I was asked to give a talk yesterday to my local Rotary Club. This was different from the talks I’ve been giving… this one was about community support and gratitude, and touched my heart. I’d like to share a little of it with you.
I moved to Hardee County, a rural community in the heartland of Florida, in 2007. The predominant employers here are agriculture and mining, and the leaders of the community have been working hard to help diversify the economic base. I applied for, and was awarded, a land grant in the commerce park to help build my first warehouse. Because of the community’s support and the vision of its leaders, I was able to grow my small natural company into an international brand that I eventually sold to Nutraceutical Corporation.
When it was time to start my next venture, the leaders of the community again believed in my vision. They funded the creation of an FDA-registered production facility to act as an incubator for my brand and others from around the state and country. This facility is unique in that it is optimized for start-up companies that most manufacturers don’t want to deal with.
Stream2Sea grew quickly. In mid-2018, we started to have supply issues, exceeding the capabilities of the incubator. Great problems to have, but frustrating for me and my customers.
Nutraceutical was acquired by a private equity firm and was pulling out of Hardee County, consolidating their holdings in Utah. This created an opportunity for me to purchase back my original building. We then spent the better part of 2019 refitting the building, upgrading the electric, acquiring the needed equipment, and getting it registered with the state and FDA.
We are now fully operational and in control of our production! In the last 10 days, we have made nearly 2,000 pounds of sunscreen and 2,000 pounds of shampoo. AND…we need to make more!
I said yesterday that I spent the first half of my career dedicated to creating products that are safe for us. I am now dedicated to creating products that are safe for us AND for our blue planet!
I think this is pretty awesome, and I truly have my community to thank for this success – my local community, as well as my community of supporters and advocates helping to share our message of ‘Safe for You and Safe for our Waters.’ From the bottom of my heart, I thank you!
With care and gratitude,