By Christine Davis
Woolbright Farmers Market, a longtime produce stand and garden center at 141 W. Woolbright Road in Boynton Beach, closed in May. The closing came as owner Jesse Goldfinger, 40, who took over the business from his parents, Howard and Michelle, retired.
“It’s time to move on,” Goldfinger said. “I’ve been working 60 to 70 hours a week for the last 20 years, and my kids don’t get to see me enough.”
A year after his parents bought the market, he joined them right out of college in running the business, he said. “Then, my father bowed out in 2007, and my mom worked with me up until COVID.”
The 800-square-foot center carried local vendors, including Lake Worth Beach’s Upper Crust pies and Delray Beach’s Old School Bakery. Fruits and vegetables accounted for the bulk of sales, with about half of them organic.
In later years, the market also sold smoothies, cold-press juices and milkshakes.
“We also made a mean guacamole, and we sold fresh-cut flowers, Christmas trees and pumpkins,” Goldfinger said. “We sold the good stuff. That was the key.”
The property, which had been owned by members of the Neumann family since the 1980s, originally had a house as well as the market. They lived on the site and farmed out west.
Over the years, the property changed hands. It was also owned by Harvey E. Oyer Jr., a descendant of one of South Florida’s pioneer families, as well as Ridgewood Groves of Palm Beach.
Goldfinger, who plans to hold onto the property, recalls that it was a farm market before his family owned it.
“The emotional part of me says, I would love for it to be carried on as a farm market, but the business part of me says, ‘He who pays the rent gets to choose,’” he said.
Goldfinger and his wife, Jessica, have sold their house and are ready to hit the road, maybe eventually settling back down in upstate New York, closer to Jessica’s family. In the meantime, they, with daughters Kate, 12, and Quinn, 5, and son Collin, 10, are preparing to take off in an RV.
“We plan to take a long trip,” Goldfinger said. “It’s an opportunity for us to see the country together and offer our children this educational opportunity.”
He is going to miss the “fresh stuff,” though, he said. “We like it and believe in it, so, of course, we use it. We have great tomatoes when we want them.
“My wife texts me what she needs, and I bring it home. That is a convenience we will also miss.”
After a year and a half of dealing with the ramifications of the coronavirus, local chambers of commerce predict a rosier summer.
Some businesses were hit harder than others, said David Arm, president of the Greater Lantana Chamber of Commerce.
Lantana Fitness, 700 W. Lantana Road, which Arm owns with his wife, Renee, “was shut down by the state early on, but reopened with stringent COVID protocols, and is only now seeing business improve as vaccination rates increase and people feel more comfortable about going to the gym,” Arm said.
As an example of a business that managed better than most, Arm points to the Old Key Lime House, 300 E. Ocean Ave., Lantana.
“Its entire facility is outdoors, which made people feel more comfortable than going into an indoor restaurant,” Arm said. “Mario’s restaurant, on the other hand, moved from 225 E. Ocean Ave., Lantana, to 707 Lake Avenue, Lake Worth Beach, because most of its dining was indoors, and they didn’t have enough business to sustain a facility of that size. After they moved to the smaller location, they are doing very well.”
Other developments that Arm noted: After finishing renovations, Uncle Louie G Lantana, an ice cream shop at 204 E. Ocean Ave., opened during the pandemic.
After American Spirit Cheer & Dance closed at 211 S. Third St., Superior Window Treatments and Installation constructed a new showroom and opened there.
Saglo, owner of the Kmart Plaza site, 1201 S. Dixie Highway, and the Morgan Group, a national residential real estate developer, have resumed discussions on plans to build about 200 upscale rental units.
At Water Tower Commons, 1199 W. Lantana Road, the Related Group has completed the first phase of residential units and has begun work on its second phase. The commercial segment, owned by Lantana Development LLC, with Kenco Communities and Wexford Capital, is moving along with road improvements, Arm said. Commercial businesses there will include Aldi and Wawa.
Stephanie Immelman, president and CEO of the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce, said, “As of now, the season won’t be ending anytime soon.”
According to her members, “the pent-up demand is driving hotel stays, attraction visits and high restaurant capacity. The booking pipeline for hotels is stretching out past July 4.”
Delray is booming, she said. “Florida is the place to be right now, because many other states are opening up more slowly. Cruises are not opened yet either. Even if our part-time residents go back up North, there will be significant demand from the drive market and local patronage of our businesses. For now, it’s good news.”
Immelman points to Crane’s Beach House, at 82 Gleason St., as an example.
Cathy Balestriere, Crane’s general manager, said: “After a difficult and challenging year for our industry, we are happy to report that we are seeing a very strong return of both new and loyal guests here at Crane’s, whom we are welcoming back safely and with new services. …
“We’ve seen many weeks of very high occupancy” even with in-season prices “and continue to see positive bookings even into the summer.
“We were fortunate to be able to remain open throughout the pandemic and retain our entire staff, thanks to a lot of very rigid precautionary measures and flexible stay options and are incredibly grateful to see our hotel filled with happy and satisfied guests once again.”
“Boca is well on the road to recovery,” said Troy McLellan, president and CEO of the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce. “The general economy in Boca Raton, Boynton Beach and south Palm Beach County is much healthier than when the floor fell out from under us.”
He said government funding helped businesses, so much so that some were doing well enough financially that they did not need to apply for more recent government funding options, such as the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
However, his members are having a hard time finding employees, and he predicts that will continue until September.
“That’s unfortunate, because summers are challenging for businesses,” he said. “They are paying more and incentivizing” in an effort to attract workers, “but that’s not a sustainable strategy to identify, recruit and retain their workforce. Almost all of our member hotels — Boca Marriott, Renaissance Boca and Wyndham Boca — as well as our member restaurants are looking for workers.”
Owners of Under the Sun products, Delray Beach residents Lauren Donald and Julie Peyton, have offered their hair-care line at salons as well as online since 2012. Today, three of their products, Shampoo Treatment, Conditioning Treatment, and Leave-In Conditioner, are also offered on Amazon Prime, with a percentage of their sales donated to local charities.
Their products can be purchased at Amazon.com or alwaysunderthesun.com. Products are also available curbside at Bond Street Salon, 25 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach. To find other stores that carry them, call 855-888-4247.
Alison Kirsten has joined Eau Spa as director of spa and leisure at Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa. Previously, Kirsten was spa director of the Peninsula Hotels in Beverly Hills, and prior to that, she ran spa and fitness operations at Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons hotels.
As of June 1, Van Williams is provost and dean of student services of the Boca Raton campus of Palm Beach State College. He is a member of President Ava L. Parker’s executive leadership team.
Williams joined the college in 2009 as director of TRIO programs before becoming assistant dean of student services on the Lake Worth campus in 2013 and dean in 2017. He serves as an adjunct instructor of “Introduction to the College Experience.”
Kaufman Lynn Construction, a Delray Beach-based builder, recently added two executives to its leadership team. Russell Anderson became the firm’s executive vice president of preconstruction and Jason Patrizi became senior vice president of operations.
Anderson has received industry awards that include the Design-Build Institute National Award for Best Overall Project. His portfolio covers more than 300 projects. Patrizi has extensive knowledge in the multifamily, hospitality, criminal justice, public works, entertainment, and industrial market sectors.
Bonnie Heatzig has joined Douglas Elliman Real Estate’s Boca Raton office at 444 E. Palmetto Park Road. Focusing on waterfront real estate, she has sold more than $80 million in the past two years and has more than $100 million in contracts with the Boca Beach House development in Boca Raton. Heatzig is also a licensed attorney in Florida, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Thomas and Michelle Marra, individually and as trustees of a land trust, sold the home at 1111 S. Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach, for $21.1 million to 1111 Ocean LLC, a Delaware corporation managed by Randal Perkins, according to public records dated May 20. Records show that Perkins’ entity borrowed $10.55 million from First Horizon Bank, and that he owns the house next door at 1141 S. Ocean.
The seven-bedroom estate is sited on 1.14 acres with 120 feet of ocean frontage, according to its listing on Realtor.com, which said that Nick Malinosky, an agent with Douglas Elliman, represented both the buyer and seller in the transaction. The home was originally listed in February for $23.5 million. The Marras bought the 13,712-square-foot mansion in 2015 for $15.45 million, records show.
Perkins in 1992 founded Deerfield Beach-based AshBritt Environmental, a national rapid-response disaster recovery and special environmental services contractor that has managed and executed more than 230 disaster recovery missions as well as special environmental projects, according to the company’s website.
A property at 1800 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan, sold for $14 million, according to public records dated May 17. The estate was owned since 1996 by entities linked to the late pharmaceutical entrepreneur John D. Copanos. Mercedes Chaves sold the estate as a successor co-trustee of a trust in the name of Copanos, who died in 2019. Her co-trustee was Carol H. Bilotti, president of All Florida Tax Consulting Inc. in Broward County.
The buyer was a Georgia-based limited liability company, ADE 925 LLC, which lists Ron Raitz as its agent. Raitz, a real estate entrepreneur, is president and founder of Atlanta Deferred Exchange Inc.
The 1976-era house with a beach cabana is sited on almost two acres with about 152 feet of water frontage on both the ocean and Intracoastal Waterway.
Real estate agent Shelly Newman of William Raveis South Florida handled both sides of the sale.
Newman also just listed neighboring properties. A four-bedroom estate at 1860 S. Ocean Blvd., listed for $29.9 million and sited on 2.5 acres with 200 feet of water frontage on both the ocean and Intracoastal, is offered for sale for the first time since 1978, according to Newman’s listing.
The property at 1840 S. Ocean Blvd. is listed for $29.5 million. It sits on two acres with 150 feet on both ocean and Intracoastal, has a 11,953-square-foot residence with terraces and a pool, and room to build a 1,200-square-foot cabana.
Louis Campisano and Jeanette Frankenberg, individually and as trustees of the Gulf Stream Family Trust, sold the home at 3813 N. Ocean Blvd. in Gulf Stream for $11 million to the 3813 N. Ocean Trust. The sale was recorded April 23.
While it’s not clear who owns the latter trust, Ronald Kochman, an attorney at Kochman & Ziska PLC in West Palm Beach, is listed as trustee.
The 5,813-square-foot, five-bedroom house was designed by Randall Stofft and built in 2001.
Campisano is president of New Jersey-based Louis Campisano Insurance Agency, according to his LinkedIn page.
Frankenberg, an attorney, is the managing member of the New Jersey firm Stern, Lavinthal & Frankenberg LLC. According to Zillow, Corcoran agent Thor M. Brown represented the seller, while Lawrence Moens of Lawrence A. Moens Associates represented the buyer.
Kevin and Doris Mattus Hurley sold the Boca Raton waterfront home at 4400 Sanctuary Lane as trustees of the Doris Mattus Hurley Living Trust for $8.65 million to Darielle Singerman, according to public records dated April 22. Doris Hurley is the daughter of the late Reuben and Rose Mattus, the founders of Häagen-Dazs. Singerman is the wife of Aaron Singerman, founder and CEO of the sports supplement company Redcon1.
The Hurleys purchased the 1985-era, 12,974-square-foot mansion in 2003 for $4.6 million and extensively renovated it in 2017.
John Poletto and Mark Nestler of One Sotheby’s International Realty represented the seller, and Brad Schwartzman with Vue Real Estate represented the buyer.
Delray Beach’s Downtown Development Authority celebrated its 50th anniversary during a reception that included past and present board members. FRONT ROW: Rocco Mangel, board member; Dr. Alan Costilo, board member; Frank Frione, board member; Dr. John Conde, board member; Mavis Benson, board member; Bonnie Beer, past board member; Fran Marincola, past board member; Roy Simon, founder and past board chairman; Laura Simon, executive director. BACK ROW: Sandy Zeller, past board member; Peter Arts, board chairman; Ryan Boylston, past board member; Rita Ellis, past board member; David Cook, past board member; and Albert Richwagen, past board member. Photo provided
The Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority celebrated its 50th anniversary on May 22 with a reception.
The DDA was created in 1971 at the request and unanimous vote of the merchants and property owners downtown, with the goal to establish a governing body to increase the parking and commerce for the district. The DDA was founded by then Chamber of Commerce President Roy Simon, who is the father of Laura Simon. She was hired as assistant director in 2010 and promoted to executive director in 2015.
The Florida Legislature passed a law establishing the DDA and authorized that 1 mil of its property value be taxed to fund redevelopment and promotional efforts in the DDA district. It mirrored Delray’s central business district at that time, including businesses from Swinton Avenue to the Intracoastal Waterway.
In 1993, the DDA boundaries were expanded eastward to include properties along Atlantic Avenue to State Road A1A and north and south blocks along the original Central Business District area.
The boundaries were expanded again in 1998 to the west from Swinton Avenue to I-95 to include the newly designated West Atlantic Redevelopment Area.
Over the years, the DDA has invested tax dollars back into downtown through the creation of the public parking lots, the downtown bypass, beautification programs, marketing materials, the DowntownDelrayBeach.com website, merchant promotions, tourism efforts, economic development and by helping facilitate the Clean & Safe program with the Police Department, Community Redevelopment Agency and the city.
Its office is at 350 SE 1st Street.
Send business news to Christine Davis at email@example.com.