Business

Wed
18
Apr

Play place for toddlers opens in Orange City

COLORFUL SURROUNDINGS — Owner Elizabeth Jackson plays with her youngest daughter, Chelsea, in the right foreground, while other kids frolic in Awesome Blossom Indoor Play Place one recent afternoon.

COLORFUL SURROUNDINGS — Owner Elizabeth Jackson plays with her youngest daughter, Chelsea, in the right foreground, while other kids frolic in Awesome Blossom Indoor Play Place one recent afternoon.

BEACON PHOTOS/JOE CREWS

​​​​​​​AWESOME MANAGEMENT — Manager Jasmine Sparrow, left, and owner Elizabeth Jackson run the Awesome Blossom Indoor Play Place in Orange City, where kids up to 5 years of age can play in a safe, clean environment.

AWESOME MANAGEMENT — Manager Jasmine Sparrow, left, and owner Elizabeth Jackson run the Awesome Blossom Indoor Play Place in Orange City, where kids up to 5 years of age can play in a safe, clean environment.

Elizabeth Jackson kept waiting for someone to open a place where she could take her little ones to play. But when nothing like that came along, she decided to open one herself.

And thus was born Awesome Blossom Indoor Play Place, where moms (and dads) can bring their youngsters and play with them in a clean, family-friendly space. The children all must be 5 years old or younger.

“Little kids get trampled on in parks,” Jackson told The Beacon recently. “This is a safe environment for them to play in, and it’s protected from the unpredictable Florida weather.”

Jackson named the business based on a core belief that every child is awesome and blossoms in his or her own unique way.

Awesome Blossom opened last October in the Orange City Town Center on Enterprise Road. The brightly decorated room features various multicolored structures children can climb on or interact with under the guidance and assistance of their parents.

Wed
18
Apr

Winn-Dixie unveils newly remodeled store

OFFICIALLY OPEN — Store Manager Thomas Seay, left of center, and employees cut a ribbon to officially reopen a Winn-Dixie store at 1050 W. New York Ave. in DeLand.

OFFICIALLY OPEN — Store Manager Thomas Seay, left of center, and employees cut a ribbon to officially reopen a Winn-Dixie store at 1050 W. New York Ave. in DeLand.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

Just weeks after announcing a store on DeLand’s south side will be among 94 stores in four brands closing as part of a corporate financial restructuring, Winn-Dixie officially reopened a recently remodeled store on the west side of the city.

The company renovated the store at 1050 W. New York Ave. in response to customers who asked for an improved shopping experience, company officials said.

A ribbon-cutting took place April 12 as part of a ceremony to officially reintroduce the community to the new and improved store.

Anthony Hucker, president and chief executive of Southeastern Grocers, Winn-Dixie’s parent company, said Winn-Dixie’s roots and established “history of commitment and service” in DeLand go back more than 32 years.

Wed
11
Apr

Tech repair shop opens in north DeLand

PROUD OWNER — Zach McCamie co-owns the new uBreakiFix store on DeLand’s north side. He’s an Orlando firefighter; his wife, co-owner Christen McCamie, is a real estate broker.

PROUD OWNER — Zach McCamie co-owns the new uBreakiFix store on DeLand’s north side. He’s an Orlando firefighter; his wife, co-owner Christen McCamie, is a real estate broker.

BEACON PHOTOS/JOE CREWS

CREW AT WORK — Employees concentrate on their repair work at the new uBreakiFix store in DeLand.

CREW AT WORK — Employees concentrate on their repair work at the new uBreakiFix store in DeLand.

It feels like the end of the world. You sat on your $600 or $800 smartphone and cracked the screen. Or worse, dropped it into a puddle of water. The horror! And now you’re staring at shelling out hundreds of dollars to buy a replacement.

But fear not, technology user. Now there’s a shop on the north side of DeLand where you can take your cellphone, computer, tablet, game console or any other electronic device and get cracked screens, water damage, software issues, camera issues, and almost any other problem repaired for much less than the cost of replacing the device.

The appropriately named uBreakiFix is now open across from the Walmart Supercenter. Zachary and Christen McCamie — he’s a firefighter with the City of Orlando; she’s a real estate broker — are the franchisee owners of the new store.

Wed
11
Apr

Stetson University gets $18M gift for science and health education

SMILES ALL AROUND — From left, Stetson University Provost Noel Painter, President Wendy B. Libby, trustees Cici and Hyatt Brown, and board Chair Joe Cooper celebrate an announcement that the Browns had donated $18 million to the university.

SMILES ALL AROUND — From left, Stetson University Provost Noel Painter, President Wendy B. Libby, trustees Cici and Hyatt Brown, and board Chair Joe Cooper celebrate an announcement that the Browns had donated $18 million to the university.

PHOTO COURTESY STETSON UNIVERSITY

A Daytona Beach businessman and his wife have made the largest-ever single donation in Stetson University’s 135-year history to further the school’s mission of science education and research.

“With this gift, the university’s great friends, supporters, and members of our Board of Trustees — Hyatt and Cici Brown — have provided $18 million for the continuing growth and excellence of Stetson science education and research,” Stetson University President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D, said in a news release announcing the donation. “Their generosity will enable Stetson to meet the increasing demand for science and health graduates in high paying jobs, enhance faculty and student research capabilities, and contribute to the economic growth and high quality of life in Central Florida.”

Wed
04
Apr

Business expands patient-transport service

CHECKING OUT THE NEW RIDE — The Ferrari family and company operations manager pose with the newest addition to the A+ Rides fleet of vehicles. In front, from left, are dad Andy Ferrari, son Davis Ferrari, daughter Kaitlyn Ferrari, and mom Kellee Jo Ferrari. Sitting in the wheelchair is Anita Hofman.

CHECKING OUT THE NEW RIDE — The Ferrari family and company operations manager pose with the newest addition to the A+ Rides fleet of vehicles. In front, from left, are dad Andy Ferrari, son Davis Ferrari, daughter Kaitlyn Ferrari, and mom Kellee Jo Ferrari. Sitting in the wheelchair is Anita Hofman.

BEACON PHOTO/JOE CREWS

A DeLand-based company that provides non-emergency transportation for senior citizens and people with disabilities can now provide rides for wheelchair-users.

A+ Rides, co-owned by Andy Ferrari, had been providing transportation to people who were ambulatory. But he recently added a bus that can carry 14 passengers and three wheelchair-users, with a lift to lower and raise the wheelchairs. The new vehicle expands the number of clients A+ Rides can transport to and from doctor’s appointments, shopping or other errands.

Plans are in the works to add the ability to transport people on stretchers, too.

Ferrari and his wife, Kellee Jo, are the owners and operators for this company, and their vision is to help senior citizens and others in the community get out more and do what they need to do.

Wed
04
Apr

T-shirt shop marks 38 years in Downtown DeLand

Special T's is a mainstay in Downtown DeLand

Special T's is a mainstay in Downtown DeLand

DYNAMIC DUO — Owner Carol DiStefano, left, and manager Elaine Scarfato have seen a lot of changes in Downtown DeLand over the years. DiStefano has operated her store at 108 N. Woodland Blvd. for 38 years, while Scarfato has worked there for more than 26 years.

DYNAMIC DUO — Owner Carol DiStefano, left, and manager Elaine Scarfato have seen a lot of changes in Downtown DeLand over the years. DiStefano has operated her store at 108 N. Woodland Blvd. for 38 years, while Scarfato has worked there for more than 26 years.

BEACON PHOTO/JOE CREWS

Businesses come and businesses go on Woodland Boulevard in Downtown DeLand. Some have tenures of just months, and some remain much longer.

Very few, however, can say they’ve been at the same location on DeLand’s main street for almost four decades. Special T’s can. On March 29, the shop that sells personalized apparel and gifts marked its 38th anniversary at 108 N. Woodland Blvd.

Owner Carol DiStefano has manned the counter there since the business opened. When a visitor asked what her secret was for surviving so long, DiStefano said it was “just hanging in there.”

“You keep on going and hope things improve,” she said. “And you try to change with the times.”

DiStefano started out with customized lettering and iron-on transfers for individuals and business owners, but soon expanded into creating clothing and accessories for the fraternities and sororities at Stetson University.

Wed
28
Mar

Stetson University joins Chartered Financial Analyst program

Stetson University was recently welcomed into the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program after the School of Business Administration’s finance program was acknowledged as incorporating at least 70 percent of the CFA Program coursework and placing emphasis on the institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice within the program.

The finance program’s investments concentration positions students to obtain the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, which has become the most respected and recognized investment credential in the world.

Wed
28
Mar

City leaders discuss ‘State of the Region’

ELECTED LEADERSHIP — Top officials from all six West Volusia municipalities were recently featured in a “State of the Region” panel discussion and luncheon sponsored by the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce. From left are Mayors Bob Garcia of DeBary, John Masiarczyk of Deltona, Bob Apgar of DeLand, and Gary Blair of Orange City, Vice Mayor Vernon Burton of Lake Helen, and Town Council Chairman Samuel Bennett of Pierson. At far left with his back to the camera is moderator Michael Woods, an attorney with Cobb

ELECTED LEADERSHIP — Top officials from all six West Volusia municipalities were recently featured in a “State of the Region” panel discussion and luncheon sponsored by the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce. From left are Mayors Bob Garcia of DeBary, John Masiarczyk of Deltona, Bob Apgar of DeLand, and Gary Blair of Orange City, Vice Mayor Vernon Burton of Lake Helen, and Town Council Chairman Samuel Bennett of Pierson. At far left with his back to the camera is moderator Michael Woods, an attorney with Cobb Cole.

BEACON PHOTOS/JOE CREWS

AFTER THE DISCUSSION — Posing for photos after a panel discussion are elected officials from all six municipalities in West Volusia and the president of the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce. From left are Bob Apgar, mayor of DeLand; Vernon Burton, vice mayor of Lake Helen; Mayors Bob Garcia of DeBary and John Masiarczyk of Deltona; Council Chairman Samuel Bennett of Pierson; Gary Blair, mayor of Orange City; and Joe Hearn of the Chamber.

AFTER THE DISCUSSION — Posing for photos after a panel discussion are elected officials from all six municipalities in West Volusia and the president of the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce. From left are Bob Apgar, mayor of DeLand; Vernon Burton, vice mayor of Lake Helen; Mayors Bob Garcia of DeBary and John Masiarczyk of Deltona; Council Chairman Samuel Bennett of Pierson; Gary Blair, mayor of Orange City; and Joe Hearn of the Chamber.

Elected leaders of all six municipalities in West Volusia shared their views of the “State of the Region” at a luncheon hosted by the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce & Orange City Alliance.

Mayors Bob Garcia of DeBary, John Masiarczyk of Deltona, Bob Apgar of DeLand and Gary Blair of Orange City, as well as Vice Mayor Vernon Burton of Lake Helen and Town Council Chairman Samuel Bennett of Pierson, were panelists in the annual event March 22 at John Knox Village.

All agreed that state legislators were wrong to be trying to take away decision-making from locally elected officials.

“The government closest to the people governs best,” Apgar said.

“Home rule is very important to us,” agreed Blair. “It’s a power grab by [state] politicians that causes unwanted consequences.”

“It can be summed up by the phrase ‘unfunded mandates,’ such as their plan to increase homestead exemptions,” Burton said.

Wed
21
Mar

Call for sponsors for The Water Festival 2018

The Water Festival, to be held 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, April 28, in historic Downtown DeLand, is currently accepting sponsors for this year’s edition of the annual event.

The free, family-oriented festival is presented by Volusia Water Alliance, a nonprofit group composed of the City of DeLand, Stetson University’s Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience, Blue Spring Alliance, St. Johns Riverkeeper and others.

The alliance is currently accepting sponsors for The Water Festival. Sponsorship for this event is a unique opportunity to join a distinguished list of community advocates uniting for an urgent cause. Every sponsorship dollar goes to Volusia Water Alliance’s efforts to educate the public about the growing threats to our water supply.

Wed
21
Mar

One DeLand Winn-Dixie to close; two others to remain open

CLOUDY FUTURE — This Winn-Dixie store in the West Volusia Regional Shopping Center will be closing in the not-too-distant future. This is one of 94 “underperforming” stores from four chains that parent company Southeastern Grocers is closing in seven states while it pursues a restructuring of its debt.

CLOUDY FUTURE — This Winn-Dixie store in the West Volusia Regional Shopping Center will be closing in the not-too-distant future. This is one of 94 “underperforming” stores from four chains that parent company Southeastern Grocers is closing in seven states while it pursues a restructuring of its debt.

BEACON PHOTO/JOE CREWS

A Winn-Dixie store in the West Volusia Regional Shopping Center, at 2701 S. Woodland Blvd. in DeLand, will be closing, one of nearly 100 stores in seven states being shuttered while the chain’s parent company restructures its debt under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers announced the move March 15.

“After careful consideration, we have chosen to voluntarily implement a court-supervised, prepackaged restructuring agreement,” the company says on its website. “As part of this restructuring, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to close 94 underperforming stores. It is our goal to work through our financial restructuring as quickly and efficiently as possible, and we will emerge from this process likely within the next 90 days.”

DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar wasn’t too surprised by the store’s closing, but was concerned it will create a large vacancy on the city’s southern gateway.

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