In a world whose only constant is change, they have flourished where they were planted.
Since February, The News-Journal’s Jim Abbott has been profiling area businesses that have woven themselves into the fabric of this community as part of The News-Journal’s celebration of its own 135th birthday.
From high-profile to unassuming, from magical to seemingly mundane, the businesses Abbott’s written about have been handed down from father to son, or mother to daughter. In a world whose only constant is change, they have flourished where they were planted — shifting to meet the demands of a changing world even if it means evolving into a beloved time capsule.
It’s easy to take these longstanding businesses for granted. But they are worthy of celebration — for their own longevity, and as emblems of the thousands of other business owners who sink their capital, toil and dreams into their own enterprises, and hope to thrive for decades to come.
The businesses Abbott has visited thus far in his “Made Just Right” series include:
* Mario’s, an Ormond Beach mainstay that has been serving up stuffed artichokes, lasagna and dishes topped with its signature marinara sauce for more than 60 years;
*Osceola Plumbing Supply and Well Drilling, whose Holly Hill shop, opened in 1957, is an Aladdin’s cave of faucets, washers, valves and more obscure bits of plumbing paraphernalia;
*Zahn’s Flowers in Daytona Beach, which has supplied blossoms for weddings, funerals and please-don’t-make-me-sleep-on-the-couch gifts for more than 90 years, and is one of the oldest florists in the state of Florida;
*E.O. Painter Printing company, which has been in West Volusia County since 1903 and sends brochures, books and other high-quality printed material across the country from its unassuming gray warehouse in DeLeon Springs;
*Little Drug Co., a constant in New Smyrna Beach’s downtown since 1920 that offers a modern pharmacy with touches straight from the 1950s — including a soda fountain/restaurant that serves up old-fashioned malteds from a machine as old as the store is;
*Cunningham Oil Co., which grew from delivering heating oil in 1928 to a full-service air-conditioning and heating installer and repair shop, with a fleet of 50 trucks dispatched from its Holly Hill headquarters;
*Zeno’s Sweet Shop, a Boardwalk mainstay that has been dispensing sticky treats to seven decades’ worth of visitors and locals, and now produces 400,000 pounds of its signature taffy annually, in more than 100 flavors;
*Daytona Magic, a 42-year community staple whose unassuming Beach Street storefront hides a treasure trove of trick card decks, feather flowers and large-scale illusions like the “Devil’s Reflection.”
More profiles are coming. Most of the profiled businesses are smaller and run by families that have developed loyal followings due to business basics such as providing outstanding products and customer service. Other longtime businesses have used those same building blocks to grow far beyond local boundaries. For example, insurance giant Brown & Brown was founded in Daytona Beach in 1939. And of course, Daytona Beach’s marquee business: NASCAR, which got its start in 1947 running races on the wide, sandy shoreline from Ponce Inlet to Daytona Beach.
All of these long-lasting businesses have thrived because their owners looked at this community and saw a place where they could prosper. At the same time, they have contributed to this area’s collective prosperity by creating jobs and making investments. They have set a good example for others.
Every day in Volusia and Flagler counties, new business owners are making that same decision — that in this community, dreams can take root and grow, and business can even be handed down from one generation to the next. It’s a compliment, and a responsibility — to nurture those dreams, and sustain a community where they can come true.