The Stages of Entrepreneurship


By Rick Savage

One of the most influential essays in American economics is The Wealth of Nations authored by Adam Smith in 1776. It popularized the concepts of free-market economies and limited government. It also influenced Jean-Baptiste Say who wrote A Treatise on Political Economy in 1803. It was in that work that the term “entrepreneur” was first coined. Loosely translated to English it described an “adventurer” who was a middleman between capitalists and laborers. He or she took risks in finding creative and efficient ways to allocate capital and resources to maximize profits. In that respect they were different than the independent business person who, for instance, started a bakery or a shoe store.

How does the entrepreneur fit into the marketing concept of the product life cycle (PLC)? The PLC is defined as having four parts: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline/renewal.


Most people associate the entrepreneur with the first stage — introduction or the startup phase. These businesspersons would be like Bob Wormser or Arthur Jones.

Bob Wormser started Emergency One in 1974 out of his barn in Ocala. He was a self-taught metal fabricator who envisioned fire trucks made of aluminum instead of steel. They would be lighter and resist corrosion.

Arthur Jones founded Nautilus, Inc. in Deland Florida and also Jumbolair Airport in Ocala. Arthur Jones believed he could improve the efficiency of workouts that previously only used free weights. His Nautilus machines allowed the user to perform high intensity workouts to the point of muscular failure.

At this stage: sales are low, investment cost is very high, competition is low, and profits are low.


The growth stage is associated with the second stage entrepreneur. A second stage entrepreneur is considered one that has 10-99 employees and generates $750,000 to $50 million in annual revenue. According to GrowFL they are responsible for creating 34% of all new jobs in Florida. This is the stage where a business replaces a basic startup business plan with a professional marketing plan aimed for continued growth.

At this stage: sales are high, investment cost is high, competition is high, and profits are high.

Florida State has provided economic incentives to second stage entrepreneurs since 2009, when the state legislature created the Florida Economic Gardening Institute (FEGI). The Economic Gardening Technical Assistance Pilot Program is officially known as GrowFL. Every year GrowFL recognizes their “Florida Companies to Watch” honorees at an event in Tampa. The 2018 honoree from Ocala was Artemis Plastics, LLC.

Past honorees from Ocala (2011-2017) include:

Auto Customs, LLC

Human Potential Healthcare Workforce Solutions, LLC

Marion Precision Tool, Inc.

Pro Poly of America, Inc.

Raneys Inc.

Winco Mfg., LLC


This is the longest stage in the product life cycle, the company would be larger and earn more revenue than when at the second stage. The founders may no longer be with the company or if they are their roles are diminished. As the business grows the entrepreneur hires professional management and skilled employees. Even with a successful product the demand will decrease and a company should already invest in research and development for the next new product.

At this stage: sales are high, investment cost is low, competition is very high, and profits are high.

At the mature stage a business can still go “back to its roots” and create a team of employees to work as intrapreneurs. These intrapreneurs work as self-motivated entrepreneurs but with the resources of the large business. As they are still employees, anything they create while on company time is the property of the business.


At this stage a product is being phased out because new technologies are replacing it, or it is no longer fashionable. The demand drops and not much is spent on advertising. A company will then typically go into survival mode or look for an exit strategy.

At this stage: sales are low, investment cost is low, competition is very high, and profits are low.

When Apple was close to failure in 1997, they turned things around by bringing back the original entrepreneur Steve Jobs. He scaled back the company and ran it like it was a small startup again. He decreased the products by 70 percent, decreased the employees by three thousand, and eliminated non-essential projects. He eventually brought new innovative products like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad to market.



Intrapreneur: An intrapreneur is someone who has the same freedom as an entrepreneur, but works as an employee of large corporation and has the company’s resources at their disposal.

Famous Intrapreneurial Projects

Lockheed Martin’s “Skunk Works” is the official pseudonym for their Advanced Development Programs. It was started in 1943 to develop the P-80 fighter jet.

The Macintosh Team

In 1979, Steve Jobs handpicked 20 engineers and began work on the Macintosh PC. In a 1985 Newsweek article, Steve Jobs explained, “The Macintosh team was what is commonly known as intrapreneurship… a group of people going, in essence, back to the garage, but in a large company.”

3M’s 15% Culture

3M started as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company. It’s original goal was to mine for corundum, but they failed. To survive, they sold sandpaper. Fast forward to the present and the company has operations in over 70 countries. They have a “15% corporate culture”, which means that fifteen percent of an employee’s time can be allocated to exploring innovative ideas.



The College of Central Florida: Here in Ocala, CF offers a Business Entrepreneurship College Credit Certificate. It is a 12-credit course program for small business owners or those who want to develop skills in risk-taking and innovation for a current business or future endeavor.

Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP): The Marion County CEP offers such resources as business creation assistance; the Power Plant business incubator; entrepreneurial resources; angel investing–Nexus-Ocala chapter; and 1 Million Cups. Information can be found at

Ocala’s First Responder Campus: From Vision to Reality

Ocala’s First Responder Campus: From Vision to Reality

Provided by the City of Ocala

Amid a crowd of approximately 200 people, Ocala Fire Rescue (OFR) and the Ocala Police Department (OPD) celebrated the ribbon cutting ceremony of the City of Ocala’s First Responder Campus Thursday, Jan. 10.

Housing OFR’s Fire Station No. 1 and OPD’s East District Office, the campus located at 340 NE Eighth Ave. is comprised of two buildings. With an art deco design reminiscent of renowned Ocala structures like the Marion Theatre and the Reilly Arts Center, the campus denotes its rightful place in the progressive plans underway toward a vibrant Tuscawilla Park.

This catalytic move that united fire and police officers in one campus came to fruition thanks to years of work and research from City staff and unwavering support from taxpayers.

As the City of Ocala evolved to meet current and future needs of the community, the revitalization of Tuscawilla Park became essential. This realization gave way to a series of seemingly unrelated events which paved the way for the development of the City’s first First Responder Campus.

It was law enforcement’s proactive patrolling of the Tuscawilla Park area that led to the identification of buildings which fostered drug activity, disorderly conduct and trespassing. These daily operations prompted the successful seizure of dilapidated structures in the area.

As time progressed, the need for increased funding for first responder agencies within Marion County became apparent. It was then when taxpayers’ votes, echoing administrators concerns, not only confirmed the need for additional funding, but approved a solution by way of the Marion County Penny Sales Tax. The tax, passed in 2016 and set to sunset in 2020, would fund public safety and transportation infrastructure. To Ocala Fire Rescue, this sales tax was pivotal in transforming the vision of relocating, or building, a more strategic location into a reality.

Merging law enforcement officers’ input with both fire and police response time objectives, the City was able to identify NE Eighth Avenue as an optimal location for the First Responder Campus.

Collaboration between OPD, Code Enforcement and other City departments, facilitated the clearing of seized structures along the 300 block of NE Eighth Ave. This available land would soon become the home of a more visible and accessible fire station and police district office.

“I’m so thankful for the tireless efforts of the men and women of OPD who played a significant role in making this campus possible,” said Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn. “Not only will this campus serve the City as a whole but it will enhance the quality of life of residents and visitors of the Tuscawilla Historic District.”

In addition to the centralization of OFR’s Station No. 1 and OPD’s East District Office, the First Responder Campus is expected to serve as a deterrent of illicit activities, due to the presence of responders within.

The white buildings adorned with a colored line – red for OFR’s Fire Station No. 1 and blue for OPD’s East District Office – may house individuals who share the need to serve, but their operational functions are entirely different.

OFR’s Station No. 1 will house a fire engine, a rescue unit, a tower truck, and a battalion chief vehicle – four of the six units which used comprise old Station No. 1’s fleet. This change, however, is far from a reduction, as the remaining two units – the squad and the training captain’s vehicle – will be aptly placed at Station No. 7, which is home to the department’s special operation’s unit.

Like all OFR stations, the new Fire Station No. 1 exists to aid in the prevention and mitigation of fire and medical emergencies. Services including station tours, blood pressure checks and safety presentations, among others, will be available to the public.

“Bidding farewell to the building on NE Third Street has not been easy,” said Ocala Fire Chief Shane Alexander, referencing the fact that the previous station had been OFR’s home since 1967. ” Yet, the knowledge that a move of a few blocks will increase the presence of public safety personnel where it’s needed, while decreasing response times during emergencies, certainly helps with the transition.”

“As we move forward, we do so with the enthusiasm of new beginnings and the honor of serving alongside our brothers in blue, as cornerstones of the movement toward a new era for the Tuscawilla Park area,” continued Chief Alexander.

OPD’s East District Office will be utilized by Community Policing and Investigations Bureaus. It will also be the primary office location for six Property Crimes detectives, one Detective Sergeant, and OPD’s East District Captain. The building design includes additional space for interview rooms with video and audio recording capabilities, report writing stations for officers on patrol in the East District, an evidence packaging station, and a conference room available for community meetings.

“On behalf of the almost 300 women and men of the Ocala Police Department, I am proud to represent them in saying thank you for all of the support we have received from our community,” said Ocala Police Chief Greg Graham. “If you look at what goes on around the nation, it is clear that this community is special.” OM

For information regarding community programs offered by OFR and OPD, visit or

To learn more, please contact Ocala Fire Rescue at 352-629-8306 or the Ocala Police Department at 352-369-7000.

Penny Taxed is a Roadway Earned

Penny Taxed is a Roadway Earned

Provided by Marion County

Marion County’s Office of the County Engineer maintains more than 2,500 miles of paved road, 21,000 drainage structures and an astonishing 88,395 traffic signs.

The department is also responsible for 161 watersheds and several hundred miles of unpaved roadway.

Such a feat takes dedication, patience and attention to detail; three traits County Engineer Tracy Straub PE looks for when she hires new employees.

“It’s a big team effort,” said Straub. “We are responsible for safe and efficient travel along the county road network, which includes assets like signs and signals, pavement markings and the stormwater system.”

“There’s a lot of care and concern with everything we do in this department,” said Straub. “Our employees want to provide a service to their neighbors and enjoy helping the community.”

Although her team works well within set guidelines, they are encouraged to think outside of the box to solve unique problems, which include everything from tweaking traffic light times, to addressing drainage concerns.

Sometimes, things don’t go as planned and crews have to respond to emergency repair sites quickly to assess and address damage.

Repairing damaged roads can be extremely difficult, especially after unexpected inclement weather. Just recently, OCE responded to several roads that were knocked out of commission after the area was pummeled by sudden flooding.

Marion County actually received over 11 inches of rainfall in 2018.

“It’s challenging,” said Jared Peltz, OCE roads engineer. “Because we want to get roads up and running quickly, but sometimes we have to wait for the water to recede so that we can begin working. Fortunately, we have a diligent team on standby to recover lost roadways as soon as possible.”

Peltz explained that staff put up signs and barricades when they encounter damaged or flooded roads to keep the public safe. He encourages residents to contact OCE as soon as they encounter a hazardous roadway.

“Marion County is enormous,” said Peltz. “So it really makes a difference when residents reach out about road damage. They act as extra eyes and we appreciate their cooperation.”

Keeping assets up to date through refurbishment efforts is another primary objective for OCE. Refurbished roads are funded by a local gas tax, special assessment and the Penny sales tax.

In fact, miles of roadway updates have been funded by the Penny sales tax approved by Marion County voters on March 15, 2016. The Penny sales tax has since brought in more than $70 million.

The county roadway system is undergoing a much needed facelift and has already had Penny funds allocated to 18 OCE projects, with many more pending. These important projects have started throughout the county, from Northwest Highway 320, all the way to County Road 42. OM

To learn more about Marion County’s Penny sales tax, visit  If you have concerns about street signs, signal, pothole, drainage issue, or tree trimming in the county right-of-way, please contact us at 352-671-8686 or

*Social media*
Facebook – Marion County, Florida
Twitter – @MarionCountyGov
Instagram – @MarionCountyFL



By Nick Steele


In association with South Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ocala Film Foundation will be hosting a screening of Don’t Get Trouble in Your Mind: The Carolina Chocolate Drops’ Story on February 10th as part of their monthly series, Cinema Sunday at Ocala Marion Theatre, 50 Southeast Magnolia Exd., Ocala. Rated PG.

Arriving just in time to coincide with Black History Month, this documentary about The Carolina Chocolate Drops, is a fascinating look at how the band stunned the music world, taking home a Grammy in 2010 for their debut album Genuine Negro Jig. This behind the scenes story focuses how Joe Thompson, a prolific black fiddler, mentored the Drops to success and also highlights the African origins of the banjo and the central role African-Americans played in shaping our nation’s popular music.

In addition to the screening, there will be Close-Up Education Programming at 1pm at the Ocala Marion Theatre (not included in the screening ticket price), the screening will begin at 3:30pm and the “Conversation” VIP Event will start immediately following the screening (5-7pm). Ticket prices for the screening-only begin at $12.24 and increase based on what other elements of the program you wish to participate in. There is a discounted admission price for the screening with a valid student ID.

Cinema Sunday is designed to be a cinematic experience showcasing art, culture, & diversity from some of today’s most gripping independent filmmakers. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Simultaneous screenings: February 17th at 1pm and February 20th 3pm at 7pm, showing at both Regal Hollywood 16, 2801 SW 27th Ave, Ocala & The Rialto Theatre, 1105 Alonzo Ave, The Villages

TCM Big Screen Classics & Fathom Events are bringing the original “pretty woman” back to the big screen to mark the 55th anniversary of this sweet and spirited classic about a common working girl, as in flower merchant—not the way Julia Roberts played it, who is plucked from the harsh London streets by a wealthy gentleman who is determined to make her into a proper lady. The radiant Audrey Hepburn steals the show, and a few hearts along the way, in this 8-time Oscar-winning musical opposite the charming yet thoroughly obtuse Rex Harrison (think Richard Gere with an English accent and a full set of tweeds). The film has been lovingly-restored, frame-by-frame, from the original 65mm negative and scanned utilizing state-of-the-art technology under the supervision of famed film historian Robert Harris. With costumes by the legendary Cecil Beaton, music by Frederick Loewe and exclusive insights from Turner Classic Movies, you’ll be enchanted by this timeless classic in all it’s original splendor. My Fair Lady is one of the greatest musicals in film history, so don’t miss a chance to see it on the big screen! This presentation includes a brief intermission. *Ticket prices and showtimes may vary depending on theatre.

The City of Ocala presents a one-night-only performance by renowned singer, songwriter composer, cellist, and self-proclaimed storyteller Ben Sollee on Friday, February 22nd. The Kentucky-born musician has been on a wild ride since he emerged on the music scene, thanks to his innovative playing style and electrifying performances. His music contains elements of folk, jazz, bluegrass, as well as rhythm and blues. With a style that is distinctly his own and hard to define, he regularly plays to sold out crowds who love his signature sound. Following a performance at New York’s Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, even the lofty New York Times, who labeled him a “softer-edged Dave Matthews” heaped on the praise, “Appalachian mountain music gave way to the blues, and one song was appended with a fragment from a Bach cello suite, beautifully played. More often than not Mr. Sollee preferred plucking the instrument to bowing it. Joy peeked through the music like rays of sunshine in the Kentucky woods.” Yup, this sensitive singer-songwriter is kind of a big deal and who couldn’t use a little more joy peeking through!

Now for the harder-edged/not so joyful fine print: Admission is $10. Doors open at 6pm and performance begins at approximately 7pm. This is an outdoor venue with an open area for seating, bringing chairs and/or blankets are recommended if you wish to be seated. Food and drinks will be available for purchase, outside food and coolers are not permitted. Smoking/Vaping is permitted in designated areas only. For more information, visit or contact Ocala Cultural Arts either at or (352) 629-8447.

Voices of Change Animal League (VOCAL) will be hosting their fourth annual FURBALL on February 23rd from 6pm on, at Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club at 8300 NW 31st Lane Road in Ocala. If you’re an animal lover or just love a good time, you won’t want to miss this fun and festive evening. The FURBALL raises vital funds for the life-saving work done by this fantastic group of staff, volunteers and fosters—on a mission to solve the problem of pet homelessness in our area. This elegant “black-tie optional” evening begins with a cocktail hour, followed by a delicious dinner, delightful music by the jazz trio Left on Broadway featuring Olivia Ortiz & Mike Wall, gaming, raffle prizes and a spirited silent auction with some covetable items. You’ll also have an opportunity to learn about the great work that VOCAL does at their no-kill shelter, where homeless and unwanted animals benefit from excellent care in a facility with room to run and play, as well as an attentive staff to care for them until they find their forever homes. VOCAL also operates a low-cost spay/neuter program that has become a critical resource for our community. “FURBALL proceeds will enable us to continue to fund spay-neuter surgeries for low-income owners, through our ‘Fix the Future’ fund and prevent thousands of unwanted animals from being born.” explains President & Co-Founder Linda Norman. “That begins with prevention, which is why we have made opening our low-cost spay-neuter clinic our top priority. Our new clinic is expected to open in March of this year, thanks to our donors.”

Proceeds from this year’s FURBALL will also enable the group to continue to shelter and foster the animals currently in their care. Tickets for the event are $125 per person and can be purchased at or by calling (352) 289-0800. If you can’t make the event, check out all the wonderful four-legged friends available for adoption or consider supporting their mission by signing up for a monthly or annual membership. You can even help just by accessing through their website the next time you order food and supplies for your fur babies. For every new customer purchase through VOCAL’s site, Chewy will donate $20 to this wonderful organization.

The College of Central Florida Foundation’s 31st annual Taste of Ocala will have a new twist this year, as well as a new location. On Saturday, March 2nd from 6:30-9pm, what was formerly known as Taste of Ocala reinvents itself on CF’s newest campus Vintage Farm at 4020 SE Third Ave in Ocala. In 2016, the college received its largest gift on record from the Vintage Farm family. The gift of the 103-acre Vintage Farm has allowed CF to expand Equine Studies and Agribusiness programs to include a bachelor’s specialization in equine studies and plans are underway to begin a one-year cattle management certificate program. The Vintage Campus barn has recently undergone a renovation to include classroom space and other modifications. “There is no time like the present to invite the community out to our new jewel for a party with a purpose” offers Chris Knife, CF Foundation Executive Director. “The Foundation is working on a new event to carry the Taste of Ocala torch into the next thirty years. Taste at the Farm will be a ‘Country Chic’ event that is sure to leave attendees wanting to come back and visit the Farm again for our yet to be named gala in 2020.”

This year’s event is a celebration of restaurants who have participated in past “Taste” events. Since its inception in 1989, Taste of Ocala has raised more than $1.46 million for College of Central Florida student scholarships. The proceeds from this year’s event will raise funds to be used toward student scholarships, specifically for students pursuing a degree in CF’s Bachelors in Applied Science in Business and Organizational Management, Bachelors of Science in Early Education and Bachelors of Science in Nursing.

Ocala’s favorite “food and philanthropy” event will feature live music and samplings from local restaurants. Guests will enjoy food, wine and craft beer tastings from The Braised Onion, Brick City Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar, Cakes Come True, Chefs of Napoli IV, Eaton’s Beach Sandbar & Steam Shack, Edible Arrangements, Fox Den Tavern, Harry’s Seafood, Bar & Grill, The Mojo Grill & Catering Co., and Tony’s Sushi & Japanese Steakhouse.

Since its inception in 1989, Taste of Ocala has raised more than $1.4 million for College of Central Florida student scholarships. For more information, visit For information about sponsorship opportunities call the CF Foundation at 352-873-5808 or visit


“Lee Miller is so fascinating, and ahead of her time in so many ways, that I think her story subverts the expected tropes of this type of historical fiction.” Scharer says of her real life heroine, who went from being a sought after Vogue model to stepping behind the camera and taking charge of her destiny. “She’s not a passive, wilting flower. She’s ambitious and hungry, and her drive to become an artist is intimately connected to her and Man Ray’s love affair, yet it complicates that relationship in unexpected ways.” Complications certainly abound in this fictionalized glimpse into the real-life wild child who beguiled the likes of Picasso and Cocteau in 1930s Paris and even posed in Hitler’s bathtub — but it’s those complications that make the novel, like Miller herself, captivating and utterly fascinating.


If you’re a fan period murder mysteries with an ample dose of evil and intrigue, then you won’t be disappointed by this limited series from the BBC. John Malkovich leads a stellar cast of menacing characters, as an world-weary Hercule Poirot with a dark secret that has come back to haunt him. He does so with a lack of his trademark sarcasm and joie de vivre. In fact, his Poirot is a shadow of himself, tormented and nearly broken by a relentless and unpredictable killer. But it is Rupert Grint, formerly the devil-may-care Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter film franchise, who surprises in his darkest and most adult role to date. As Inspector Crome, Grint proves a formidable foil to Malkovich’s Poirot and allows us to see his acting chops and dramatic intensity. Overall, this moody and compelling adaptation holds you in it’s grip, right up to the killer ending. Prime members can stream the series using the Amazon Prime Video app for TVs, connected devices including Amazon Fire TV, and mobile devices, or online at Eligible customers, who are not already Prime members, can sign up for a free trial at

Ever since we gave those ladies a Ghostbusters reboot, man….Kidding! But if you’re over thirty, you already know that this movie is an update of the hit Mel Gibson rom-com What Women Want, in which he is gifted with the ability to hear what women are thinking and uses his newfound superpower to get over on Helen Hunt, in a couple of different ways. Like the original, this female-power film gives Taraji P. Henson a way to flip the script at work and at play. And you can be sure that if you put a powerhouse like Taraji P. Henson up against the likes of Tracy Morgan, Max Greenfield, Aldis Hodge, Pete Davidson and Shaquille O’Neal, it’s going to be a wild ride. OM

Industrial Vintage

Industrial Vintage

Celebrating their first-year anniversary in downtown Ocala, Ivy on the Square has left their indelible mark — a restaurant and boutique combination with signature retro vibe for the modern metro tribe.

By: John Sotomayor

Follow the cobblestone road that begins on the corner of Magnolia Avenue and Broadway street to the new heart of dining and shopping in our blossoming downtown, Ivy on the Square. Celebrating their first-year anniversary at the new location on February 8th at the end of the cobblestone road, across the street from the historic Marion Theater, Ivy on the Square offers the essence of our new vibrant downtown — classic, traditional vintage blended seamlessly with contemporary, trendy vision.

“We were looking for something new and exciting, an opportunity to change things up — not only for Ivy on the Square but for downtown as well,” said Waica Micheletti, co-owner with her sister, Evelyn Nussel. Together, they are carrying on the founder Marjorie “Mimi” Hale’s legacy.

The beloved eatery began in Williston, in neighboring Levy County, 26 years ago within a 1912 French Country home. Ivy on the Square was introduced to Ocala over five years ago in an 1890 Victorian home on the boulevard to the delight of local patrons. When the opportunity presented itself to relocate at the new location, Waica and Evelyn thought carefully on the concept with the intent to maintain their signature early 1900s retro vibe, while also tapping into the modern metro mindset of downtown diners.

They landed on the 1920s speakeasy, with a modern menu.

The Restaurant

Combining Waica’s interior design instincts with her boyfriend, Wayne Masciarelli’s building skills, the owner of M&M construction, together they devised a detailed, vintage industrial look that stands out from other restaurants.

Photos of the storefronts, fashion, and automobiles of the early 1900s in downtown Ocala capture the era, hung on the exposed brick walls. The furnishings and attire of the waitstaff are from the speakeasy timeframe.

Waiters dressed in suspendered black or gray pants and bowties with matching newsboy caps, bring patrons menus on wood boards all of the classic dishes that have become popular signatures of Ivy House over the past three decades — with a twist.

Waica and Evelyn added grass-fed wagyu beef for burgers, and cage-free chicken, as well as more salads and healthier options for the fitness-conscious downtown crowd.

New to Ivy on the Square is the large cocktail bar. Bar Manager, William Pickering, handpicked the bar staff with 10+ years’ experience to serve hand-crafted cocktails with names inspired by the speakeasy era, such as Bee’s Knees Mojito, Speakeasy Old Fashion, The Roaring Manhattan, Jitterbug Tea, and Rum Smuggler.

“We have a nice selection of bourbons: Brandy, Manhattans, Little Janes, EH Taylor, Eagle Rare, as well as scotches to warm the body,” said Pickering, adding, “and a carefully selected wine list.”

Happy Hour is every Tuesday — Saturday, 3 — 7 PM, which includes Cordela house wines, 2-4-1 well drinks, and $2 domestic; Michelob Ultra and Coors Light draft available.

Next to the cocktail bar sits the Dessert Bar, another unique attribute that sets Ivy on the Square apart, where all desserts are homemade. Delight on delicacies, such as the white chocolate crème burlee, buttermilk walnut pie, creamy peanut butter pie, pecan tulipe, and chocolate midnight cake. Ivy on the Square has an expresso machine and coffee bar to go with dessert.

Ivy on the Square has chic street-side patio dining in a romantic garden setting for those who enjoy dining al fresco.

The Boutique

Ivy on the Square has always combined a restaurant and boutique in every location. In fact, Ivy on the Square founder, Mimi Hale, started in the boutique business before adding the restaurant. The clothes and accessories of the stylish boutique attracted Evelyn since she was 4 years old. It had to be included, but where? The new location for the restaurant did not have available space.

“Where will the clothes go?” patrons would ask. The answer was available retail space diagonally across Magnolia Avenue, midway between the historic Marion Theater and the corner of Broadway. Waica and Evelyn acquired retail space to house the jewelry, clothes, accessories, and gifts boutique. Shortly after setting up, they added the home décor boutique next door.

Paulette Milhorn is Evelyn and Waica’s business partner, who oversees both boutiques.

“We carry many fashionable lines to choose from,” said Milhorn. Ivy on the Square offers everything from Ben’s Papers artisan greeting cards from Manhattan, to artist Houston Llew’s collectible handcrafted molten glass on copper Spiritiles art tiles direct from his Atlanta Studio, to The Naked Bee all-natural personal care products that is honey-based.

Romance is in full bloom in February. Ivy on the Square offers products assured to enhance romance.

“Love is everywhere,” said Milhorn, speaking figuratively and literally. They carry PJ Harlow lounge wear, such as nightgowns, pajamas, and robes, as well as many heart-shaped items throughout the boutique.

The Spongelle cleansing body wash infused body buffers, in both men’s and women’s scents, will have heart-shaped buffers for Valentine’s Day.
Ivy on the Square boutiques carry what they call “adult candy” — Sugafina, which are infused with different kinds of liquors, such as tequila and rum.

People will recognize the Joanna Gaines line, Magnolia Market. She and her husband host HGTV’s hit remodeling show “Fixer Upper”. Gaines has come out with a candle line. The bath and body products line by Joanna Gaines coming shortly.

Ivy on the Square boutiques strive to offer unique brands and latest trends at attractive prices. They also carry brands that make a difference.

“We have several lines here that give back to the community,” said Anna Dunwoody, manager of both boutique stores.

Ivy on the Square carries Good Works, which according to their brochure, “supports over 150,000 bags of groceries to underprivileged Americans, provides 160,000 meals to students in Uganda, and supports and helps build schools for 1st to 3rd graders in Kenya.”

“We have a fair-trade item, whereby the ladies in Thailand make ornaments, suncatchers, and package toppers, which are highly detailed,” continued Dunwoody. “They are paid a fair wage so they can raise their families.”

Ivy on the Square carries Mangiacotti, a line of lotions, spa items, hand repairs, and more. All of their packaging is designed and packaged by the handi-capable, so they are employed where they might not be employed.

The boutiques house two other businesses not owned by Ivy on the Square — Hello Gorgeous salon, and Recharge Clinic. Ladies, with Hello Gorgeous and Recharge, the combined jewelry, clothes, and gifts boutique and home décor and gardens boutique, are now a one-stop shop for everything to pamper oneself with the full spa treatment (facials, hair, and nails) as you shop and lunch. There is even a private room within the boutique that seats 25 for private dining or private party, like a bridal or baby shower.

Yes, they thought of everything. You’re welcome. OM

HITS Returns to Marion County for 38th Year

HITS Returns to Marion County for 38th Year

Content and images provided by HITS

For 38 years and counting, HITS, the largest producer of hunter/jumper horse shows nationwide, has called Central Florida its Winter Home, and since 1985, Ocala, the Horse Capital of the World, has been that home. From the Golden Hills property HITS leased for 10 years and then purchased from the Castro family in 1995, to the purchase of Post Time Farm in 2002, HITS’ commitment to the Ocala Winter Circuit has been unwavering; so much so that HITS even got its name here – Horse Shows in the Sun.

Commitment to Ocala and Greater Economic Growth
HITS’ commitment to Marion County continues to grow entering the 2019 show season. The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit has been a staple of the Show Jumping calendar for decades, continually drawing world-class equestrians from across the globe largely due to the support of patrons from Marion County. With steadfast spectator support, its footprint as the largest venue in the area, and an unmatched expertise in first-class operations and venue amenities, HITS continues to increase its investment even in the face of increased competition. HITS remains the largest equestrian venue in the area, with the highest attendance and biggest purses, and delivers unmatched equine expertise and event management – all while being an invaluable economic champion to the growth of Marion County.
HITS works closely with the Ocala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau, the Marion Country Tourism Development Council, and the Florida Sports Foundation. The economic impact of the show on the community is unmistakable – $94 million annually according to an independent study by the Sport Management Research Institute (SMRI).  And the county and state have noticed with both the Florida Sports Foundation and the Ocala/Marion County Chamber of Commerce recognizing HITS over the previous few years. “The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit brings a great tourism impact to the Ocala/Marion County area each season,” says Corry Locke of the Ocala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau.

HITS certainly sees the value in the relationship. “We’ve always felt welcome here and always felt like the community embraced us,” says Tom Struzzieri, president and chief executive officer, HITS, Inc. “But that relationship has really gone to another level in the last few years and we definitely want to give back to our communities.” Creating that symbiotic relationship with Marion County translates into increased tourism, newly developed jobs, real estate purchases and higher commercial development, and more heads in beds with local lodging partners. That heightened economic development and the support of thousands of spectators annually means even more opportunity for HITS to continually grow, innovate, lead and dominate the region.

Enjoy Family-Friendly Fun at HITS Post Time Farm
From the novice spectator to one who is well-versed in the many enjoyments of competitive horse jumping, the variety of classes, divisions and special events will make your visit to HITS Post Time Farm unique and unforgettable. But first, brush up on all things HITS with some news, information and fun facts on competitive jumper and hunter shows:
• Jumping is not a natural movement for a horse. This little known fact changes the perspective of many when watching 1,500 pounds of horse and rider soar over five foot obstacles. The training and dedication on the part of both rider and animal defines the commitment and teamwork affiliated with the sport of Grand Prix showjumping.

• Show jumping is one of the few international sports in which men and women compete on an equal basis. The success a competitor has is based solely on the ability of the horse and rider team. Factors such as age, sex and weight are left at the gate.

• HITS Horse Shows are composed of two divisions:  the Jumper Division and the Hunter Division; within each division there are sections and within each section there are several classes.

Jumper Division
In each class within the Jumper division, the horse and rider team are judged on their speed and accuracy. It is the rider’s job to guide the horse to each fence as efficiently as possible, so the horse may jump comfortably in his stride and land easily galloping onto the next fence. Their goal is to cover the course with no faults (penalties) within the time allowed.  Faults are given when the horse knocks down any part of fence, steps on the edge of a water jump, refuses to jump a fence or exceeds the time allowed to complete the course. Simply, the horse with the fewest faults and the fastest time wins. The Grand Prix is part of the Jumper division and the class showcased in the Olympics.

Hunter Division
Although style does not affect the Jumper Division, it is crucial to the Hunters. Horses are judged subjectively on their conformation, pace and good manners. These horses ideally demonstrate the graceful, athletic and mannerly qualities that are essential in a mount for carrying a rider across the country and over obstacles you would find while out fox hunting. The riders are judged on their own riding style and should display a firm but supple position. A hunt seat is a position a bit forward and out of saddle so as not to interfere with the horse’s natural movement, but stay securely in the saddle so as to remain in control; and, of course, on the horse.

These events are held from January 15th through March 24th. The actual competition runs weekly Wednesday through Sunday, from 8am to 4pm. Daily admission is free other than Sunday, with adult tickets available for $5 and $10 for some special events listed below. Children 12 and under are free and parking is free. Grandstand seating with general admission. Full concession stand and snack bar available. For more information, tickets and Day VIP opportunities, please contact the show office at 352.368.2203 or visit

Special Spectator Events
While the weekly competitions are a huge spectator draw featuring some of the best equestrians and most beautiful horses, the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit involves many special events throughout its ten week run. Drawing press coverage in publications from every corner of the country and well-known as some of the most acclaimed events in the equine community, these showcases provide citizens of Ocala a tremendous opportunity to see competition at its highest level. Mark these dates on your calendar now!

• The brand new $100,000 Ocala Electric Utility Grand Prix, sponsored by Ocala Utility Services, is held Sunday, February 17th, beginning at 2 p.m. This is a great chance to come celebrate the Ocala Winter Festival, cheer on world-class athletes and revel in the equine side of our community!

• The $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix, sponsored by Sullivan GMC and Buick, will be held on Sunday, March 17th, beginning at 2 p.m. Sullivan GMC, a diamond sponsor of HITS, carries the latest trucks and cars available and has the region’s largest inventory to choose from while offering a fun and memorable car buying experience. Come support a local sponsor during this special event!

• HITS is not only known as a leading horse show producer, but renowned for providing riders and trainers with an opportunity to earn part of the richest purses in show jumping. We’re thrilled to announce that for the sixth year in a row the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix will return to HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida. The Great American Million is an experience that you don’t want to miss, drawing one of the biggest and best fields of riders in the country. The event will be the culmination of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, held Sunday, March 24th, also beginning at 2pm. Trust us – stop what you’re doing, clear your schedule and make sure this event is on your calendar!

A $10 combined ticket provides admission to both the Ocala Electric Grand Prix and the Great American Million. $5 admission for the Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix. Tickets available in advance or at the gate. Children 12 and under free. For more information, tickets and Day VIP opportunities for the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix, contact the show office at 352.368.2203 or visit

We Look Forward to Seeing You at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit
While the HITS Corporate Office makes its home in New York, you could say the Heart of HITS is in Florida. “It all started with our first horse show in Gainesville in 1982. It’s been 38 years, and we’re still counting,” Struzzieri exclaimed.

HITS is excited to be back in Ocala for another year of fantastic Horse Shows in the Sun, and of community involvement and camaraderie in 2019 and beyond. For more information, a detailed list of dates and times, or to view events online, please visit OM


2019 DATES

Ocala January Classic – I January 15-20 USEF National / 5*
$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix Friday
$50,000 HITS Grand Prix Sunday
Ocala January Festival – II January 22-27 USEF National / 5*
$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix Friday
$50,000 HITS Grand Prix Sunday  
Ocala Premiere – III January 29 – February 3 USEF National / 5*
$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix Friday
$50,000 HITS Grand Prix Sunday  
Ocala Winter Classic – IV February 5-10 USEF Premier / 5*
$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix Friday
$25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Saturday
$50,000 Boehringer Ingelheim Grand Prix Sunday
Ocala Winter Festival – V February 12-17 USEF Premier / 6*
$50,000 SmartPak Grand Prix Friday
M&S Children’s/Adult Team Challenge Friday-Sunday
$100,000 Ocala Electric Utility Grand Prix Sunday  
Ocala Masters – VI February 19-24 USEF Premier / 5*
$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix Friday
$50,000 Kindredbio Grand Prix Sunday  
Ocala Tournament – VII February 26 – March 3 USEF Premier / 5*
$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix Friday
$50,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix Sunday  
Ocala Winter Finals – VIII March 5-10 USEF Premier / 5*
$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix Thursday
$50,000 Summitt Joint Performance Grand Prix Sunday  
Ocala Winter Celebration – IX March 12-17 USEF Premier / 6*
$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix Friday
M&S Children’s/Adult Team Challenge Friday-Sunday
$100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix Sunday  
Ocala Championship – X March 19-24 USEF Premier / 6*
HITS Equitation Championship Friday
$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix Friday evening
$25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Saturday  
Great American $1 Million Grand Prix Sunday  




By Nick Steele

Photo: Philip Marcel

At just 18-years old, Kanyon Walker has the world by the tail. A local football hero at First Academy-Leesburg and an accomplished equestrian event rider with Olympic aspirations, he has already distinguished himself in both fields. We caught up with the star athlete at his family farm, the day before he departed for Tulane University, where he was awarded a full scholarship and will write the next chapter of his inspiring story. He is a humble young man with gracious manners, who is seemingly unburdened by the restraints of fear and self-doubt. He can appear quite imposing with his sinewy muscled frame, strong jaw and rugged good looks, but when he smiles (which he does frequently) his face opens into a wide grin that travels upward, igniting a spark in his eyes.

Kanyon competes in a specific equestrian sport called eventing—a triathlon of sorts, where a horse and rider pair compete against other pairs, across three different disciplines in one competition: Dressage, Cross Country and Show Jumping.

“I’m passionate about both football and eventing. Both require a lot of time and dedication. For me, ‘down time’ is wasted time,” Kanyon confides. “I just need to make sure I put all I have into both. I told myself a long, long time ago that I was going to be great at something. So my goal is to keep doing both until I figure out which one of them that is,” he continues. “I’ve never had anyone say, ‘You should really pick one or the other.’ My football teammates and everyone I ride with loves the fact that I do both. My whole family also really encourages me and has sacrificed for me to do this. And I found all these great mentors at a young age. If I was willing to bust my hump, they’d do anything for me. That’s what drives me every day.”

“I don’t know how we would do it, if we didn’t all work it together,” explains Kanyon’s mom Kayce, who nurtured Kanyon’s early interest in horses. “He always really loved horses, even as a toddler,” Kayce explains. “I would have to pull over to the side of the road to look at them in the fields. He would get very excited.”

It’s a memory that is still vivid in Kanyon’s mind as well. “I wanted to touch them and my mom would let me. Just the fact that she never tried to shutting down my curiosity, allowed me to think, Maybe I could sit on one…maybe ride one. If it hadn’t been for my mom, I probably wouldn’t have even had the want to be around horses. I definitely owe that to her,” Kanyon shares. “It’s not something you are exposed to at school and financially it is a big commitment, It is typically a rich person’s sport, for the most part. So I’ve had to do a lot more legwork than most people to acquire the same things. Me being willing to put the work in meant that I’d be able to get a lesson that would normally cost me $75 for free.”

“I was ignorant to the fact that no place will give a six-year-old a trail ride,” Kayce recalls. “Finally, I found a lady who said, ‘I won’t give him a trail ride, but I would do a lesson, let him groom the horse and then he would get a little ride.’ I thought he would enjoy that, so we signed him up,” Kayce recalls. “He’s had a lot of support from people who knew more than we did.”

“Kanyon has always been a competitor and he likes to win,” offers his equestrian coach Jennifer Holling of Holling Eventing in Ocala. “He is still learning about our sport at the upper levels. There are three phases to our sport. They all take the same amount of time to learn. He’s very naturally talented in all of those things. Learning the intricacies of each one of those, that’s where I come in,” she continues. “He manages to balance his horses and his football.”

The love of football, he gets from his dad Sheldon Walker, who is also the Head Football Coach at First Academy-Leesburg. “He’s pretty special. The diversity of his passions is just incredible,” Sheldon offers. “Kanyon spends countless hours just working, like mucking out the stalls at five in the morning. From there he’s off to school (where he maintained a 3.6 GPA and even took extra college-level classes). Then he’s off to football practice and from there, he’s back to training his horse. One of the greatest blessings you could ever have is to have a child who blesses you beyond your reach. I’ve had the opportunity to go places and meet people who otherwise would never have asked me to be a part of their world. But because of my son, his ability to ride and just the young man that he is, those opportunities have come to pass. It is so cool to be just Kanyon’s dad. I can’t be a prouder father.”

Kanyon also derives a lot of pride from being a role model for others, as one of the first black men to distinguish himself through his level of expertise in a sport traditionally dominated by young caucasian women. “I can definitely be an ambassador as a young black man in a sport like this. I’ve gotten messages from kids from all over the country and they’ll say, ‘I see you doing this and I think I can do it too.’ So, if that’s contribution I can make, then that’s great,” Kanyon confides. “When I was twelve or thirteen, I saw Randy Ward, who is also black. He has ridden up to the 3-star level and is a great rider. I thought, He’s doing it. Why can’t I? Not that I didn’t already have that drive, but that confirmed that it was a possibility for me.”

“He has a tremendous vision for his future,” Sheldon explains. “He would love to be an Olympian. But before he can become that, there are a lot of steps to take.”

It’s a sentiment that Kanyon, who doesn’t like to think in terms of timelines, echoes. “For most people, it takes decades to become a great rider. The beautiful thing is that the average age for Olympic competitors, for our sport, is about forty-five,” he explains. “I love both things that I do, but the reality for me is that there is such a short period of time that I can play football seriously. But I can always go back to eventing after I have my education.”

His education also points back to his equestrian dreams. “I plan to study business management. After college, I’ll be able to come back and maybe get a job working for one of my mentors,” Kanyon offers. “The only way you learn is by watching those who have been successful doing what they do. And from there, I would continue to develop myself as a rider. The goal is to one day have my own stable and clients, buying and selling horses and training people. That will also allow me the opportunity to compete further.”

Among his goals for future competitions is the chance to compete at HITS. “HITS is, for the most part, straight show jumping. There are a few people in my sport that have ridden to the Grand Prix Level dressage. They have evented to the 4-star level and they’ve show-jumped the Grand Prix. Those riders have set themselves apart,” he asserts. “That is personally a goal of mine. I hope to participate in the future.”

And while he will have the opportunity to ride at Tulane, for now, he’s focusing on football. “I love the coaches and the people there. We are in the American conference, so it’s exciting because we’ll play some really great teams,” he shares. “I will play UCF, here in Florida, during my sophomore year, so that’s cool. It means that my family will definitely get to see me play.” OM

A King’s Dream in Action

A King’s Dream in Action
By John Sotomayor
Photos by: Cynthia Wilson Graham

In August of last year, four months after the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, ten prominent and influential members of the Ocala/Marion County black community were honored with a place on the Community Service Walk of Fame at Legacy Park, which was created through a partnership between The Governor’s West Neighborhood Revitalization Council and the city of Ocala’s Recreation and Parks Department,  Now, in honor of Black History Month, we asked for nominations and enlisted members of the black community, for those who are living King’s dream through community service, representation and leadership, to discuss the advancements that have made and the challenges that still exist.

Looking back on his personal history and life circumstances, Whitfield Jenkins can only conclude that a higher power intervened along the total spectrum of events which has molded him. He was born into physical poverty and lost his mother to breast cancer at age five-years old. He was raised by a single father, born in 1881, who lived to be 103-years of age. He asserts, that according to today’s experts, he should have been a statistic for the criminal justice system or worse.

“However, as I review my history of 78-years of life, I am proud that the Lord not only saved me, but use me for his glory,” declares Jenkins.

Shortly after returning to his hometown, following college and military duty, Jenkins was motivated to work to eradicate racism, illegal discrimination and lack of access to services on behalf of the black community. He began speaking publicly in the community and at official town hall meetings on issues including police brutality, discriminatory employment practices and disparate services to the black community.

This advocacy caught the attention of leaders in the local NAACP, leading them to elect Jenkins as president of the Branch in 1984. He was fortunate to participate at the State NAACP level early in his tenure, where Jenkins caught the attention of the State NAACP President, Thomas Henry “T.H.” Poole, Sr. “History will record him as one of the greatest civil rights leaders nationally.” Jenkins offers.

President Poole quickly took Jenkins under his wing and acted as a mentor to him. Jenkins used this valuable teaching and experience to work with the local NAACP Executive Committee to develop the Marion County Branch-NAACP into one of the most formidable in the nation. The Branch was awarded three 1st place Thalheimer awards, given to branches and units for outstanding achievements.

Despite all he has seen and done toward the advancement of the black community, he sees several critical challenges ahead for black Americans in order for the community to advance further. Not surprisingly, he sees the largest obstacle to be outright racism aimed at the black community as a whole — or as he phrases it, a lack of compassion for humanity. Within the black community, he believes that the challenges are a lack of leadership, a lack of courageousness a lack of commitment to the struggle for equality, and a lack of giving back to the community.

Fortunately, there are many members of the black community who have both achieved success and who actively give back. They represent people from all walks of life and various fields, including law enforcement, education, sports, spiritual guidance, and community service.

The Moment That Became a Movement
The “I Have a Dream” speech was delivered by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. on August 28, 1963, during The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. During the speech, King called for civil and economic rights for African Americans, and an end to racism in the United States. It is a speech that will continue to inspire and live on for all of human history.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” said King, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, to an audience of over 250,000 civil rights supporters. It was a speech that galvanized the civil rights movement.

His assassination almost five years later on April 4, 1968 was intended to silence the movement. It did the opposite — it ignited it.

A Passion for Community
In Ocala, Jenkins fought for equity in recruiting, hiring, training and promotions of minorities in Marion County School District, Marion County Sheriff Department, City of Ocala/Ocala Police Department, and Marion County Government. He was one of the key leaders and a plaintiff in the filing of a discrimination lawsuit against the Florida Department of Corrections. As Commissioner with Ocala Housing Authority, he used his role to increase affordable, clean and safe housing in such West Ocala communities as Laurel Parks, Blitchton Station, and Magnolia Walk apartments. Jenkins was also one of the original Board of Directors/Founders of the Greater Ocala Community Development Corporation, Inc. (GOCDC) — one of the most impactful economic development initiatives in West Ocala. As a Commissioner with the Florida Commission on Human Relations, Jenkins provided leadership to increase staffing and budget, resulting in increased processing of discrimination complaints and more quality findings by the FCHR.

Dwan Thomas, coordinator of Alternative Learning, Marion County School Board; CEO of Open Hands Ministry LLC; and board member of Enough is Enough Organization. Thomas is involved in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Commission, which organizes the annual Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Weekend in Marion County. As a board member of the West Ocala CRA Advisory Committee and Brownfields AC Committee, Thomas also ensures that grant funds are being used to benefit West Ocala.

Dennis P. McFatten Jr., coordinator for the Safety Schools Department, Marion County Public Schools, worked in the law enforcement profession from 1990-2015. He spent four years with the Florida Department of Corrections, followed by 21 years with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. He retired in 2015 as a Captain within the Patrol Division. Prior to his law enforcement career, McFatten spent time in the United States Army and Army Reserve. Currently the president of GWONRC, McFatten and the council are always engaged in conversations with government officials and other civic organizations to address concerns in West Ocala. “Since the council is comprised of community leaders from various organizations, we have a wide range of projects,” explains McFatten. A few of those include: The West Ocala Community Redevelopment Grant, The City of Ocala Brownfield Grants, he City of Ocala Façade Grants, the redevelopment of Pine Oaks Golf Course, the committee for Community Coordination of the NAACP and the planning and building of a community center in West Ocala. McFatten is currently the president of Governor’s West and a member of the NAACP. He is a deacon and Trustee chair at Progressive Union Missionary Baptist Church.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based on color, sex, race, or national origin. It promotes equal opportunities through voter registration and prohibits racial segregation in employment, schools, housing and public accommodation,” explains TiAnna Greene, the new president of the Marion County NAACP. She was elected on November 11, 2018, and serves as the youngest female president of the Marion County branch of the NAACP.

“However, one of the many challenges to the Civil Right Act is that the act cannot change a mindset—the internal attitudes and beliefs of individuals,” says Greene. “While we hope each and every day that we move closer to the full actualization of Dr. King’s, and so many others’, hopes for an indivisible America, we are not naive or ignorant to the plethora of discriminatory practices African Americans continue to face.”

According to Thomas, the challenges he sees for African Americans is the lack of adequate resources being provided and community knowledge about how to access the resources them.  Thomas also feels that the younger generation needs to get more involved in what is going on in their communities.

“I attend numerous community events and meetings were decisions are being made for the African American community but you don’t see the younger generations attending these meetings,” Thomas asserts. “These decisions will impact our community as a whole.”

Tanya Walker, president of U.N.I.T.Y. Group Services Inc. and Unity Community News (both organizations owned by The Good Samaritan), explains that the main challenge African Americans face today is unfair employment practices. “Such as not being provided with the opportunity to apply for jobs other than those that offer minimum wages” Walker contends, adding that her source information is taken from city records and meetings with community leaders.

McFatten feels one of the greatest challenges for the black community is the allowance for others decide their self-worth. “African Americans have greatly contributed to the many accomplishments of this city, county, state and nation. Yet we often times depend on others to decide what we’re worth and we often settle for less or become who others want us to be,” McFatten declares. “If we meet the self-worth challenge head on, we can then address, unemployment, affordable housing and education disparity and some of the other issues.”

Breaking Boundaries
Many members of the community have pushed past the barriers once imposed as a way to limit opportunities, making a difference in fields that were traditionally out of their reach.

Jenkins was awarded a football scholarship to Florida A&M University playing on the team from 1859-63, earning two National Black Championships. He went on to become a Marion County school teacher at Osceola Jr. High from 1967 to 1971. He was one of the first black teachers permitted to teach across racial lines during the first year of integration, beginning in 1967.

Ann Burnett is the founder and Executive Director of FreeD.O.M. Clinic USA. In collaboration with the Marion County Hospital District’s talented volunteers and staff, she has pioneered a unique delivery of health care services for Marion County residents. Each month they convene a clinic in a church and provide free dental care (cleanings, fillings, extractions), comprehensive eye care (including new reading, single vision and bifocal glasses), medical care, legal services and mental and behavioral health assessments. In an effort to assist in addressing mental health and substance abuse, FreeD.O.M. Clinic USA has full time professionals who provide free counseling and therapeutic case management services for the uninsured and working poor.  Access to health care affects all ethnic groups in Marion County, therefore their services have proven to be beneficial to everyone including those in the African American community. “After receiving services at FreeD.O.M. Clinic, smiles, eyes, minds and lives are transformed regardless of the patient’s ethnicity,” states Burnett

Grace Daley is a former professional basketball player who played for four different WNBA teams and seven European teams in five different countries. She returned to Ocala as a teacher, having taught kindergarten, 2nd grade, 5th, 9th, 11th and 12th grades, and adult education. She is currently a teacher at Trinity Catholic High School, as well as Director of Health Education for FreeD.O.M. Clinic USA. “When I was hired three years ago [at Trinity Catholic], I was the only African American teacher,” said Daley. “We currently have an African American female principal, Dr. Erika Wikstrom — the first in the school’s history, so we are making monumental strides in a positive direction toward diversity.”

As Coordinator of Alternative Learning- Marion County School Board, CEO of Open Hands Ministry LLC, and Board Member of Enough is Enough Organization, Thomas gives back to the community.

“I currently work with “at-promise” youth that have committed criminal acts in the community,” said Thomas. “My job is to make sure they’re provided every opportunity to be successful academically, socially and emotional while they are in our Department of Juvenile Justice programs.”

Enough is Enough organization partners with Dale Osborne a NBA assistant basketball coach with the Portland Trail blazers to conduct a back to school book giveaway and basketball camp.  The NBA and Jr. NBA have been sponsors, along with many other organizations in the community, coming together to provide a free basketball camp based on faith, family and education.

The current projects of U.N.I.T.Y Group Services Inc, of which Walker serves as president, are clothing distribution; providing professional clothing to those seeking employment but do not have the proper attire, providing free work readiness training in the areas of customer service, and typing, along with employment referral Services.

“As a member of the community my goal is to ensure that everyone has the same opportunity and are given the chance to compete on a level playing field,” said Walker. “Working for The Good Samaritan, founder of U.N.I.T.Y Group Services Inc, I have the pleasure of providing food and clothing to disadvantaged families and adults, and also helping to tutor at-risk students.”

In addition to her nonprofit works through U.N.I.T.Y., Walker serves on numerous boards, in particular the Financial Stability Board of United Way, helping to fund organizations that are seeking to help the poor, as well as the Recreation & Parks board for the City of Ocala, ensuring that adequate recreation is provided to residents.

One of the youngest members of the community on an inspiring journey is the model and entrepreneur Chanté Burkett. At 22 years old, Burkett has achieved major success as a plus-sized model and blogger with over 200,000 followers on Instagram and over 120,000 more on Facebook. Her talents and social media following have led to lucrative contracts with major beauty companies and hotel chains. “My aspiration is to help others become the mastermind behind their visions & dreams,” explains Burkett. “One of the reasons I love the work I do is because it gives me to opportunity to give back and inspire others in my community to believe in themselves.”

Through her company One Curvy Boutique, located in Ocala, Burkett helped to sponsor and volunteer resources to many organizations, individuals, and causes within Ocala’s black community such as the Marching Majorettes & Ocala Thunder youth organizations.

Community Action
Many projects are underway, led by African Americans, to change the mindsets Greene spoke of — the attitudes and beliefs of individuals of other races and of African Americans themselves. There are projects under way to provide resources and job opportunities Thomas and Walker addressed. There are movements in motion for African Americans to determine their own self-worth and to abolish the challenge McFatten addressed.

Jenkins is presently using his role as president of the Liberation Ocala African American Council (L.O.A.A.C.) to organize local black leaders/organizations to work in coalitions for key equity issues, economic development/wealth, participation in the political system and education equity to benefit local black citizens and their communities. The L.O.A.A.C. will be working in partnership with other organizations to assist ex-felons to restore civil and voting rights. “The NAACP Marion Branch will host our annual Freedom Fund Gala on March 1, 2019, at the Holiday Inn & Suites Ocala Conference Center,” said Greene.  “Tickets are on sale now for $60 each. Aramis D. Ayala, First Elected African American State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court is the Keynote speaker. Doors will open at 7pm, with a Lifetime Membership reception at 6pm.”

Greene shares on the #iGNITEtheMarionVote Facebook page that the goal of the Marion Branch NAACP, with this Civil Engagement movement, is to encourage the community to participate in the voting process and to focus on raising awareness about the political, educational, social and economic inequality within the community. The statement goes on to say that the Marion Branch NAACP is working tirelessly to iGNITE the Marion Voters by increasing voter registration to include registering felons, voter participation and voter education.

Fathers of the Year Awards encourages people in the community to reflect on the fathers who are actively involved in the lives of their child(ren).

“Eleven categories provide us the opportunity to present awards to multiple fathers,” explains Greene. “The submissions assist with shifting the focus off of inactive fathers to the fathers who are not only engaging their children, but also the community.”

Greene added the Marion County Black Business Network was established to support small minority business owners.

Legacies Honored
In August 2018, 10 long-time community leaders were honored with brick pavers engraved with Bible quotes in the unveiling of the Community Service Walk of Fame at Legacy Park. Requirements for selection still living or deceased included residency of Ocala or Marion County for at least 10 years and currently resides in the community, have shown high regard for community service, leadership and commitment to the advancement of West Ocala; and demonstrated good moral character. They had to be either community leaders or special individuals who have made an impact on the African American community.

Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn and Ocala City Councilwoman Mary Sue Rich, whose district includes West Ocala, read short biographies of the honorees during the ceremony. The recipients were: Juanita P. Cunningham, Rev. Lorenzo S. Edwards, Matthew Everett Hart Jr., William H. James, Reuben “Bubba” Johnson, Leander “Butch” Jones Jr., Austin Long, Lois B. Miller, Lucious C. “L.C.” Stevenson, and Frank Washington Jr. They were educators, community activists, freedom fighters, community volunteers, pastors, civil rights leaders, humanitarians, law enforcement, entrepreneurs, and authors.

An Ongoing Legacy
According to McFatten, who is also president of the Governor’s West Neighborhood Revitalization Council, the 10 brick pavers are only the beginning. More will be added to the Walk of Fame annually. OM

EDITOR’S NOTE: It is relevant to mention that, not only was every person profiled in this feature nominated by another African American in the local community, but we had two African American photographers shoot all the images, Cynthia Wilson Graham for this feature, and Philip Marcel for the profile on Kanyon Walker and the cover of the February issue. At Ocala Magazine, we strive to represent the entire tapestry of our various communities accurately and equally. We want to hear from you with regard to your opinions, story ideas, and events. Please find us on Facebook or email

Additional Content:
The following is what was read from the short biographies by Mayor Kent Guinn and City Councilwoman Mary Sue Rich about the honorees on August 08, 2018 during the unveiling of the Community Service Walk of Fame at Legacy Park. All biographies provided by the City of Ocala. *Listed in alphabetical order by last name.

Juanita P. Cunningham

Juanita P. Cunningham is a retired educator, community activist, freedom fighter and community volunteer. She fought to have breakfast served in schools, believing students could not focus on learning with empty stomachs. She also served as assistant principal and then principal at Vanguard High School. She has served in several community organizations and is a lifetime member of the NAACP.

Rev. Lorenzo S. Edwards

Rev. Lorenzo S. Edwards is a pastor and was a civil rights leader, standing up for the community in non-violent protests including a sit-in. He served on the Ocala City Council, twice as chairman, was president of the local branch of the NAACP, was involved in the chamber of economic progress and was dean of minority affairs at what is now the College of Central Florida.

Matthew Everett Hart Jr.

Matthew Everett Hart Jr. was an educator and activist who dedicated his every waking moment to ensure quality education was provided to Marion County African American students. He would attend School Board meetings to advocate for students or encourage parents to rally and do it themselves.

William H. James

William H. James is a retired educator, humanitarian and Marion County Sheriff’s Office volunteer. He worked in Marion County schools for more than 40 years and has sat on numerous community boards and councils. He actively writes and visits inmates at the Marion County Jail.

Reuben “Bubba” Johnson

Reuben “Bubba” Johnson taught character to and helped get scholarships for young men and women. He coached football and other athletics at Howard Academy and Howard High School. He encouraged children to pursue a life beyond the orange groves and tomato fields and demanded excellence in the classroom and on the athletic field.

Leander “Butch” Jones Jr.

Leander “Butch” Jones Jr. was employed by the Ocala Police Department for more than 20 years as a patrolman and a detective and was wounded in the line of duty. He acted as a mentor to other African Americans in the department and helped with recruitment. The department recognized him during Black History Month. He also was involved in several organizations and was considered a community-minded person.

Austin Long

Austin Long was an entrepreneurial businessman who would own two grocery stores and one barbecue place. He was a pillar in the community during the era of Jim Crow laws, segregation and lynching. He had several run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan when he first opened his grocery store and was even denied service by some delivery drivers at first. He provided jobs to people with criminal backgrounds at his businesses and opened his store to students at Howard Academy when their cafeteria burned down.

Lois B. Miller

Lois B. Miller was an author, community leader and historian who documented part of West Ocala’s history. She was instrumental in establishing the Federate Women’s Club in Ocala, which provides scholarships to high school graduates. She also led efforts to renew the historic Chestnut Cemetery on Northwest 13th Terrace between Northwest Seventh and Fifth streets.

Lucious C. “L.C.” Stevenson

Lucious C. “L.C.” Stevenson was a former president of the Hunting and Fishing Club created in the ’60s to protect the Pinkston family during the civil rights movement. Frank Pinkston led the movement in Marion County and would ask to “go fishing” when he or his family needed protection. Stevenson also provided a facility for African Americans to frequent during segregation.

Frank Washington Jr.

Frank Washington Jr. is a retired educator, having worked for more than 30 years. He taught math, science, history and social science at Stanton Jr. High School and physical education at N. H. Jones Elementary School. He was instrumental in establishing the mentoring program at Howard Middle School.

Annual Beautiful in Black Festival
Date: 02/02/2019 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Location: Citizens’ Circle 110 SE Watula Ave Ocala, Florida 34471
A celebration of black excellence and paying homage to the ancestors and trailblazers that paved the way. This one-of-a-kind event is a unique expo that honors and celebrates the past, the present and future African American legends and leaders of society. For additional details, please contact Kasadraine D. Eftson of Undefined Shades, LLC at 352.210.8408.

Meeting of the Minds
In Dec 2018, the first ever African American Think Tank was held in Ocala/Marion County. Tanya Walker of UNITY Group Services and Daystar Radio 89.5 reported the following on Facebook.

“The purpose of the [First African American] ‘think tank’ [hosted by Whitfield Jenkins] is to discuss the problems of the black community and provide workable solutions. Numerous black leaders attended. Mr. Jenkins stated that this is the first of many more meetings to come,” wrote Walker. Long-time local civil rights activist, Whitfield Jenkins, President of the Liberation Ocala African American Council, Inc. replied, “Thanks to all the Millennium local leaders and Emeritus leaders who attended this meeting to engage in a dialogue of uplift for the community and persons within. The meeting intended to encourage persons in leadership to work together on key needs and interests for the community, including the underserved community. It also was intended for youth leaders to come forth and serve with commitment, courage, humility, and love. It’s a beginning, not the end. God gets the glory!”


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