Thriving and vibrant, Howard Wholesale is a company positioned for growth for many years to come. With a rich and wonderful 100-year history, the company is not only well-known in the community, but also one of the oldest family-owned businesses in Central Florida.
The firm was founded in 1912 in Quincy, Florida by Julian Howard. After a few years, a second location was opened in Orlando. It did not take long for the family to realize that Orlando had the best opportunity for growth and they moved to Central Florida to be near other family members. Soon the Howard family and their business were a vital part of their community, serving local neighborhood grocers in need of all types of dry goods….even hay!
As time went on and the leadership of Howard Wholesale passed to Julian’s son, Burwell Howard, the company was faced with changing market conditions involving the transition from small, locally-owned grocery stores to major chains. Understanding the need to shift their business model, Burwell transitioned the company into the food service business, where it was perfectly positioned to service the growing restaurant, tourism, school, health center and church markets. The company remains in this business sector today with expanded offerings of dry and paper goods and refrigerated and frozen food all delivered the next day from their warehouse in Orlando.
Howard Wholesale is currently led by Julian’s grandson and Burwell’s son, Blair Howard. Following in the footsteps of his forefathers, Blair’s leadership style involves a total focus on the needs of his customers. He understands the challenges that customers face and he places emphasis on meeting their needs with fast, efficient service and quality products.
As a longtime client of ShuffieldLowman, the firm has enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the Howard family, providing both estate planning and business law representation for more than two generations.
All it takes is just one taste of 18-hour, slow-smoked Angus brisket from 4 Rivers Smokehouse to fall in love with one of Central Florida’s most talked about restaurants, but it is 4 Rivers’ owner, John Rivers, and his story of success that is truly enchanting.
As a corporate executive for 20 years, Rivers ran a $1.4 billion dollar company, spending his time away from the boardroom perfecting his barbecue recipes with the help of his Texas-born wife. Friends and family enjoyed his creations until 2004 when he responded to a heartfelt call to help raise funds for a cancer-stricken six-year-old girl. Moved by the family’s story and the need to fund costly cancer treatments, Rivers organized a barbecue fundraiser that resulted in more than 500 attendees and the launch of what he dubbed his “barbecue ministry.” For the next five years, Rivers fired-up the smoker anytime a church, family, school or charity was in need of help.
Working from his garage, Rivers’ ministry quickly grew in popularity, prompting the bottling of his 4R Signature Barbecue Sauce and the ultimate leap of faith, opening the first 4 Rivers Smokehouse in Winter Park, Fla. (October 2009).
Today, 4 Rivers Smokehouse has grown to include the flagship Winter Park eatery, a second location in Winter Garden and a much anticipated Longwood location to open in the fall/winter of 2011. The company strives to provide great customer service, top-quality ingredients and a business model that gives back to its respective community and faith-based organizations.
From the beginning, the attorneys of ShuffieldLowman understood the vision and passion of John Rivers. Together they have worked strategically with John to create a corporate structure that provides protection of his brand and recipes, and also positions the company for future growth. The corporate structure includes separate entities for management of the restaurants, catering, merchandising, intellectual property and, of course, the various restaurants. In addition, the firm has been instrumental in raising capital for the 4 Rivers Smokehouse restaurants by working with John in creating a structure that would appeal to investors and by preparing all necessary offering documents to comply with SEC regulations for private offerings.
The year 1919 brought the end of World War I and a quick start to the U.S. economy with the creation of many new companies, including one of Central Florida’s oldest family-owned businesses, Amazon Hose & Rubber Company.
Fast-forward almost 100 years and Amazon Hose & Rubber is growing stronger than ever, family-owned and run by three generations of women. With locations in Orlando, Tampa and Miami, Amazon Hose & Rubber is considered the expert on all types of hoses, hose accessories and sheet rubber. As a wholesale and retail stocking distributor, they offer industrial and hydraulic hose assemblies for a broad range of industries such as construction, automotive, marine, agriculture and transportation. In addition, Amazon Hose holds multiple MWBE certifications and is active in the community, donating to the needy everything from toys to turkeys.
ShuffieldLowman, working in tandem with the accounting firm of Reponen & Company, P.A., created and implemented a plan that has transferred ownership of Amazon Hose & Rubber and its affiliates to future generations, ensuring the long term viability of the company. ShuffieldLowman also created a corporate structure for Amazon Hose & Rubber that provides maximum asset protection to the valuable real estate owned by the company and its affiliates. The firm accomplished these objectives while also ensuring that the prior generations of Amazon Hose & Rubber retain a steady and significant source of cash flow to comfortably enjoy their retirement.
Excellence is a word often associated with Progressive Plumbing, the premier commercial plumbing experts serving Central Florida, Tampa and beyond. Since 1985, this family-owned and operated business has earned a solid reputation in the commercial construction community in three key areas — quality, service and dependability. In addition, as their name states, they are truly progressive in their ability to provide the latest technological tools, innovations and equipment. This combined with their ingenuity, experience and commitment to precision have truly made them industry leaders.
As a ShuffieldLowman client for five years, the firm provides a wide range of legal services, including corporate, tax, estate planning, real estate and litigation. Working in conjunction with The Rawls Group, the firm has been involved in the process of preparing a family business succession plan and the establishment of a management advisory board and key employee incentive compensation program to help ensure the future success of the company. In addition, Progressive has sought our advice for structuring the creation of its new division, Progressive Services. Finally, the firm has worked with the family to update their estate plan.
Epoch Properties, Inc., an original innovator in master-planned and luxury apartment communities, has been winning awards for the past 39 years. Their secret is well known to tens of thousands of individuals and families that call their communities home…outstanding locations, trendsetting designs and attention to quality and details. No wonder their latest project, Landmark at Universal, is one of the area’s most anticipated new options for luxury renters.
Working hand-in-hand with Cobalt Capital, Inc. to raise equity, Epoch Properties recently engaged Bill Lowman and the ShuffieldLowman team to provide the corporate, securities and tax aspects of helping to raise $14.5 million in capital for the funding of this project.