plant City Info: Ladislao Sanchez 813.752.8700

1st Tuesdays Monthly Economic Development Corp. Meeting 2 PM @PC Chamber unless announced 106 N. Evers St. Info: Jake Austin, 863-712-0655

1st Tuesdays Monthly (Sept-May) Arts Council of Plant City 7 PM Chamber of Commerce Public Room 106 N. Evers St. Info: Dodie White, 813-752-5156

2nd Tuesdays Monthly GFWC Woman’s Club of Plant City 10:30 AM @1110 N. Wheeler St. Info: Nancy Miller, 813-754-2544

2nd & 4th Tuesdays Monthly Integrity Business Referrals Breakfast 7:30 AM Networking and Marketplace Ministry BuddyFreddy’s Restaurant 1101 Goldfinch Dr., Plant City Info: Norm Blanton 813-326-0749 American Legion– Norman McLeod Post #26 6 PM @2207 W. Baker St. 813-752-8608

4th Tuesdays Monthly Hot Coffee Topics 7:45 – 9 AM Krazy Kup 101 E J Arden Mays Blvd Info:; 813-210-9926 Fees: $5 Non-member suggested contribution

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CHRISTIAN ULYSSE Publix Training Film and Print Ad. Principal Role. $375.00 A Day.


ADAYSIA BATSON-BROWNING WaWa Convenience Store TV Commercial.

NICHOLAS PLUMER Heartland Living Magazine New Year’s Fashion Shoot Featured Model.

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Jess Anderson index pg SEPT18.indd 1


7/30/2018 4:51:23 PM





We would like to thank the community for voting

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Downtown Plant City Branch:



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1003 S. Collins St. Plant City

THE CAT'S PAJAMAS Created by Calvin R. and Jackie Mathews




ACROSS 1. __ on; trampled 5. Crush 10. Quarrel 14. Treat like a celebrity 17. Brief snooze 19. Capital city 21. Choose a jury 22. Awaken 23. Sail assembler 25. Ruby, for one 26. Seine season 27. Circle 28. Horse’s color 30. Prior to 31. Stuff 32. Ending for hero or exam 33. Do a household chore 34. Jason’s ship 35. Con __; with spirit 38. Bird of prey 40. Go by 41. Mounds 42. Gunfighter Wyatt 43. Obstacle 44. Fruit bearer 45. Calcutta garb 46. “...of beauty is __ forever.” 47. Follower’s suffix 48. Tie up 49. Pestered 52. Astaire and Baryshnikov 54. Charge 55. Happening 57. __ du Diable 58. Beer’s cousin 59. Ladies’ items 60. Path 61. Prison division 62. Covenants 65. Stitched joining 66. Is the right size 67. Old 68. Ages 69. Jai __ 70. Juan’s uncles 71. Butter contents 72. Quantity: abbr. 73. Bergen’s dummy 74. Fancy vase 75. Book of wares 79. Spring back 81. Strong urges 83. Saloon 84. Skin opening 85. In the matter of 86. College sports assn. 87. Adorable 88. Russia’s __ Mountains 89. Sham 91. Fly high 92. Pen 93. Part of the eye 94. Helper

95. 96. 97. 100. 101. 102. 103. 104. 107. 109. 111. 113. 114. 115. 116. 117. 118.

16. 18. 20. 24. 29. 31. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 39. 40. 41. 43. 44. 45. 48. 49. 50. 51. 53.

Uppermost room Monet’s field Mister Literary monogram Place for grain Of the ear Pamplona cry Linear measure Reverberate Kia model Fixes Talked and talked __ Barrymore __ for; desired Bugle song Part of a daisy Marvin and Majors

DOWN 1. Magazine title 2. Strong cord 3. Stop __ dime 4. Menu studier 5. Alarming 6. Armed forces member 7. Make reparation 8. Comfortable 9. Common verb 10. Skinny Jack 11. Arthritis symptom 12. S.A. nation 13. Orange-and-purple flowers 14. Can cover 15. Fraternity letter 1














38 43





49 55















84 88




71 75




















41 45




30 34









13 20









23 28



71. Cost of a ride 73. “Of course!” 75. “Jeopardy!” player’s choice 76. Traditional knowledge 77. Algerian port 78. Becomes firm 80. Fairy tale start 82. Incus’ location 83. Cockroach 86. “There’s __ like an old fool” 87. Derisive shout 89. Actor Jamie __ 90. Sick person 91. Roman sun deity 92. Black Sea peninsula 95. Football team 96. Apply __; do a beautician’s coloring job 98. Gen. Robert __ 99. Nation in Asia 101. Small store 102. Oklahoma Indian 104. Look for ore 105. Angers 106. Hallucinogen 108. Nursing home worker’s letters 110. Hero of “Great Expectations” 112. Exist 10









54. 56. 59. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 69. 70.




by Calvin R. & Jackie Mathews Weather Read Twill fabric Old Olds WWII agency Unoriginal ones Lawn weed Haughtiness Rosary piece Foreign prince Common metal Girl’s name Brooch Time gone by Father children Competes Not bananas Ray Egg toppers? Annexes, often Editor’s note 2012 British Open champ Coward Dyers’ tubs Furry animal Stone-hurling device Juicy fruit Weapon: Fr. Enviable position Vehicle with runners Cone-bearing plants Boone or O’Brien Prince Charles’ sister __ casserole

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© Puzzle Features Syndicate













A Day for Dad





ting ible p e ig Acc re-el s a t dic atien e M P


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