Family Business

Local father-daughter duo opens Clean Eatz in Port St. Lucie

Local father-daughter duo opens Clean Eatz in Port St. Lucie

Port St. Lucie residents have a new dining option with the opening of Clean Eatz at 10836 SW Village Parkway, Suite 10836. The award-winning health food restaurant franchise is known for its chef-inspired, nutritionist-approved menu selection, giving locals the option to order meal plans, catering packages, Grab ‘N’ Go meals, or enjoy a dine-in restaurant experience.

The franchise location will be owned and operated by Dave and Kylie Schaefers, a local father-daughter duo. Dave has been in the franchise space for over three decades, during which time he’s owned and/or operated a multitude of popular brands in various industries across the country. Kylie is a recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in health and wellness. This will mark the first involvement she’s had in the franchise space

“It’s been incredible to witness the growing namesake and public demand for Clean Eatz throughout Florida, and to be able to partner with incredible franchisees like Dave and Kylie to help drive our expansion in the state,” says Evonne Varady, Co-Founder of Clean Eatz.

For more information on Clean Eatz, please visit or call (772) 200-2268.

About Clean Eatz: 

Clean Eatz, which launched in 2011 and started franchising in 2015, was co-founded by husband-and-wife duo Don and Evonne Varady, as a means of helping individuals and families change their lives by providing them with better nutrition options, a steady dose of health and wellness education, and a diverse support community that’s committed to helping each other in becoming their best selves. By supplying such healthy alternatives, the Clean Eatz brand has continued to win over communities with their dine-in, grab-n-go, catering, marketplace, and weekly online meal plan selections.


Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at by Indian River Media Group. For more information or to report news email [email protected]

Jun. 8, 2023|

Sunshine Pickle Company sprouts on Treasure Coast

Sunshine Pickle Company sprouts on Treasure Coast

Not even halfway into the year, 2023 has already been deemed “The Year of the Pickle!” From dill potato chips, dill peanuts, popcorn and even beer, people are in love with all things pickled. The timing couldn’t be better for Vero Beach entrepreneurs, Josh and Kiaran Kabat’s new pickle company, The Sunshine Pickle Company.

“We launched the brand on Christmas eve of 2022 at the Fort Pierce farmers market to rave reviews and an instant cult following, we are so happy with all the community support and love we’ve received in such a short time of being in existence,” says Josh.

While the brand may be new, this is not the couple's first go around in the pickle business. “We’ve built 3 other successful pickle brands in addition to our product development company, Kab-Co Product Development outside of Florida, this new one is very much a passion project for us, kind of a way to prove to ourselves along with some others that we can continue with the success we’ve experienced in the past, and do it with a totally new company,” explains Kiaran.

“We try to eat very clean and healthy as a family, we have an 8 year old and a 5 year old that we don’t want eating the over processed and additive filled foods the fill our grocery store shelves today. We made a product completely sourced and produced in Florida, free of any additives or Preservatives. Our pickles are as clean of a snack as it gets,” says Kiaran.

While Josh has been busy working the local market and festival circuit getting the brand name out there, the couple's goals are much bigger than just existing as a local brand. ”The Product is beginning to pop up on store shelves throughout the entire state. We were able to secure distribution with another family-owned Florida company, which is very important to us. A community becomes stronger when you support local businesses, we hope to make a positive impact everywhere we are sold, we want to be Florida’s official snacking pickle.” For more information, log onto their website or call 772.213.9994.

Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at by Indian River Media Group. For more information or to report news email [email protected]

May. 11, 2023|

J. McLaughlin shopping event benefits Big Brothers  Big Sisters programs in Indian River County

J. McLaughlin shopping event benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters programs in Indian River County

CEO Debbie Hawley and J. McLaughlin Assistant Store Manager Wanda Welch. Photo courtesy of Jayne Platts

J. McLaughlin hosted a fundraiser benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee Counties at the Village Shops location in Vero Beach on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023.

Shoppers were invited to sip and shop from noon to 5 p.m., with 15% of sales benefiting BBBS programs in Indian River County. The event included light eats, Perrier and chilled Rosé. Assistant Store Manager Wanda Welch and her stylish, outgoing team entertained shoppers with BBBS CEO Debbie Hawley. Friends and couples from Houston and Ann Arbor to the Hamptons and Vero Beach attended in support of BBBS.

Brothers and co-owners Jay and Kevin McLaughlin set out to create a company culture of being good neighbors by partnering with trusted nonprofits. This fundraiser is one example of 700 events hosted at J. McLaughlin stores every year.

The successful afternoon of shopping raised $1,200 for the children BBBS serves in Indian River County. BBBS programs are free for all participants. Events such as the sip and shop fund these programs so youth can continue to achieve their full potential.

“We had such a delightful afternoon with the fabulous team at J. McLaughlin! We are so grateful for their financial support of our Big Brothers Big Sisters agency, but also for the opportunity to share our mission with their many customers,” Hawley said. “Our deepest thanks to Wanda and her team for making us part of the J. McLaughlin family.”

Visit or call 772-466-8535for more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee Counties. “Like” BBBS on Facebook and follow on Instagram @bbbsbigs.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee Counties

Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee Counties strives to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Debbie Hawley is the CEO. For more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters please visit or call 772-466-8535. “Like” BBBS on Facebook and follow on Instagram @bbbsbigs.


Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at by Indian River Media Group. For more information or to report news email [email protected]



Mar. 9, 2023|

Island of possibilities

Island of possibilities

Bob and Sharon Lowe of Lowe’s International Realty Plus

Bob and Sharon Lowe of Lowe’s International Realty Plus have lived on North Hutchinson Island for 45 years. ANTHONY INSWASTY

Bob Lowe sold on North Hutchinson Island as longtime resident and successful broker


The Lowes enjoy giving a miniature LED flashlight

The Lowes enjoy giving a miniature LED flashlight with their business name to each client and visitor to their office, which led to Bob Lowe being known as ”The Flashlight Guy” around the Treasure Coast. JOE DESALVO

Most folks in their 80s living on North Hutchinson Island are well into retirement, enjoying natural amenities found on the beautiful stretch of the barrier island between the Indian River County line and Fort Pierce Inlet State Park. 

Retirement? At age 84, Bob Lowe chooses to remain active by selling this Treasure Coast gem to out-of-towners looking to relocate, especially from the East Coast, North Florida and South Florida. 

Lowe, you see, is president of Lowe’s International Realty Plus, located at 2901 N. Highway A1A. It’s the single-story tan building with the barrel tile roof that stands alone on the 9.5-acre lot at the corner of A1A and Marina Drive. 

Despite complications from hip surgery in 2017 that has him using a walking aid, Lowe refuses to slow down, working seven days a week from the office or home. 

Wife, Sharon, company vice president and licensed Realtor, has been her husband’s rock of support for 45 years. 

“It is hard to keep up with him at 84 and I’m 71,” said Sharon, who retired five years ago from Indian River State College after 42 years. “He just won’t quit. I often say to him, ‘Let’s just quit and let’s enjoy traveling’ and all that. He says, ‘I’ve got to stay busy.’ 

“This [their business] keeps his mind going and active,” she said. “He’s so active in the community. He’s not going to quit. No quitting.”


Lowe will have none of that when it comes to professional and community involvement. In addition to having served on state and area Realtor boards, he was elected chairman of the St. Lucie County Planning and Zoning Board in January and just served as chairman of the St. Lucie County Board of Adjustment. 

Lowe has also served on several community boards, including New Horizons, a drug, alcohol and mental-illness facility on the Treasure Coast. He’s also on the board of directors of the St. Lucie County Hundred Club. The organization provides direct financial help for spouses and dependents of law-enforcement officers and firefighters who have lost their lives or become disabled in the line of duty.

It was supporting the American Cancer Society years ago that enabled Lowe and Sharon to meet in the mid-1970s when the Chicago native was general manager of Nash Pontiac Cadillac on South U.S. 1 in Fort Pierce. 

Sharon, who came to Florida from Minnesota, likes to tell the story:

“I was doing a bike-a-thon for the Cancer Society and I stopped at Nash Pontiac Cadillac because I knew some of the salesmen,” Sharon said. “I said, ‘Would you sponsor me for this bike-a-thon,’ and they said, ‘No, we’re not going to do it, but our boss will.’

“So, they sent me in to meet Bob Lowe,” Sharon said. “He sponsored me for the bike-a-thon and when I walked out, he said to his sales people, ‘I might try to marry that girl.’ And, about a year and a half later, we got married [in 1977]. So, pretty crazy.”

There’s nothing crazy for what happened next for Lowe. 

It was after Lowe discovered that the dealership was being sold that he became a licensed broker in 1984. It was the start of a successful career that spanned three offices — Lowe Realty in the plaza at U.S. 1 and the North Causeway, and then Century 21 Lowe Realty offices in Sebastian and Vero Beach. 

Lowe sold those offices and opened Lowe Realty in the former strip center that stood behind the current office. It was in 2010 that Bob completed the build-out of a planned office for a project that fell through, and established Lowe’s International Realty.

Debra Madden is office and rental manager

Debra Madden is office and rental manager as well as a broker sales associate for Lowe’s International Realty Plus. DEBRA MADDEN


The Lowes are quite familiar with the island, having lived in Queen’s Cove and The Sands before moving to Breakers Landing 30 years ago. They saw the potential growth in their business by opening an office on it.

“No. 1, we lived on the island; we loved the island,” Lowe said. “We loved what the possibilities of the island could be when developed. 

“Our beaches are beautiful; we have fishing; we have a new bridge coming in; we have an airport with Customs; and plenty of golf courses [in the area],” he said.

First-year sales provided an omen of what was to come for the company.

“We did pretty well, but there wasn’t any competition on the island,” Lowe said.

Some refer to Lowe as “Mr. North Beach.” His reaction: “Sounds good. I’ve been here forever.”

Sharon calls North Hutchinson Island “a diamond in the rough, because people don’t realize it’s still so pristine and it’s going to stay that way.

“I think the values are just going to go up, that’s what our total belief is, especially when you see what Vero gets opposed to us,” she said. “I think there’s no place to go but up.” 

According to, the median listing price in North Hutchinson Island in December was $649,000, compared to $2.4 million in The Moorings community located north of the St. Lucie/Indian River county line on A1A. 

When it comes to addressing their clients’ residential, rental, waterfront and commercial property needs, the Lowes have a talented six-member staff. The team did $30 million in sales last year, mostly on the island … and mostly cash deals, according to Lowe.

As for 2023, “I think it’s going to be good; I really do,” Lowe predicted. “There’s still a shortage of homes. The prices dropped a little bit because of the financing [rising interest rates]. Now the interest rates are starting to go back down. And I think that the market is going to be good. The last half of the year is really going to be strong.”

Bob Lowe sold this 11.8-acre lot

Bob Lowe sold this 11.8-acre lot – zoned for a hotel, commercial and commercial hotel – to a Vero Beach-based investor. JOE DESALVO


As for commercial real estate, one has to trust Lowe’s track record.

“My real success in life has been as a commercial broker,” said Lowe, who also owns and operates Lowe Realty Corp. “I know what I know and that is commercial — hotels, casinos and the international business.

“The island has only one problem — there’s no place to open a business right now,” he said. “This is it [the 9.5-acre mixed-used lot on which his office stands] and the hotel site.”

Both properties were casualties of the destructive winds of hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in September 2004. 

Lowe has sold the property three times, but has yet to see it developed. It even comes with access to the Intracoastal Waterway via a canal in the back of it.

Designs for the property have already been approved by the county, according to Lowe. “Plans for the three-story complex include 70 units with shops below the front condos.”

“We’re hungry for it here,” Sharon said. “We’ve met a lot of people who are interested.” 

“It will sell because there’s nothing left,” Lowe added. 

It’s on the market for $7 million.

As for the former Holiday Inn site nearby at the northeast corner of A1A and Shorewinds Drive, Lowe sold it a year ago in December to an investor in Vero Beach. It’s 11.8 acres with 500 feet on the beach. 

“He wants $50 million for it,” Lowe said. “It’s zoned for 36 units an acre for a hotel, commercial, and commercial hotel. You can build condos, but they have to be part of the hotel. You can make a Marriott Residence and sell some as condos to make your money back. Then they control the rental of it.”


private residential community of Bear Creek in Linville, North Carolina.

The Lowes’ latest project is selling the 35 lots they bought in the private residential community of Bear Creek in Linville, North Carolina. They have already sold eight since the Dec. 28 closing. ANTHONY INSWASTY

What should be a game-changer for those aforementioned sites and residential property values on the island is the North Causeway Bridge replacement project that has been approved by the Florida Department of Transportation. 

The existing two-lane 2,100-foot-long bridge, constructed in 1963 and including a double bascule over the Intracoastal Waterway’s main channel, is being replaced with a high-level 4,152.5-foot-long fixed bridge crossing over the FEC Railroad tracks, Old Dixie Highway and the Intracoastal Waterway.

First approved five years ago, preliminary work has finally begun after several delays. It should be completed by the end of 2025.

“It will increase the [real estate] prices,” Lowe said.

Debra Madden, who has been with the Lowes for six years and serves as office and rental manager as well as being a broker sales associate, agreed.

“It will be the second largest [bridge to island, the other being the 17th Street bridge in Vero Beach],” Madden said of the bridge’s impact on the island’s real estate market. “It’ll be a destination. People will want to go over it.”

In the meantime, the Lowes have taken on a new project. They closed in December on 35 lots in Bear Creek in Linville, North Carolina. It’s a private, prestige residential community near Blowing Rock, Boone and Banner Elk.

“We did our honeymoon in Banner Elk and Beech Mountain, and that’s where we fell in love with North Carolina,” Sharon said. “So, we’ve had numerous homes up there and now we’re buying this project and trying to sell these lots.” 

“I think we’ll have all the lots sold in 18 months,” Sharon said. “That’s our goal and we already have sold eight since the Dec. 28 closing.”

Lowe is quick to share his principles of selling real estate so effectively and in Bear Creek’s case, so swiftly.

“Honesty. Integrity. And, satisfying the customer,” he said. “We’re very firm on that.”

Not to mention, visitors and clients can count on receiving the Lowe’s International Realty Plus LED mini flashlight from the Lowes.

“He’s known as the ‘Flashlight Guy’ all over Vero and Fort Pierce,” Sharon said with a smile.

With that said, Lowe is possibly shedding light on retirement plans?

“I’ve been blessed. We’ve both been blessed,” Lowe said. “I thank God every day. We talked about that this morning. I’m going to retire someday — I think sooner than later.”

Lowe’s International 

Realty Plus Inc.

Robert J. Lowe Sr., Broker/President

2901 N. Highway A1A

Hutchinson Island, FL 34949

Office Phone: 772.467.6500

Cell Phone: 772.559.1676


Bear Creek at Linville, 

North Carolina

Robert J. Lowe Sr., Broker

Office phone: 828.742.0000

Cell Phone: 772.559.1676


See the original article in print publication

Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at by Indian River Media Group. For more information or to report news email [email protected]

Feb. 20, 2023|

Paws and PALs Honored with Dyer Difference Award

Paws and PALs honored with Dyer Difference Award

Diana Ciemko, Mary Wood, Snow (dog), John Dyer, Tatiana Dyer, Cookie Pankiewicz. Ted Pankiewicz, Sr.,Ted Pankiewicz, Jr., Handsome (dog), Helena Voss, Cheryl Diedolf, Cheryl and Jim Wilson

Jessica Pankiewicz was just 32 when she succumbed to complications of Devic’s, an autoimmune disease. An animal lover who had a heart for helping others, Pankiewicz’s legacy lives on through For the Love of Paws, an organization formed in 2014 in honor of her. For the Love of Paws helps provide senior citizens peace of mind when they are no longer able to care for their beloved pet companions. The organization works hard to foster, adopt, or provide sanctuary for pets on its five-acre farm in Fellsmere. Additionally, For the Love of Paws also distributes more than 14,000 pounds of pet food each month to food pantries to ensure that pets don’t go hungry when times for their two-legged family members are ‘ruff.’ Best of all, For the Love of Paws also provides veterinary care for senior citizens on low or fixed incomes and free spay and neutering of seniors’ and veterans’ pets. The organization’s Fur Real Pet Companion program has given patients in 32 memory care facilities a chance to share the unconditional love provided by a pet, too. The January Dyer Difference Award recognizes the love and dedication of For the Love of Paws with its own equivalent to a tail wag and scratch behind the ear.

Sgt. D. Soesbe, General Manager Jonathan Holmes, President Lisa Johns-Grose, Tatiana Dyer, John Dyer, Sgt. M Woods

Building relationships and mentoring is what it’s all about at St. Lucie Sheriff’s PAL program, too. Every year, more than 300 youth are able to enjoy year-round activities including boxing, wrestling, and karate as well as leadership programs and mentoring to help connect youth in the community with law enforcement officers in a positive, respectful atmosphere. To encourage kids to put down video games and engage with one another and with deputies, the St. Lucie Sheriff’s PAL program is installing a basketball court at its new PAL Center in Fort Pierce. The January Dyer Difference Award in St. Lucie County will help make that happen and will help promote fun, respect, and positive role-modeling for youth in our community while building strong, positive, lasting relationships between law enforcement officers and the youth in the communities they serve.

The Dyer Difference Award is all about celebrating the beauty and kindness in our midst. For the Dyer family and the members of the Dyer staff, the award and the $6,000 in donations made monthly between the St. Lucie and Indian River Counties are all about helping to make a positive difference in the community. For the recipients, it’s an acknowledgement of their tireless efforts to do the same and a much-needed financial boost to help further their missions. If you’d like to nominate a non-profit organization for the Dyer Difference Award, please visit or find Dyer Difference on Facebook.


Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at by Indian River Media Group. For more information or to report news email [email protected]

Jan. 20, 2023|

FSBDC at IRSC Highlights Client Success

FSBDC at IRSC Highlights Client Success


Staff Photo - DragonFly Graphics

Staff with Al Coffey, Owner of DragonFly Graphics. (Michael Spooneybarger/ Florida SBDC Network Headquarters)

What started as a family business twenty years ago has grown to a recognizable and respected brand across the Treasure Coast. DragonFly Graphics, located off Bayshore in Port St. Lucie, Florida, understands the importance of building your professional image through good branding and a memorable image amongst the public. As a trusted provider of branded material like company shirts and logo creation, President/CEO Al Coffey states the foundation of this successful enterprise started as a family business, inspired by brothers with a background in screen printing. To date, DragonFly has expanded its team past the ranks of just family, employing over twenty individuals whose skills range in graphic design, printing, and more. You can spot DragonFly Graphic’s expertise on a number of local Pop Warner Football jerseys.

Al Coffey started as an attendee of an FSBDC at IRSC Financial Literacy session, the now fifteen-year relationship has made DragonFly Graphics a high-value client for this region. While this organization’s journey started long before a connection with the FSBDC at IRSC, Al Coffey contacted the local center in 2009 while searching for access to capital for growth. Coffey worked alongside the late Fort Pierce consultant, Duke Evans, for a number of years working towards putting DragonFly’ success into a business plan to ensure they are ready for future expansion or capital. Through a relationship with the FSBDC at IRSC the organization received research via IBIS World reporting on the surrounding market. This data was used exponentially over the course of fifteen years, strengthening DragonFly’s following among local organizations.

DragonFly continued their relationship with the FSBDC at IRSC, resulting in being one of the first organizations within the region to secure an Emergency Bridge Loan at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through contact with consultant Spike Schultheis, DragonFly was able to plan for use of funding from the EBL and apply for a local Small Business Recovery Grant facilitated through the FSBDC at IRSC. Obtaining both sources of funding allowed the organization to keep a full staff and continue production throughout the economic disaster. Consulting provided by the FSBDC instilled the importance of a growth plan, a goal Al Coffey has since set to achieve with the Florida SBDC at IRSC stating, “trial and error can be costly and unnecessary” in regards to having Spike in his corner, “having someone with more knowledge than me over my shoulder to point out opportunities is very valuable”.

Listing community as a core value of the organization, DragonFly Graphics is a valuable asset to the Treasure Coast. You can learn more about their organization and gain personalized branding material by visiting their website or calling (772) 879-9800

Learn about DragonFly’s path to success by viewing their Client Success Story with the Florida Small Business Development Center, here:

Ready to get started on your path to success? Contact your local FSBDC at Indian River State College!

[email protected] | (772) 336-6285

Jan. 3, 2022|

Local Business Highlight: The Saussie Pig

Local Business Highlight: The Saussie Pig


Owner Tashiema Brown and his son Tre'Bon provided by Leah Voss/TC Palm


Tashiema “Beemer” Brown is doing the food truck thing in reverse. Instead of growing his business, he decided to downsize from brick-and-mortar restaurants to a food truck: The Saussie Pig.

“Bigger isn’t always better,” Brown said.

Brown, who moved to Vero Beach about 15 years ago, owned a dump truck business until the economy crashed, and he had to figure out something else to do for work. He thought of his first job at age 14 at a rib joint in his native Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“I moved my family here and I didn’t want to move them back there because where I grew up and here is night and day,” Brown said. “This is like vacation. I knew I wanted to keep my family here.

“So I went back to what I knew — cooking and barbecue.”

Starting outside Vero Beach bars

Brown bought a smoker and he hauled it around town with his truck.

“I would set up outside of different bars throughout the community as they closed, and it just kind of took off,” Brown said.

He then bought a small trailer and started working some events. He also had opened a restaurant in Fellsmere and a sports bar in Vero Beach, but he was done dealing with employees. He wanted a family-run business with his wife, brother, daughter and sons.

He had bought the yellow truck about five years ago, but he didn’t renovate it until two months before the coronavirus pandemic.

Because of the nature of the business, the pandemic didn’t hurt his food truck.

“We stayed busy the entire time,” Brown said. “This truck never shut down.”

Naming menu items after customers

The Saussie Pig is named for its pulled pork sandwiches.

“You don’t have to ask for extra sauce,” Brown said. “We put enough on there.”

The sandwiches are named after people. The “Bender” — topped with coleslaw and a slice of pineapple — is named after a “surfer dude” customer, he said. The “Harvey” — topped with bacon, cheese and jalapeno — is named after Brown’s partner when he first started the food truck.

“These creations came from outside of the bars at night,” Brown said. “Every sandwich that I have on there, it was created by someone outside of a bar at 2 a.m. And the names just stuck.”

The sandwiches are named after people. The “Bender” — topped with coleslaw and a slice of pineapple — is named after a “surfer dude” customer, he said. The “Harvey” — topped with bacon, cheese and jalapeno — is named after Brown’s partner when he first started the food truck.

“These creations came from outside of the bars at night,” Brown said. “Every sandwich that I have on there, it was created by someone outside of a bar at 2 a.m. And the names just stuck.”


Dec. 13, 2021|

Busch Family Foundation contributes $15,000 to Boys and Girls Club

FORT PIERCE — Philip Busch, president of Southern Eagle Distributing and the Peter W. Busch Family Foundation, presented a check for $15,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County, in support of the Youth of the Year Program.

The Youth of the Year Program recognizes top achieving youths from each of the […]

Feb. 20, 2018|

Local family business featured in New York Time’s article

FORT PIERCE – Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company was featured in a New York Times article, Lifting the Second-Generation Curse, last week. Founder Marygrace Sexton and daughter Natalie (for whom the company was named when she was just an infant in 1990) are profiled among other family businesses striving to survive the statistical odds […]

Jul. 19, 2016|

Nelsons say 70 years of success rooted in American values

Fresh fruits and vegetables are available for shoppers at Nelson Family Farms on Midway Road in White City. ED DRONDOSKI PHOTO
When Alfred and Hilda Nelson opened their first citrus grove in 1938, selling the fruit out of their front yard, they could not have imagined the success future generations would enjoy on […]

Feb. 16, 2016|