Fort Made

Follow FortMade and hear the stories of thriving businesses, young and old tell their story of Fort Pierce and what makes our City unique to live here, play here and work here in beautiful Fort Pierce. Follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ftpierce/  or Twitter @Ft_Pierce 

To be featured on Fort Made or to nominate a business, please submit a nomination form.

Nomination Form

Owners of Summerlins Marine Construction


As the City of Fort Pierce celebrates the 100 year anniversary in just a few short days, we created a special Fortmade series to highlight one of the original families that assisted in the dredging and opening of our beautiful Jetty Inlet.

Meet Sam Summerlin, Joy Yancy, and Roy Summerlin, the owners of Summerlin's Marine Construction, a long-time dock and seawall building business. You might recognize the last name, Summerlin - that's right. The family name has been here in Fort Pierce since the 1900s and is mostly recognized for the famous fish dip, Summerlin SMAK, but the Summerlin's are also known for being one of the oldest marine construction businesses in Fort Pierce.

“Summerlin's Marine Construction originally started as Summerlin’s Seven Seas back in the ’70s. My father, Herman Summerlin, owned several fish houses and made his living as a net fisherman. When the fishing industry kind of took a turn, he decided to become a dock builder with my uncle, Bill. The business rapidly took off and he became one of the only marine contractors in the area for at least the next 20 years. I came to work for him in the late ’90s. I was torn between being a teacher or work for my dad in the marine business. I eventually switched my major and received a degree in construction with an emphasis on marine contracting. My goal was to run the family business. In 1999, I married Robbie Yancy who came on board as one of our operating managers; fast-forward to 2008, I required my license to become a marine contractor in St. Lucie County and we have been growing the family business. We would never think about moving the business anywhere else. My grandparents have been here since the early 1900s. We are a fishing family, if you will, and love the water. I love that Fort Pierce has a variety of people. Our industry focuses on boating and fishing. I have 6 siblings and we all live within 2 miles of each other, so Fort Pierce has and always will be our home. What people do not realize is that we are not just surrounded by pristine waters, but in an hour, you could be out west enjoying nature, the mossy oaks, deer, gators, just the Florida wildlife. We are about 3 hours from the Keys, 3 hours from St. Pete, just an hour to Orlando or Okeechobee; Fort Pierce really is at the center of everything. Even the Bahamas isn’t that far, especially by boat, yet here we are in a beautiful little town, enjoying our paradise. Fort Pierce has been so good to my family. We have met so many people throughout the years, authentic people too, that you just know that is the goodness of our hometown. “ ~ Joy Yancy

Follow us as we continue to share #FortMade stories about the unique and creative people living the Fort Pierce dream. This city wouldn't be the same without the wonderful people in our community.

Dixie-Cream-owner_final

Meet Sarah Hargrove, owner of the original Dixie Cream Donuts located at 3210 Orange Avenue, Suit B. Dixie Cream Donuts serves up a variety of delicious donuts made fresh every day. Everything from the traditionally glazed donut to specialty ones like the oreo cookie crumbles or the glazed maple bacon donut, but you better get there early because they don’t last long!

“Dixie Cream Donuts has been around since the 1920s; that is as far back as we can trace it. The store was located on Delaware Avenue at the time until about the 1940s where it moved to this location and has been here ever since. I started working at Dixie Cream Donuts when I was about 15 years. I have been doing this for about 21 years now. This has been my life. My kids are here with me and even my daughter was pretty much raised in the store. Some nights I had no choice but to get up, get to the shop and start making donuts with her at my side as a baby. I did move away for a little while to North Carolina where I opened a donut shop up there. It wasn’t like home though. It wasn’t Fort Pierce. I remember this guy coming into my North Carolina store, smelling and seeing the fresh donuts and seeing the local orange juice set up as we have here, and he knew right away – this was Dixie Cream Donuts. He was extremely excited that it reminded him of the Fort Pierce store. That made me miss our town. I got the opportunity to own Dixie Cream shortly after I moved back, and I wasn’t going to pass it up. I’ve been the owner for about two years now. This store is a part of me, my kids, and we love being a part of this community. Things have changed in the last few years too. The crime has gone down, the area is reviving, and Fort Pierce is becoming a hot spot for visitors. I can tell you that when COVID happened, it was a struggle – we serve food ya know, so we took a hit, but bounced back, and worked our tail off through it all to keep this place going. The other day, Saturday I think, we had a line out the door like I couldn’t believe. We couldn’t keep donuts on the shelf…. That made my heart so happy, and to know that people value the long-standing of this place.”

Follow us as we continue to share #FortMade stories about the unique and creative people living the Fort Pierce dream. This city wouldn't be the same without the wonderful people in our community.


Cynthias Alterations

Meet Cynthia Ashley and Emily Quarterman of Cynthia’s Alterations, a seamstress shop located at 1802 Avenue D. These ladies create anything from wedding and bridal dresses to upholstery, custom clothing, and more. Cynthia’s is passionate about reviving the Lincoln Park District and wants to see Avenue D thrive for all to enjoy.


“My parents owned and built the building I’m in now. They owned an upholstery shop here on Avenue D for over 50 years. When my parents passed away around 2010, my heart was torn to see the building empty. I thought to myself “I need to do something,” but I was working another job at the time. It pulled and pulled on my heart to watch everything go downhill. This was around 2012. This is my hometown, my neighborhood, everything that I knew. In 2016, after the hurricane, I came to a point that I was ready to retire. I made the choice to not go back to work, but I was still unsure what I was going to do with my parent’s building. Sewing has been in my family since I was a little girl which was something I knew how to do, so I began praying about it. I got my answer through lots of prayers. And one night my mom came to me in a dream, talking to me about sewing, and when I woke up and just knew. I started at home in 2017, built up my clientele, and purchased my parent's building just last year in 2020. You would think that COVID would have hindered our work, but really, it blessed me more than I thought during these trying times. People bought their items to me to fix and sew because they didn’t want to go out in public; they didn’t want to have to purchase new clothes and some maybe couldn’t afford it, so they brought it to me. We made it like new and better again. It blesses me that I could do that for my community. Fort Pierce is my home – I love the root connection our town has, especially for me in the Lincoln Park District. I love how I’m connected to a lot of people here. I remember running around in my youth when businesses were booming back in the day, Avenue D in particular. We had shops, restaurants, a supermarket, a pharmacy with the Lincoln Theatre in the back – buildings were beautiful, and people were supporting each other on this street. To see it looking like a ghost town hurt my heart. Folks say Avenue D this or Avenue D that, which got to me because they don’t know the history of our beautiful Lincoln Park area. There were a lot of people talking about reviving the area, but no one was doing anything about it. I wanted to be a part of the solution and help rebuild this area which now is coming back to life. There’s a new tattoo shop next door, a crab shack across the street, Miracle Ribs is still down the way, and more. The buildings are looking good again, and the City has done a lot with landscape and the streets. This community is full of culture and love. There are a lot of good people here with a lot to offer and we all have to work together.”



LSA_Group

Meet Cindy Bridges and Heather Wells, owners of The Lindsay School Of The Arts located at 1717 Orange Avenue, on the west side of the Crain House. A perfect location for aspiring artist, the Crain house is decorated in a beautiful Spanish flare with a mixture of mosaic tile art and of course, peacocks which fill the patios.

A bunch of us local artists and friends came together with a vision. We wanted to teach all styles of art to youth in our community, for free. We began once a week at Southside Christian Church here in Fort Pierce back in 2017. Everyone volunteered, guiding out of passion and showing children different art mediums from painting to dance. That hasn’t stopped since we’ve grown. We desperately wanted to give any willing child an opportunity to express themselves and not let money be a reason why they couldn’t. There are so many programs out there for athletes and other after school activities, but there aren’t that many for the arts. Funding for art programs, especially in other counties, is very challenging and expensive. Fort Pierce has been the perfect place for us to do what we do. Look at the culture we have here in the Fort, especially in the arts. You can always find something different and unique about Fort Pierce no matter how long you’ve lived here. Today we have over 290 seats, offering free art classes for any child wanting to learn and 11 staff members that have a plethora of skills and passion to teach. Without the help from the community that we have here, without the local businesses and the local artists, we wouldn’t be able to do what we love do. – Cindy and Heather

David-BuShea-at-Sailfish

Meet David BuShea Jr., he is the co-founder and managing partner of Sailfish Brewing Company located at 130 N 2nd Street. Sailfish is a hometown brewery, originated here in Fort Pierce, and reflects the coastal appetite for bright, refreshing flavors and sources local ingredients as much as possible.

“We opened Sailfish in April of 2013. We looked everywhere from Stuart to Vero, but honestly, we fell in love with Fort Pierce. There wasn’t anything like it, and at the time, the old Harry Hill house was available which had the vibe we were looking for. The Edgartown district was being rezoned, allowing a brewery to exist, so it all came together. We spent some time showing officials what a true brewery looks like by visiting others in the state. We shared our vision of the brewery which gave them a sense of pride and enthusiasm about the future of Sailfish. It was a lot of work at first putting us on the map, but here we are. I mean, we introduced the Treasure Coast to craft beer, so we put a lot of pride in the fact, Sailfish is Fort Pierce. We were the first craft brewery around and now there’s like 11 which is awesome. As far as relocating, we’ve done the analysis and have a few more years here before expanding, but we’ll never move from this spot. This is where it all started plus, we have a lot of strong community ties.

As you know, Fort Pierce has some very loyal, authentic people here, and we work tirelessly to keep those ties tight and bring our community together through events. Our events draw crowds from all over which is tremendous for the local economy. This month alone is big for us. We have the annual Oktoberfest, a huge event that not only introduces people to the craft beer world, but it also shows off Fort Pierce to visitors and tourists who’ve never been here. We knew we wanted to embrace our community that way, so we started small and things progressively got bigger, making a larger impact in the area. I think we’ve done a lot of good for our city. People don’t know where our little town is when I discuss Sailfish and its location during business trips. Businesspeople from out of state come here for meetings and just are absolutely stunned at this place. They say, ‘my goodness, this is a diamond in the rough,’ and I think that shows people that you can make things work in this area. One thing is for sure, the future is bright here and Sailfish is Fort Pierce’s brewery; there’s a lot of value in that.” – David BuShea

GrillRefill_v1

Meet Peter Daigle, owner of the Grill Refill Inc, located 3501 Oleander Ave, a man who has a lot of love for Fort Pierce and takes a lot pride in what he does. The Grill Refill Inc, sits just off the road with an American flag out front with a couple of grills and some big propane tanks just off to the side – you can’t miss it. The inside has all of your grill and refill needs from the latest BBQ grills to grill parts like nozzles, hoses or even grilling utensils.

“We’ve been in business for over 22 years, same spot, same location. Sure, we could move to a bigger city with more people, but we just couldn’t leave this place – it’s beautiful. I raised my family here, my daughter went to John Carroll High School and swam for years with the Indian River swim team and is now off to college. We’ve made a lot of friends that we consider family. We love the downtown, the people and all it has to offer. We love taking our little boat out to enjoy the water. We snorkel, dive and fish – we enjoy it all because its all right here, tucked away. You know, I treat my customers very fair with open honesty and because of that, we have a lot of repeat customers. I think that’s why we have made it for so long. Fort Pierce just has some real genuine people here and that’s hard to find. This place just fits.” - Peter Daigle


Causeway CoveMeet Buzz Smyth, the manager of Causeway Cove Marina. This beautiful marina sits just over South Causeway Bridge while heading east. The marina was once home to a former RV / mobile trailer park before the hurricanes of 2004 struck. The storms left behind a shell yet a vision for a new and beautiful waterway venue for all to enjoy. Causeway Cove sits on 43 acres of land with plenty of room for large outdoor events, boats and RV’s or simple back-patio gatherings that overlook the water. The marina even has a waterfront vacation rental if you're looking for some R-n-R.

“I grew up here in Fort Pierce and absolutely love this town! When Frances and Jeanne knocked out the old park, the owner had a vision; a vision that incorporates our community and embraces our waterfront lifestyle and I couldn’t be prouder to work here… I mean just look at this place! We keep our gates open to the public, so they can come in and check us out anytime. Man, we’ve got fishing spots, patio seating for sunsets; we’ve got the inlet just around the corner in case you want to do some offshore fishing. We even get people in here from South Beach that just want to ride their bikes around. That’s what we want! We just want people to enjoy this place like we do. Sometimes people say to us, ‘we didn’t know this place existed.’ They drive right past our little town from the interstate, but oh man! You should see their faces when they find us. People light up when they see how beautiful Fort Pierce is! They love how laid back we are and how friendly and genuine everyone is. They are blown away at our beautiful waterways, our downtown, the history - just all of it! They say ‘mannn… how could we've missed this place!?’ Fort Pierce is really something special and we have to be ambassadors of it every day.” - Buzz Smyth 

DiveShop

Meet Scott Shaler and crew of DiveOdyssea. A chill, laid back dive shop servicing all of your dive needs for 20 years.

"I moved here from California a long time ago. I was looking a laid back town. I searched from as far as down south as I can think to way up past Jacksonville and I stumbled upon little ol’ Fort Pierce. One day, I was leaving the beach and walked into a store with just shorts on; no shirt, no shoes and bought a six-pack. Man, nobody complained or said a thing. I knew right then and there this is where I wanted to live. What I love about this little town is everybody is real friendly and casual; kindly like me and I like that about this city. Our dive operates the same way. We are family owned, been around for years. We’re not a franchise or a corporation, just a down to earth dive shop. We don’t always get it right, but we always do what’s right by people. It’s what keeps you going; treating people right. If you want to stop in and just chat, ask some questions about diving or not, either way we’re here and will shoot the breeze with ya. I think how we relate to people is kind of a reflection of Fort Pierce and the people that live here. It has that warm, realistic vibe happening and always will in my eyes." - Scott Shaler

LegitCuts

Meet Jose Ruiz, owner of Legit Cuts located at 206 N 2nd Street, a gentleman who loves his City and the people in it. The interior of Legit Cuts is a mix of classy and modern décor. Vintage barber pieces rest in display cases, Florida Highwaymen art and contemporary art hang on the walls and the barber crew, always fashionable, stands happily ready to serve.

“I’ve lived in Fort Pierce for 13 years now and have owned the barber shop for about 4 and half. I love having my business here especially because it’s right by the water, one of the most beautiful reasons, but Fort Pierce just has this authentic vibe happening. Downtown Fort Pierce is so neighborly. We’re all able to help each other through community events and continued support which is great. One thing I really love is that downtown has so much history. The barber culture is such an old tradition, it’s been around for centuries so it was fitting to have my business here in historic downtown. I’d love to be a part of that history one day and be able to say “I made an impact on this beautiful town.” – Jose Ruiz

LisaKayaks

Meet Lisa Fasnacht, Owner of Lisa’s Kayaks, a down to earth Kayak shop that offers SUP (Standup Paddle Boards), bikes, and kayak rentals. Lisa’s passion is getting you outside exploring Fort Pierce, showing you all it has to offer whether it’s on a bike or in a kayak.

“I love this city so much! I have lived here for 35 years. Look around you, Fort Pierce is a big playground. We have so much diversity, an awesome coastline, great restaurants; I mean we’ve got everything. The water is crystal clear at high tide and at low tide you can see the abundant marine life. The vision I had for Fort Pierce long ago is starting to come to fruition. If you look at where we were years ago and see how far we’ve come, just wow! It has been a team effort to put Fort Pierce on the map. There has been a lot of hard work by everyone and I am excited about where we are going, I really am.” – Lisa Fasnacht

Spunky

Meet Spunky Strunk, Owner of Spunky’s Surf Shop located at 1403 US Highway 1. A down to earth surf shop filled with retro surf boards, pictures and everything under the sun to do with surfing.

“I’ve been here in Fort Pierce since 1971. At the time I was going to college and I had an opportunity to own a little surf shop just off of Avenue H – this was back in 1972, but unfortunately, I had to close it. I said if I ever had the chance, I would definitely do it again, so I did and opened Spunky’s Surf Shop in 1994. North Jetty at the time, was wide open for surf and the water here has always been gorgeous – so it seemed fitting. Fort Pierce is such a natural gem. I love the fact that St. Lucie County and Fort Pierce have access to so many public beaches and the water here is so pristine. It’s not over crowded and the people here are genuine and down to earth. It has always been a nice little community that I thought was a great place for my surf shop and to raise my family as well.” – Spunky Strunk

Phatz Chicken0

Meet Robert and Tessa Adams, Owners of Phatz Chick-N-Shack located at 412 US Highway 1. A sweet, fun loving restaurant serving up some serious “fingerlickin’ goodness!”

“I’ve lived in Fort Pierce just about all my life. I left for a few years, but came back because I truly missed home. We started with a food truck which did really well. During that time we owned a building which we were trying to rent out, but decided just to put the restaurant in there. The first location was off Ave D and did really well. We recently moved to our new location just off of US Highway and with another location in Vero Beach. We get a lot of slack from Real Estate agencies asking us to relocate the home base to Port St. Lucie. We’re not about that – we love our town, we started here and going to keep it here. People think there’s a stigma about Fort Pierce, but once you settle in, visit the town, you realize that it’s all talk. There are really good people here, the community is vibrant and we couldn’t be happier to share our passion with our town.” – Tessa Adams

MervisCafe

Meet Ivel and Ivelisse Sierra, owners of Mervis Café located 402 S 5th Street. Mervis Café is a fun, down to earth Cuban café that serves up delicious Cuban and American cuisine. The restaurant is best known for it’s Café Con Leche’s (Cuban coffee) and their famous Cuban sandwich.

“We moved up from West Palm in 2001. Originally, my brother was here running the Café, but in 2008 my wife and I bought it from him and have been in business ever since. We love Fort Pierce because it has that small town feel that West Palm had when we were growing up in the early 70’s and 80’s. We’ve this place our home and plan on being here for a very, very long time. We can’t say enough about our community, our customers, and the people here, they are just fabulous. Fort Pierce has so much to offer, we look forward to continuing being a part of it all.” – Ivel Sierra

Antojitos

Meet Edith and Eduardo Munevar, owners of Antojitos Mexicanos located at 936 US Hwy 1. This unique little restaurant serves up some of the best authentic Mexican cuisine in town and are best known for their marinated steak tacos, Pozole Pork soup, and Mexican Tamales.

“We are originally from Mexico. We first moved to New York, then moved Broward County, Florida, but we discovered this place about 8 years ago. We wanted to find a place where we could share our culture and love of food with everyone. We opened Antojitos Mexicanos in 2011. Customers come from all over to enjoy the food – places like Vero, Port St. Lucie, and Stuart which makes us very proud. We love the Fort Pierce area - you are close to downtown, the beaches, and a great hospital nearby. I’m always seeing new construction, new people coming here and it makes it good for business.” - Eduardo Munevar

Pierced Cider

Meet Jon Nolli, Owner of Pierced Ciderworks located at 411 N. 2nd Street, a historic home from the 1900’s in beautiful Edgartown. Pierced Ciderworks is a one of a kind cidery in Fort Pierce, serving up a unique blend of ciders, entertainment and a relaxed atmosphere with steampunk decor.

"I love the area here. After moving back from Palm Beach County, everybody that I remember is still here and still remembers me which is a welcoming, neighborly feeling, so choosing Fort Pierce to build Pierced Cider was simple really. It was too busy and very crowded down south, and Fort Pierce always had a special place in my heart.  It’s laid out correctly, it’s centralized and I can’t say enough about the beautiful waterways. Fort Pierce is just a neat area, the real estate is very affordable and it’s a unique place to set up shop. I don’t think I could’ve chosen a better spot." – Jon Nolli