Small Business Development Poll Winners
In this section, we recognize fifteen small business owners that participated in the 2022 Fort Pierce Small Business Development Poll. The poll helped garner feedback from various small businesses in our city as an opportunity to collaborate on ideas that can support our small businesses. We appreciate all participants of the survey and encourage continual participation in future opportunities.
Meet Chis Juy Thomas, Owner of Gen 3 Skincare. Chris says that a unique fact about her business is that it was created to help treat a particular skin condition that she was experiencing in 2020. In her search for a skincare product, she realized that she could make them herself, but more naturally. Now she is sharing her products with others.
Meet Colby Vanscoy, Owner of Best Value Jewelry & Pawn. In this image, Colby stands proudly with his team in a business that has been in operation since 1993. The business was founded by his father, Jerry Vanscoy, on "a shoestring and a prayer". Today it is operated by 2nd generation family members and his son Colby. This business provides a service in the form of small collateral loans to the "under-banked" and sell jewelry at discounted prices.
Meet Pamela Turner, Owner of the EMS Safety & Healthcare Training Center. Her business provides health care related training, job placement and many other services. She enjoys being in Fort Pierce because she has the opportunity to help members of the community succeed in a career in healthcare.
Meet Robert and Tessa Adams, Owners of Phatz Chick-N-Shack. They are both long-time residents and business owners in Fort Pierce. Tessa was born and raised in Fort Pierce, and they both love the fact that they are in the middle of everything. She says "We also have a paradise in our backyard. Fort Pierce is a hidden gem". Robert and Tessa love the food they serve and invites anyone to check them out for their "Fingerlickin" food.
Here is a list of other winners!
Dave Cummings, Sun Palm Rentals
Kimberly Clarizio, Clarizio CPA
Darby Browning, 5 Gals Decals
Jon Nolli, Pierced Ciderworks
Andrew & Rolanda Byrd, Big Byrd's Backyard BBQ, LLC
Hoyt "Pat" Murphy, Coldwell Banker Commercial Paradise
Lauren Scott, Scotts Heating and Air, LLC
Elba Flores, The Flower Shop
Janet Bird Fuller, 2nd Street Art
Oscar Calzadilla, Unico Air Conditioning
Fort Made Stories
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.
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 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
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
Meet 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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