February 2020 Winner, Mitchell Insurance Agency, Inc.
2929 Lakeland Highlands Rd #1,
Lakeland, FL 33803
Picture: Bob Read (LegalShield) presents the February 2020 Small Business of the Month Award to Thomas Dodd.
January 2020 Winner, Vecchio, Carrier, Feldman & Johannessen, P.A.
Picture: Bob Ettensohn (The Ettensohn Agency Inc.) presents the January 2020 Small Business of the Month Award to Thomas P. Vecchio.
December 2019 Winner, Central Florida Eye Associates
Central Florida Eye Associates is a fantastic, local medical practice specializing in ophthalmology in Lakeland. Their work includes routine eye examinations for people who need eye glasses or contact lenses as well as numerous medical examinations and procedures.
The business operates out of an incredibly well-kept and visually appealing 5,500-square-foot office in Lakeland.
Staff members treat their patients as family, which is evident in the company’s mission/vision statement: “Our vision is your vision.” In addition to being quite witty, this statement shows that the patient is at the center of their philosophy as a business.
It is no wonder that Dr. Mulaney has been featured in the Best Doctors in Florida and Top Ophthalmologists groups 12 times in the last 15 years. In addition, Super Doctors named him among the top in ophthalmology in the Tampa Tribune in 2009.
The company’s leadership contributions in Lakeland are extensive. Dr. Jay Mulaney has served on the Board of Directors of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, he has been the Board Chairman of Lakeland Regional Health, Board Chairman for VISTE, President of the Polk County Medical Association, and President of We Care (a medical charity giving free doctors’ visits), among many other leadership accomplishments. In addition, Andrew Emery, their optician, is a volunteer medical director for a nonprofit. The company is also the presenting sponsor of LRH’s Promise Run event.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Central Florida Eye Associates as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for December 2019.
— Taher Hamid
Picture: Taher Hamid (Alltek Services) presents the December Small Business of the Month Award to Dr. Jay Mulaney.
November 2019 Winner, Choice Communications, LLC
Choice Communications stands out because the company provides truly customizable solutions to their clients. They are a local small business with an excellent reputation for providing robust voice solutions and excellent 24/7 customer service.
People spend so much time on the phone each day. Ensuring that they have a product that works for them and not against them is crucial. Choice Communications offers business communication continuity, integration of mobile/smart devices, and remote access to ensure the phone system is right for each business they support.
They have been an active member with the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce for five years. Their leadership has been involved with other Lakeland groups including Lakeland South Rotary and have volunteered for meal distribution with VISTE. Their sales staff are active in BNI professional global networking organizations, and all technical staff are certified. Also, many staff members are veterans.
Choice’s current retention rate is more than 98 percent, and their clients trust the company to deliver more than just dial tone!
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Choice Communications as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for November 2019.
— Taher Hamid
Picture: Taher Hamid (Alltek Services) presents the November Small Business of the Month Award to Emilio Montero.
October 2019 Winner, Frescos Southern Kitchen and Bar
Tim & Tina Calhoon started Frescos Southern Kitchen & Bar as a small breakfast and lunch spot in 2009 with three employees, including Tina. Over the years, they have grown and reinvented themselves, becoming the first craft bar and full-service boutique restaurant in downtown Lakeland. They offer full breakfast, lunch, and dinner service seven days a week as well as a large on and off-site catering business.
Frescos’ philosophy is very simple: with good food comes comfort and happiness. Offering warm southern hospitality and creating an experience through food that brings joy to others,
Frescos constantly strives to bring new culinary ideas and trends to the Lakeland market. Chef Tina researches the growing trends and developes a menu to fit the Lakeland market. She’s had great success over the years, creating craft cocktails, gourmet cheesecake flavors, and even larger-than-life milkshakes.
Frescos has expanded multiple times over the past decade. Starting with a 1,200 square foot storefront, they’ve grown to a 3,600 square foot storefront on the corner of Lemon and Kentucky. Along the way, two upstairs banquet rooms, seating 16 to 50, as well as a large space in the basement for weddings, social events, and fundraisers serving up to 200 can be utilized. Now occupying 10,000 square feet total, Frescos employs a staff of 40.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Frescos Southern Kitchen & Bar as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for October 2019.
— Bob Ettensohn
Picture: Bob Ettensohn (The Ettensohn Agency Inc.) presents the October Small Business of the Month Award to Tim & Tina Calhoon.
September 2019 Winner, Thomas F. Plunkett, DMD PA
“Help as many people as possible, keep their mouths healthy and their own teeth as long as possible; and do it as affordable as possible.” This is the philosophy of Tom Plunkett, dentist and proprietor owner of Thomas F. Plunkett, DMD PA.
Thomas F. Plunkett, DMD PA is a family dentist performing general dentistry. They offer affordable dental implants and restorative services. They also provide bridges, crowns, endodontics, fillings, periodontics, and other services. Their aim is to create an easy dental experience for the client in a calm, welcome atmosphere. They will handle all insurance paperwork as well.
The business is at 200 Lake Harris Dr. It is located in a small office complex between Cannon Automotive and the former Red Elephant. While seemingly every bit of floor space is occupied, the office exhibits a clean and friendly atmosphere. The walls are covered with pictures, awards, photos, and plaques of the youth and little league teams that Tom has coached and/or sponsored. At times they have up to four dental hygienists working. That’s a lot for a one-dentist shop. Tom feels this brings in a lot of follow up business. Most of their business comes through referrals and customer loyalty. Their equipment is modern and up-to-date. All of their information and records are digitized—no paper.
Excellent customer service is emphasized. Tom wants his staff to give the client “Ritz Carlton” service and care. They must be doing something right because they have a 5-star rating with Google Reviews. In 2017 they were runner up for The Ledger’s Best of the Best competition. In 2018 they were first in their category.
Tom belongs to the American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, West Coast Dental Association, Polk County Dental Association, and Academy of General Dentistry. Tom has sponsored and coached little league teams. He is a sponsor for the Peace River Center, Alliance for Independence, and Florida Sherriff’s Association. Tom has volunteered for Mission of Mercy. Dental firms from around the state join together in a chosen city to provide free dental care to the homeless, poor, and indigent for one weekend. Tom has also volunteered his time for the Warrior Games in May and “Night to Shine,” which is a prom night for youth with special needs.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Thomas F. Plunkett, DMD PA as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for September 2019.
— Jim Russell
Picture: Jim Russell (Cement Products & Supply Co., Inc.) presents the September Small Business of the Month Award to Thomas F. Plunkett.
August 2019 Winner, Ferrera Tooling, Inc.
Ferrera Tooling, Inc. is a highly skilled precision machine and tool & die outfit that offers complete manufacturing solutions. The company specializes in providing machined precision components and manufacturing. With more than 40 years combined machining and metallurgical knowledge to satisfy customer needs, Ferrera Tooling employees are experts in CNC machining & manufacturing to provide solutions.
Common problems they solve often involve the following issues: Part life improvement for parts repeatedly failing. Providing an alternate source for quality parts to satisfy plant demand when facing long lead times from original equipment manufacturer. Some original equipment manufacturers stop offering replacement parts for older model machines to meet demands on newer models. Well-engineered machines can sometimes outlast the company itself making it nearly impossible to find quality replacement parts to fix a broken machine.
At Ferrera Tooling, the goal is to provide solutions to complex problems in all industries. With completion of a new facility, 17,300 square feet is dedicated to manufacturing. Not limited to working in an office, engineers are mobile and always ready to schedule a flight out to a facility to get hands on with the people and problem customers are facing.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Ferrera Tooling, Inc. as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for August 2019.
— Bob Read
Picture: Bob Read (LegalShield) presents the August Small Business of the Month Award to Brian Herrera.
July 2019 Winner, United Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, Inc.
United Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Inc. was established in 1975 by Gary and Jeri Henderson with current operation led by Byron and Kristina Henderson. The business includes service, sales, and installation of HVAC systems (residential, commercial & industrial), supermarket and restaurant refrigeration equipment, walk-in coolers and cold storage rooms, labs and other areas of critical control. The company is the local dealer and service representative for Trane commercial and residential HVAC and Master-Bilt products. United also services representatives for Manitowoc, Hoshizaki, Scotsman, and Crystal Tips ice machines, as well as dealers of the same.
United services a large residential customer base through their Service PLUS Maintenance Program on a semi-annual basis, and has qualified service technicians on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for anyone experiencing a loss of service in air conditioning or heating. The program offers many benefits to customers, including a special reduced price line for any service repairs and priority scheduling for emergency services. Installations of new equipment are scheduled with the customer’s comfort in mind. Residential and commercial customers appreciate the fact that the company does not use an automated telephone system. When company offices are closed, they have an answering service with a real live person to take calls. No matter the equipment that is down, air conditioning, heating, ice machines, cold rooms, reach-in and walk-in refrigeration units, a technician is available.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates United Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, Inc. as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for July 2019.
— Bob Read
Picture: Bob Read (LegalShield) presents the July Small Business of the Month Award to Kristina Henderson.
June 2019 Winner, Headley Insurance Agency
You may know Headley Insurance Agency by the beautiful “Welcome to Lakeland” mural on the south side of their building, the first thing many people see when exiting the Polk Parkway northbound. The inside of the office is just as inviting. The staff always seem to be smiling, friendly, and ready to help, which supports their goal of providing “outstanding old fashion caring service.”
The agency is owned by Scott and Shari Headley. It is a third generation Lakeland business with three of their children working at the Lakeland office. They put God and family first to maintain a happy life. Originally from West Virginia, they both grew up enjoying large family events and now carry on that tradition.
This family-grown business stands out by the excellent customer experience and advocacy they promote with every client interaction. They have been recipients of many awards for their industry revolving around customer service and production.
Outside of their direct work with customers, they provide exceptional community support. They are a proud supporter of the Lakeland Police Department as well as Polk County Sheriff’s Office. They also support Project Care Outreach, VISTE, Pace, Lighthouse Ministries, and many local sports leagues that benefit youth in Lakeland. They are also very active in local church programs such as Highland Park Church’s “Lights of Lakeland.” It’s easy to see how Headley Insurance Agency has built a strong culture around community at their office.
The reputation of Headley Insurance Agency speaks for itself. The excellent customer reviews, their large social media following, and the large number of referrals all support the engagement they receive from the community and their customers.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Headley Insurance Agency as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for June 2019.
— Taher Hamid
Picture: Taher Hamid (Alltek Services) presents the June Small Business of the Month Award to Scott Headley.
May 2019 Winner, Premier Party Rentals
Premier Party Rentals—a small, family-owned business—is committed to customer satisfaction. The company understands the importance of quality rental equipment, on-time and accurate deliveries, and attention to detail. Employees constantly strive to live up to those expectations.
A company goal is to keep equipment up-to-date and current with the latest trends. Premier Party Rentals has it all—from event assistance to lavish wedding decorations. All event supplies are in stock, including unique pieces such as rose gold accents, rustic items, chandeliers, and sequin linens to basic tables, chairs, and tents. Call the Wade family for just about anything, and if they do not have it, Scott will do his best to help you find it!
Premier Party Rentals is open Monday through Saturday, and the public is allowed to visit its showroom for a tour or to gather event ideas. The Wade family aims to make each client feel comfortable and secure. Their job is to eliminate the stressful feelings that hosting a party or wedding can create. You should feel excited when putting on an event, and it should not be hard to find everything you need. Call and see what Premier Party Rentals can do for you—after all, life is a party!
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Premier Party Rentals as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for May 2019.
— Amy Royal
Picture: Amy Royal (kidsPACK) presents the May Small Business of the Month Award to Scott Wade.
April 2019 Winner, Digital Boardwalk
April 2019 Winner, Digital Boardwalk
Digital Boardwalk is a 10-year-old IT technology company headquartered in Pensacola, Florida. The branch in Lakeland has been here six years and is headed up by Brian Wilkey. As Executive Vice President, Brian Wilkey oversees all Digital Boardwalk operating activities and business development initiatives. Brian’s ability to project change and design scalable business processes have enabled Digital Boardwalk to grow at an award-winning pace while holding true to the company’s core values of customer service, rapid response, and innovation.
Brian grew up an Air Force brat, moving many times across the country and even spending four years living in England and traveling Europe. Spending his entire childhood on the move taught Brian to adapt to change and even grow to love it. This would later set Brian up for a successful career in technology, but not before he first followed his childhood passion: architecture.
Throughout high school and college, Brian worked for the prestigious Straughn Trout Architects in Central Florida. Brian had the opportunity to work on some ground-breaking projects, including Florida’s first net-zero energy building. In 2008, Brian decided to finish his education at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. Unfortunately, the Great Recession in 2008 hit the architecture and engineering industries the hardest, with no new employment opportunities in sight.
Following in the footsteps of his parents, both of whom obtained their MBAs, Brian switched his field of study to management information systems and sought out a career in technology. Armed with his natural knack for technology and business, Brian found employment with Tim Shoop as a computer technician and service manager at New Vision Computers. At this time, Tim was in the very first stages of developing a brand new IT company focused on the managed IT services model. Eager to ride this wave of change, Brian approached Tim and asked for the opportunity to help him build the new company. After 18 months of long hours, rigorous research and development, and just enough income to keep the lights on, Tim and Brian launched Digital Boardwalk, Inc.
In 2014, Brian met the love of his life, Shannon, and they later married in 2018. Brian and Shannon look forward to starting a family in the near future. In his free time, Brian is an avid mountain biker. Brian also enjoys woodworking, electrical work, and any opportunity to work with his hands and build something.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Digital Boardwalk as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for April 2019.
— Bob Read
Picture: Bob Read (LegalShield) presents the April Small Business of the Month Award to Brian Wilkey.
March 2019 Winner, Hickman Homes
Mike Hickman, owner of Hickman Homes, has been a staple in Polk County’s building industry for more than 30 years. In fact, he has worked here so long he is starting to build for the children of families he built for in the past. Hickman Homes specializes in remodeling and new construction in the residential and commercial markets and takes pride in the service, quality, and value they provide their customers. Hickman Homes is a steward of the environment and is on the forefront of “Green Technology” construction in Polk County.
Mike has been recognized by his peers in many ways for his outstanding building practices. He is a 3-time Builder of the Year in Polk County, 2004 President of the Florida Home Builders, 2007 Florida Builder of the Year, and has received multiple Home of the Year wins as well as the 2010 Aurora Award, just to name a few. These accolades are a testament to the character of Mike and his dedication and love of his profession.
Mike is a true believer in giving back to his community and is an admired leader to the next generation of contractors. Mike has dedicated countless hours as the founding member of the Future Builders of America Foundation. This foundation serves thousands of high school students across the state teaching them life and job skills with an emphasis on making a career in the construction industry. Mike is heavily involved in other civic organizations such as FBA Student Leadership Training Camp, the Lakeland Chamber’s BusinessVoice, and much more. Mike is known throughout Florida to be a champion for the building industry as an advocate for housing affordability and regulatory oversight.
Hickman Homes’ reputation of quality, service, and value in conjunction with diversification can be contributed to their success and sustainability through the difficult times after the construction collapse. Now with the strong economy Mike is staying true to his core principals and continues to give back much of his time to the community.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Hickman Homes as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for March 2019.
— Sean Harper
Picture: Sean Harper (WebPro Realty/Harper Construction Mgmt) presents the March Small Business of the Month Award to Mike Hickman.
February 2019 Winner, Buckner Commercial Properties
Growing up and making a home in Lakeland seems very unique these days, but David A. Buckner, SIOR, cherishes his roots and he is very passionate about making Polk County thrive! Buckner Commercial Properties stands out from competitors by knowing and living in this community and understanding the land, properties, people, businesses, service clubs, nonprofits, etc. David can cover it all and strives to make Lakeland grow, stay competitive, and secure the city’s place in the future for the next generations. David is a commercial real estate broker and partners with both existing and new businesses interested in the area to find the perfect location for their business needs.
If you are looking to expand your footprint in the area or are a new company wishing to check out the area, call David Buckner to see for yourself his rich transaction history in our area and his patient and comforting approach to commercial brokerage
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Buckner Commercial Properties as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for February 2019.
— Amy Royal
Picture: Amy Royal (kidsPACK) presents the February Small Business of the Month Award to David and Lynn Buckner.
January 2019 Winner, My Pet’s Animal Hospital
“Our patients do not call us, nor do they drive themselves here, or pay their bill. If our clients aren’t happy, there is no My Pet’s” – My Pet’s Animal Hospital.
My Pet’s Animal Hospital is a Companion Animal Veterinary Hospital Accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association. Less than 7% of veterinary hospitals reach this prestigious accreditation status! Some of their services include: Routine visits, emergency services, dental care, imaging, pain management, spa days, microchipping, and behavioral training.
They have a dedication to low-stress handling. There are many techniques they deploy to lower the stress of the animal in care. Notable activities include:
- Very often not wearing a white coat (Pet’s get white coat syndrome too!)
- Use of pheromones like Cheez Whiz and catnip to relax the patient during the visit
- Educate staff on interacting with patients in the least stressful manner, such as sitting on the floor with the pet
Often, pets don’t notice injections because they are distracted by the Cheez Whiz, catnip, or other pheromones.
Education is on the forefront of their care. They educate clients on the importance of preventative healthcare as well as make it affordable in their yearly wellness plan. Each plan is tailored to the Pet, based on species, age, and other factors. Some plans include spay and neuter surgery, dental cleanings and preventative care for their senior pets.
The recession began shortly after Dr. Donna purchased My Pet’s Animal Hospital. Many families were struggling to pay rent or put food on the table, so taking their pets in for treatment was often impossible. In some cases, pets were being euthanized instead of treated, because the families could not pay their bills. My Pet’s created low cost options for pet care. Some of these include the “Stimulus Spay,” the “No-Recession Neuter,” and the “Vaccination Stimulus Package.” These programs helped to keep their pets healthy during these tough times.
They also created the Retired K-9 Care Program for our retired LPD K-9 Officers. This was a need in the community that they directly addressed. In this program, veterinarians caring for the K-9 Officers during their duty would continue to provide wellness care upon the K-9’s retirement AT NO COST to the owner, which is often the officer/handler. This provides a huge financial relief of around $1,000 a year per dog.
They also provide “Veterinarian for the Day” training experiences for young people, train and hire aspiring vet and vet techs, created a Hope Fund that has provided over $20,000 of free medical care to animals in Polk County, and rehabilitate injured wildlife brought to them for needed care.
It is no surprise that they have been the winner or finalist in The Ledger’s Best of the Best since the contest’s inception, awarded the Bright House Small Business of the Year, and covered in multiple publications.
A story worth mentioning is about a loving client who brought in a very sick patient name Jasper. The staff did everything they could to assist Jasper but unfortunately, he passed away. The client was devastated by the loss of her pet and friend. A week later, she received a call from Dr. Sara just to check in and make sure she was okay. The client had tears her eyes as she heard the care in the veterinarian’s voice. The client said “I will take all of my future pets here! Because in my loss, I found such a treasure in this office!”
My Pet’s Animal Hospital can be defined by their innovation. They have created programs, care options, and an environment that truly stands out. We can all learn from the quick thinking and persistence of this deserving Small Business Award winner.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates My Pet’s Animal Hospital as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for January 2019.
— Taher Hamid, Alltek Services
Picture: Taher Hamid (Alltek Services) presents the January Small Business of the Month Award to Donna McWilliams.
Guns Galore, Inc. has been serving the Lakeland community for more than 35. Owner, Al Delatorre, and his staff are very knowledgeable in the guns and services they offer including merchandise for recreational shooting and hunting. They also provide related training to equip law-abiding customers with the confidence they need to safely participate in this hobby.
Guns Galore employees have accumulated approximately 90 years’ experience in the gun industry. There are two Glock certified armorers on staff, one NRA certified instructor, one retired law enforcement officer, and one current law enforcement officer on staff.
The inventory is extensive, neatly arranged, and shelving and floors are clean. Employees are not uniformed, but are well-groomed and wear business casual clothing. Signage is professionally maintained as needed. The greatest competitive threat is the emergence of discount online retailers. Guns Galore has responded by turning a threat into an opportunity and marketing unique products online and becoming a specialty retailer online.
Guns Galore has had the honor of working with many generations of Lakeland families over the years. They shop at Guns Galore because employees offer personal attention, friendly service, and competitive prices. All are welcome to visit to Al and his staff.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Guns Galore, Inc. as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for December 2018.
— Bob Read
Picture: Bob Read (LegalShield) presents the December 2018 Small Business of the Month Award to Al Delatorre.
Darlene D. Eanett
Darlene D. Eanett, LLC
923 South Blvd
Lakeland, FL 33803
Darlene D. Eanett, LLC is a CPA firm specializing in serving businesses through consulting services related to their computer accounting systems. The business is a single employee firm in which most of the work is provided remotely, by logging into the client’s system or maintaining the client’s system on the business’ system.
The firm assists in training related to the systems, processing data in the systems, and providing accounting services related to their systems. In some cases, the firm serves as an outsourced accounting department. Services are also provided to clients with assistance in their personal recordkeeping and paying of bills. The service benefits business and personal clients by providing meaningful accounting records for making sound business and personal decisions related to financial success.
Darlene began her CPA career at Carter, Belcourt & Atkinson where she worked for 15 years. In 2008, that firm was sold to Crowe LLP. Darlene left the company in 2009 and started her own firm to better serve her local clients. Due to an established reputation and continued relationships in the Lakeland business community, the firm grew and prospered.
Most CPA firms provide tax and audit services. Darlene assists businesses and individuals in maintaining their accounting records. Many small businesses do not have enough accounting processes to require a full-time accounting professional. This service frees up time for employees and owners to concentrate on building their business while a CPA spends a few hours a month processing the accounting and ensuring that the accounting records are accurate. By remaining small, the firm’s overhead is kept low and that can be reflected in fees to the clients.
Darlene is a member of the American Institute of CPA’s, the Florida Institute of CPA’s (past president of the Polk County chapter, regional Vice President and governing board), and the Institute of Management Accountants (past president of Polk Co. chapter). She has received the Harry L Cramer Public Service Award for Outstanding Community Service by the Florida Council of IMA.
Darlene has a long history of volunteer support in the community. Before her CPA days, Darlene was a part of the Jr. League of Greater Lakeland. She served in the PTA Carlton Palmore Elementary, Jesse Keene Middle, and Lincoln Academy. She was a member of Leadership Lakeland Class VII and helped establish Leadership Lakeland Alumni Association. Darlene was the recipient of the Jere Annis Leadership Award in 1994. She has also served on the boards of American Heart Association, Campfire, The Lakeland Rotary Club, and Central Florida Speech and Hearing Center. She was awarded the Woman of Distinction award by the Lakeland chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. Darlene also judges for the Silver Garland Awards.
Darlene always tries to establish lasting relationships with clients and makes it a point to understand the client’s business, their issues, and to treat all of their employees with respect.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Darlene D. Eanett, LLC as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for November 2018.
— Jim Russell
Picture: Jim Russell (Cement Products & Supply Co., Inc.) presents the November 2018 Small Business of the Month Award to Darlene Eanett.
SHR Human Resources, LLC
124 S Florida Ave, Ste 309
Lakeland, FL 33801
Partners, Don Selvage and Becky Joyce, with the assistance of Southeastern University intern, Melissa Fuentes, operate SHR Human Resources in downtown Lakeland, providing a full spectrum of human resource management and consulting services for human resource departments and staffing assistance for smaller firms. This includes planning, employee manuals, salary surveys, compliance issues, benefits administration, terminations, candidate searches, etc.
They evaluate for best practice recommendations, educate companies on the importance of human resource issues, ensure compliance with ethical, legal, and regulatory goals and requirements, etc. The company provides personal service at the company, with hands-on review and evaluation by principals. It has advised numerous private, government, and nonprofit agencies on hiring administrative personnel, and in the rare occasion a recommendation does not work out, will offer a pro rata refund, a rarity for this industry.
Helping those coming out of school to obtain a position is a satisfying part of the job. Although competing with the larger HR firms in the market, the individualized attention and 13 years of history with recurring clients and referrals have enabled the firm to thrive.
Mr. Selvage has been extremely active in the local community, most recently as the current board chair of the United Way of Central Florida, and he recently completed two terms as a city commissioner for the City of Lakeland. Other activities include Chamber positions, LVIM, Sun ‘n Fun, Lakeland Rotary, Campfire USA, PAL, and GiveWell Community donation contributions benefiting a myriad of local nonprofits.
SHR has a third floor office suite in the Colonial Square Building in downtown Lakeland, but most of the work time is in the field at the offices of clients.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates SHR Human Resources, LLC as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for October 2018.
— Curt Wheeler
Picture: Terry Ottinger presents the October 2018 Small Business of the Month Award to Don Selvage, Becky Joyce, and Melissa Fuentes.
Truly Nolen of America, Inc.
2320 E Edgewood Dr
Lakeland, FL 33803
Hate bugs? Then you’ll love Truly Nolen! The company is TRULY proud to be celebrating its 80th anniversary this year.
Since 1938, the company, which is one of the largest family-owned pest control companies in the U.S., has been keeping your pest problems, your past problems! Truly Nolen has more 80 branch offices in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Utah. The company also has independently owned and operated franchises in an ever-growing number of territories including Kentucky, Georgia, New Jersey, Canada, Puerto Rico and more than 60 countries.
Truly Nolen's Four Season's approach to residential pest control attacks your pest problem and includes individual steps, utilizing different equipment and highest quality materials to get the best results for you and your family. Your neighborhood pest control expert is part of a national network of pest control experts. At the same time, they are also very familiar with local pest trends in your individual community. When pest activity increases, generally more than one homeowner will report the same or a similar pest issue to their Truly Nolen team. He or she will identify and be proactive about your local pest issues.
In addition, Truly Nolen partners with and supports many nonprofit organizations in the various local communities we serve across the country. The company encourages employees to participate in local events and supports them and their families. Also, Truly Nolen sends its kid and family favorite mouse car limo as well as its world famous antiques to events when possible.
For a FREE home inspection, visit our Lakeland service office at the address above, call the number above, or visit us online at the web address above today. In addition, to learn more about Truly Nolen, follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TrulyNolen), Twitter (www.twitter.com/TrulyNolen), and Instagram (www.instagram.com/trulynolen).
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Truly Nolen of America, Inc. as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for September 2018.
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Bob Read (LegalShield of Lakeland), presents the September 2018 Small Business of the Month Award to James Brownlee and Marty Phipps.
Presidium Network Services LLC
624 Mid Florida Dr
Lakeland, FL 33813
Presidium Network Services LLC is a small but powerful IT services business in Polk County. With collective decades of experience, staff is qualified and equipped to assist in all your IT needs by providing 24/7 system and network monitoring, as well as proactively monitoring customer operations, server statistics, backups, security and helpdesk tickets/status. Focused on the quality and expertise they can provide, Presidium makes sure to assist in decisions that may go beyond traditional IT support such as providing hardware and software recommendations, office moves, and wiring placement.
Presidium’s goal is to provide Enterprise Class IT Services for the small/medium business market by providing both cost-effective and cost-efficient solutions. They are committed to their customers to ensure their business needs are met and that the systems they rely on are always available without interruption. The Management and staff of Presidium is also dedicated to giving back to their community, having coached basketball and softball teams at local schools, youth programs and volunteer their time and support to various local nonprofits.
If you are looking for big business services but are a small or medium business, contact President Bill McClellan and set up a discussion—you will be amazed what they can provide!
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Presidium Network Services LLC as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for August 2018.
— Amy Royal
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Amy Royal (kidsPACK), presents the August 2018 Small Business of the Month Award to Bill McClellan. Also pictured: Jeff Stevens, Robin Stevens, Amy Royal, Bill McClellan, Rob Allison, Garrison VanCola, Perry Summers, Nick Franolich, and Allan Burrage.
Mark Lever and Issac Turpin
4000 N Frontage Rd
Plant City, FL 33565
True Builders is celebrating 10 years of bringing quality service to all of Central Florida. Owners Mark Lever and Issac Turpin are childhood best friends and natural entrepreneurs who had a dream. That dream, paired with their strong work ethic, is what brought to life the company you see before you today.
True Builders specializes in all things residential, from restoration and insurance claims, to custom remodeling and new home construction. They are the forefront of the construction industry because of their extraordinary customer service. They are leading their competition by being innovative and utilizing the latest technology, systems and state-of-the-art equipment. This enables them work efficiently with the highest quality and consistently exceed our customer’s expectations!
Lever has been quoted saying, "I feel we go the extra mile to not only resolve our customer’s needs, but with constant up-to-date communication ensuring they understand the process every step of the way. Our goal is to offer a valuable service at an affordable cost that specifically addresses your issues.”
Turpin says, "It’s hard to know who to trust, who could price gouge you, and we’re confident that we’ve cultivated a business ran on integrity. We have made a great name for ourselves and want to continue to grow our reputation and brand. We’re not trying to make a lot of money off each customer, we're building sound customer relationships and a business with longevity that you can count on.”
Quality, integrity, and dependability are words that have been repeatedly used to describe True Builders. With a powerful media presence, top-rated customer service, and world class quality of work, it’s no wonder why they were named one of INC 5000’s fastest growing companies in America two years in a row!
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates True Builders as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for July 2018.
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Lisa Birket (True MD), presents the July 2018 Small Business of the Month Award to Mark Lever and Issac Turpin.
Native Palm Properties
5925 Imperial Pkwy, Ste 111
Mulberry, FL 33860
The real estate industry in Central Florida is a major part of our economy, and Native Palm Properties has been providing excellent service since 2007. Owner, Lisa Ruiz-Castanet, started Native Palm with the goal of offering unparalleled residential services to the greater Lakeland area. From the mouths of many of her clients, she has accomplished her goal.
Native Palm is located at the entrance of the beautiful community of Imperial Lakes in a professional office with friendly people ready to help with your real estate needs. In addition to residential buying and selling properties, Native Palm has carved a niche in property management. Offering short-term, long-term, vacation, and seasonal property management sets them apart from most other real estate companies in the market. In addition, they offer short and long-term rentals that are furnished, which fits perfectly with many of our seasonal visitors. This niche market creates a stress-free experience for real estate investors as well.
Lisa is well respected within the greater Lakeland real estate community. She serves on many committees, is the chair of the professional standards committee, and has been an active board member of Lakeland REALTORS® for many years. Also, Lisa has been honored by being elected incoming president of Lakeland REALTORS®, which is a great display of the trust and respect realtors have for her in this industry.
Lisa and her entire office believe in giving back to the greater Lakeland community. They are very involved in community service projects for Lakeland REALTORS®, Habitat for Humanity, VISTE, Boys & Girls Club, church functions, and much more. From the beginning, Lisa has lived up to the reputation realtors have for giving back to their communities and she intends on continuing this when she is president of the Lakeland REALTORS®.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Native Palm Properties as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for June 2018.
— Sean Harper
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Sean Harper (WebPro Realty), presents the June 2018 Small Business of the Month Award to Lisa Castanet. Also pictured: Emile Castanet, Alley Soldano, and Deane Hart.
Cannon’s Appliance Service
1415 E Parker St
Lakeland, FL 33801
Cannon’s Appliance Service started out in Don Cannon’s home garage in 1984. Family-owned-and-operated, Cannon’s has maintained a great reputation for service and customer satisfaction ever since.
Don currently runs his business out of a large building at 1415 E Parker St in Lakeland. With a staff of 21 employees, including 13 service technicians, all are very knowledgeable in the appliance repair industry. They pride themselves on being able to service and maintain more than fifty brands of appliances. These factory-trained technicians provide expert service to all of Polk County and parts of Hillsborough and Zephyrhills. These technicians will come to your home, but an in-house shop is also available whereby customers can bring their appliances in for repair at a discounted rate. All technicians are uniformed with a name badge and travel in a company identified clean truck.
Being in business since 1984, Cannon’s has survived through the ups and downs of an ever-changing economy. They have provided service to desperate customers after national disasters such as Hurricane Charley and Irma. With no power, the office staff still fielded phone calls and worked to get customer’s appliances back up and running after such tragic events.
Cannon’s Appliance Service is community-minded in supporting local charities such as Toys for Tots and Lighthouse Ministries. Every year a refrigerator is donated to Toys for Tots along with a collection of toys. A discount is also provided to our veteran heroes for their appliance repairs.
The mission statement of Cannon’s is to give you, the customer, the very best in service, quality, and the best pricing available. They have also prided themselves in topnotch service after the sale since 1984.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Cannon’s Appliance Service as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for May 2018.
— Bob Read
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Bob Read (LegalShield of Lakeland), presents the May 2018 Small Business of the Month Award to Don Cannon.
225 Doris Dr
Lakeland, FL 33813
In the world of insurance, it’s nice to know that you have it when you need it. In the case of Lock Insurance’s owner Don Westerfeld, he fully subscribes not only to that idea, but he strives to let his clients know that he is there for them—even when they don’t particularly need it. Lock Insurance’s team prides itself on their commitment to excellence and superior customer service.
Lock Insurance was founded by Don Westerfeld in 2004, and after sustained growth he established the company’s headquarters on Doris Dr in Lakeland. Lock is a one stop shop insurance agency offering an array of insurance products including home, auto, business, life, and health. Don built his business through hard work, community involvement, and his core belief of: “Treat people the way you would want to be treated.”
Staying true to his core belief, Don was able to grow Lock Insurance during the housing bust era. He surrounds himself with a great team of experienced insurance agents and customer service representatives who assist clients in a friendly and knowledgeable manner and offer insurance products at the lowest prices possible. Don realized that his customers wanted choices to fit their needs and budgets in a timely manner and has the ability to turn around quotes in around 5-10 minutes. Don embraces new technology and has recently unveiled, Lexi, an automated representative that can assist his customers 24/7.
Lock Insurance has been a Lakeland Chamber of Commerce member since 2007, and is also a member of the FAIA and the Better Business Bureau. Don loves Florida and particularly Lakeland and has created an environment in his office of giving back to the community. He encourages his staff by offering them 40 paid hours per year to get involved in charities and nonprofit organizations of their choice during working and nonworking hours. Also, he established a committee in his office to assist him with determining which of Polk County’s many charitable organizations he should donate time and money to.
Don and his wife Connie have five children, two grandkids, and live in south Lakeland. They are involved in their church and community and are great advocates and representatives of Lakeland.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Lock Insurance as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for April 2018.
— Sean Harper
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Sean Harper (WebPro Realty), presents the April 2018 Small Business of the Month Award to Don Westerfeld. Also pictured (from left to right): Heather, Tonna, Erica, Ivonnette, Jenny, Connie, Kim, Stephanie, Ashley, Amanda, and Monica.
Law Office of Craig B. Hill P.L.
50 Lake Morton Dr
Lakeland, FL 33801
Mr. Craig Hill and his staff of assistants (Cathy Gangloff and Flor Reyes) at the Law Office of Craig B. Hill P.L. (Hill Law) practice a collaborative approach to transactional law for a variety of clients with an emphasis on commercial real estate transactions, including the representation of buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants, developers, and community associations.
The firm’s focus is to be a deal maker for the client in order to accomplish the goals of the client instead of being a deal breaker. This philosophy has kept them in good stead over the years and has—on numerous occasions—resulted in new clients from previous “adverse sides” of transactions that appreciated the collaborative approach. Success is all about creating positive, genuine, and lasting relationships.
The firm opened in 2010 amid the real estate recession, but through hard work, attention to detail, and personal, direct, and prompt attention to the client succeeded and grew. Mr. Hill has been very active in the community including multiple Chamber roles (Board, Sustainable Community KSI, EMERGE Lakeland, Leadership Lakeland), was part of the founding group of Christ Community Presbyterian Church, is involved in a family foundation, and with his wife (Kate) and five children serves meals monthly at Lighthouse Ministries. In addition, he and his staff are active in their local churches, schools, and at Polk State College.
The office is in a modern, well-appointed and decorated professional space at 50 Lake Morton Dr. Mr. Hill, his staff, and their personal and business philosophies exemplify the characteristics the Lakeland Chamber and the City of Lakeland are grateful for, and we are happy to have the Law Office of Craig B. Hill P.L. as the March 2018 Small Business of the Month winner.
— Curt Wheeler
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Curt Wheeler (Wheeler Appraisals, LLC), presents the March 2018 Small Business of the Month Award to Craig Hill.
K.L. Smith, Inc.
2519 Buckskin Rd
Lakeland, FL 33801
In 1973, the nation was rocked by the Watergate scandal and an oil crisis. Ken Smith, however, showed courage in light of this uncertain time and the company to be later known as K.L. Smith, Inc. was born.
Smith, as a Marine corporal in the 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company, experienced the Vietnam War while providing deep reconnaissance and direct action support. His courage served him well again as he received general contractor license number 4668, showing how many licenses were issued at that time. Now the numbers are close to 200,000.
Today, K.L. Smith is led by Ryan Smith, Ken’s son and fourth generation construction contractor. The company serves our community primarily as a residential roofing contractor. With more than 40 years’ experience in this area, K.L. Smith has installed more than 12,000 roofs in Polk County! Business is driven from the thousands of customers satisfied with the high-quality materials and workmanship that K.L. Smith provides.
K.L. Smith has been recognized as an Owens Corning Roofing Platinum Preferred Contractor. This high honor is only extended to about one percent of roofing contractors in the nation. This award comes with additional educational seminars to stay current on the latest industry changes. While the company is challenged with competition from unlicensed contractors and “storm chasers,” the company provides our community with a local commitment to serve and respect the property owners in the area.
Dozens of local charitable organizations are supported by K.L. Smith, including the Boys & Girls Club, Achievement Academy, and The Bobby Lane Cup that raises funds for college scholarships through fishing tournaments
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce would like to thank K.L. Smith, Inc. for their dedication and willingness to serve our community and is pleased to congratulate them as our Small Business Award winner for February 2018.
— Gary Cleveland
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Gary Cleveland (Rhoads/Stephens Real Estate Group / Keller Williams Realty - Lakeland), presents the February 2018 Small Business of the Month Award to Ryan Smith.
Chris and Billie Porche
All American Fire & Safety, Inc.
3504 Century Blvd, Ste 1
Lakeland, FL 33811
All American Fire & Safety, Inc., owned and operated by Chris and Billie Porche, offers Fire Extinguisher, Emergency/Exit lighting, Kitchen Fire Suppression, and Paint Booth Fire Suppression sales & service, installation, and inspection. They also provide Carbon Dioxide (CO2) bottle refills for bars & restaurants. By keeping track of when their customers are due for their annual or semi-annual inspections and going to their location to perform necessary services, they help businesses avoid Fire Inspection Violations and the penalties associated with those violations. When needed, they also offer their customers training with the use of their fire suppression equipment.
All American Fire & Safety uniformed employees are well groomed and professional in any type of business environment. Their facility is conveniently located across from the Lakeland Linder Airport at 3504 Century Blvd and is easily identified by signage proudly displaying their logo and the Chamber logo on the front door. The service fleet is well-maintained and inspected by the State of Florida Fire Marshal’s Office each year. This results in reliable, on-time service calls and insures that the parts are on board to service any customer’s needs.
Customer service is very important to All American Fire & Safety. The reason for their superior customer service is knowledgeable and proficient employees. Each new employee undergoes 6 months of company sponsored training to receive certification with the State of Florida Fire Marshal. After certification, Chris Porche personally takes them on the road for several months for more in-depth training. Quality Customer Service starts at the top. They invest thousands of dollars annually in their vehicles, dispatching software, and continuing education of their employees. They believe their company is different from their competitors in several different ways. For example, when you call, they answer the phone. If not answered immediately due to being with another customer, the call is returned within 15 minutes. Another thing that makes All American Fire & Safety unique in the industry is that they show up when they say they will. Their services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When you call their office at 8:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m. in the morning, you will get a live person that can answer your questions and solve your problems—not an answering service taking a message. Above all, compared to the industry, they are willing to spend the money and do what it takes to make the customer happy.
All American Fire & Safety’s corporate philosophy is customers are our number one priority. They strive to set the standard of excellence in the industry and community. All American Fire & Safety is a family-owned business that cares about their customers and offers outstanding service at a fair price. Furthermore, they have worked very hard to earn the respect of the Fire Inspectors and Fire Marshals at the local and county levels and continue to do so every day. They try to supplement the message of these fire inspectors which is to keep the public safe, sometimes from themselves.
When Hurricane Irma passed through Lakeland, All American Fire & Safety chose not to evacuate. They were on call to aid and assist local customers and neighbors trying to keep their businesses in full operation—even if all they needed was a hot meal, water, ice, and generators. Many of their newest customers were acquired simply because they answered the phone. Their original provider of services was not there in their time of need. There have been several fires in the Lakeland community this year at various restaurants. You did not know about them because All American Fire & Safety went the extra mile to get them up and running quickly, in most cases resulting in no loss of revenue to the business. In some cases, they have worked all night to get the restaurants open. They have made early morning runs to Orlando for special parts so they could open for business later that morning. The dispatch schedule changes by the minute, depending on the severity of the situation. The software and personnel that are in place help them to be able to respond quickly to changes. When a local restaurant’s kitchen floor caved in, they worked hand-in-hand with the local contractor to get them up and running. When two restaurants caught fire, they were both up and running the next day like nothing had happened. When a fried chicken restaurant caught fire on a holiday, they had them up and running the next morning. Fires happen all the time. Frequently, you do not hear about them because of the systems that All American Fire & Safety installs and maintains do what they are designed to do, put out the fire.
All American Fire & Safety makes numerous donations and is involved with many local charities. Additionally, they are members of the Elks Lodge #1291, the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, and Lakeland Business Leaders. They have previously received the Lakeland Business Leaders Linchpin Award from their peers in the small business community. They have volunteered and/or sponsored fundraisers for many organizations including: Disabled Veterans at James A. Haley Hospital, the Wounded Warriors Project, the Boys & Girls Club of Lakeland, and the SPCA. Also, as a service to the local foster home families and group homes, they offer free service for their fire extinguishers for their homes (required by the State). Additionally, they provide free CO2 fills for several of the local high school football booster clubs.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates All American Fire & Safety, Inc. as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for January 2018.
— Bob Ettensohn
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Bob Ettensohn (The Ettensohn Agency Inc.), presents the January 2018 Small Business of the Month Award to Chris and Billie Porche.
Steinbauer Associates, Inc.
6700 S Florida Ave, Ste 35
Lakeland, FL 33813
Steinbauer Associates, Inc. is a full-service commercial and industrial real estate brokerage company founded in 1981. The firm, located in south Lakeland, provides the very highest quality service to buyers, sellers, investors, and tenants of warehouse, office, retail, and investment properties and development land in Florida. Clients know they are dealing with seasoned veterans in the commercial real estate market who have survived and thrived—even during the downturns that have occurred over the years.
The staff and employees of the firm, many of whom are family, use the latest innovations of technology and knowledge of commercial real estate to market property, conducting themselves with integrity. Employees keep up on training by attending educational classes and seminars at local, state, and national realtor conferences as well as Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) conferences.
Jim Steinbauer, Vice President of the Lakeland office, is a member of the Lakeland Association of Realtors, having served on their Board of Directors for the past six years and is currently the Association’s immediate Past President. He is also a member of SIOR and was the Florida Chapter’s President in 2012. He has been a member of Lakeland South Rotary since 2005.
The firm gives time and financial support throughout the community and in various charitable events for Lakeland South Rotary, Lakeland Association of Realtors, the Lake Morton Neighborhood Association, and the Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Steinbauer Associates, Inc. as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for December 2017.
— Bob Ettensohn
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Bob Ettensohn (The Ettensohn Agency Inc.), presents the December 2017 Small Business of the Month Award to Jim Steinbauer.
115 Hillcrest St
Lakeland, FL 33815
Tinsley Creative is an award-winning, full-service creative and marketing services firm located in Lakeland’s eclectic Dixieland neighborhood off South Florida Avenue. In the heart of Lakeland—with a heart for Lakeland and surrounding communities—this creative agency produces everything needed to brand or sell your company’s services and/or products to the masses. With skills in everything from printed collateral pieces, web services, social medial tools, event planning, media planning, and so much more, Tinsley Creative is committed to partnering in your success as a business with focused, results-driven, creative advertising solutions.
A 20-year veteran in this highly competitive arena, owner Donovan Tinsley believes, “Our service matches our creativity.” The company’s mission is to build relationships through outstanding customer service. One company in particular has been a client for 15 years. Tinsley Creative strives to “create” creative success and then share in that client’s success by being there for future marketing, branding, or event needs.
In all, the 10-member staff is dedicated to making a measurable impact for every client with every dollar spent. By delivering innovative ideas and products that are professional, on-time, and within budget, it’s no surprise that clients keep coming back for more. Tinsley Creative’s philosophy is simply to give more than you take and do it better than anyone else. That business acumen and reputation lives in Donovan and his staff every day. Recently retired as Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Lakeland, Donovan’s father, Bill Tinsley, has joined the company to assist in future growth initiatives and agency development.
Tinsley Creative is associated with many professional organizations such as the American Ad Federation Polk, Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis Downtown, and the Florida Southern College Alumni Association. In addition, the company gives back to the community by providing pro-bono marketing and/or discount rates for nonprofits and events such as Lakeland Pigfest, Sun ‘n Fun educational programs, Alliance for Independence fundraisers, Girls Inc.’s She Knows Where She’s Going program, and Lakeland Chamber events such as the Golf Scramble and BIG Event. Donovan is also actively involved with Lakeland City Baseball and is a graduate of Leadership Lakeland Class 25
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Tinsley Creative as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for November 2017.
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Maureen Shaw (Flower Cart Florist), presents the November 2017 Small Business of the Month Award to Donovan Tinsley. Also pictured: Kyle Emanuel, Mary Breidenbach, Joy Dehaven, Caroline Masters, and Brittany Huey.
Alltek Services is a local Lakeland business started in 2003 by Tom Bowles. They serve as the complete IT department for Central Florida businesses. Businesses can call them for networking and cable projects, help desk support, Cloud services, VoIP phones, Data Backups, Office 365, and much more.
Alltek CEO, Tom Bowles, is very proud of the team he has at Alltek Services. Many of the staff members have been with Alltek since day one. “They work hard and they truly care for the businesses that we serve. I couldn’t wish for a better group.” Tom plans on adding even more talent to the team as Alltek continues to grow at a healthy rate.
Tom Bowles is on the board of the First Presbyterian Homes. In this role, he helps to guide their strategic vision and volunteer his time to better the organization. Alltek also serves multiple nonprofits at a drastically reduced rate and provide most work completely free. They donated nearly $5,000 worth of equipment to just one nonprofit client last year.
Alltek Services is defined by their “Box of Best Practices.” They have a set of evidence-based standards for every client. They set up a client’s IT infrastructure based on the recommendations that they’ve built over the past 15 years. Once a client is fully in their box, their network is structured optimally. By implementing infrastructure that works very well together, they minimize downtime and ensure less headache (and bills) for the client!
Maintaining the performance of a client’s workstations is equally important. Just like a vehicle, a computer needs regular maintenance to continue working properly. Alltek ensures all the devices at a business are up to date on all maintenance to extend their lifespan, ensure uptime, and to keep them working as fast as possible. Speed is not the only thing that businesses must worry about though. Alltek uses the latest security technology to keep their clients safe from cyber-attacks as well.
The Alltek philosophy is simple: To understand that IT can be confusing for the end user. The client is not going to understand what the technicians are saying all the time. This comes with the responsibility to present resolutions in clear and easy to understand terms, and to ensure that they uphold ethical standards to never abuse a client’s trust.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Alltek Services, LLC as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for October 2017.
Picture: Terry Ottinger presents the October 2017 Small Business of the Month Award to Tom Bowles. Also pictured: Rick Ravenscraft, Taher Hamid, Tim (Timmy) Higgins, Samuel Bowles, and Matt McDowell.
Pro Care Auto Repair
When you consider that a typical internal combustion car has more than 10,000 moving parts and more computing power than the Apollo moon launch, it is easy to understand why the care of this complex machine should only be done by trained, experienced, and honest professionals.
Pro Care Auto Repair was established in 1999 by Steve Jacklin after he had years of training and experience and a heartfelt desire to open Lakeland’s best auto repair facility. Pro Care Auto Repair has a mission to be a repair shop that is friendly, affordable, and honest. This approach has served them well. Positive customer comments—online and offline—have created a network of referral and repeat business. Many trained ASE mechanics are long-term employees and major reasons why Pro Care has experienced continued growth year after year for the past 18 years.
Pro Care supports many community charities and high school sponsorships. This year the business sponsored a South Lakeland little league baseball team. Every year Pro Care also sponsors Heather’s Hope Foundation, Inc. in hopes to prevent domestic violence. Founded in April 2009, Heather’s Hope serves as a means of preserving the spirit and memory of Heather Lynn Rimmer. Heather was a teacher at Valleyview Elementary School and South McKeel Elementary Academy and the loving mother of two beautiful daughters. Tragically, Heather was killed on August 23, 2008, in a horrific act of domestic violence. The foundation celebrates the life of this mother and teacher while raising public awareness about the “silent tragedy” of domestic abuse. On October 28, 2017, Heather’s Hope will hold a Purple Ribbon 5K Run/Walk at Lake Hollingsworth. More information is available at www.HeathersHope.net.
Thanks to the company’s willingness to serve, Pro Care Auto Repair is making a positive difference in our community. The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce congratulates Pro Care Auto Repair as the Small Business of the Month Award Winner for September 2017.
— Gary Cleveland
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Gary Cleveland (Rhoads/Stephens Real Estate Group / Keller Williams Realty - Lakeland), presents the September 2017 Small Business of the Month Award to Steven Jacklin.
PHR Staffing Services is a family-owned Florida corporation that has been a staffing resource to companies of all sizes in the Greater Lakeland area for 14 years. The company provides temporary, permanent, and temporary-to-hire personnel in light industry and processing, warehouse, assembly, and manufacturing arenas. PHR also has a division that fills clerical, office support, professional administrative, and accounting positions.
PHR’s Lakeland location is both their corporate headquarters and one of three branch offices in Central Florida. The additional branches are in Winter Haven and Lake Wales.
PHR’s commitment to excellence never wavers with a goal to constantly improve their knowledge and focus on their customers’ needs to strengthen the value of their services. Regardless of the type, quantity, or duration, PHR’s placements are made using a proven and quality driven process that yields predictable, positive results.
The company’s CEO, Luisa Harrison, says: “Our formula for success is an equation that is equal parts superior service and outstanding people. Our customers can rely on our staffing team to deliver our services with one goal in mind: their complete satisfaction. PHR’s extensive placement options and very competitive service offerings combine to attract and retain the most qualified candidates the area has to offer.”
PHR is a WBENC certified women-owned business and a member of the National Society for Human Resource Management. Highly respected in their industry, Luisa and the staff at PHR are committed to our community and feel strongly that worker and workplace excellence makes Lakeland attractive to companies and well-qualified employees alike.
Besides being long-term members of both the Lakeland and Winter Haven Chambers of Commerce, PHR proudly supports the Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine and the Junior League of Greater Lakeland. Luisa is actively involved as a board member of the Imperial Symphony Orchestra and Women in Philanthropy, among other local organizations. For PHR, giving back to the community is a service that goes without saying…
Whether you’re looking for a professional staffing resource for your company or a new job with a reputable company, we think PHR Staffing is a small business of excellence and we’re proud to have them as a member of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce! Congratulations to the August Small Business of the Month Award winner, PHR Staffing Solutions.
— Linda Jezard
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Linda Jezard (Advantage Positioning), presents the August 2017 Small Business of the Month Award to Luisa Harrison. Also pictured: Carly Sabato and Jessica Roberts.
These are the two mottos that Strickland Construction, Inc. lives by: “Let us show you why we’re your best choice for any project” and “If they don’t come to us, it’s because they’re not building anything.”
Strickland Construction is a general contractor specializing in commercial construction management and design build. Their work includes municipalities, educational, military, historical, and retail projects. They’re located in a nicely remodeled strip center on Gary Road in east Lakeland.
The company was started in 2001 with a goal of providing quality construction and good service for less money. The management team consists of customer-oriented individuals that work diligently to function as an extension of the customer’s team. They are very hands-on with ongoing jobs. You will usually find President Mike Strickland at one of their jobsites.
Mike Strickland has 22 years of experience in construction management and supervision. He began his career managing commercial construction projects in 1996. In 2001 he incorporated Strickland Construction and has since completed more than $60 million in projects. He is responsible for overseeing the operational and financial aspects of the company and the overall business strategy.
Project manager and chief estimator Mickey Myers is an accomplished project manager with 22 years of experience in the construction industry. He is a certified building contractor, overseeing multiple projects and crews.
Actually, all the employees were experienced in the construction industry when they came to Strickland Construction. With the exception of one new field superintendent, hired in the past year from another contractor, all the employees have at least four years with the company.
Some of Strickland Construction’s recent projects include the refurbishing of the old Salvation Army facility into Mass Market, a remodeling to an acquired building for Allen & Company, and the FlightSafety Building located at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport.
Mike, along with his staff, is involved with various civic and church activities. They include the advisory board for Boys & Girls Club of Lakeland & Mulberry and board of directors for Noah’s Ark of Central Florida and SUN ‘n FUN. Mike is the treasurer and an usher at All Saints’ Episcopal Church. Not long ago, Mike was appointed by the Governor to the State of Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce would like to recognize Strickland Construction, Inc. for making a positive impact in our community and congratulate them as the Small Business Award winner for the month of July 2017.
— Jim Russell
Picture: Jim Russell (Cement Products & Supply Co., Inc.) presents the July 2017 Small Business of the Month Award to Mike Strickland.
Greg West, a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones, operates a local business in North Lakeland. He’s been helping his clients in the Lakeland area for 10 years. By using an established process, he has built personal relationships with each of his clients.
When he began, Greg went door-to-door through neighborhoods introducing himself to local residents. He feels that “Everyone needs some advice, it just requires courage to go into the office the first time.” His office includes two valued employees who will make you feel like life-long friends.
Greg West and his office have been active members of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce for more than eight years. He is also very involved with Church at the Mall, The Lakeland Rotary Club, Better Living for Seniors, and Toys for Tots.
Greg West and his office work diligently with their clients to help them reach their financial goals. Greg believes that, “God brought me to this business and I trust in Him to bring me the right clients.” He looks forward each day to meeting his next “new clients.”
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce would like to recognize Greg West’s Edward Jones Office for making a positive impact in our community and congratulate them as the Small Business Award winner for the month of June 2017.
Picture: Terry Ottinger (Lakeland Chamber of Commerce) presents the June 2017 Small Business of the Month Award to Greg West. Also pictured: Trish Magee and Sharon Messenger.
Stahl & Associates Insurance is located on beautiful Lake Morton Dr. Originally the home of the mother of the late Lawton Chiles—a United States Senator and Governor of Florida—the building was designed to imitate the style of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Stahl is a locally grown, locally owned Florida insurance agency dedicated to assessing the total risks and exposures their customers have and selecting companies and products that are right for their customers to best protect their financial interests. Stahl’s core values of integrity, trust, and partnership, along with the company’s wide variety of insurance products, high level of expertise, excellent customer service, and value added services, make it a company committed to the needs of their clients, employees, and the community.
Stahl is a community-based organization and exemplifies a culture of giving back to charitable organizations such as the SPCA, American Cancer Society, and Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. In addition, Stahl employees are very active with the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce would like to recognize Stahl & Associates Insurance for making a positive impact in our community and congratulate them as the Small Business Award winner for the month of May 2017.
— Dianne W. Bishop
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Dianne W. Bishop (The Lighting Hut, Inc.), presents the May 2017 Small Business of the Month Award to Bob Stahl. Also pictured: Michele Crifasi, Gerald Powell, Glenda Griffin, Debbie MacGillivray, Torinda Harris, Jackie Mowery, Tony Martinez, Kelly Stavely, Karma Nance, Steve DePianta, Maureen Merrill, Lori Godoy, and Marc Wilder.
Burton’s Lawn & Landscape, Inc. is a local business owned and operated by Andrea [Andy] and Rick Burton. They have been in business for more than 10 years, and they are proud to call Lakeland home.
Andy was born and raised in Lakeland—and to be more precise—Galloway in N. Lakeland. She is a graduate of Kathleen Sr. High School, and has always worked around the Lakeland area, keeping her roots close to home! Rick teases Andy about knowing everyone in Lakeland, because no matter where they are, someone knows her.
Rick grew up in Tampa and is retired from The Tampa Police Department. During the last eight years of his career, one year was spent as a Homicide Detective. He is very proud of his career and of his brothers and sisters in law enforcement.
After his retirement, Rick came to the Lakeland area where he met the “love of my life,” Andy. Andy and Rick started Burton’s Lawn &Landscape, Inc. and in their opinion hired the best employees.
Their company is made up of their son Laramie Hubbard, their valued employee, [like a son] Chris Malone, and even Andy’s mom, Lula Spivey. They are who they are because of them! Their other son, SSGT. [Ret.] Rick Burton Jr., is a Wounded Warrior who served in the United States Army in Iraq. Although he cannot work within the company, he supports his family 100 percent, and they are “very proud of him.”
Andy and Rick set a goal to keep their company small enough to give their customers the best quality of care. Through their dedicated employees, they feel they have achieved their goal. They said, “We feel that if we lose sight of this standard, then we have let our customers down.”
Rick, Andy, and their company are active members of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, the Wounded Warrior Project, and the Lakeland Elks Lodge #1291. Through these affiliations and numerous projects and charities they strive to give back to the community.
Burton’s Lawn & Landscape, Inc. believes in the old fashioned values of working hard and giving their customers more than what they expect.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce would like to recognize Burton’s Lawn & Landscape, Inc. for making a positive impact in our community and congratulate them as the Small Business Award winner for the month of April 2017.
— Bob Ettensohn
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Bob Ettensohn (The Ettensohn Agency Inc.), presents the April 2017 Small Business of the Month Award to Rick & Andy Burton, Burton’s Lawn & Landscape, Inc.
Since 1981, Thorpe Heating & Cooling, Inc. has provided dependable and affordable heating and cooling services throughout Polk County and the surrounding areas. They believe in making a difference in people’s lives by making homes comfortable, healthy, and safe. They achieve this by simply putting “excellence in everything they do.”
After serving his country in the U.S. Air Force, owner, Chuck Thorpe, started his heating and cooling empire with a desk and a phone book in his grandmother’s garage and turned it into the family business it now stands to be with its committed employees and exceptional customer service. Shortly after Chuck’s startup, Robin, his wife, joined the endeavor and years later their son, Josh, joined the family business. He’s now the General Manager. For 36 years, Thorpe has upheld to these standards: honesty, integrity, accountability, respect for self and others, and working to always exceed the clients’ expectations.
Thorpe Heating & Cooling is an active member of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, “BNI” Business Network International, “ABWA” American Business Women’s Association, and “CWE” Christian Worldwide Evangelism. Thorpe sponsors local youth athletics, performing arts, community events, local and international missions, charity fundraisers, and food donation drives. Chuck Thorpe and his family are active members of their church.
Thanks to 36 years of committed personal service to its client base, Thorpe Heating & Cooling has established itself in our community as the premier source for heating and cooling services. One client said, “What sets Thorpe apart from the rest in the business is their level of expertise, quality of service and attention to detail. …Thorpe is a first class business that you can trust with peace of mind. We will always use Thorpe for all of our heating and cooling needs.”
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce would like to recognize Thorpe Heating & Cooling, Inc. for making a positive impact in our community and congratulate them as the Small Business Award winner for the month of March 2017.
Picture: Janice Tedder Jones (Chair, Lakeland Chamber Board of Directors) presents the March 2017 Small Business of the Month Award to Joy Cheatham, Director of Client Relations, Thorpe Heating & Cooling, Inc.
Since 1993, All About Blinds, Inc. has been serving the Lakeland area and surrounding regions in Central Florida. They specialize in custom made-to-measure window coverings manufactured in the U.S. and offer a complete line of window treatments along with the sale and installation of many different blinds, shades, and accessories.
From start to finish, personal service from the business owner, Clipper Still, distinguishes the customer service experience from most competitors. All About Blinds has been active in the retail consumer, commercial, and governmental markets. All About Blinds will assist in the selection process all the way through to the installation of selected blinds or shades. Many custom patterns, colors, and overall designs are offered to assure the proper fit for home, office, classroom, or other application.
All About Blinds is committed to the Lakeland area in their support of charities and nonprofits. VISTE, LVIM, Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches, Lighthouse Ministries, Jaycees, Florida Baptist Children’s Home, Boys and Girls Club, and the American Legion are some of the organizations that All About Blinds has helped in recent years. Clipper Still has been an active member of the Florida Southern College’s Sixth Man Club for more than 20 years and was honored as the “Fan of the Year” for his hard work and dedication to the organization.
Thanks to the years of committed personal service to its client base, All About Blinds has established itself in our community as the premier source for custom window coverings.
The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce would like to recognize All About Blinds for making a positive impact to our community and congratulate them as the Small Business Award winner for the month of February 2017.
— Gary Cleveland
Picture: SBA Committee Member Gary Cleveland, (Rhoads/Stephens Real Estate Group / Keller Williams Realty - Lakeland), presents the February 2017 Small Business of the Month Award to Clipper and Terri Still.
True MD is a Lakeland cosmetic medical rejuvenation spa…where you exercise your right to feel better about yourself from head to toe! This amazing team of cosmetic experts strives to help you look as “beautiful outside as you are inside”…without surgery, stitches, or recovery healing time.
Helping you radiate your outer beauty as much as your inner beauty, True MD provides cosmetic procedures such as Botox & Filler Injections, Smart Lipo, Laser Hair Removal, Cool Sculpting, Strawberry Laser Body Sculpting & Skin Tightening, Removal of Fine Lines—and so much more—using the latest, most effective rejuvenation technology available nationwide. This FDA-approved technology, performed by trained, board-certified physicians using non-invasive methods, along with new product lines and affordable pricing, have propelled True MD to a top provider of these services in the Lakeland area since 2007.
A patient at True MD starts by undergoing a free/complimentary in-depth assessment by Adam Parker, D.O., a board certified physician or Cara Rand-Pricone, PA-C, and then a customized plan is established to solve each individuals’ cosmetic needs.
“Here we try to make you look very natural,” says Lisa Birket, practice manager and aesthetician, CCE, CME at True MD Medical Spa/Lakeland. “We also educate our clients on health and wellness, good skin care, and products that will make a difference. Our clients are like family to us and we want them to see us as lifetime friends.”
Ms. Birket and her staff are extremely passionate about giving back to the Lakeland community. Volunteering time and talent has produced enormous success to such events as the annual Chamber CarBQ, Kids Pack fundraising committee, Rotary member events, Chamber Leads Group, Lakeland Business Leaders member and sponsor, ABWA member and sponsor, Chairman of the George Jenkins Medical Advisory Board for the Medical Academy, and past Board member for the SCHMR (Society of Clinical & Medical Hair Removal International.)
Located next to Gold’s Gym on S. Florida Ave in Lakeland, True MD is truly devoted to helping you, or a loved one, feel better about yourself in a short time or a personally-paced, comfortable way.
The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to present True MD with the January 2017 Small Business of the Month award.
— Maureen Shaw
Picture: SBA Committee Member Maureen Shaw, (Flower Cart Florist), presents the January 2017 Small Business of the Month Award to Dr. Adam Parker and Lisa Birket.
Whether it’s dealing with a 400-pound hog in a client’s kitchen, rounding up loose circus animals from a derailed train in their back yard, or something as routine as surgically removing a golf ball from a pet snake, the folks at Santa Fe Animal Hospital have experienced a lot.
Santa Fe Animal Hospital is a full-service, AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) accredited veterinary medical facility. The professional and courteous staff at Santa Fe seeks to provide the best possible medical care, surgical care, and dental care for their highly-valued patients. They are committed to promoting responsible pet ownership, preventative healthcare, and health related educational opportunities for their clients. Santa Fe Animal Hospital strives to offer excellence in veterinary care to Lakeland and surrounding areas.
Dr. Marc Presnell, owner, purchased the business in 1996 from Dr. Dorsey Hightower, who started the clinic in 1972. The clinic itself is a modern brick building located on Highway 92 E, across from Santa Fe High School. The reception desk and waiting area is large and bright. It’s divided in the middle where pets can wait segregated, if need be. There are four exam rooms, a treatment room, sterile surgical room, x-ray room, lab, three holding areas, as well as kennels for boarding and daycare services. The staff is always friendly and ready to offer words of encouragement for any situation.
Santa Fe has been an AAHA accredited hospital since 1996. Only about 12 to 15 percent of animal hospitals in the United States and Canada are accredited. Their Standards of Accreditation are continuously reviewed and updated to keep their accredited practices on the cutting edge of veterinary excellence. Their standards address patient care, pain management, surgery, pharmacy, laboratory, exam facilities, medical records, cleanliness, emergency services, dental care, diagnostic imaging, anesthesiology, and continuing education. To maintain accredited status, hospitals undergo comprehensive on-site evaluations every three years.
Their mission statement is “Santa Fe Animal Hospital will be a business dedicated to providing exemplary family practice veterinary medicine and patient care and client service as well as being committed to employee fulfillment; while maintaining honesty, integrity, profitability and community involvement.
Their vision statement is “Through education, example, and by providing medical and business excellence, Santa Fe Animal Hospital hopes to inspire our community to care for its pets as God intended.”
Their core values are integrity, humility, service, and caring.
Locally, Dr. Presnell served as president of the Ridge Veterinary Society and is currently secretary. He is a representative for District 3 of the Florida Veterinary Association.
As well as being a member of the Chamber, Dr. Presnell is an active member of the Highlands Church of Christ, is involved with Parker Street Ministries, and assists with the Veterinary Academy at George Jenkins High School.
Santa Fe is a member of the Central Florida Academy of Veterinary Medicine which provides continuing education for doctors. The technicians receive continuing education through the AAHA and Veterinary Technician Programs at the University of Florida. Continuing education is also provided through FVMA.
The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate Santa Fe Animal Hospital as the December 2016 Small Business of the Month Award winner.
— Jim Russell
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Jim Russell (Cement Products & Supply Co., Inc.), presents the December 2016 Small Business of the Month Award to Marc Presnell. Also pictured: Julia Jones, DVM, Cheyenne Shivers, Stephanie Bowes, DVM, Dorsey Hightower, DVM, Tekerah Ellington, Jennifer Pierdominici, and Linda Henderson.
Ric’s Wine Market is a complete imported and domestic boutique retail wine market. Offering wine for all tastes and budgets, Ric’s is the place to go if you want the perfect bottle. Knowledgeable staff provides one-on-one assistance to guide customers who may not be well versed in the selection of wine, pairings, etc. To that end, Ric’s also offers tastings and educational sessions, both private and in group settings. Ric’s wine club memberships are very popular among his regulars—members receive two bottles of wine and information about the wine/winery per month as well as special member discounts.
Ric’s Wine Market is a very inviting and unintimidating boutique. Since 2012 they have occupied the space where Deli Delicacies used to be. The décor is beautiful! The walls were all painted by a local artist and the sheer number of bottles in the boutique all neatly displayed will leave you in awe. It is very patron-friendly and easy to navigate.
Whether you are choosing a bottle for a gift, celebration, or to pair with specific food, the staff at Ric’s will always lead you to the right bottle! In addition to high-level service, Ric’s provides ample opportunities to learn about and taste wines. One can even sample high-end wines from a state-of-the-art dispenser in the boutique.
Ric’s biggest competitive threat is the fact that a bottle of wine can be purchased almost anywhere. To overcome that, Ric’s makes wine selection personal and offers more than just the wine itself. Often you can find Ric chatting with customers while sipping on wine. His prices are competitive, the service is outstanding, and Ric’s offers a wide selection of quality wines from boutique wineries from around the world.
Ric’s Wine Market’s mission is “To provide an interesting and comfortable place to enjoy the world of wine and to educate by sharing knowledge and experience.” Ric is very invested in living his mission to the fullest. He studies wineries and their products, and even visits many, to be sure he is bringing the best quality home to his customers. Ric is well known and loved in the community. He is a member of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, and although having a retail establishment limits his ability to attend many events, he has participated in a number of Chamber events throughout the years including the annual Luau. Additionally, Ric is a member of the Society of Wine Educators and is in the process of getting his certification. Though limited in the amount of time Ric has to be out in the community, he supports the efforts of many organizations including multiple schools, SPCA, multiple church fundraisers, Alliance for Independence wine festival, and others.
The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate Ric’s Wine Market as the November 2016 Small Business of the Month Award winner.
— Liz Craven
Picture: SBA Committee Member Liz Craven, (Pro-Ad Media), presents the November 2016 Small Business of the Month Award to Ric and Sherry Reed.
CED/Raybro Electric Supply, an electrical wholesaler, has been at the same Lakeland location at 520 N Ingraham Ave for more than 60 years.
Employees combine their industry knowledge and inventory to offer electrical contractors comprehensive solutions for all electrical needs. Their goal is to help electrical contractors run their businesses as efficiently as possible, while lowering costs and improving the bottom line.
CED/Raybro is open 10 ½ hours a day, five days a week—and emergency service is always available. CED/Raybro is committed to having the best inventory in Polk County for their customers. Experience is the key to their success, and many staff members have more than 30 years in the business.
Every year, around Thanksgiving, CED/Raybro also hosts a customer appreciation luncheon where vendors and customers have the opportunity to come together to view new products, eat, and fellowship.
The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate CED/Raybro Electric Supply as the October 2016 Small Business of the Month Award winner.
— Dianne W. Bishop
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Dianne W. Bishop (The Lighting Hut, Inc.), presents the October 2016 Small Business of the Month Award to John A. McArdle. Also pictured: Brian Corley, John Zimmerman, Richard Drake, Kris Welch, Patty Kardon, Diane Tillman, and John Adams.
Dr. William Nerestant and his professional staff of hygienists, assistants, and front office staff at Midtown Dental Associates—located in a modern and well-maintained office building at 607 S Missouri Ave in Lakeland—treat their family of patients with quality care on their journey toward “Excellent Oral Health” that addresses all facets of dental care including health, aesthetics, and self-esteem. They take pride in their tangible products and services that bring about many positive, life-changing results. In addition to the common menu of dental services, they offer advanced surgical procedures such as implants and conscious sedation.
Dr. Nerestant received the “Air Force Achievement Medal” for his outstanding services, and he is a member of multiple dental and education associations. Many staff members are certified through Scheduling Institute, which is the most recognized dental training service in the country. The office has been active in the community via the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Lakeland Partnership, and Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine. One day a year, Midtown provides free dental services to the local community, and Dr. Nerestant has regularly volunteered in places such as Jamaica, Haiti, and Cameroon on medical/dental missions. The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate Midtown Dental Associates as the September 2016 Small Business of the Month Award winner. — Curt Wheeler
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Curt Wheeler (Wheeler Appraisals, LLC), presents the September 2016 Small Business of the Month Award to Dr. William Nerestant. Also pictured: Austin Taylor, Mel Muir, Kim Sheets, Brenda Byrd, and Leighanne Grenade.
Since their doors opened in 1986, Wall Titus, LLC has been dedicated to helping their clients identify and respond to a range of business and financial challenges. They have built a team of professionals that’s truly unique. Though receiving a new name in 2013, their mission is still the same—to provide their clients with credibility, confidentiality, quality service, and objectivity.
Wall Titus, LLC is a CPA firm which also offers financial wealth management. They offer basic accounting services such as tax preparation, tax planning, tax issue resolution, IRS audit representation, etc. They offer financial services such as investment management, retirement planning, estate planning, education funding, charitable giving strategies, asset allocation, and more. They also offer business services such as accounting, auditing, payroll, succession planning, and more.
Their uniqueness stems from the fact that they are a CPA/accounting firm that offers financial wealth management services. One of the company’s strengths is its longevity. They have served generations of clients over the years. They have the sophistication and diversity of a larger firm, but are not too big to offer personal and flexible service. They treat each customer like family while providing excellent service.
Lee Wall is the founding partner of Wall Titus, LLC. He is a CPA and a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS), a designation recognized by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). In addition, Lee is a Certified Financial Planner and Investment Advisor. Before founding the firm in 1986, Lee worked for a large local CPA firm and publicly traded manufacturing company. He graduated from Florida Southern College where he also served as an adjunct professor. Lee served as a board member of several nonprofit organizations. He is an active member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and Board of Certified Financial Planners. Lee was previously on the Polk County Economic Council and was involved with the development of Florida Polytechnic University.
Bob Titus is a CPA involved in the tax planning and compliance operations of the firm. Bob has more than 35 years of experience in many areas of taxation including personal, corporate, partnership, trust, estate and gift, retirement plans, mergers and acquisitions, and succession planning. Bob graduated in 1978 from Florida Southern College and began with a large local firm. He started his own firm in 1989 and then merged to form Wall Titus, LLC in 1999. He is a past president of the Sertoma Club and has served on various local nonprofit agency boards. He is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
During the recession, they spent a lot of time and energy in helping clients keep their assets. While Wall Titus, LLC was busy advising clients how to survive, they came through it without experiencing any layoffs of their own.
Like all CPA firms, the Wall Titus, LLC staff is regularly attending mandatory continuing education seminars, classes, and certifications. They put on their own monthly “lunch and learn” classes for the staff, relating to tax codes, new software, customer relations, and more.
At Wall Titus, LLC, they recognize that everything they do has a direct and lasting impact on their clients’ financial situations. That’s why they built their firm on a standard of excellence that can be expressed in a single sentence: “We will always work in our clients’ best interests.”
With that, the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce congratulates Wall Titus, LLC as the Small Business of the Month for August 2016.
— Jim Russell
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Jim Russell (Cement Products & Supply Co., Inc.), presents the August 2016 Small Business of the Month Award to Lee Wall and Bob Titus of Wall Titus, LLC. Also pictured: Maggi Weeks, Angela Hall, Becky Lunsford, Priscilla Boren, Susan Decourcy, Chris McGarvey, Riley West, and Jeff Green. Not pictured: Wendy Lee, Christopher Thibodeau, and Lynn Baker.
The Zen philosopher, Bashō, once wrote “A flute with no holes is not a flute. A donut with no hole is a Danish, and a golf community without a great local golf shop is a sad place to be.” Now, let’s talk about Golf Etc. Lakeland!
Golf Etc. Lakeland is a golf enthusiast’s welcome alternative to the big box sporting goods store with an extreme focus on a personal approach tailored to the individual golfer’s needs. This family-owned-and-operated small business opened in 2007 and is located at Lakeside Village. Golf Etc. Lakeland’s stated mission is to put the proper, fitted clubs in every golfer’s hands. They are able to accomplish this with performance club fittings, a wide variety of apparel and other accessories, a professional repair center (because everyone loves to toss a club or two), and swing evaluations. Technology is key in the modern golf game whether you are a beginner or an experienced golfer. Golf Etc. employs golf specific Doppler radar launch monitors in order to help optimize each fitting in their in-store hitting bay. Custom fittings can be extremely helpful in the improvement a golfer’s game by ensuring the proper length and weight of their clubs.
Owners JJ and Luke Miller are the only two full-time employees at the store. They focus on hiring outgoing, personable, and self-motivated golf enthusiasts to work and learn in their store. Most of these employees are working while pursuing their education, most of which are looking to pursue future employment in the golf industry. Many have become PGA teaching professionals while others have used the experiences and education received at Golf Etc. to become successful in other types of business.
Golf Etc. Lakeland’s commitment to hard work and integrity shows in the way they treat their customers and employees while also supporting our community. Their unique way of supporting the community comes by way of the golf industry as well. They assist thousands of local charity golf events in our community. Whether it is a not-for-profit organization, a youth group, school program or team, or large local amateur competition, their participation and support helps provide more value for the tournament participants while also directly supporting the event.
Thanks to their commitment to their customers and our community, Golf Etc. Lakeland creates a positive impact in our golf community as well as helping those who have never lifted a golf club. The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate JJ and Luke Miller and Golf Etc. Lakeland as the Small Business of the Month Award winner for the month of July 2016.
— Tim Darby
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Tim Darby (Darby Law Group, P.A.), presents the July 2016 Small Business of the Month Award to JJ Miller and Luke Miller.
“Serving clients faithfully and honorably” is not simply a well-crafted vision statement, it is the culture that has been established at Reed Mawhinney & Link, PLLC. The Polk County law firm was founded in 2007 by Andy Reed and then grew to include Joe Mawhinney in 2011, and more recently Will Link in 2012. Actively engaged in the practice areas of business transactions, civil litigation, commercial leasing, corporate law, eminent domain, estate planning and administration, homeowners association law, government relations, gun trusts, mediation services and real estate, Reed Mawhinney & Link is a well-rounded and flexible small law firm serving our community. Even during the recent recession and real estate decline, the firm continued to thrive and grow while increasing its market share. The firm’s diversification, flexibility, and focus on core practice areas has allowed it to maintain a solid client base.
Outside of the practice of law, Reed Mawhinney & Link is also extremely focused on our community and supports it through financial donations and volunteer service. All attorneys and staff are encouraged to pursue personal, professional, and community development. Among the many organizations supported by Reed Mawhinney & Link are the United Way of Central Florida, Kiwanis, Explorations V Children’s Museum, Polk Museum of Art, Achievement Academy, and Top Buttons.
Their culture in serving clients and passion for serving others make our community a better place. The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate Reed Mawhinney & Link, PLLC as the June 2016 Small Business of the Month Award winner.
— Tim Darby
Picture: SBA Committee Member, Tim Darby (Darby Law Group, P.A.), presents the June 2016 Small Business of the Month Award to Andy Reed, Joe Mawhinney, and Will Link.
In the competitive world of real estate sales, brokerages seek to set themselves apart from the rest of the pack by the quality of its sales people and staff, services, and benefits. More than 30 years ago, Harper Realty was one of several locally owned real estate firms doing business in Lakeland. As the technology shifts came to the industry, Harper Realty was rebranded as WebPro Realty, LLC to better communicate the expertise of the company in the technological advances.
WebPro has the advantage of a Real Estate pedigree not often found in our market. The Harper family has been involved in housing development projects, residential and commercial construction as well as assisting buyers and sellers of real estate. After the real estate bubble burst, WebPro took a purposeful route to provide their associates with a better-than-competitive compensation plan. Therefore, they are attracting an agency sales team best suited for Lakeland and the surrounding communities. The realtors at WebPro are trained on contracts for buyers and sellers, marketing strategies, financing options, and their ever-changing legal landscape of real estate. Today, WebPro is proud to be the largest independent, locally-owned real estate brokerage in Lakeland, and as real estate commissions are earned, local businesses benefit since no franchise dollars are sent out of state.
Local ownership translates into local decisions. This flexibility in decision making benefits the clients and Realtors alike, as WebPro is less encumbered compared to the larger corporate business model.
Realtors at WebPro are in partnership with VISTE (Volunteers in Service to the Elderly) to deliver commodity boxes. Sean Harper, WebPro broker, recently led a team of volunteers to build a Victorian style playhouse to help the Lakeland Association of Realtors raise money as they sold raffle tickets to win the beautiful playhouse. Funds raised went to help those caught in the trap of the sex trade by supporting the mission of The Porch Light. WebPro is also involved in the Room Makeover program for children submitted for consideration by advocacy groups each year by offering assistance to purchase paint, electronics, and furniture for the deserving youth in our community.
With the legacy of Harper Realty before them, WebPro has served the Lakeland area by assisting the real estate needs of their clients, providing training and support for their professional sales team, and speaking for some individuals in the community that don’t have a voice.
Congratulations to WebPro Realty, LLC, our May 2016 Small Business of the Month award winner, for making a positive difference in our Lakeland community.
Picture: Small Business of the Month Committee member Gary Cleveland (Rhoads/Stephens Real Estate Group / Keller Williams Realty - Lakeland) presents the May 2016 Small Business of the Month Award to Sean Harper, Brandi Harper, Robert F. Harper III, Amy Harper, Cheryl Skinner-Marble, and Jay Marble.
At our core, BrightVolt is energy—an energy created by talented, diverse, and bright people who share a common vision to design and build amazing technologies to change the world. At BrightVolt, we design, develop, and manufacture ultra-thin, flexible batteries. We have over 75 patents to our name with more on the way. Our custom solutions and FlexionTM product portfolio, including primary and rechargeable batteries, power a wide variety of Internet of Things (IoT) devices including sensors, medical patches, wearables, smart labels, and smart cards. Environmentally friendly, our batteries are made right here in Lakeland, Florida. We’ve shipped millions of thin and flexible batteries to companies around the world.
Our state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Lakeland is where we custom design, prototype, and produce our batteries. We have an outstanding safety record and are going on seven years with no injuries. BrightVolt’s contribution to the community, in addition to supporting the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce and Polk Manufacture’s Association, includes local hiring, recruiting from Polk State College, and participating in local community engagements.
Creativity and innovation happen when great people come together to make great products. That’s the sort of team we’ve assembled at BrightVolt. An incredible group of smart people who are as passionate about making great products as they are about making them as small and as powerful as possible. That’s what you call “good energy” for BrightVolt and the community of Lakeland.
The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce congratulates BrightVolt in winning the Small Business Award for April 2016.
Picture: Terry Ottinger (Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce) presents the April 2016 Small Business of the Month Award to John L. Davis, Sr. VP Operations, of BrightVolt. Also pictured are members of the Safety Health and Environment (SHE) Committee: Ken Kull, Roger Maguire, Shelly Sherman, Dan Clifton, Josh Burcham, Natalie Ocasio, Russell Heady, Rose Turner-Surprise, and Ronnie Tartar (absent).
After a successful completion of licensing requirements in 1978, Mark Stanley began pursuit of his dream to have his own business. Just three years later, Stanley Insurance Services was born out of a desire to serve the Lakeland community and eventually the State of Florida as his business client’s demands grew.
Beginning any small business takes dedication, persistence, and hard work. Inspired by the positive thinking of W. Clement Stone and Napoleon Hill, Mark began the task of cold calling prospective clients for insurance sales. His first insurance sales may have been an indicator of things to come since his client lived in Lakeland on Success Avenue.
As a home-based business, Mark combines all the high tech communication skills and devices with old fashioned face to face meetings with his clients. Stanley Insurance Services specializes in the senior market for life insurance, annuities, health insurance, and Medicare supplements. As an independent insurance agency, coverage is available from many top rated insurance companies.
Mark Stanley is a member of the Florida Association of Health Underwriters and the National Association of Professional Agents. Through the years, in service to our community, Mark has participated as a volunteer and sponsored teams for the Lakeland men’s softball league and the Lakeland Little League.
Following his passion to serve others has led Mark to make a career in the insurance services business. His impact is evident, as expressed by a young woman recently who said that Mark had also, at one time, helped her great-grandmother with her insurance needs.
Thanks to Mark Stanley’s leadership and pursuit of excellence, Stanley Insurance Services has made a positive impact in the Lakeland community. The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce congratulates Stanley Insurance Services as our Small Business of the Month award winner for March 2016.
Picture: Small Business of the Month Committee member Gary Cleveland (Rhoads/Stephens Real Estate Group / Keller Williams Realty - Lakeland) presents the March 2016 Small Business of the Month Award to owner, Mark E. Stanley, of Stanley Insurance Services.
We all enjoy getting a floral arrangement as a gift. It’s a welcome sight, whether it’s meant to cheer us up if we’re down, help us to feel better if we’re sick, or mark a special occasion. But what if we could eat it?
That’s where Edible Arrangements comes in. Edible Arrangements creates simulated floral arrangements made from fresh fruit that’s cut into shapes, such as flowers, with some pieces dipped in white or dark chocolate.
This store opened in September of 2003. The franchise was purchased outright in June 2011 by D & L Bosko, LLC to do business as Edible Arrangements. Don Bosko’s daughter Cara is general manager and one of two full time employees. They have close to two dozen part-time employees. Don is usually close by at the Beef O’ Brady’s Family Sports Pub they own next door.
The company’s philosophy is to achieve a “wow” factor for each of their customers and provide unique and innovative products. The employees are taught to be strong in customer service. They answer their phone calls with “How can we wow you today?” Their delivery trucks are equipped with special coolers and completely wrapped with official signage. The drivers are equipped with cell phone apps that not only gives them precise directions and arranges their stops in the most efficient order, but are also connected with the store’s computer which alerts the customer by email when their order is delivered.
The store front is festively furnished with photos of their products as well as accessories and decorations that reflect the holidays and the seasons. The preparation stations, as well as the storage areas, are clean and well-organized to meet strict corporate standards. The staff is dressed in colorful logo shirts and exudes gladness when they see you come in the door.
This location is ranked 127th out of more than 1,100 stores in the United States. They have been the top 100 for sales volume for the past seven years. Training is continuous. They use photos, videos, and CDs to assist with production. The arrangements are constantly changing and the crew has to stay on top of the latest trends. The staff takes great pride in their creations which are always checked to make sure they meet company standards.
Edible Arrangements takes great pride in giving back to the community with all of the charity events they are involved with, such as the Margarita Ball, VISTEBall auction, Resurrection Catholic Church carnival, and St. John Neumann golf event—just to name a few. They provide gift certificates, boxes of chocolate strawberries, and hole sponsorships at many golf events.
The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize Edible Arrangements as the February 2016 Small Business of the Month.
Picture: Small Business of the Month Committee member Jim Russell (Cement Products & Supply Co., Inc.) presents the February 2016 Small Business of the Month Award to Donald Bosko of Edible Arrangements.
Ellie is not the kind of person who lets all of this go to his head, though. His work ethic and philosophy of taking care of customers also extends to his employees, and indeed the community in general. We’ve all seen Rib Crib supporting and catering community events such as the Boys & Girls Club of Lakeland, the Margarita Ball, the Chamber’s CarBQ, Sun N Fun, and Kiwanis to name a few.
A stable business, workplace excellence and community involvement are some of the criteria for the Chamber’s Small Business Award and Rib Crib makes a great new member to our SBA Hall of Fame.
So, let’s talk BBQ! Rib Crib serves western-style barbeque where meats are dry-rubbed and cooked slowly for many hours in Ole Hickory Smokers. Typically, western BBQ is served with the sauce on the side which is how Rib Crib serves their smoked meat. Customers come from Orlando and Tampa for Rib Crib’s dry-rubbed barbeque. For southerners who must have their meat dripping in sauce, never fear! Rib Crib’s menu has offerings for you, too!
A distinction for Rib Crib in the BBQ restaurant arena is that it smokes all its meat on the premises. You can dine in, or use their drive-through. The restaurant is low key and casual with a western flair. Fun posters from Western movies hang on the walls so you’ll enjoy your meal with Clint Eastwood and Burt Lancaster in Stetsons looking down at you.
Rib Crib also caters for groups and events small and large; fifteen hundred people on one occasion. That’s a lot of baby back ribs!
With a mission of serving Killer BBQ, Rib Crib is doing many things right in the kitchen and beyond. The Chamber is happy to recognize this excellent Lakeland business as the December Small Business Award winner, and sends a big western Yeehaw to Ellie and his posse at Rib Crib.
Bill Minozzi, the owner, is third generation memorialist and has been in this industry all of his life. He is a Certified Memorialist, the only one in the State of Florida. This certification is provided by the largest international trade association in the industry and its requirements are extensive and rigorous. Bill is an active member of Monument Builders of North America. He has served MBNA in every possible capacity from committee member to trustee to officer. He was President in 2000 and was Treasurer for 13 years. He has provided consulting services all over the US. He is also an active member of the Florida Monument Builders Association, having also served that organization in every capacity, including President in 1998-1999 and was Treasurer for 10 years. The company has hosted industry-wide training events on its premises, inviting memorialists from all over Florida. The goal is to elevate every participant's capabilities in various hands-on areas, even the competition. The idea is that a rising tide lifts all boats and the ultimate winner is the consumer.
National Memorials spend a lot of resources, both financial and time, to maintain the physical appearance, both inside and out. As important as the image they present to the public is, it is at least equally important that they provide a clean and orderly work place for the safety and health of their employees. Their equipment is state of the art for their industry and they cross-train their employees in the interest of well roundedness and safety. The element more important than the actual sale is the creativity that each of the sales staff bring to the consumer. This includes an ability to listen to the consumer's desires, and translate those desires to an actual memorial that is unique to the person.
Their business philosophy is to define and promote mernorialization in a viable, innovative and diversified way and to enhance the awareness of rnemorialization by the general public. They believe in openness and friendly service. They subscribe to the reality that an educated consumer is their best client. Therefore, they spend quite a bit of time answering all questions and explaining every aspect of what they provide.
Ultimately, service is the key and they excel in that area with everyone. Their reputation is impeccable for all of these attributes.
Bill is an active member of the Church of the Resurrection, where he is a Eucharistic Minister and a member of the Parish Council. He is also chairman of the parish's Finance Committee. He participates extensively in pastoral matters and has contributed heavily to a recent capital campaign where more than $3 million was raised. He has been a member of The Lakeland Rotary Club since 2007. Prior to that he was a member of the Bartow Rotary Club for 22 years, where he served as president in 1995-1996. Prior to moving to Lakeland in 1985, he was a member of his Rotary Club in New York for 11 years and served 2 terms as president. He has a record of Perfect Attendance in all his 41 years in Rotary.
Over the years National Memorials have received many letters from clients thanking them for their work, caring and especially that of the employees (from those in the office to the shop to the cemetery). A basic tenet of training is for everyone to treat the grave on which they are about to install a memorial as if it was a relative of their own.
There are many examples of the company's products and services throughout Central Florida that are not located in cemeteries, but include churches, schools, libraries and public parks for such items as engraved pavers, benches, signage and so on. Bill and his company have been awarded various commendations be State and National trade associations, including Memorialist of the Year. While the concept of "repeat business" does not really apply to their industry in the way that an everyday retailer would understand it, they certainly benefit from serving families for generations. It is amazing just how many of these situations exist, and how folks tell us why they came to National Memorials. Clearly, family conversations include discussions about the monument maker and they often hear how the next generation is told to go see National Memorials for the monument for all the good reasons.
It is for these reasons that it is with great honor and pleasure to award National Memorials with the November Small Business of the Month Award.
3220 Atlantic Ave
Lakeland, FL 33803
If you are out and about in the Lakeland area at all, chances are you have run into entrepreneur extraordinaire Jonathan Crain of Two Men and a Truck! Since arriving on the Lakeland scene in 2007 Jonathan and his team have positively impacted the greater Lakeland Community in more ways than one can count.
Two Men and a Truck is a full service moving company. They perform local and interstate moves for homes and businesses throughout the continental United States. They also offer packing services and a full line of specialty boxes and packing supplies. Everybody hates moving, so they provide an invaluable service by performing a professional move in the most stress-free manner possible. If you’ve ever moved with Two Men And A truck, you will never move by yourself again! The staff is knowledgeable, professional and fast! You will never find a mover standing idle during your move. The men jog/hustle when they are not carrying the Customers’ belongings to save the Customer time and money. Two Men and A Truck is also one of the only moving companies that include Full Value Protection on a Customer’s belongings with no deductible at no additional charge.
In his first year in operation and out of a small office, Jonathan’s franchise ranked #7 out of 300 locations in the United States and he ended the year with a 98.02% referral rate. So more than 98 out of 100 people who moved with Two Men & a Truck said they would refer them to friends or family. Two Men and a Truck has been on an upward trajectory ever since, staying in growth mode and grabbing market share even through the downturn in the economy. Excellent customer service was the key to explosive growth over the last nine years, not only in market share, but in their physical facility as well. Their current location, a 10,000 square foot building that has 3,000 square feet of office space and a 7,000 square foot warehouse, has been the setting for the last two December Lakeland Chamber of Commerce Business After-Hours events.
A civic minded servant, Jonathan Crain puts giving back to the community center stage in his day to day activities. From day one, Jonathan and his wife Karen have supported local charities and organizations with their time, talent and resources. Jonathan notes, “We provide free moves to all 501c3’s. We did over $25,000 worth of free moves for charities and non-profits in 2014 alone. We also sponsor events that are near and dear to me personally. We have volunteered for the United Way CIT finance team, Sunrise Community Center, Kiwanis, Parker Street Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, and EMERGE Lakeland.” Being a part of the lifeblood of the community is important to Jonathan and he encourages his staff to do the same.
Recently Jonathan was installed as the Chairman of Lakeland Rotary. Other organizations he and Karen are involved in in addition to the Lakeland Chamber of commerce include Lakeland Association of Realtors, East Polk County Association of Realtors, Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce, Polk County Builder's Club, American Businesswoman's Association, and the Florida Movers and Warehousemen's Association.
If you have not yet met Jonathan (I suspect most of you have!), do yourself a favor and take the time to spend a few minutes with him. You will be glad you did. Congratulations on a job well done and on being the October Small Business of the Month, Jonathan. Keep up the good work!
The scrap industry has an interesting history, going back to when metals were first used by mankind. As peddlers travelled around, they would often trade in scrap. Today, many scrap processors are 2nd and 3rd generation family-owned businesses. And it's an important industry; over 150 million tons of materials that otherwise would end up in landfills is diverted and recycled thanks to scrap processors. The scrap industry also makes a substantial contribution to the balance of trade for the U.S., exporting $230 billion in product to steel mills, foundries and smelters in 55 countries. However, most of Allied Scrap's product goes via brokers to American foundries.
As a longtime corporate citizen in Lakeland, Allied Scrap enjoys giving back to the community. Supporting N.A.W.BO., the PACE Center for Girls and other local service organizations, Allied Scrap is also involved with the Jason Project, educating children K through 12 about the industry and opportunities for material processing.
The most impressive initiative is the company's work with local law enforcement in regards to metal theft. When theft of copper from the mines and A/C's was at its most rampant, Allied provided training to Property Recovery detectives so they could understand the industry and, together with law enforcement and legislators in Tallahassee, Allied Scrap was instrumental in rewriting of laws for metal theft and stringent requirements for processors. So successful was this cooperation that states elsewhere in America look to Central Florida and actions taken here as guidelines for their own legal framework. In the very large scrap processing industry, Allied Scrap has put Lakeland on the map.
So, next time you buy a new fridge, thank companies like Allied Scrap Processors that the metal will be recycled and put to use again, saving you and our society a lot of money and natural resources.
However, they do bring quality to our community through their ownership, leasing and management of residential and commercial properties. They take pride of ownership to a higher level by using competent staff personnel and quality service firms. Steve credits his right-hand man, Robert Williams, for his work in the day-to-day operations. Tenants are treated with respect and if property issues occur, the tenants are given a prompt response. As a small business, Champagne Investments, is poised to provide careful, personal attention to each tenant.
Lynda and Steve Buck had honed their business acumen during their years at Mutual Wholesale. After the sale of Mutual to U.S. Foods, Champagne Investments was started in 2001. Now, like Mutual Wholesale, the business serves our community in a low profile manner. The quality of the business and its leadership speaks for itself.
Both Lynda and Steve demonstrate a servant’s heart as both have given their time and talents to the needs of the Lakeland area. Lynda has been a long time member and supporter of the Junior League. Steve has served the Downtown Kiwanis over 20 years, including service as the Pancake Festival chair and President of the club. He has also given his leadership skills to the Alliance for Independence, the Lakeland Yacht and Country Club, United Way of Central Florida, LRMC Foundation and is currently on the Board of Trustees at Florida Southern College. Lynda and Steve’s love for the fine arts in our community has been evidenced by their support of the Polk Museum of Art. Steve has served both as Board President and as Chair of the Board of Governors for the museum and Lynda is the current President of the Board of Trustees. In appreciation of their devotion to the Polk Museum of Art, the Bucks were awarded the museum’s annual Harrison-Hooks Lifetime Achievement award in 2012. Lynda and Steve also have supported the Salvation Army’s Community of Hope, Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine, and First United Methodist, Lakeland.
For making a positive difference in our community, congratulations to Champagne Investments, the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Month Award winner for August 2015.
The Ettensohn Agency and Bob Ettensohn have been a great addition to Lakeland business and civic life, we are happy he chose Lakeland for his home, and we look forward to many more years. Best wishes to The Ettensohn Agency as the July 2015 Small Business of the Month winner!
In addition to the excellent food another high point of the dining experience at the Terrace Grille or a stay at the hotel is the setting. There are soaring pecky cypress ceilings, an original checkerboard slate floor, an outsize mural depicting Downtown’s historic Lake Mirror Promenade, and views through elegant floor to ceiling arched windows of Downtown’s vibrant street life. All of these amenities were preserved by the present ownership when they brought the hotel back from the brink of demolition in 1998 saving an historic landmark which first opened its doors in 1924 when Florida Collier Court Hotels the downtown Lakeland location, a sister to other hotels in Miami, West Palm Beach, and Tampa.
Since re-opening in 1998, the Terrace’s goal has been to provide each and every guest with a truly unforgettable, equally restful, experience. The management aims to provide each guest with an exceptional, comfortable experience unlike any other to be found in Lakeland. There are 73 spacious guest rooms and 15 guest suites, all of which offer extensive, unobstructed views, luxury linens, and elegant furnishings.
The Terrace Hotel is a member of the Historic Hotels of America, a group of over 200 luxury hotels that have faithfully maintained their historic architecture and ambience. To be selected for this program a hotel must be at least 50 years old and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Terrace Hotel is only the third hotel to be designated both a Preferred Boutique Hotel and a Historic Hotel of America.
Perhaps more important to our local population, the Terrace Hotel is a contributing member of the community. If you are at a fund raising event for a local non-profit, you are sure to find an opportunity to bid on a fine dining experience, a room for two, or combination basket donated by The Terrace. A highlight of each year’s Lake Mirror Classic Car Show in October is the Parade of Waiters. Visitors line the route to watch wait staff in tuxes, led by a bagpiper in full kilt, parade from the Terrace to the Frances Langford Promenade to deliver on silver trays held high lunches for the participants in the car show’s Concours d’Elegance. Lunches and wait staff are provided each year by The Terrace. And no Christmas Holiday is complete without a trip to the Terrace Lobby to pose in front of the elaborately decorated two story Christmas tree for a photo while listening to local high school choirs caroling.
In fact the Terrace is such a great place to visit, it has also become a great place to work. Unlike most hotels and restaurants which experience high turnover of employees, the highly trained staff at the Terrace has less than a 10% annual turnover rate. Many of the staff have been at the hotel for over ten years. All of these attributes combined make the Terrace a local gem for both visitors and local citizens to savor and enjoy. Come visit and enjoy a brief stay, a meal, or just a dessert. You’ll be glad you did, and the staff will make every effort to make sure you return.
Owner, Sandy Hargreaves
Of course not all visitors who make their way to Four Paws Only are there for Day Care. Four Paws Only provides grooming and spa services and boarding for your furry friends too. For 21 years, Sandy and Ron Hargreaves have been providing the best in care and boarding for Lakeland’s pets. They are passionate pet lovers who have created a one-stop shop for your pet’s needs. With a pet boutique and food for your fur babies, you really can find all you need here. At a glance it is easy to see that the Hargreaves are setting the standard for pet care. Their building, located on Edgewood drive, is one thing sets Four Paws Only apart from its competitors. Constructed of concrete block with concrete walls between each section of the facility, this building will stand up to any natural disaster. Most other facilities are housed in warehouses that would not be safe in a hurricane. In addition, the building is outfitted with a perimeter security system and cameras that Sandy and Ron monitor via their ipads, computers and phones. They receive alerts each time there is any activity – for example an employee coming or going or a roaming pet escape artist.
Our community is lucky to have Sandy, Ron and their staff making a difference in Lakeland. Along with running their business and providing the best in pet care services the Hargreaves and their staff have been heavily involved in multiple rescue organization making sure that orphaned pets receive proper care and find forever families. There are a number of really great places in Lakeland one can take their pets for grooming, day care and boarding, but none like Four Paws Only. Congratulations, Ron and Sandy, on being named the May Small Business of the Month and on a job well done!
Winning awards is not new for the Chandlers. Casey Chandler won the honor of Lakeland Association of Realtors (LAA) 2009 Secretary of the year. Brooks Chandler won the 2009 LAA Realtor of the year and Aaron Chandler won the 2010 LAA Realtor of the year.Their love of Lakeland has been demonstrated through leadership on the Lakeland Downtown Partnership, SPCA board of directors, and the Drug Prevention
board. Aaron has served on the LAA board including as their president in 2013. He also has served the Real Estate professions in central Florida by his leadership on the Mid Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service board for 6 years including one year as president.
Brooks Chandler Realty supports our community through Dress for Success, Kids Pack, Paint your Heart Out, VISTE, and Florida Baptist Children's home annual toy drive. The Chandlers have experienced the tragic results of kidney disease in their own family. Out of their struggles with kidney disease, they have raised over $5000 for the National Kidney Foundation during their annualwalk to help others facing this life threatening disease.
The Chandlers believe working in the Real Estate profession affords them an opportunity to work along side community leaders who truly bring growth opportunities to our local economy and higher education. Thanks to Brooks Chandler Realty's hands on approach to the individual, the continued drive to keep up with the ever changing technology and market trends, the perseverance to stay a small family owned firm, and their love of Lakeland, they have made a positive impact of our community.
Congratulations to our April 2015 Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Month, Brooks Chandler Realty.
Owner, Mark Hulbert
Hulbert Homes has been constructing custom homes in Polk and Hillsborough counties for eighteen years. Much of their success can be reflected in the teamwork atmosphere of the staff at Hulbert Homes.
Instead of competing apples to apples with other builders, Hulbert Homes believes it is their process that makes them stand out. The project doesn’t start when the foundation is poured, but rather the first encounter with builder and homeowner. The relationship is a critical component of the Hulbert Homes process. They believe in discovering the client’s dreams and ideas, transcribing them to paper, and from paper to reality.
By the end of the economic crisis of 2009, Hulbert Homes, while not untouched, came through by standing by their “quality and integrity” principles and by shifting to more environmentally friendly methods and products, thus providing value and energy savings for their customers. During the recession, Mark became a Certified Green Professional with the National Association of Home Builders. Hulbert Homes now strives to use green products wherever they can. The key is in the payback period (the period of time the product will benefit the homeowner) and the positive impact on the environment—both of which are explored prior to installation in a Hulbert Home.
Mark learned construction under the tutelage of his younger brother and later pursued his contractor’s license. In 1997, he built his first home; customers who remain friends to this day. By the end of 2015, Hulbert Homes will break ground on their 700th home.
Along with the NAHB, Hulbert Homes is also a member of the Polk County Builders Association (PCBA) and the Florida Home Builders Association (FHBA). Mark and Linda Hulbert, along with many of their employees, are active participants and contributors in several local charitable organizations such as Highland Park Church, Boys & Girls Club, Project Care Outreach, PACE, Idols Aside, Faith Runners, Jesus Film, Talbot House, and Young Life and Alliance for Independence. However, possibly the most notable act of charity came in 2014—a mission inconspicuously known as the Polk City 3:4 Project.
Last year, a friend of Mark’s, Tim Williams, asked if he would donate his time and expertise to fix the roof of the home of an elderly Polk City woman and her 14-year-old adopted daughter. After inspecting the situation, Mark and Tim decided they needed to demo the existing house and build a new one in its place. He donated Hulbert Homes’ time and labor and rallied several subcontractors and suppliers to donate to the cause. When it was all said and done, the woman and her daughter had a brand new home, free of charge.
Hulbert Homes has a history of satisfied customers. The evidence is in the numerous letters of gratitude, referrals, and repeat customers on the informative and well-furnished website (www.hulberthomes.com). It is with great honor and pleasure to award Hulbert Homes, Inc. with March’s Small Business of the Month Award.
The company’s nimble management style and careful attention to market shifts have helped FLC successfully weather numerous economic cycles, competitive challenges and changes to national and local government policies. The firm operates out of a professional two-story building in south Lakeland, and currently markets and builds communities in Lakeland, Ocala, and Leesburg. Principals Art Erickson, Tom Eleazer, and Robbie Salzman have been active in Lakeland civic activities, including Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce Board member, Chairman’s Circle, Leadership Lakeland, Central Florida Development Council, Polk Businesses for World Class Education, Polk County Builders Association, Leadership Polk, and The Lakeland Rotary Club. The firm provides a flexible work environment and employees are encouraged to give back to the community in their own venues. The Chamber is proud to have Florida Lifestyle Communities, LLC in our community and proud to recognize the firm as the February 2015 Small Business of the Month.