| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed

Manufacturing : Development News

23 Manufacturing Articles | Page: | Show All

Port Tampa Bay busy with cold storage facility construction, new berth, gantry cranes

There's a lot going on at Port Tampa Bay.
In October, the Port announced that Port Logistics Refrigerated Services had begun site work for construction of a new 134,000-square-foot cold storage warehouse. The facility will handle refrigerated import and export cargoes, and it's scheduled to open in the summer of 2017.
Port Logistics will operate the facility, which will be able to accommodate both chilled and frozen products. It's being built on a 13.7-acre site at the Port, which serves a growing consumer market and distribution center hub along the I-4 Corridor across Central Florida.
"It’s important because it’s bringing economic development to the Tampa Bay area, as well as bringing a unique cargo opportunity and building a very impressive, state-of-the-art cold storage facility," says Andy Fobes, Port Tampa Bay spokesman. 
In addition to the cold storage facility and the infrastructure surrounding it, Port Tampa Bay is planning to open a new multi-use berth at East Port on Dec. 8. The East Port berth will be able to accommodate a variety of cargoes, Fobes says.
Also on Dec. 8, the Port plans to unveil its updated master plan called Vision 2030. The plan will serve as a road map to building the port toward 2030 and beyond, Fobes says.
In July, the Port commissioned two gantry cranes that weigh 1,600 tons each and can lift 65 tons. They're used for loading and unloading cargo containers from container ships.
"The two new post-Panamax gantry cranes have elevated our stature as a container port, and we are able to accommodate for ships twice as large as ever before," Fobes says.
The increased accommodation has allowed the Port to expand and diversify its cargo business by serving wider ships that travel through the expanded Panama Canal.
"Our improved facilities and continued capital program ensure that our Port will continue to serve the region well in all our diverse lines of business," Fobes says.

CSX terminal key to thousands of new jobs in Central Florida

Polk County and the city of Winter Haven are beneficiaries of a transportation, logistics and distribution hub that could bring thousands of jobs to the area over the next five to 10 years.

The terminal for the CSX Central Florida Logistics Center in Winter Haven, which opened in April, is the first step in developing about 7.9 million square feet of warehouse, distribution and manufacturing facilities, all located on about 930 acres surrounding the CSX rail line. About 300,000 containers of goods will be processed annually from rail to truck or truck to rail with state-of-the-art technology. 

Winter Haven Industrial Developers paid about $8.5 million for about 500 acres of the site, according to Polk County records. The remaining acreage will be part of a second phase of development.

About 30 employees oversee daily operations at the terminal which is a regional link to Tampa, Orlando and Miami, all within one-day truck trips from Winter Haven. CSX officials say they expect about 1,800 direct jobs and as many as 8,500 indirect jobs to be realized in the next decade.

The exact number of jobs will be tied to the kinds of businesses that locate around the terminal, says Bruce Lyon, executive director of the Winter Haven Economic Development Council.  He places job estimates in the range of 4,000 to 8,000.

"We are as a city and county well prepared to embrace any new development that occurs on the site," says Lyon. "The labor force is ready."

He points to the educational opportunities for a trained work force including Polk State College, a few miles from the CSX terminal. There also is the University of Central Florida in Orlando, and according to Lyon, a sometimes overlooked fact that Winter Haven has an immense amount of broad-band capacity coveted by the logistics industry.

"The logistics industry is very advanced in terms of technology," Lyon says.

And overall the industry offers higher than average paying jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, logisticians' median annual salary in May 2012 was about $72,000 with the highest paid earning about $112,000 and and the lowest paid about $45,000.

Construction of the terminal took about two years and created about 200 jobs with the aid of Polk Works, the county's workforce development board.

The intermodal terminal is located on about 318 acres off State Road 60 at Logistics Boulevard. It has five 3,000-foot loading tracks and two 10,000-foot arrival and departure tracks. Three electric cranes load and unload containers.

"They are designed for noise reduction and are environmentally friendly," says CSX spokeswoman Kristin Seay. "It's huge. It's very efficient and uses the most advanced technology."

The containers carry goods from tee shirts to televisions, Seay says.

The terminal project is part of a legislatively-approved agreement in which the state of Florida  paid about $432 million for about 60 miles of CSX tracks. The deal morphed through several years of negotiations and controversy over cost and the potential impact of increased freight traffic through cities such as Lakeland.

Proponents see the deal as an economic boost to the region and a crucial link in plans for a SunRail commuter line through Orlando along CSX tracks. The agreement required CSX to "reinvest every dime in infrastructure in Florida," says Seay.

British Bi-fold Door Manufacturer Opens In Venice

An aluminum bi-folding door manufacturer from the United Kingdom is setting up shop for the first time in the United States with a production facility in Venice FL.

In April, Origin USA located its American bi-fold door headquarters and about $500,000 in manufacturing equipment inside a rebuilt 8,000-square-foot building at 771 Commerce Drive. Southern Cross Contracting in Sarasota was the contractor. 

Starting out with five employees, company President Ben Halvorsen anticipates hiring 40 to 50 workers in the next three to five years. Positions will be in production, accounting, marketing and sales.

"We took a strong look at demographics of the Gulf Coast and architectural styles as well," says Halvorsen. "The economy, particularly with construction, is doing well again and our market point is very strong."

French doors and sliding doors are standard design options but Halvorsen says the bi-folding doors are growing in popularity. Origin is the leading manufacturer of the product in the United Kingdom. The doors appeal to a customer base that wants to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces with doors that fold and slide out of sight, he says.

"Bi-fold doors are common in Europe," he adds.

Luxury home builders or developers of hotels, retail and restaurants are among the target audience. One recent customer is a Denver restaurant owner who wanted to open up one side of the restaurant to the street.

The doors can be customized to fit any opening and folding configuration, come with more than 150 color selections and quick delivery times. "If that's two weeks or one day -- no problem at all," says Origin USA CEO Neil Ginger.

The doors also meet Florida's building code for withstanding hurricane-force winds, and meet energy efficency standards.

While bi-folding doors generally have had a reputation for being pricey on the retail market, Halvorsen says, "We're here to radically change that preconception with pricing a little over a high-end, in-line slider."

Origin sells nationwide "business to business" and has a showroom open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Writer: Kathy Steele
Source: Neil Ginger, Origin USA

Ex-Lawyer Follows Dream To Open Micro-Brewery

Small wooden kegs of beer sit inside the vast warehouse waiting to be tapped. They are filled with sample recipes for brews that owners of Coppertail Brewing Co. expect soon to be selling to local bars, restaurants and grocery stores.
In Kent Bailey's office, cardboard boxes are filled with coasters and T-shirts emblazoned with the message "Resist the Industrial Brewing Complex." It's a fitting challenge from a man who gave up a comfortable business law practice to follow a dream.

"I wasn't loving what I was doing anymore," says Bailey. His passion was for home-brewed beer crafted in his spare time in his Davis Islands' kitchen.

But he began to think, "How can I make this a career?"

He put together a business plan and a team to help make it work. In November he said goodbye to his law career. By March Bailey, 38, expects to open the brewing operations at Coppertail in a 34,000-square-foot warehouse at 2601 E. Second Ave., fronting Adamo Drive and sitting catty-cornered from Ikea. In past lives, the building has been home to Hellman's mayonaise, an olive oil company and a refrigeration repair shop. One month later he hopes to have a temporary tasting room open so he can offer tours. Longer range goals are to open a permanent tasting room and gift shop by summer or fall 2014. Outdoor space of about 32,000 square feet will be used for special events including beer festivals.

Right-of-way owned by the city of Tampa along Adamo Drive is slated for development as a greenway. That part of Coppertail's overall project needs additional city council approvals.

For now, offices and a front lobby are remodeled, with help from Schiller's Architectural Design and Salvage .The warehouse, building exterior and parking lot are works-in-progress. Hafner Ferlita Architects are the building's designers.
Residents in the East Ybor area are supportive. Initially there were worries that the establishment would be another bar.

"The fact that is not a 'bar-bar' is awesome," says Fran Costantino, president of the East Ybor Historic and Civic Association. "It's not going to bring in riff-raff."

Instead it will be an upscale business in an area that needs that type of new development, Costantino says.

Things are moving quickly. Approvals from Tampa City Council and the federal agency regulating brewery permits are in place. Brewing equipment from German-based Rolec is due to arrive in January.

Bailey is delighted that Rolec won the bidding contract for Coppertail's equipment. "Rolec really wants to be brewing in Florida," he says. "They don't have one here."

The award-winning company does have its equipment at several businesse in the United States including Brooklyn Brewing Company in New York and Lagunitas Brewing Company in California.

Bailey pitched his brewery idea to friend and home-brewer aficionado Robb Larson at WaZoo, a beer event at Lowry Park Zoo last year. Larson, who is a personal trainer, now is in charge of beer development and social media. The brewery's Facebook page is followed by about 1,100 people. They've also created a blog.

Coppertail's award-winning brewmaster is Casey Hughes, president of Master Brewers Association of America. Hughes moved from upstate New York at age 18 to Tampa. He worked with Key West brewing on the bottling line but worked up to a brewing job before he legally was able to drink alcohol. For many years he was head brewer at Flying Fish brewery in New Jersey before jumping at the chance to move back to Tampa and join the Coppertail brewing gang.

As a startup Coppertail's aim is to settle in with Tampa's growing micro-brewery movement. But Bailey says, "We've tried to give ourselves room here for the capacity to grow regional in 10 years or so. That's all a pipe dream now."

There is a camaraderie among local brewers much different from the corporate dog-eat-dog world of business law. "We've made a point of gettng out there and meeting as many brewers as we can," Bailey says. "Everyone has been kind and gracious."

Bailey sees craft beers as a growing trend that is benefitting from people's desires to grow and buy local food products.
"People are fed up with beer as an industrial product," he says. "They want it to be local, naturally flavorful again, and like it used to be. People are very focused on local and natural. Craft beer plays into that very well.''

As for the Coppertail name, Coppertail is a fantastical sea creature that lives in Tampa Bay where he protects swimmers and battles pollution.

Bailey's now 6-year-old daughter Sofia is the one who came up with the name after a talk with Bailey about the earliest explorers of Tampa and the kinds of creatures they might have seen." A lot of them reported seeing sea monsters which I thought was hilarious," says Bailey. "Coppertail is something impossible, about imagination and a lot about Tampa Bay."

Writer: Kathy Steele
Source: Kent Bailey, Coppertail

New Home Interior Design Store Coming To Sarasota

Downtown Sarasota will soon have a new home interior design store.

Featuring 2,200 square feet of elegant, uncommon and artisan home furnishings for local beach and waterfront resort homes in Sarasota, Pecky will become an addition to the Starbucks and Whole Foods development located on 100 Central Ave. in Sarasota. A a grand opening and open house will be held on April 3rd and 4th.

“Our recovered lumber business of cypress, black cypress, pecky cypress and heart pine was an instigator of the store's formation,” says Owner Patricia Estes, who operates the store along with her husband, Peter. Pecky cypress wood will be seen throughout the store, recovered by Estes Recovered Lumber.

Offering an abundance of classic, liveable wood furniture; wall and ceiling applications; and linen sofas and chairs, Estes says Pecky's new showroom will offer several lines of home furnishings new to Sarasota and the surrounding area.

“If you are looking for an upscale, relaxed, quality, earth-friendly feeling for your beach abode, Pecky is where you want to start,” Estes says. “The store will hopefully fulfill an element of quality and design-driven décor for our lovely community.”

Pecky will focus on artisan products sourced throughout the United States and will offer home interior services.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Patricia Estes, Pecky

Men's Lifestyle Apparel Company Chooses CoWork Tampa, Focuses On Environment

Black & Denim Apparel Company, a men's lifestyle apparel company looking to take the green route by taking care of the environment with fashionable, eco-friendly clothing, has picked the Tampa Bay region to base its headquarters.

Black & Denim searched for a space to house an office and showroom, ultimately stumbling upon CoWork Tampa's entrepreneurial atmosphere, which offers the opportunity to interact with other companies, all under one roof.

"Instead of cities that have garment districts -- New York or Los Angeles -- we did a bit of research and it turns out that when the embargo hit, a lot of cigar factories in Tampa became sewing facilities,'' says Roberto Torres, president of Black & Denim. "Tampa's a natural hub, with one of the most active port systems in Florida, so we dug into the area's roots and decided to help create a garment district. We're trying to harness all of the talent coming out of design schools and major universities, which is paramount for our growth.''

According to Torres, Black & Denim -- which, by the way, is made and sourced entirely out of the United States -- plans to ultimately make CoWork Tampa a permanent home for the company with plans to house machinery on an empty floor, advertising their factory as a "must see destination for tourists,'' he says.

But for now, Black & Denim is focusing on the environment, calling "green technology fashion's new black'' with the launch of a kickstarter project in hopes of showing the region -- and the country -- that fashionable, eco-friendly clothing is possible. One technology currently being utilized by the company includes water-based inks versus traditional plastisol, which is harmful to the environment and, potentially, those wearing it. Sampling and upcycled materials are also a focus for the brand.

"We are thrilled to be able to add to the Tampa Bay economy: We're local and support the local shops and enterprises driving this town,'' Torres says. "One day, we want to be one of those 103-year-old businesses that calls Tampa home. We want to be a part of the history and fabric of the area.''

Black & Denim supports seven local boutiques and employs five employees at the local distribution facility. According to Torres, the company is looking to not only continue supporting local jobs, but create job opportunities in the near future.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Roberto Torres, Black & Denim Apparel Company

Tampa Port Authority To Build Oil Recycling Facility

The Tampa Port Authority and NexLube Tampa recently joined forces, signing a long-term lease to develop and construct an oil recycling facility at the Port of Tampa.

Marking a $75 million to $80 million investment, the new facility will have the capacity to process up to 24 million gallons of used oil per year at the Port and is said to be be the first of its kind in Florida. Ultimately, the recycled oil will be used to produce lubricants, diesel and asphalt while oil from automobile oil changes will be reprocessed for use.

“[This project has] been in the works for over two years,” says Andrew Fobes, director of public relations at the Port. “All of the legwork has been completed and NexLube is ready to move ahead.”

The new facility will be located on 12 acres at Pendola Point in Tampa and is expected to create hundreds of jobs during a two-year construction phase. Once fully operational, the facility is expected to generate approximately $10 million in Hillsborough County property tax revenues to the Port Authority over the term of the 20-year lease agreement.

“We are extremely pleased to partner with NexLube Tampa on this amazing project. As a major petroleum port, Tampa is a logical center for significant oil recycling,” says Port Director and CEO Richard Wainio, who is retiring in September. “We are eager to see NexLube's business succeed and thank the many partners who helped make this day possible.”

Upon completion of construction, a total of 75 full-time positions with average salaries and wages ranging between $60,000 and $65,000 is expected at the new facility.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Andrew Fobes & Richard Wainio, Tampa Port Authority

Sarasota EDC Recognizes Top Companies

The Economic Development Corporation (EDC) of Sarasota County honors innovative and developing companies in the area with the 2011 EDC Hall of Fame Awards (HOF).

Approximately 400 community and business leaders gathered on September 23rd at The Ritz-Carlton at 1111 Ritz Carlton Dr. in Sarasota, to recognize Sarasota companies that are growing and contributing to the local economy as well as the vitality of the Sarasota community.

“In addition to recognizing companies and individuals who are excelling in certain industries, we're also identifying the best leaders in our area while acknowleding good community citizens who contribute above and beyond in an attempt to better the area,” says EDC of Sarasota County CEO/President Mark Huey.

Among the winners was Doctors Hospital, which received the Green To Gold Award for demonstrating that going “green” can have a direct impact on savings. Jonathan Parks Architect eceived the Creativity and Design Award for applying creativity throughout his business. Rapid Pathogen Screening, an emerging biotech company whose first product, a test for rapidly detecting “pink eye,” is now being sold both nationally and internationally, received the Innovation Award. And Florida Shores Bank received the Entrepreneur Award for serving the community with high-quality lending practices, growing to 20 employees and more than $8 million in sales since its founding in 2007.

“I think everyone learned a lot. Events such as these generate a spirit of appreciating within a community. It shows that we appreciate businesses and business leaders,” says Huey. “Oftentimes, if we're not careful as communities, we can really take for granted the contribution that our local companies are making to create jobs, create wealth and give back. The HOF event is all about not taking for granted our vital local buisnesses.”

The event's presenting sponsor was State College of Florida in Manatee-Sarasota County while specfic awards were sponsored by the Suncoast Workforce Board; Florida Power & Light Co.; the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee; Kerkering, Barberio & Co., Halfacre Construction Co. and Sun Hydraulics Corp.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Mark Huey, EDC of Sarasota County

CB Richard Ellis Reports On Tampa Property Markets

CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) recently released its Second Quarter 2011 MarketViews report for Florida.

Tracking commercial real estate trends in Florida, a portion of the report focuses on the Tampa Bay region's retail, office and industrial markets.

The report shows the retail office market softening with average rental rates remaining stable, while leasing activity is picking up in the industrial market. The user and investment commercial real estate office market remained unchanged in the second quarter with market lease rates continuing to weaken.

"Florida's commercial real estate market continues to show signs of recovery -- positive trends sustaining at the end of 2010 through mid-year 2011," according to CBRE research. "An obvious 'bottoming-out' is shown in 2009, but very little new developments have occurred since the downturn in 2008, resulting largely from the decrease in space demand."

Founded in 1998, CBRE is a multinational real estate corporation based out of Los Angeles. Considered to be the world's largest real estate firm, the company applies insight, experience and resources to markets around the globe, assisting clients in making real estate decisions. CBRE regularly publishes data on specific cities/regions in MarketView reports, which provide information on recent economic, vacancy, absorption, rental rate and construction trends.

"Positive absorption is the strongest indicator of recovery in commercial real estate today. After several years of tenants vacating, downsizing and adding sublease space to the market, Florida's absorption activity has countered these unfavorable conditions and moved absorption figures to the positive," reports CBRE research. "Additionally, rental rates have stabilized and even increased in select sub-markets, but most remain below pre-recession levels."

For more information on CBRE and to view the Second Quarter 2011 Tampa MarketViews report, visit the company's website.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Lauren Crawford, CB Richard Ellis

Seminole Hard Rock Adds New Stage In Tampa

Just as rock-n-roll has evolved over the last four decades, so has a Tampa venue that has celebrated the music for 40 years.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino recently added an 18,000-square-feet performance space and lounge.

James Geier of 555 Design Fabrication Management says the new project makes Hard Rock more competitive in the current club scene.

"We were hired to develop a new prototype for Hard Rock to elevate their place to make it more relevant to what's going on in the world of entertainment," says Geier. "It's been the same way for 40 years, and they want to make it like other clubs around today."

Geier says the stage is the focal point of the new space.

"They've always had small stages for small acts. But in this case, we had an 18,000-square-foot space in total. The stage is reminiscent of the Hollywood Bowl. It's really the central focus of the cafe. The canopy is the engine that leads to the stage and dining area. So everybody has a grand view.

Geier says small touches make the venue unique.

"There are screens for projections and DJ equipment, so if there isn't a live act going on, there's still something there for patrons to enjoy," he says. "We've also manufactured chandeliers out of speakers and cymbals. The stage is framed in silver RF connectors. A lot of these elements we've shipped off to other Hard Rock venues around the world. They're very cool rock-centric elements."

The venue had its grand opening in January 2011 and is now open for business with concerts three nights a week.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: James Geier, 555 Design Fabrication Management

Biolife, Sarasota Medical Manufacturer, Consolidates Operations

Biolife has been manufacturing its WoundSeal products at 1249 and 1235 Tallavast Road in Sarasota since 1999. Problem is, the two addresses are at opposite ends of the same building. So the manufacturer recently moved into a new space at 8163 25th Court East.

The new 22,500-square-foot facility brings together all aspects of Biolife operations, according to President and CEO Sam Shake.

"It's much more efficient on several levels," says Shake. "On the operating level, you have manufacturing and shipping all in one place. Research and development and marketing are together. That dialogue is much more effective now. Finance and accounting are now together. It's much more conducive to communication. And there's three labs, 20-odd offices, a warehouse, packaging system, manufacturing space, lots of conference rooms."

Shake says basic modifications were necessary to make the space usable. "We put in a new air conditioning system, which was the biggest expense," he says. "We also built a lab and created manufacturing space; built a processing system and built some walls. And we painted, fixed lights and cleaned the carpets -- all the typical improvements."

WoundSeal is Biolife's consumer product. "It's what you see in Walgreens. We have a whole other line of business for the healthcare industry called BioSeal. It's basically the same device, but comes in sterile packages with accompanying products for medical procedures. Our product creates a barrier around the incision and prevents bleeding and infection."

Shake says the new space will allow Biolife to expand into national markets."We started our test market for WoundSeal, with Walgreens in Sarasota and Manatee County. As of last week, we're in 200 stores. We want to go national with Walgreens and CVS and Publix. And we'd like to bring BioSeal into more hospitals nationwide."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Sam Shake, Biolife

Oshkosh Corp. Relocates Businesses to Tampa Bay

A conglomerate specializing in specialty trucks and equipment is merging subsidiaries and moving them to the Tampa Bay region.

Oshkosh Corporation has consolidated manufacturing operations of MedTec Ambulances with that of Pierce Manufacturing, its producer of fire trucks, located in Bradenton.

Oshkosh Specialty Vehicles (OSV) will merge with Frontline Communications in Clearwater. The two companies manufacture specialty vehicles outfitted with communications capabilities such as news trucks, police and military vehicles.

The planned relocation of both subsidiaries qualify Oshkosh for up to $1.44 million in economic development incentives. Enterprise Florida and the governor's Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development worked with Tampa Bay officials and economic development organizations to assist in relocating the Oshkosh operations. The move is expected to produce up to 200 jobs.

"Historically,we have found Florida to be a good location for our businesses," says John Daggett of the Oshkosh Corporation. "Our facilities have been there for some time and both Frontline and our Pierce Florida locations have found it very conducive for business. After an extensive review of Oshkosh's manufacturing locations across the country and close consultations with Florida officials, Oshkosh  determined that Florida provided the most competitive business environment for the future of these businesses. It optimizes our manufacturing capacities and allows us to remain competitive in very competitive markets."

According to Daggett, Frontline vehicles have been used to broadcast Super Bowl and Olympics events, and products of all four companies are used by law enforcement, fire rescue, medical and military units that need and demand durable products of high-quality.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: John Daggett, Oshkosh Corporation

Mosaic To Build Resort On Reclaimed Land In Polk

A Central Florida phosphate producer is breaking ground in more ways than one.

The Mosaic Company announced plans to build a resort in Polk County that will include two 18-hole golf courses, 140 guest rooms, five villas, a full-service spa, conference center, three restaurants, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, bass fishing, a sporting clays range and hiking and nature trails. It is Mosaic's first official real estate undertaking.

Dubbed Streamsong Resort, the vacation destination is to be built on 16,000 acres of reclaimed land that was formerly used to mine phosphate.

"Reclamation is an ongoing effort for the Mosaic footprint," says David Townsend, assistant VP of public affairs for Mosaic in making the announcement on Wednesday, Nov. 17. "It's an ongoing way of life for us."

Townsend says much of the Lakeland area is formerly mined land, reclaimed and redeveloped as part of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 that requires all mining projects submit a reclamation plan before mining the land.

"Much of Lakeland is reclaimed land," continues Townsend. "Its housing communities, golf courses, commercial areas, shopping centers, parks such as Alafia River State Park. Vast areas of Polk County are located on reclaimed land."

Although Renaissance Golf Design has already begun work on the two golf courses, completion of the resort itself is planned for 2013. Alberto Alfonso of Alfonso Architects is the lead architect for the resort, which is expected to provide 200 permanent jobs to area residents and help fuel Polk County's economy through bed taxes and other tourism opportunities.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: David Townsend, Mosaic

Starflower Essentials: Organic Beauty Company Moves to Sarasota

Starflower Essentials, a holistic skincare products manufacturer, has moved to Sarasota.

Starflower President and CEO Cherylyn Van Kirk says Tampa Bay's physical and economic climate motivated the move from Austin, TX.

"I love the climate, the culture and general ambiance of Sarasota," she says. "I feel something special here. I see a growing conscious community open and receptive to making healthy lifestyle choices whether it pertains to food, greener personal living space, personal care products or choosing to spend more quality time on things that matter. This is a trend sprouting across the country and I feel it quite strongly here."

Van Kirk founded Starflower Essentials in 1994. The company currently supplies more than 100 all-natural skincare products to spas, boutiques and wellness centers across the county. The products are made of certified organic, food-grade ingredients that are biodynamically grown and processed in small batches to preserve potency.

Van Kirk plans to move her processing plant to Sarasota next year, after she's established her new base and established relationships with beauty and wellness businesses in the area.

"My role here now is to begin a public relations campaign and let the Sarasota community know we are here," she says. "I am working to establish partnerships with three or four spas in various locations around Sarasota. One of these spas is the Vintage Salon & Spa."

Van Kirk says she plans to offer training for estheticians from the U.S. and Canada at her new location. "They can come and enjoy beautiful Sarasota."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Cherylyn Van Kirk, Starflower Essentials

Buddy Brew Coffee Opens Cafe On Kennedy In Tampa

Who knew coffee-making, like wine, was such an art? Susan and David Ward, that's who.

The couple, who own and operate Buddy Brew Coffee in Tampa, recently opened a storefront at 2020 W. Kennedy Blvd. to accommodate their growing business.

"First and foremost we're a coffee roaster," says Susan. "But we found this great space with big windows and a great door. So we ended up opening a small coffee shop with a bar, a couch, tables and chairs. The roaster is on a stage where people can watch the coffee as it's roasted."

The couple's coffee passion drove them to abandon the corporate world a couple of years ago and embrace their shared entrepreneurial spirit.

"We love the whole process of coffee," says Ward. "The taste and experience, what happens around it and the community it creates," says Ward. "Roasting coffee is the perfect combination of science and art."

Ward and her husband began by giving out bags of coffee they roasted with their home roaster to friends and family for the holidays. The reviews were so positive, the couple decided to invest in a commercial 1,000-pound Dietrich roaster and began selling online. They are passionately committed to quality.

"Anyone can turn a bean brown," says Ward. "But to really bring out all of the great natural flavors in each bean, it is a true art and science. How you treat each batch of beans brings out different flavors in the bean. Just like wine, there are so many nuances: body, finish and flavor. We spend hours creating roast profiles for each type of bean we roast."

The business is named for the couple's 13-year-old golden retriever. When asked if Buddy's a fixture in the new store, Ward laughs. "He makes guest appearances. He likes his time on the couch."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Susan Ward, Buddy Brew Coffee

23 Manufacturing Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts

Underwriting Partners