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WEST VOLUSIA County HOMETOWN NEWS

CELEBRATE SPRING

March 22, 2013

Simple home fixes for dwellers and sellers ewebb@hometownnewsol.com

If homeowners learned nothing else over the past five years, it’s this: Do not spend more on your home than you can get in return. Matthew and Laura Kieselbach of Deltona emailed their Realtor, Kathy Aparo-Griffin, Aparo-Griffin Properties in DeLand, in February. They had decided to put their home on the market, but had reservations about doing so before they could finish some projects. Mr. Kieselbach wanted to complete the custom closet he’d started. There was a second bathroom begging for updates. The Kieselbachs were overwhelmed. Ms. Aparo-Griffin did not get to be number one in West Volusia real estate sales by dallying. She advised her clients to move forward. “I told them if they waited until March to list the home, all of the people coming through now would be under contract by the time theirs was on the mar-

ket,” Ms. Aparo-Griffin said. She gave the Kieselbachs a to-do list and a deadline. “They don’t think they’ll make the deadline,” she said laughing. But Ms. Aparo-Griffin has faith in her clients. Her confidence and unsurpassed energy level would reassure the most skeptical sellers and buyers. Recently she was invited into the West Volusia Realtor Association’s Circle of Excellence. Each member must have sold at least $2.5 million that year, pay a fee to join the circle; that fee covers advertising, a paper weight and logo usage, she said. The real value for her and her clients is the fact that in a down market, Ms. Aparo-Griffin managed to sell over $11 million in real estate last year. In 2010, she sold over $10 million. When the market was at its peak in 2005, she was right in step, selling nearly $16 million in residential and commercial properties. Her success is attributable to several things. She never stops moving. She is

knowledgeable and practical. Most importantly, she really cares about people. “You have to be willing to put the customer first,” Ms. Aparo-Griffin said. “A ton of Realtors don’t want to deal with short sales. I will spend a year working on a $7,000 trailer in Lake County because it’s important to the customers.” She said there’s a human component to moving real estate, and if that aspect is top priority, word gets around. “You’ve got to do the right thing,” she said. “I tell everyone in here that.” The advice Ms. Aparo-Griffin most frequently dispenses to sellers is that people are visual and want things to look pretty. “The biggest improvements people can make are kitchens,” she said. “They’re a big deal. But you don’t want to go overboard with things like industrial refrigerators and huge commercialgrade hood vents in the average threebedroom, two-bath, 1,400-square-foot home.”

She said maple cabinetry, brushednickel knobs and fixtures as well as earth-tone granite will effectively overhaul a kitchen. Other cosmetic fixes like paint, flooring and simple landscaping make a huge difference in public perception, Ms. Aparo-Griffin said. A fresh coat of paint is her first suggested remedy for a tired property because it’s inexpensive and adds a “fresh smell and clean look.” “These things make one property, over another, more sellable,” she said. “It’s not that it’s going to be worth more — there’s not a lot of worth in fresh paint from an appraiser’s point of view — but it’s going to sell faster.” She said just as a detailed car will not change the Kelley Blue Book value, the clean car will likely sell faster than a comparable car that’s dirty. Minor staging — things placed in proper positions — is another thing homeowners can do without spending See SIMPLE, 3

051026

By Erika Webb


a dime, she said. “Clear off those countertops. Shove it all in a drawer or cabinet, but get it out of sight,” she said. Like fresh paint, carpet cleaning is an affordable way to gain a potential buyer’s positive perception of the home. One of the Realtors at Aparo-Griffin recently listed a house. When it had been on the market for nearly two weeks and hadn’t sold, Ms. Aparo-Griffin went to look at it. She’s not accustomed to inventory sitting around. “I wasn’t in there five seconds before seeing it needed flooring and covering over a window exposing a big mound of dirt. The green carpet and burgundy curtains had to go,” she said. “Within a week of making some minor changes, like adding blinds cracked just a little to let in the light, we got a contract and several back up buyers.” And with regard to flooring: “One consistent flooring works well. It flows,” Ms. Aparo-Griffin said. For low-cost landscaping upgrades,

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From page 2

she said red mulch and flowering shrubs like hibiscus yield incredible curb appeal. Things that seem like hindrances and obstacles aren’t, necessarily. “Mr. Kieselbach is a super duper carpenter,” she said. “There was a planter in the house, filled with toys. A lot of people might associate problems with removing it, but I told him to build it up as a table. It’ll cost him a couple bucks to do, but it’ll make a nice little useful table, a knick-knack table, when you walk into the house.” According to an HGTV report citing remodelingmagazine.com, it’s less likely homeowners will recoup their investment in a major kitchen or bathroom remodel than it is they will recapture money spent on basic home maintenance, such as new siding. Siding replacement regained 92.8 percent of its cost, according to the study. The only home improvement apt to hand back more at resale was a minor — around $15,000 — kitchen remodel, which returned 92.9 percent. Replacing roofs and windows also were high on the list, returning 80 percent or more at resale.

045081

Simple

WEST VOLUSIA County

059452

CELEBRATE SPRING

March 22, 2013


4

WEST VOLUSIA County HOMETOWN NEWS

Simple From page 3

Licensed plumber Chip Ferrante and his wife, Mary, like to amuse themselves while driving to dinner. That’s when they play “the power bill game.” Mrs. Ferrante will tell Mr. Ferrante to “guess how much this month’s power bill is.” He’ll play but not during the summer months. He said the game is way too stressful then. Mr. Ferrante works for Elder Plumbing in DeBary. He and master plumber Earl Elder work all over Central Florida. Their jobs range from replacing faucets to complete gutting and restoration of kitchens and baths, and beyond. Years of experience have taught these men what constitute sensible and valuable home improvements. Recently, they’ve been working on a lot of foreclosed properties, replacing fixtures — even copper pipes — that have been removed from the homes. “As silly as it sounds, clean up first,” Mr. Ferrante said. “Then see what’s an absolute, what has to be done.” Mr. Ferrante, who owns several rental units, recommends replacing anything

CELEBRATE SPRING that consumes excess amounts of energy — switching older toilets to newer, low consumption, models, and changing out older faucets and shower heads to those with water saver features. “Whatever you can do to get the biggest bang for the money you’re putting out,” he said. “Keep the same cabinet and put a new top on it. Change the faucet. Take the old tub and shower trim off and replace it. Re-grout the tile. That gives you a nice, new look at a low cost.” And, for those who want to play the “power bill game” even during the summer months, Mr. Ferrante said swapping older appliances for newer ones will conserve energy. “If you replace a 10-year-old A/C, that’s $75-$100 off your power bill right now,” he said. “We knocked about $100 a month off of our power bill when we got a new fridge and a new A/C.” That piece attached to the bottom of the refrigerator? It’s removable for a reason. It should be taken off and vacuumed behind on a regular basis, pets or no pets, Mr. Ferrante said. “It would blow your mind how much it costs in electricity when that’s clogged (with particles),” he said.

March 22, 2013

Katie Naab/staff photographer

Matthew and Laura Kieselbach had only minor changes to make in their home’s kitchen; the main improvement was the removal of countertop clutter to show how much space is available for future owners.

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March 22, 2013

CELEBRATE SPRING

WEST VOLUSIA County

HOMETOWN NEWS

5

Butcher’s has a huge variety of plants to buy For Hometown News

DAYTONA BEACH — It’s spring and many of us are thinking about beautifying our homes and yards. Winter here isn’t as cold and dreary as up North, but when spring comes, we still need to prune and plant, maybe adding new color and fresh annuals. At Butcher’s Nursery in Daytona Beach, the ad says, “Is your yard a mess? Don’t stress.” The only stress when visiting their expansive location at the Daytona Beach Flea and Farmers Market on Tomoka Farms Road is deciding which of the hundreds of flowers, vegetables, shrubs, trees and fertilizer to buy. Owner Mike Butcher said he keeps his prices lower than the area’s big box stores as an added incentive for his customers. A new customer, Terri Parsons of Daytona Beach, was ordering Red Ruffle dwarf azaleas for her beachside

home. She also ordered white plumbagos that bloom three to four times a year, Mr. Butcher said. “That’s why I ordered them,” she said. Mike Butcher grew up in the business. The 56-year-old nurseryman has been at the flea market for 23 years. “I was born and raised in this business” that started with his dad at Jim Butcher’s nursery on 15th Street in Holly Hill. “We’re the best in the area,” he said, not bragging as hundreds of flowers, shrubs and trees surrounding him are evidence of his success. Many of the area’s cities purchase nursery items from Butcher’s, including Daytona Beach. Tony Maggio, a maintenance supervisor for the city, was at the nursery recently buying Indian Hawthorne just starting to bloom. South Daytona, Holly Hill and other cities also shop at his business, Mr.

Butcher said. The best thing about buying at Butcher’s is Mike’s vast knowledge about anything that grows. You live on the beachside, you need salt tolerant plants. You like palm trees, he recommends palm tree fertilizer. You have a leaf or blossom from an unfamiliar plant, “I can tell you what it is. I don’t have to look it up in a book,” Mr. Butcher said. His staff also is very knowledgeable, including his daughter, Julie, who does estimating and also planting. “I was born in the business. He was my classroom,” she said when asked if she took horticulture courses. His wife, Janet, also helps with the business. “She is the force behind me,” he said. While the nursery was hit hard by the Great Recession, “sales went down 6070 percent,” he said he doesn’t see it coming back anytime soon. But this time of the year, and again in

fall, business is booming. That’s when he needs his experienced help. Employees, such as Cory Kunkel, have been with him 10 years or more. “I’m constantly learning,” Mr. Kunkel said, both from his boss and the customers, many who come from outside the county to shop. Rick and Sherry Sabal drove from Palm Coast to buy jalapenos and palm tree fertilizer. Mr. Sabal said he plants the peppers between bushes in his yard. “I can’t grow tomatoes there because the raccoons get them,” he said. Mr. Butcher holds court with the customers and employees, dispensing advice and also listing what plants are in stock, what is on order, and what he can get to the nursery in a day or two — all without paper or computer. He told one customer holding a leaf that he would have more star dust crotons coming in a couple of days from Homestead. See BUTCHER’S, 6

062332

By Suzy Kridner


6

CELEBRATE SPRING

WEST VOLUSIA County HOMETOWN NEWS

March 22, 2013

Butcher’s From page 5

“Every plant I have is grown in Florida,” he said. “We don’t ship in anything from outside the state.” Mr. Butcher is proud that many of his customers have won their city’s beautification awards. He also helps out in the community. “I rebuilt the Hurst School playground. Then I had the kids write letters to Santa and arranged for Santa to land in a helicopter. It made me feel good,” he said. He also likes to inform his customers, with handouts available on citrus and other plants. “I am a handout,” he joked, with the vast amount of information he can dispense on his trees, plants, shrubs and flowers. “I sell plants and trees from 4 inch to 200 gallons,” he said. They plant the larger trees with tractors. “Whatever nursery item is popular, I have it or can get it,” he said. Butcher’s Nursery is open seven days a week from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Call (386) 2550050.

Photo by Suzy Kridner

It’s a good thing Mike Butcher knows a lot about plants, because he has a lot of them at his store at the Daytona Beach Flea & Farmers Market.

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CELEBRATE SPRING

March 22, 2013

WEST VOLUSIA County

HOMETOWN NEWS

7

Volusia has boats and lots of places that make them For Hometown News

This is a hot place for some cool boats, with Volusia County home to four boat makers. DeLand’s Mystic Boats makes the C5000R, which the company claims is the world’s fastest offshore catamaran. “We do limited marketing and advertising,” owner John Cosker said. “The name’s pretty much word of mouth. When you get into the highperformance offshore market, it’s a small community.” The winner of the 2011 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout Top Gun Trophy claims a satellite-tracked speed of 223 mph. The 50-foot boat comes in a pleasure model with seats for six to eight, too — the C5000S. Don’t expect to find either one at a local boat retailer. “When someone is up to our boats, they’re a pretty educated buyer and seek us out,” Mr. Cosker said. “There’s only a handful of companies that build

boats like we do.” With an entry price of about $800,000 for a Mystic, it seems likely that not many are used for family fishing. The company’s 15 workers build boats to order, and make about 15 to 20 a year. Peter Orlando, national sales and marketing manager at EdgeWater Power Boats in Edgewater, has a different customer. “We just introduced a new model of crossover called the 280CX,” he said. So far, it’s getting a warm reception. EdgeWater officially rolled out the 280CX at the New York National Boat Show in January. “It’s meant to do a number of different things in it, and that’s what’s popular,” Mr. Orlando said. “Today people are doing multiple things with products.” The company has built six so far, and sold two. “The Fisherman” magazine called the 280CX “the queen of (The EdgeWater folks) crossover fleet.” Getting into an EdgeWater boat costs

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$20,000 to $450,000. The company has about 20 models and makes about 350 boats a year. About 100 people work at EdgeWater. “We have about 30 domestic dealers and worldwide 45 to 50,” Mr. Orlando said. Atlantic Marine in Port Orange is a recent addition to the company’s dealer lineup. Another company in the Southeast Volusia city of Edgewater is Everglades Boats. Bryan Harris, vice president of sales and marketing, said the company is proud of its latest offering, the 355T. “We’ve been building it for awhile, but we just redesigned it,” he said. “It’s our first tournament boat. It’s for hardcore tournament fishing. We rolled it out at the Fort Lauderdale Boat show last October.” The company combines fishing and luxury with boats that run $95,000 to about $500,000. “Luxury, family fishing boats,” Mr. Harris said. “They’re fishing boats with

lots of seats and tables. They’re very family friendly.” The company has 35 dealers in North America, and a few international ones. The closest is Boaters Exchange in Rockledge. Everglades has about 140 workers. “We plan to build about 300 boats this year,” Mr. Harris said. All three companies said that while no one’s willing to say everything’s going to be smooth sailing this year, the waters have been getting better for boat makers lately. The economic crash in 2008 sank sales for a couple years. “It was very busy to 2007, then the bottom fell out,” Mr. Cosker said. “It wasn’t a slow down, it was shut off. Interest is much better now. I’ve got more deals on the table now than the last few years.” Same story at EdgeWater. “The marketplace turned in 2010,” Mr. Orlando said. “Things have been pretty positive since 2010. We’re very See BOATS 8

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CELEBRATE SPRING

WEST VOLUSIA County HOMETOWN NEWS

March 22, 2013

Boats From page 7

Photo courtesy of EdgeWater Power Boats EdgeWater Power Boats originally focused on fishing boats for serious anglers but has branched out to making more versatile boats for a variety of family fun.

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pleased in what we see in our sales for 2013 so far.” Everglades, too, feels like the industry is getting out of the swamp. “Things are looking up for all of us,” Mr. Harris said. Also in Volusia is Boston Whaler. The company couldn’t respond to requests for an interview by press time. So, why is Volusia a big boat-making town? There’re a lot of reasons, Mr. Orlando said. Plenty of different water types are around for product testing, for one. Proximity to Interstate 95 is another. And, he said, the area has quality workers with an interest in boating. “It’s the versatility of the workforce and central location among the venders,” Mr. Orlando said. Mystic is on the web at mysticpowerboats.com. Edgewater is at ewboats.com. Everglades can be found at evergladesboats.com. Boston Whaler is on the web at bostonwhaler.com.

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CELEBRATE SPRING

March 22, 2013

WEST VOLUSIA County

HOMETOWN NEWS

9

Spring ahead into Central Florida fishing

W

ith the arrival of spring, I could say it is time to get out of the house where we fishermen were trapped all winter, but with the months just passed being so mild that would not really fly. Still, even though our seasonal change may be subtle, there is a definite effect on area fishing. In West Volusia County, spring means blue gill and shell crackers. If you are new to Central Florida, you may not have experienced our types of perch from the freshwater sunfish family. These big, fat and strong blue gill may be so large they look as though they may have been swimming too near a nuclear plant. At this time of year those tasty critters are on the bed all across the lakes that feed the St. Johns River. Some of the old timers swear they can locate those beds by sniffing them out, but if your nose is not quite so educated all you need do is look for a cluster of boats. The shell crackers bed up in a very

FISHING WITH DAN DAN SMITH

tight space and that calls for close quarters fishing. Some years back my buddy, the late Andy Anderson, and I were on a bed in Lake Jessup along with six other boats. We had anchored in a circle and were pitching to the center to catch fat perch. We were joined by another fisherman, an eightfoot alligator that would try to grab each fish as we reeled it to the boat. “Look out, he’s after yours,” was the warning cry. All of us caught a limit and the alligator did pretty well, too. At Lake Monroe, the sea wall along the highway at Sanford is another favorite place to catch the big blue gill. There you fish a worm on the bottom and some are tempted to lay the rod down on the wall. These are not the

types of blue gill that make a bobber dance. When they hit, they can pull that rod and reel into the lake. Each time I fish there I am likely to catch a rod or pole that has suffered that fate. Lake Woodruff and Lake George near Pine Island are two more hot spots for this type of spring fishing. As soon as the water warms just a bit, I am bound to get in. Although I enjoy boating, my real fun is wade fishing. At Ponce Inlet, go to the south side of Jetty Park and wade the clear waters off the dog area. There is a good hard bottom there and all sorts of fish can be caught. Blues, ladies, jacks and flounder will likely be there and if luck is with you, a passing school of Spanish mackerel can provide lots of fun. Use artificial or natural bait. These guys are not particular. If you read this column regularly, you know my main wading target is the flounder run that begins each spring. Wade the west bank of the Indian or Halifax Rivers for those tasty flatties. I

prefer to use a jig, but have caught them on plugs, spoons or strips of mullet. Keeping the bait moving is the secret to flounder wading. Another good spot to wade is near the old Coast Guard station at the end of A1A in Canaveral National Seashore. There you will find spotted sea trout and the occasional red fish willing to play. Of course, when the weather warms, the beach is a great place to be. Surf fishing for whiting and bluefish will keep you busy until the fat red and black drum come along. If you are on the beach during the mullet migration, unfurl that cast net you received from Santa Claus and catch a cooler full. Great for frying or smoking, the mullet in the Atlantic are much cleaner and tastier than the river mullet. A great place to wade and surf fish is up at Matanzas Inlet just 15 miles or so north of Flagler Beach. That clear water holds all sorts of pelagic species and once I caught an eight pound See FISHING, 10

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March 22, 2013

Calendar of Events

From page 9

bluefish there. That still ranks as one of my all time biggest. While the warm sun has still not reached its sub-tropical intensity, you might want to take the opportunity to try and neutralize the gray color your skin has taken on over the winter. Take a rod and a chair to one of the area fishing piers for sun and fun. Sun Glow Pier just south of A1A at Dunlawton Boulevard is a good place to catch some sun and some dinner. Up at the Daytona Beach Main Street pier there is good food and good fishing for every sun worshipper. If you happen to be there when the big manta rays pass under the pier, be sure to fish them for the tasty cobia that will be tagging along. A Sea Hawk clothespin type lure is a good bait for that. Well there you have a few of my favorite springtime fishing spots. I hope you will get out and give it a try. If you go, be sure to take a kid along. Have fun!

West Volusia County Golf Courses

Friday, March 22

Sunday, March 24

•Fourth Fridays in Artisan Alley & DeLand Art Walk: This event will be from 6 to 9 p.m. in downtown DeLand.

•Garden Club of DeLand Pageant of Crosses: This event will be from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 24, and Monday, March 25, at Alabama and East Beresford Avenues, DeLand.

Saturday, March 23 •DeLand: 7th Annual Florida Wildflower & Garden Festival: This event will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Downtown DeLand. A shuttle will run throughout the day between the Wildflower & Garden Festival and the DeLand Outdoor Art Festival at Earl Brown Park. Admission and parking are free. For more information, visit www.floridawildflowerfestival.com •EGGstravaganza: The City of Deltona Parks and Recreation EGGstravaganza will be from 10 a.m. to noon at Dewey Boster Sports Complex, 1200 Saxon Blvd., Deltona. For more information, call (386) 878-8900.

Saturday, March 30 •DeLand Outdoor Art Festival: The festival will be March 30-31. For information, visit DeLandOutdoorArtFest.com or call (386) 734-3243.

Sunday, March 31 •Walk: The Happy Wanderers will host a 5K or 10K Walk at 1 p.m. at DeLand Library, 130 E. Howry Blvd. The Cost is $3. For more information, call (386) 760-3872, (386) 676-9863 or visit happywanderersfl.org.

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VOLUSIA County 10 WEST HOMETOWN NEWS


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WEST VOLUSIA County

HOMETOWN NEWS

11

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