Pop-up shopping — From left, LuLaRoe consultant Alison Crouse; shopper Mirlene Principal; consultant Barbara Wells; Liam Wells, 12; consultant Claudia Keating and Shelley Summers enjoy a Pop-Up Boutique gathering at Keating’s home.
Young entrepreneur — K.J. Reid, 10, at left, assists Liam Wells, 12, to show LuLaRoe clothing to customers around the world, using a mobile video app called Periscope.
LuLaRoe is popping up all over, literally.
LuLaRoe is a clothing line featuring soft fabrics and casual styles. The clothing is sold by individuals, called “consultants,” in “pop-ups.” Pop-ups are parties or even boutiques set up in driveways or at festivals.
Claudia Keating, a teacher at Blue Lake Elementary School in DeLand, dashed home from school one afternoon recently and placed in her driveway a mannequin wearing a colorful, wildly patterned dress.
Several racks of clothing were set up nearby. Soon, customers began arriving, and women milled, browsed and bought at the alfresco department store.
LuLaRoe is exploding across the United States and beyond. Consultants in West Volusia are finding it a fun, flexible way to make money.
Alison Crouse of Sanford has done so well as a consultant that she was able to leave her job as an accounting administrator with a construction company. Plus, she likes the clothing.
New woman in charge — Lacey Ekberg recently took the reins at the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce & Orange City Alliance.
After a six-month search, a new executive director is now in charge at the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce & Orange City Alliance.
Lacey Ekberg started her new job Jan. 3.
Ekberg has been a “tourism specialist” since 2001, and has led or worked at agencies in 32 states. She comes to DeLand after a six-month stint in Tarpon Springs, which followed two years in Key West.
With Ekberg’s hiring, Sally Updike relinquishes her role as interim executive director. Updike had been serving as the temporary head since Nick Conte left last July to become the economic-development director for the City of Holly Hill. Updike will resume her role as the organization’s operations manager.
Ekberg applied to be Conte’s replacement because the DeLand Chamber is relatively stable, unlike some of her previous positions.
Accepting the award — Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Chief Nursing Officer Jennifer Shull, center, and Florida Hospital Fish Memorial director of quality Rhonda Battani, second from right, accept the Top Hospital accolade from Leapfrog Group representatives. The Orange City hospital was the only hospital in Volusia County and one of 115 facilities in the nation to be named a Top Hospital by The Leapfrog Group.
Florida Hospital Fish Memorial was the only hospital in Volusia County to recently be named a Top Hospital by The Leapfrog Group.
Widely acknowledged as one of the most prestigious distinctions a hospital can receive in the U.S., the recognition showcases the 175-bed Florida Hospital Fish Memorial’s commitment to patient safety and quality.
“This is a great recognition, and it is something we are very proud of. Our teams work hard every day to deliver exceptional patient care, and being named a Top Hospital from The Leapfrog Group is a validation of that hard work,” said Rob Deininger, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial’s CEO. “Increasingly patients have tools, like Leapfrog, available to help them select the best care, and this accolade speaks to our culture of safety and affirms our commitment and dedication to our communities.”
The start of it all — Mary Selter and Glen Epley, left, and Alisha Patrick flank Pumpkin one recent afternoon at Artesian Spring Riding Center. Epley enlisted Patrick’s help in buying Pumpkin, and that purchase eventually led to the creation of the riding center.
PHOTOS COURTESY ARTESIAN SPRING RIDING
Grand champion — Sierra Papazian of the Stetson University Equestrian Club rode Artesian Spring’s Positively Dreamy and garnered Grand Champion status after competing in the Silver Sands Bridle Club’s Hunter Jumper Show in December.
PHOTO COURTESY ARTESIAN SPRING RIDING
Room for more — This is the 16-stall barn at Artesian Spring Riding Center, where nine horses currently are boarded.
Horse owners and riders have a new place where they can board their animals and get certified training.
Artesian Spring Riding Center is already operating at 2665 Old New York Ave. in DeLand, just west of the Amtrak train station, but additional services and instructional programs are in the works, said owners Glen Epley and Mary Selter.
“Our property consists of a 32-acre parcel with a 16-stall horse barn, riding arena, paddocks, pastures, and woods which we plan to develop into trails,” Selter told The Beacon. “We will be offering horse training and boarding, as well as Western, English and Hunt Seat instruction. In addition, beginning in mid-January, a series of instructional seminars related to horses and horse care are planned.”
Return to DeLand — The latest incarnation of America’s Diner held its grand opening Sept. 17 with free breakfasts, lunches and other giveaways throughout the day.
BEACON PHOTO/JOE CREWS
Former hotel — Grand Villa of DeLand, an assisted-living and memory-care facility at 350 E. International Speedway Blvd., used to be a 148-room hotel.
BEACON PHOTO/JOE CREWS
Before we turn the calendar page to a new year, The Beacon decided to take one last look at some of the West Volusia business news we reported on during 2016. What follows is our take on some of the more significant highlights of the year now ending.
Culinary newcomers and the return of old favorites
February saw the opening of a newly built Dairy Queen, featuring the chain’s upscale “DQ Grill & Chill” format, which adds grilled sandwiches and chicken or shrimp baskets to the array of traditional Dairy Queen soft-serve treats.
In early March, Dunkin’ Donuts celebrated a grand opening of its newest restaurant in DeBary at 54 N. Charles R. Beall Blvd. The eatery is part of Dunkin’ Donuts’ DD Green Achievement program, which helps franchisees build sustainable, energy-efficient restaurants.
Happy family — The Simoneau family — Steve, Eileen and Trevor — are embraced by a giant bear in the new Simoneau Photography studio, at 222 N. Woodland Blvd. in Downtown DeLand.
After 34 years in Orange City, Simoneau Photography is now in Downtown DeLand.
“We’re very excited, to be sure,” said owner Steve Simoneau, speaking for himself and his wife, Eileen. “A large portion of our client base is from the DeLand area, so we will be more convenient for them.”
He’s also excited to be nearer to all the events that take place in Downtown DeLand and the potential for new business they represent, he added.
Simoneau told The Beacon that the building he previously occupied had been sold, and the buyer wanted to move into that location. So when the space at 222 N. Woodland Blvd. opened up after the closing of its previous tenant, Simoneau jumped at the chance to move in. The studio’s grand opening was Dec. 10.
Quite a crowd — Students and their parents crowd one of the tables for DeLand High School at a recent showcase of career academies and CTE programs available at the 10 public high schools in Volusia County.
Volusia County’s public high schools are doing more than just preparing students for college. While many students do intend to pursue higher learning, many students who have no plans for continuing their education beyond high school can, while still in school, get real-life experience — and in many cases, professional certifications — in jobs that do not require college degrees.
All 10 of Volusia County’s public high schools have at least one, and as many as nine, “career academies,” as well as a variety of other courses in career- and technical-education programs that can provide entry-level work skills to young people.
A company that produces lifesaving plasma medicines for people with rare, chronic and life-threatening conditions is going to open a plasma-donor collection center in DeLand Plaza on East New York Avenue next year, creating 25 good-paying jobs in the process.
Biomat USA, a division of Grifols, will take occupancy of 14,100 square feet of space next door to Planet Fitness, said Roger Baumgartner of The Baumgartner Co., who brokered the deal.
According to its website, Grifols is a global health care company whose mission is “to improve the health and well-being of people around the world. We accomplish this mission by producing life-saving protein therapies for patients and by providing hospitals, pharmacies and healthcare professionals with the tools they need to deliver expert medical care.”
Biomat USA is the U.S. plasma-collection division of Grifols.
Side-by-side — Mattress Firm and Aspen Dental are adjacent businesses on the site where Hampton’s Drive-In once stood on East International Speedway Boulevard in DeLand.
BEACON PHOTOS/JOE CREWS
Ready for tryouts — More than three dozen mattresses are displayed in the Mattress Firm store that opened last month on East International Speedway Boulevard in DeLand.
The transformation is complete for the site that once was home to a beloved drive-in on DeLand’s north side.
Aspen Dental’s newest office has opened next door to Mattress Firm, which opened the week before Thanksgiving on the property where Hampton’s Drive-In stood until early this year. The retro eatery featured carhop service when it opened in 1957 as Sugar Top, and it was a popular meeting place for locals over the years.
Taking Hampton’s place on the southwest corner of East International Speedway Boulevard and North Amelia Avenue are the dental office and the mattress store.
Aspen Dental is a national chain of independently owned and operated dental practices. Dr. John Farah will be running the practice and its dozen or so employees at 250 E. International Speedway Blvd.
Ready to cut — DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar, right of center, along with Florida Hospital officials, members of the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce, and some children get ready to cut a ribbon officially opening the Florida Hospital Centra Care facility on South Woodland Boulevard in DeLand. The children took part in a winter wonderland-themed grand-opening celebration, which included real snow, face-painting and a visit with Santa Claus.
BEACON PHOTO/JOE CREWS
Showing the place off — Medical Director Dr. Timothy Hendrix talks about the digital X-ray machine at the newly opened Florida Hospital Centra Care center in DeLand. The new facility is the only hospital-affiliated urgent-care center in West Volusia.
Florida Hospital’s 32nd Centra Care — and the first in West Volusia — is now open at 2293 S. Woodland Blvd. in DeLand.
Hospital officials, members of the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce, and DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar cut a ribbon to make the opening official Wednesday, Nov. 30, although the facility saw its first patients two days earlier.
The new, 5,200-square-foot center is the only hospital-affiliated urgent-care provider in West Volusia, said Dr. Scott Brady, president of Florida Hospital Centra Care.
“We’ve been wanting to come to DeLand for some time,” Brady told The Beacon. “We can provide urgent care for children and adults, as well as employment physicals and employer health programs.”
Walk-in clinics can offer a wide spectrum of medical care, Brady explained, but patients can be assured of getting high-quality services at Centra Care facilities.