Family Business

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|