Pita bread and flatbread lovers have Harry Toufayan, the founder of Toufayan Bakeries, to thank for bringing these Middle Eastern favorites into mainstream popularity in the U.S. Harry knew he had a great product when he and his Armenian family emigrated from Egypt in 1926, and he worked tirelessly to tell the world about the delicious bread their family baked in a commercial kitchen below their two-bedroom apartment near the New York and New Jersey border. The story goes that Harry persuaded a local delicatessen to offer his pitas for sale to go along with the sliced meats that the store was selling to customers who were buying them for sandwiches they’d make at home. The rest is sandwich history, steeped in a lifetime of hard work by the entire family and led by Harry. Today Toufayan Bakeries is the largest specialty family-owned bakery in the country. The devotion continues with the company being run by the third generation of the family which includes Harry’s children Karen, who handles sales and marketing; Greg, who oversees the factories and day-to-day operations; and Kristine, who manages the company’s business affairs.

For being a trendsetter and an innovator in commercialization in baking and marketing, Harry Toufayan was recently inducted into the Baking Hall of Fame by the American Society of Baking at BakingTech 2021, a virtual conference held in February. Harry is still a big part of the company, imparting his wisdom and sharing his success by donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to deserving charitable organizations.

Central Florida is home to two of Toufayan’s three bakeries, in Orlando and Plant City, with the third in New Jersey. Chances are you have a Toufayan product in your pantry right now! They offer more than 100 varieties of baked goods, including pitas, naan bread, bagels, flatbreads, and a wide variety of organic and gluten-free products. They supply grocery stores and other retailers in all 50 states under their brand name and they put their expertise, 600 + employees, and impressive baking facilities to work to provide yummy, delicious baked goods for many private label brands too.

ShuffieldLowman’s estate planning, corporate law, tax law and litigation teams are honored to work with Toufayan over the last twelve years.

 

Founded in 1996 with the first location in Winter Park, Florida, Jeremiah’s Italian Ice has grown to become a major force in the frozen dessert market, building a passionate following across 32 locations. After 23 years of perfecting the brand, 18 months ago Jeremiah’s launched a franchise program that has grown the reach of the company’s delicious treats across the United States; and they are just getting started!

Jeremiah’s was founded by current CEO Jeremy Litwack, whose passion for frozen treats began in high school and grew to fruition after college. With an unwavering commitment to quality and flavor, he developed his own techniques and recipes to create an indulgent and refreshing Italian Ice product that continues to this day to be unsurpassed. The product remains a superstar, but Jeremy attributes the company’s business success to being nimble, flexible, open-minded, and to holding tight to their core values: BE cool, bold, vibrant, genuine, generous, and strategic.

The company has continued to “Live Life to the Coolest” despite the challenges faced during 2020, and they are thankful to be able to serve as a comforting and familiar bright spot for guests during uncertain times. Throughout the pandemic, they leaned heavily on Jeremiah’s To-Go, a trio of off-premises channels including carryout, delivery by UberEats and DoorDash, and drive-thru where available. The company remained resilient in the face of exceptional uncertainty and difficulties. Through their resiliency, they were able to award 101 units among 35 franchisee groups and open 10 new franchise locations, including firsts in Arizona, Texas, Georgia and North Carolina. In the company’s home state of Florida, a franchisee opened the first non-traditional location inside of a gas station convenience store.

Jeremiah’s generosity also shined in 2020. The company donated 23,000 free small item vouchers to the Orlando Health System as a giveback campaign for their staff who had given so much personally during the pandemic. They also donated more than 150,000 Sweet Incentives (small item vouchers) to local school systems to help teachers engage and motivate their students by incentivizing what is most important within their classrooms.

For 2021, the company is targeting 35 openings, and continuing to expand its footprint outside of Florida with additional units targeted in Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and the first shop in Louisiana. Jeremiah’s will also make its debut in Arvada, Colorado inside the Freedom Street Social Food Hall, which is expected to open in the summer.

ShuffieldLowman has served as legal counsel to Jeremiah’s for corporate law, securities, intellectual property, and litigation matters. For more information on Jeremiah’s visit their website here: https://jeremiahsice.com/.

As one of the top luxury coach producers in North America, Millennium Luxury Coaches sets a stellar example and a high bar when it comes to customer service, the quality of the product, and the relationship between management and employees. President and CEO Nelson Figueroa views his 93 employees as a second family, putting in the effort every morning to inquire about his employees’ families, their health, and their lives as he makes the rounds throughout his Sanford-based facility. He’s not just asking out of politeness, either – both he and his wife Lara genuinely care for their staff, even rewarding the employees’ children each year for their grades by throwing a special annual party and giving out prizes for scholastic achievement. This is a type of leadership that inspires true loyalty in his staff, a group of highly skilled tradespeople who demonstrate that dedication by taking true pride in their work across all departments from manufacturing to installation to sales and customer support. It shows, too, as Millennium Luxury Coaches has an unprecedented level of customer satisfaction throughout the United States and Canada.

In 2000, Nelson launched Millennium Luxury Coaches, starting off by building two custom coaches a year. Over the last two decades, business has skyrocketed, and he now builds as many as fifteen coaches in a year to keep up with demand. It’s a niche business beginning with the purchase of a shell vehicle from Prevost, the leading North American manufacturer of premium passenger coaches and conversion coaches for high-end motorhomes. While road-worthy, these coaches are bare bones, and that’s where Millennium steps in, working closely with their customers to fully customize the bus-sized vehicle to exacting specifications. From innovative technology such as 360-degree cameras and smart home technology that can be controlled from a tablet or smartphone to a dazzling variety of design features, colors, and options, each shell is transformed into a high-end, luxury home on wheels. Once the customer drives off the lot, Millennium provides stellar 24/7 customer service, even dispatching technicians to deliver in-person service to whichever corner of North America their customer has traveled and needs assistance.

As COVID-19 began to affect the world, Millennium shifted focus from building luxury coaches to making masks for those in need. Nelson and Lara converted their upholstery shop and purchased new machines to make as many as 200 masks a day, shipping them to places in need across the country. Employees who were staying home are pitching in too, sewing masks while they shelter in place. It’s this display of compassion combined with the innovation and adaptability that Nelson infuses in every element of Millennium Luxury Coaches that makes ShuffieldLowman proud to call them a client and work closely with them on a range of legal matters from corporate law to business development to estate planning.

Find out more about Millennium Luxury Coaches at MillenniumLuxuryCoaches.com.


Promises are really the bottom line when it comes to bonded work – promises to fulfill obligations in the event of disruptions to project completion and/or payment.  Florida Surety Bonds, Inc. has helped their clients to keep their promises for 20 years, and grown into the largest independently owned bond agency in Florida.  They enjoy a much-deserved sterling reputation, affording them the credibility and clout to provide a wide variety of customized bonds in a timely and efficient manner, delivered with outstanding service.  According to Kim Niv, Vice President/Principal, “We’re known for investing in relationships, providing continuing guidance, support and information.  Some clients have consulted with us for many years before they actually need our services, and we are happy to help them navigate the complexities of the bond system.  They know we are here for them when they need us.”

Working with businesses of all sizes, from some of the largest contractors in the state to start-up companies, Florida Surety Bonds focuses on designing the best bond program for each client, using one of their 50+ surety companies.  They have negotiated pre-approved lines of credit for clients, which means faster service.  Thanks to their bonds-only expertise, and outstanding reputation with surety companies as an ethical partner, Florida Surety Bonds has qualified for exclusive surety appointments within the State of Florida.  This gives their clients unmatched access to maximum programs and minimum rates with the most competitive conditions.  This combination of experience and market access allows the agency to help clients grow their businesses, working with them as an integral part of their team, and problem-solving as they pursue new job opportunities together.

Bonds available through Florida Surety Bonds, Inc., include contract bonds (bid, performance, and payment), commercial, civil court, and license and permit bonds.  Applying for smaller bonds is made simple with an online application tool for contractors and a helpful FAQ section of the company website.  But they invite business owners to sit down with one of their expert agents to custom craft larger programs.

Florida Surety Bonds, Inc. is proud to recommend ShuffieldLowman to clients and prospective clients when they need legal assistance, including contract review, estate planning, and dispute resolution.

Sean Ryan CPCU, AIC loves what he does and it shows.  Caring, concern for every client and a desire to exceed expectations is the foundation Sean has built his insurance and financial services business, BRP Ryan Insurance, LLC, on for the past 21 years. In the process, his firm has grown into two offices, 14 employees and a long list of satisfied clients, many with him from the beginning, including ShuffieldLowman’s own Janet Martinez.

While the firm has a long history in DeLand, BRP Ryan Insurance is a fairly new name, stemming from a partnership in 2017 with Baldwin Risk Partners (BRP), located in Tampa. The partnership allowed Ryan Insurance to enhance services for the firm’s clients and offer a broader geographical reach. Today the firm’s DeLand and Clermont offices provide a wide variety of options, including full-service personal, family and business insurance plans along with life insurance, annuities, mutual funds and securities investing.

What makes BRP Ryan Insurance special is a commitment to service that starts with an unrelenting quest for the best rates and coverage possible and continues with open and available communication. This includes a welcoming receptionist, at the ready to answer your calls and a team of professionals to address questions, assist with claims and plan ahead for needs and opportunities. Recently, the firm has found that connecting via social media, blogging and newsletters offers an excellent channel for sharing helpful hints, tips, videos and other useful information of value to clients.

Another rare competitive advantage offered by the firm is the fact that immediately prior to starting his firm, Sean worked for 9 years as a claim adjuster, so he knows the insurance business from the inside-out. This combined with his work as an expert witness, for both plaintiffs and the defense, and his understanding of the litigation process gives him a unique perspective when it comes to advocating on behalf of his clients, when the need arises.

According to ShuffieldLowman partner Janet Martinez, “Sean Ryan has been my go-to for insurance matters for almost 20 years.  Not only does he have a caring staff that is quick and very responsive, Sean never hesitates to offer a personal assist for any insurance need I may have for our clients or myself. We first met while serving together on the St. Barnabas Episcopal School Board many years ago, and his commitment to community service carries forward to this day. He has a keen eye for doing what is right for both his clients and our community. It is a real pleasure doing business with him.”

ShuffieldLowman and Janet Martinez have worked with BRP Ryan Insurance in a variety of ways, including serving as their registered agent, record keeper and general counsel for more than 20 years.  The firm has also assisted with buy/sell agreements, enforcement of non-compete’s, litigation, asset purchases and has provided estate planning services to Sean through the years.

Smart manufacturers in Florida know the value of FloridaMakes, a non-profit public-private partnership devoted to helping manufacturers advance their productivity and performance, with the ultimate goal to produce positive growth and strengthen this high-wage sector of Florida’s economy.

Operating throughout the state since January 2016 from its Orlando headquarters, FloridaMakes helps manufacturing businesses, both large and small, unlock growth opportunities, adapt to new technology and develop talent.

According to FloridaMakes’ CEO, Kevin Carr, “Amazingly, the state of Florida is home to more than 20,000 manufacturing businesses, with 80% of those operating with less than 20 employees.  What we do is provide the advice and assistance, essentially the bandwidth of manufacturing information, to help a business succeed.  Sometimes the daily operational issues of running a business, particularly a small business, overshadow a strategic growth plan.  That’s where we come in to offer support.”

Manufacturing companies can engage the help of FloridaMakes through their local Regional Manufacturing Association by requesting an Enterprise Assessment by one of our FloridaMakes’ Business Advisors.  Some businesses know they need help and start the process to address major problems. Others are doing great, but want to improve with input from a knowledgeable and neutral team of experts.  Regardless, a FloridaMakes’ Business Advisor prepares a report and offers suggestions and connects manufacturers to a fully vetted team of third party industry professionals that can assist with the implementation of the suggestions.

Some of the many services provided by FloridaMakes include:  enterprise assessment, business growth and innovation, technology acceleration, export and international marketing development, workforce training and development, supply chain optimization, process improvement, and sustainability.

FloridaMakes is the official representative of the MEP National Network and NIST MEP in Florida, with funding partners including the U.S. federal and state governments and a network of Florida manufacturing associations.

ShuffieldLowman attorneys, led by Bill Lowman and Keith Hesse, have been instrumental in the launch and continued progress of FloridaMakes, providing legal services in the areas of corporate, employment and contracts.

To learn more about FloridaMakes and how they work with Florida manufacturers, please visit www.FloridaMakes.com.

Few could have predicted Domingo Sanchez’s future success. The son of a Mexican immigrant family with 11 siblings, all living and working as migrant farmers in Kissimmee, Domingo could have easily allowed his circumstances to define him, but he did not. He was driven and determined to get an education and use his gifts and abilities and the Walt Disney Company helped him do it. At 16 he enrolled in a work-study program offered by Disney, and his deeply ingrained work ethic helped him excel at both his studies and his job and he soon caught the attention of George Kalagridis, then President of EPCOT. Under the mentorship of George, named President of Walt Disney World in 2013, Domingo gained confidence, experienced satisfaction in his work and eventually found his calling in real estate.

Years in business as a real estate agent and work under a developer led Domingo to success, but he wanted more education so he returned to college at Valencia and there he met another person who would change his life, Thomasa Tompkins, whose father, Tommy, was a home building legend. Domingo and Thomasa would marry and have a daughter, Skylar, and devote themselves to serving others through various charitable endeavors, including the McCormick Research Institute, providing equine-assisted therapies for those in need.

As the real estate work grew, and with guidance and direction from his father-in-law Tommy and another mentor Ken Dixon, Domingo started Titan Management in 2005. Titan Management expanded to include Titan HOA Management LLC, providing HOA management throughout the state, and Titan Land Company, LLC, a real estate development company that specializes in mid-size apartment communities. From the early days until now, ShuffieldLowman’s Jim Basque was there all along in Domingo’s words, “as a good friend and a good lawyer.”

Recently Domingo, with help from Jim Basque, closed an $18 million deal in the Miami HUD office that will finance Portofino at Champions Gate, a 120-unit luxury apartment community. Offering upscale amenities such as direct-access garages, granite, gas appliances and barrel tile roofs, the community is well under way and will start pre-sales in the Fall, with a grand opening targeted for Spring of 2017. Domingo and partners have also worked with Jim to develop Vista del Sol and Tierra Pointe, each a 74-unit, active adult affordable apartment community in Osceola County.

In addition to his businesses and charitable endeavors, Domingo enjoys his work on the Board of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, a position he was appointed to by Governor Rick Scott. As a Board member, he headed-up an initiative to improve customer service at the airport and is currently working to improve the TSA experience for customers….something we can all appreciate.

This smiling group just closed an $18 million loan closing, the first HUD section 221(d)4 construction loan closed by the Miami HUD office. Pictured from left to right: Domingo Sanchez, Koren McKenzie-John, Michael Bisanz, Lisa Hermann, Amy DuMond-Kottke, James Basque, Deion Lowery, Stephen Davis, and Charles Nielson.

AVT Simulation is a full service modeling and simulation and end-to-end systems integration company located in Central Florida’s heart of training and simulation, Research Park. Founded in 1998, AVT is quickly approaching 20 years in the industry and has been fortunate through the years to work numerous impactful programs supporting our nation’s military.

With a deeper focus on the Synthetic Training Environment, AVT Simulation has been developing their products and making visual database advancements heavily over the last 6 months, and will continue to do so well into 2016. The team’s ultimate focus is consistently improving training methods for our nation’s military through new product development, existing trainer upgrades, visual system upgrades, systems integration, and much more.

The team at AVT Simulation takes great pride in being part of the Central Florida Community. Each year AVT sponsors a charity to support through the year, for 2015 that charity was Operation Giveback. Events such as community charity runs, Toys for Tots, the Orange County Public Schools Teach-In, community outreach programs like Rethink Homelessness, and team runs like The American Mud Run and Tough Mudder fill the AVT company calendar. Team AVTSim gets involved whenever possible!

The AVT executive team gets involved in other ways. Founder and CEO Robert Abascal serves as Vice President of Publicity for the local chapter of Army Aviation Association of America, while AVT Vice President of Business Development, Kevin Vizzarri, serves as the Vice President of Membership for the chapter. In addition, Chief Executive Officer Cliff Ingari, serves on the Rollins College Business Advisory Board. Mr. Ingari also served as a mentor for Startup Quest Orlando, a 10 week entrepreneurial training program that pairs mentors with local unemployed or underemployed professionals.

ShuffieldLowman represents AVT in a variety of corporate and real estate matters, including leasing issues, acquisitions and divestitures, and intellectual property.

For more information, please visit www.avtsim.com

The secret is out.  Since 2011 Orlando foodies and the urban hip have enjoyed a unique, savvy and delectable small plate restaurant that serves delicious Asian-inspired cuisine at Hawkers Asian Street Fare.  The word is spreading, mostly through social media and excellent reviews, and the culturally affluent are flocking to Hawkers, located in downtown Orlando’s Mills District to enjoy the tastes of Malaysia, Thailand, China and Hong Kong.  Menu items are prepared using ancient family recipes and served in a lively and modern setting that provides outdoor seating and a full bar.

According to Kaleb Harrell, one of Hawkers four original founders, the restaurant’s name and concept came from Southeast Asia.  “Street food is considered the best food in Asia and the dining experience is very communal, with friends visiting several food ‘hawker’ stalls and then sharing their meal at a central seating area.”

The success of the original Hawkers has spurred a new casual catering concept where devotees can serve their favorite dishes at home, in the office or for special events.  The all new Hawkers website, www.eathawkers.com, has all the catering details along with the full restaurant and bar menu.  In addition, the company opened a second location last year in Jacksonville’s urban Five Points area and they have two more locations planned for 2015 in St. Petersburg and Jacksonville Beach.

ShuffieldLowman has worked with the Hawkers team to provide counsel in corporate and investment structure, securities law compliance, capital raising, intellectual property, growth planning and contract and leasing matters.

Founded in Eustis in 1954 by Jerry Brown, Sr., Florida Food Products, Inc. was in the natural ingredient business before being all-natural was so wildly popular. Like many in the Central Florida area in the 1950s, the company was devoted to the booming citrus industry, serving as a major provider of orange juice concentrate. In addition, the company had a very successful side business, actually pioneering a carbonated beverage canning process and operating seven plants along the East Coast.

Wisely, the ever-evolving company diversified early and as citrus production decreased due to environmental factors, such as freezes, the company was well positioned to pursue new lines of business focused on other non-citrus products.

As Jerry Brown’s sons, Jerry and Tom, came of age and finished college in the 1980s, they joined their father in the rollout of products that included aloe vera and carrot juice, resulting in an instrumental role in the launching of the very successful V8 Splash vegetable juice beverage.

Today the company is still under the leadership of Jerry and Tom and continues to innovate with a focus on all-natural ingredients and processes, holding the USDA certified organic designation for many of the items they produce. Their full line of successful products are sold worldwide and include 100% vegetable juice concentrates, savoury vegetable concentrates and powders, natural cured meats and vegetable texturizers.

ShuffieldLowman has worked with the company and the owners to provide legal counsel on the unique needs that relate specifically to family-owned businesses, including company and individual succession planning. Tom Brown has said the firm provides technical planning and wealth management options that have a comfortable and common sense approach.

Florida Food Products Inc. is located in Eustis, Florida, operating out of a 100,000 + square foot, state-of-the-art facility with more than 70 employees, many of whom have been with the company for generations.