Category Archives: Business

Hurricane Irma cleanup inspired by Charles Richard Beall

You don’t need to bring gloves or any equipment.

Just show up at 8 a.m. Saturday in the Winn-Dixie parking lot, preferably wearing patriotic-themed clothing,  and prepare for hard work in honor of a local hero.

Hurricane Irma downed trees at a property occupied by the mother of Vietnam War hero Charles Richard Beall. U.S. Highway 17-92 is named in his honor.

Now his mom, 88-year-old Arbutus Beall, and her family need help, according to community activist Bret Douglas, a volunteer who runs the DeBary Legacy page on Facebook.

The DeBary businessman is asking for volunteers to help clear downed trees from her property on Monroe Avenue.

Douglas, a Gulf War-area veteran and horticulturalist, wants the cleanup to be a celebration of  Charles Richard Beall’s life.

Beall was 20 when he was fatally wounded on March 6, 1968 while storming enemy bunkers during the Viet Cong Tet Offensive.

He attacked as snipers shot at an army convoy.

As his platoon tried to rescue the convoy, Beall “rushed the bunkers, one by one, firing into them. Three bunkers were destroyed. He was killed attacking the fourth,” the Orlando Sentinel said in 1996.

That was the year U.S. 17-92 in DeBary was renamed in his honor.

A Beall relative recently reached out to Douglas for help after Irma stormed across Florida.

“I think this is worse than Matthew,” he said, referring to a powerful hurricane in October 2016. Then, as now, the burly man muscled into action.

Douglas, who owns a DeBary landscaping firm called Ironclad Landscape Management, has been highlighted on social media for working hard to help those who need it the most.

The 50-year-old volunteers in DeBary by removing trees, trimming limbs and fixing fences. He said he focuses on helping the elderly, disabled and low-income residents.

Douglas is also building a local ministry with a food bank for the needy.

He says he gets about five to six calls per week from people who need help.

“We answer them all,” Douglas said.

Anyone who wants to help Douglas clean up Arbutus Beall’s property should show up at 8 a.m. in the parking lot of Winn-Dixie at 2 N. Charles R. Beall Blvd.

Douglas will lead volunteers in a prayer and provide directions to the Beall home. He’ll also provide drinks and food. And gloves.

“Just show up,” he added.

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DeBary car cruise-ins: Should city get involved?

Nearly every month, car enthusiasts cruise into the Winn Dixie parking lot in DeBary for fun and friendship.

DeBary city staffers took a closer look at this car cruise-in and others in Central Florida for Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

In recent months, City Council members discussed preliminarily whether the city could somehow tap into the popularity of cruise-ins to help provide local entertainment and raise the profile of the River City in a positive way.

The staff report details the state of local cruise-ins but leaves the question of getting involved up to City Council members.

“One question to be considered is if we already have a successful car cruise event, that doesn’t cost the city money, do we need to do anything else?” the report asks.

The issue is listed as a discussion item on Wednesday’s agenda.

As many as 80 cars show up during winter months for the DeBary cruise-in. That number drops to 30 vehicles during summer months.

The event is held on the first Saturday of every month except for September. The summer month hours are from 5 to 8 p.m. and winter month hours are from 3 to 6 p.m.

“They have several business sponsors including AutoZone, Subway” and Chick-fil-A, the staff report said.

“This organization is associated with the Coachman clubs who also have chapters in Jacksonville and Daytona Beach. It is important to note that most of these events are termed cruise-ins so special event insurance is not required.”

The report offered details about cruise-ins in DeLand and Sanford. Both are free to the public with no cost to the city.

An event in Longwood is affiliated with a cruise-in club and held the second Saturday of every month.

Organizers charge $400 for marketing, promotions and DJ’ing the event.

“The City of Longwood acquires vendors for $35 ea., handles traffic safety, pays the $400 per event and provides marketing assistance to the club,” the report says.

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Drive-in movie theater envisioned in SW Volusia, report says

The heyday for drive-in movie theaters ended resoundingly decades ago. But a real-estate developer is proposing to build a new one in Orange City just west of Interstate 4.

That’s according to Hometown News, which is reporting that real-estate developer Dan Engel is planning to build “Stetson Drive-in Theater” on 10 acres off Kentucky Avenue.

That would allow for 300 to 500 vehicles, he told the news outlet.

“We have a prime location in Volusia County,” Engel is quoted as saying.

The Orlando native said he added “Stetson” to the name of the project because his well-known mother, Iris Daniel Engel Barnes, studied music on the DeLand campus.

Engel said he has not submitted a proposal to Orange City because he is still working out details with consultants.

The property is south of State Road 472 and west of I-4.  A traditional movie theater – Epic Theatres of West Volusia – is located on the east side of I-4 in nearby Deltona.

Drive-in movie theaters are so rare in Florida you can count them on two hands.

There are seven, according to That includes on in Ocala and another in Lakeland.  The state had as many as 150 in 1955.

“There have been many reasons attributed to the rapid and steep decline of drive-in movies,” the website said. “But we believe the three biggest reasons are the move to Daylights Savings Time, the introduction of VHS movies and increasing land values and taxes.”

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Fire on the Bayou Restaurant ignites SW Volusia

They can’t wait for another serving of kick-ass sausage bites. Or gumbo. Or crawfish etouffee.
Satisfied diners at Orange City’s latest eatery, Fire on the Bayou
Restaurant, already want to return.
This American/Cajun/Creole-themed restaurant in the Orange City Town Center on Enterprise Road has a following. It just opened Aug. 1.
“The food is on point, everything was great,” David Pojero wrote in a post on Facebook’s DeBary Proud! “The servers did the best they could given how busy they were. Their prices are a bit higher than I thought it would/should be, but the food was so good.”
The restaurant is at  921 Town Center Drive, Suite 1100, in the Orange City Town Center. That’s on Enterprise Road across from AMF Deltona Lanes.
“We went last night and the food and service was spectacular,”  Lori Coolidge wrote on DeBary Proud! on Facebook. “It’s a shame though it’s so small I kind of felt guilty finishing my meal while people were standing to be seated..”
Another poster,  Howard Gates, it’s probably best for them to start small and grow into the business.
“If they have a good year or two, then they can look to go bigger,” Gates wrote.
  • 921 Town Center Drive, Suite 1100, Orange City, FL
  • @FireontheBayou
  • (386) 218-0771
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Stephen Bacon: Brady’s wrong, ‘I am a statesman’

Stephen Bacon passionately defended himself Thursday – a day after he was slammed by a DeBary City Council colleague in a wide-ranging rebuke for his behavior during public meetings.

DeBary City Council member Mike Brady on Wednesday (Aug. 9) blasted Bacon, calling him a time-wasting, grandstander who wrongly questioned the integrity of Interim City Manager Ron McLemore.

“There wasn’t one item that Mr. Brady stated correctly,”  Bacon said in a 320-word message to DeBaryLife on Thursday.

“The bottom line is that I am not a politician. I am a statesman,”
Bacon declared. “I am interested in improving the quality of life the safety, jobs and the economy in DeBary and keeping DeBary with the lowest tax rate in the County.”

Mike Brady
Mike Brady

At first, Brady chewed out Bacon for his behavior during an Aug. 2 meeting when Bacon questioned an item on the consent agenda, typically a routine part of the meeting.

Trailer issue

Bacon took issue with a measure to dispose of a nearly 7-year-old, worn-out utility trailer originally purchased for less than $2,000, Brady said.

The discussion inappropriately turned into a debate about the function of the consent agenda, Brady said.

Bacon said his questions were justified “because this process was abused in the past with large items that required discussion. As such, this was not about the one insignificant item that was on the agenda.”

Bacon debate

Brady said Bacon’s issues turned what should have been a 30-second item into a six-minute debate.

In all, Brady blamed Bacon for dragging out a meeting for more than three hours, even though it should have been just two-hours long.

Bacon’s behavior since taking office in January came up Wednesday under an agenda item called Discussion of Council Decorum. and it covered more than just the Aug. 2 meeting.

Dam safety

At one point, Brady slammed Bacon for his questions about the dam encircling the roughly 1,100-acre Konomac Lake in south DeBary.

Bacon said he simply brought up a resident’s concerns about the dam, which holds back 3 billion gallons used to cool water from Florida Power & Light’s power plant on the St. Johns River.

“The safety issue of the banks in Konomac was brought up by a complaint from a resident seeing emergency repairs in December 2016, when I was a candidate,” Bacon said. “Yes, the banks leak and they have maintenance issues 24/7. ”

DeBary Konomac Lake
DeBary Konomac Lake

A power-company official during a DeBary City Council meeting in December acknowledged leaks, though he insisted there was no danger, there never has been and the property is monitored constantly and everything is approved by all regulatory agencies.

Asked whether earthen dams leak, FPL’s regional manager Larry Volenec said: “That’s why there is a drain at the toe of the dam because there is slight seepage and that water is taken and put right back into it.”

Bacon said that’s a problem.

“At first, FP&L admitted nothing and then the truth came out,” Bacon said Thursday. “Is it an issue? You bet because there will be a thousand homes on the West side of that Lake” adding that the lake “contains enough water to wipe out all the homes should the bank give way.”

At the December meeting, Volenec noted that employees are on staff to ensure the safety of what he called a “cooling pond,” a man-made lake built in the 1970s.

The dam is inspected on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually and annual basis, Volenec added.

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TeleTech: 600 jobs heading to Volusia in 3 years

A ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday will mark the grand opening of TeleTech’s new Daytona Beach location, where 600 jobs are planned over three years.

Volusia County beat out four other locations vying for the “customer experience” provider’s new location, according to county economic-development boosters.

The Englewood, Colorado-based company has already invested $5 million for the expansion, which is expected to bring an annual payroll of more than $20 million.

The company has 48,000 employees worldwide, including roughly 1,000 workers at two locations in Brevard County:  Melbourne and Rockledge, according to the Orlando Business Journal.

The company, founded in 1982, recorded $1.24 billion in annual revenue in 2014.

Team Volusia Economic Development Corp. landed TeleTech by beating out competitors in Mobile, Alabama and three cities in Texas, according to Volusia County.

TeleTech moved into space previously occupied by insulation company TopBuild Corp.

“TeleTech has entered a long-term lease for 43,000 square feet of space, with an additional 20,000 square feet of space for future expansion, in the building formerly occupied by TopBuild,” Volusia County said in a statement.

“Due to our aggressive promotion of the former TopBuild Corp. Corporate Headquarters to site selectors and brokers throughout the United States, the space became highly sought after,” Keith Norden, president and CEO of Team Volusia, said in a statement.

He said recruiting TeleTech involved a “number of community partners,” including:

  • Volusia County Government
  • Enterprise Florida
  • The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
  • CareerSource Flagler Volusia
  • Daytona State College among others.

“Special thanks go out to Mr. Dick McNerney with Adams Cameron who represented the Fisher Family, owners of the building, and negotiated the lease,” Norden said.

TeleTech is eligible to earn a tax refund of up to $180,000 for job creation. The state would pay 80 percent with the county covering the balance.

TeleTech qualifies for the incentive because at least 60 employees will earn more than $41,288, or 115 percent of this year’s average wage.

Volusia County Council members, other local dignitaries, and business leaders will gather celebrate at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8, at 260 Jimmy Ann Drive, Daytona Beach, for the ribbon cutting.

Grand-opening career fairs will be held at this location from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 9, and Thursday, Aug. 10.

“TeleTech is actively hiring licensed health and life insurance agents and customer experience representatives interested in obtaining their insurance license, and other administrative and management positions,” a statement said. “For employment information, visit”


DeBary vandalism: Genuine Bistro savors support after window smashing

At first, the reaction in DeBary was outrage and surprise.

But the community quickly rallied behind  Genuine Bistro, offering cash and other forms of support after vandals smashed a window at the popular restaurant on U.S. Highway 17-92.

Then it took another positive turn when Genuine Bistro owner Olexiy Kuzmin proposed using the cash donations for another residents’ effort to help feed the needy.

The support surfaced Sunday as word spread about the as-yet-unsolved vandalism at 2 S. Charles Richard Beall Blvd. from the pro-community Facebook page DeBary Proud. Tipsters can contact authorities through these links or by calling 1-888-277-TIPS.

“I am so sorry this happened, what a disgrace, ” Vickii Davies-De Marco said in a post Saturday shortly after the crime was announced.

One Facebook user, Denise Glickler, was so moved, she set up a GoFundMe page to raise donations to help Kuzmin pay for repairs.

He thanked Glickler but asked her to close the fund-raising site.

“Our customers (have)  been very loyal and supportive to us for years and I really don’t think it’s necessary. I really appreciate it,” he wrote. “But I really don’t feel like (collecting) money from people for our building issues. I am still DeBaryProud and I know that a lot of people in our community have more problems (than) our broken window. Thank you so much for your support again.”

By the time she got the message, more than $140 had been raised toward the fund’s goal of $500.

“Greg Runge will receive this check for his new project of feeding homeless people in our area,” Kuzmin said in another post.

Kuzmin posted video from security cameras showing possible suspects but the images don’t reveal many details. Facebook responders posted theories about who was responsible.

“There are 2 boys that run the street constantly with no supervision,” said Keri Kay. “The one is super skinny and taller the other shorter and a little thicker. .. The VCSO knows them very well…”

Meanwhile, other Facebook posters offered comforting words and introspective thoughts.

“This is not a reflection of DeBary, nor the times we live in,” Vera Rekstad said. “This is sadly the perpetual dark and ugly side of human nature which exists everywhere on earth and in all times since the beginning of history. We must overcome it and counter it with good. It’s great to see so much positive support for our friends and neighbors.”

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DeBary TOD plan: Commercial, senior housing

















DeBary has a burgeoning trail system, lush Florida landscapes, a slice of the St. Johns River and a successful brewery — all within a bike ride from Sunrail.

The City Council heard about the River City’s assets and potential for the future as consultants rolled out the latest vision for a roughly 200-acre, mixed-use development proposed along U.S. Highway 17-92.

The area’s natural beauty, along with its proximity to the SunRail station, make DeBary an attractive location for future residents, including Millennials.

“This is a big deal for a lot of people,” said Larry Adams, founding partner of the Winter Park-based consulting firm ACi. “You can be very cool in your own way.”

The plan also calls for an unspecified number of multi-family units, including buildings with three to four stories, Adams said.

The vision, a market study commissioned by council members last fall, was unveiled less than a week after a Council-appointed task force selected a parcel north of the train station for a proposed community center.

“All the planets are starting to line up,” said interim City Manager Ron McLemore. He said the proposed multimillion-dollar development would create 300 to 500 jobs.

The plan, which covers property clustered along U.S. Highway 17-92 south of Benson Junction-Dirksen Drive, calls for:

  • 35 acres of commercial
  • 15 of mixed-use commercial
  • 128 acres of residential
  • 2.3 acres of light industrial
  • 2.4 acres for “hospitality,” possibly an 80-bed hotel

The remaining property includes the SunRail Station, 9 acres for the community center and commercial uses and open space.

The plan includes the roughly 60-acre “Costa property” southeast of U.S. Highway 17-92 and Dirksen Drive.

It calls for 21 acres of commercial, 30 acres of “active senior living” and 17 acres of additional residential.

The senior space would have a density of 8 to 20 units per acre and the other residential space would have 10 to 32 units per acre.

On the west side of U.S. 17-92, “row” housing is proposed on 24 acres at 8 to 10 units per acre and additional residential is proposed on nearly 11 acres with 10 to 32 units per acre.

The DeBary City Council has yet to publically discuss the related proposal to build a community center in the project.

The center would cost about $12.5 million, mostly for construction, and would require approval from the City Council and voters.

Council members are scheduled to review the proposal from their task force on May 31.

DeBary holding first small business forum Thursday

What’s it take to run a successful small business?

Well, sometimes you have to wear a pig costume and wave at traffic on Enterprise Road.

Just ask Cheryl Eagle, co-owner of Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Orange City and occasional Percy the Pig mascot.

Eagle will speak at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 27, at DeBary City Hall, 16 Colomba Road, during DeBary’s first Small Business Development Forum and Workshop.

The event was organized by DeBary City Council member Erika Benfield, also a small business owner, with the assistance of the city’s Economic Development Department.

Benfield, who joined the council in January, owns Florida Living Quarters, a design retail showroom in Lake Mary.

Eagle of DeBary and husband Bill opened their franchise in January 2011. Cheryl Eagle will share information about her experience with starting  a restaurant and becoming a franchise owner.

David Shifflett,  a certified mentor with SCORE, a small-business assistance organization, is also expected to attend Thursday’s event.

SCORE provides more than 350,000 free small-business mentoring sessions, workshops and educational services to clients in 300 chapters nationwide each year.

“So anybody who’s interested in starting a business or wants to expand their business, they can come and hear about services that are offered through SCORE,” Benfield said during a City Council meeting April 5. “It’s very exciting.”

Small business owners are the most optimistic they have been since the start of the Great Recession, according to the latest findings from the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index.

The quarterly survey measures the optimism of small business owners.

This survey, conducted Feb. 6 to 10, determined the overall “index score” increased to 100 in February, up from 80 in November and up 33 points from a year ago.

“This marks the highest optimism reading since July 2007 when it was also 100, and represents a return to pre-recession levels,” the
Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index said in a statement.

Most respondents said their finances are better than in November. Nearly half said their revenue increased over the past 12 months.

According to another survey, a large percentage of small business owners are optimistic about growth this year.

“Interestingly, the optimism among small business owners significantly outpaces that of the general public,” New York Life Insurance said in a January statement.

Sixty percent of small business owners are optimistic about this year’s growth. That’s compared to  43 percent of Americans age 30 and over who were asked the same question about their personal finances in a December study released by New York Life.

“Small business owners are heading into 2017 with good feelings, and this was consistent across size and years in business,” Brian Madgett, vice resident of New York Life, said in a statement.

For more information about Thursday’s event, call 386-668-2040 or email
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TOD plan calls for too much housing, Bacon says


At least one DeBary City Council member isn’t happy about what he’s seen proposed for a roughly 200-acre transit-themed development adjacent to the SunRail station.

“We don’t need housing, more housing. They’re going to put in housing,” Council member Stephen Bacon said during a City Council meeting Wednesday.

How much housing remained unclear Thursday. A message to Interim City Manager Ron McLemore was not immediately returned.

McLemore did, however, defend the unspecified amount of proposed residential, saying if “you don’t get the rooftops, you don’t get the business and commercial.”

Bacon, for his part, described a development with an unspecified number of four-story housing units and 10,000 square feet of commercial space for what’s called a “transit-oriented development.”

Those details are among the first to emerge about plans for the development zone, which flanks U.S. Highway 17-92 from south of the SunRail Station to Benson Junction Road/Dirksen Drive

It includes the so-called Costa property of 68 acres southeast of Dirksen Drive and U.S. Highway 17-92.

Property representative Steve Costa earlier this year told the DeLand Beacon plans are moving forward to develop the parcel ‘to be a mix of uses — multifamily apartments, retail and office space, shopping.”

Twice – once in 2008 and again in 2015 — plans to build a horse-racing track and a poker room on the property have failed.

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