Scott Ritchey, owner of Downtown DeLand juice bar Beeatroot, died Nov. 12. To commemorate his life and support the family he left behind, a number of Downtown DeLand merchants and family friends are organizing a silent auction.
Recently, Ritchey had taken a job in the Eustis area to supplement the juice-bar income. As he drove home from work Nov. 10, he was cut off by another vehicle and forced into the oncoming lane, where his Subaru was struck by a truck, family members said. He was airlifted to a hospital in Sanford, where he died two days later.
The Downtown DeLand community was shaken by the sudden loss of the 43-year-old businessman who was known for uplifting “positive vibes” even in the face of adversity.
“We’re going to do more of a party than anything to honor Scott and his family,” said Sandy Bobo, owner of Nest, an Artisan Alley neighbor of Beeatroot, and one of the event’s organizers.
The event will include a silent auction, food and music.
Items donated so far to the auction include original art, bongo drums, and 2 nights at Hard Rock Hotel in Daytona Beach. All proceeds from the silent auction will be donated to the Ritchey family.
Scott Ritchey leaves his wife, Wendy, and their children Keegan and Velocity, all of DeLand, as well as his parents, Chris and Jerry Wellings of Inverness.
Son Keegan Ritchey said the funds raised will be very much appreciated.
Food for the event will be provided by chefs from various Downtown DeLand restaurants, including The Elusive Grape, where owner Bill Budzinski is preparing a custom dish in honor of Ritchey.
“He was into reggae — we were talking about there being Jamaican influence. I do pretty good jerk chicken, so I’m going to come down and do peas and rice, and some Jamaican jerk chicken,” Budzinski said
Because Scott Ritchey was a vegetarian, Budzinski is also planning an island-influenced meat-free dish.
Budzinski and the other chefs from Downtown DeLand restaurants will be asking for donations for meals. All of the donations will go to the Ritchey family.
Other restaurants preparing meals include De La Vega, Cress, The Table, Byte and Urban Brick.
A vegan food truck will also be set up on Artisan Alley, and will donate 50 percent of its earnings to the Ritchey family.
Budzinski said he is happy to help in whatever way he could, as the Ritcheys have been longtime friends.
“We’ve known them for years,” he said. “My wife and I were in yoga with them for years, so we were there every Wednesday night. It used to be our date night.”
Ritchey touched many hearts and taste buds since Beeatroot opened in 2013.
While the future is somewhat uncertain at the moment, Keegan said the plan is to keep the juice bar open and offering its signature cold-pressed, organic juices that are central in many West Volusians’ health care regimens.
“A lot of people, when they think about the juice bar, they think about my dad,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of people come up to us since this happened and tell us how much my dad helped with their health and their lives; really meaningful stuff that makes us want to keep doing it.”
Keegan Ritchey added that his mom, Wendy Ritchey, wanted everyone to remember her husband as a “very positive, bright soul.” He said they want people to keep looking forward and being positive.
The name of the event is “Positive Vibes; see you on the other side,” based on a social-media post Scott Ritchey made a few days before his death. The event will take place 2-6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, in the Artisan Alley Garage, 113 W. Georgia Ave., DeLand. The silent auction will run 3-5 p.m.
Items for donation to the silent auction can be delivered to Nest, 104 Artisan Alley, or to The West Volusia Beacon newspaper office, 110 W. New York Ave., by Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Social distancing and mask-wearing will be encouraged at the event.
The organizers have also asked that silent-auction attendees bring cash or checks for purchases. Credit-card processing will be available, but payment by cash or check will help the event raise more money.
For those unable to attend, a GoFundMe has been established here to help support the Ritcheys.
Scott Ritchey’s friends and neighbors in Downtown DeLand have come together to support his family since his death on Nov. 12.
When news of his death reached other friends and neighbors, the music of Bob Marley — a favorite of Ritchey’s — could be heard throughout the neighborhood.
Longtime friend and Downtown DeLand businessman Danny Sorensen hosted a flower vigil for Ritchey outside of Beeatroot juice bar Nov. 15.
The rent for Beeatroot, the Ritcheys’ Artisan Alley juice bar, has also been paid for five months by anonymous donors.