Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Ryan Maloney Joins Construction Litigation At Shutts & Bowen Law Firm

Congratulations to my Rotary buddy Ryan Maloney for joining the Jacksonville office of the Shutts & Bowen law firm as a partner. Ryan, who has been an attorney for over 20 years, will serve as a member of the firm’s Construction Litigation Practice Group. Ryan is a Florida Bar Certified Construction Law practitioner. Ryan tells me that he joined Shutts & Bowen because the firm has a large construction practice, represents construction clients throughout Florida and has more resources for handling construction work. The firm is headquartered in Miami with 8 offices throughout the state, including Jacksonville. In addition to construction work, Ryan will also represent businesses and individuals in business and contract disputes, governmental bid protests and real estate disputes. Knowing Ryan as I do, he takes on challenges with a very careful and strategic approach. Plus, he cares about people and our community, having served in Southside Rotary for 11 years. If you need to contact Ryan, you can reach him at 904-899-9954 or at Ryan is pictured on the left in this “Lunch with Les” photo.


Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Mary Fisher of Mary Fisher Design Retires

 Mary Fisher, one of my most favorite people in the advertising industry, is announcing her retirement as of April 1. With over 45 years in the business, Mary has worked for many of the top companies in Jacksonville and enjoyed working on a variety of fun and unusual projects. She just completed the sale of her company, the Fisher Agency, to her partner Erin Gordon. When I first met Mary, she was working for Lee Printing in 1979. She went on to head up design for several magazines, including Jacksonville Monthly and Jacksonville Magazine. She then founded her own agency, Mary Fisher Design (now Fisher Agency), for about 35 successful years. In addition to being very well liked by her advertising peers and competitors, she is also respected in the community, speaking before groups such as entrepreneurs at the University of North Florida and the Women’s Business Owners. In her appearances before these groups, she offered insights to starting and running a company with her most important messages being “always have an exit strategy when you start a business” and “be as prepared as possible for emergencies or unseen events.” While Mary will continue mentoring individuals and nonprofits, she is still on call to help Erin and the agency with any clients’ needs. Mary is pictured in this “Lunch with Les” photo at the Athenian Owl restaurant.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Strasser Brothers Purchase Lillian's Sports Bar

 Congratulations to Taylor, Ryan and Cliff Strasser for their recent purchase of Lillian’s Sports Bar & Grill. The three brothers grew up in the Ortega area always wanting to own the sports bar. The previous owners retired at the end of the year and the brothers were able to obtain it in January. Their friend, Aaron Kleist, and his lending partner, Ed Randall, both with Central Bank, helped them with an SBA loan, something they couldn’t get as a non-franchised restaurant from the larger banks. The three brothers have extensive experience in the food service business, each having their own Five Star Pizza franchise. With the three brothers now partners in the sports bar, they will be working together to maintain Lillian’s long proven reputation and to ensure the sports bar keeps running as usual, including using the food recipes from the previous owners. They will continue with full lunch and dinner entries, along with offering promotional events and live bands in their several dining rooms. Lilian’s is located at 5393 Roosevelt Boulevard (#6), just north of Jax Naval Air Station. Their dining rooms are available for parties and groups and can be reserved by calling (904) 388-4220 or visiting This “Lunch with Les” photo features the brothers (from left to right) Taylor, Cliff and Ryan with Les.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Stellar Growth Strategies Offer Outsourced VP Of Sales For North Florida Market

 Many small businesses in the North Florida market need help to push their company to that next level, but they don’t know what resources are available to help them achieve their sales goals. When it comes to creating a sales strategy, customizing a sales acceleration process, developing a hiring process, and implementing a CRM system or even more, that’s when you need to contact my friend Jen Cart. As owner of Stellar Growth Strategies and an Outsourced VP of Sales, Jen evaluates your business and can function as a sales architect (creating a sales framework), sales builder (performing the work for the company) or both the architect and builder. She is experienced in providing fractional help for any type of business that sells products or services for companies ranging from $2 – 100 million in sales. She offers a free Sales Agility Assessment prior to presenting a proposal so the business owner or president will know the scope of work needed and costs. If you could use a source to increase your sales, regardless of the number of sales people you have, I recommend Jen for her personalized, roll-up-your-sleeves method of sales guidance. Contact her at (904) 477-1229 or Jen is pictured here in my “Lunch with Les” photo. 

Thursday, October 12, 2023

New Peterbooke Store Opens In Northern St. Johns County

 Congratulations to my fellow Bolles graduate, Julie Reston and her husband Jared for opening the newest Peterbrooke Chocolate store in northern St. Johns County. Also a big thanks to Ed Randall and Aaron Kleist of Central Bank for helping the couple with an SBA loan after they were put through the hoops with 3 other banks. Julie is president of PFG Chocolate (named after her 3 sons) and had wanted to start her own business. The store has all of the high quality chocolate products Peterbrooke is known for, plus offering custom gifts for individuals and corporations. They even have gelato in the store. The Restons recently had their grand opening in the Silverleaf Shopping Plaza, located in a large new residential development in northern St. Johns County. The Silverleaf Peterbrooke is the 27th franchise store to open. Julie has always wanted a family business in her local community where friends and neighbors could enjoy their products and services. Located at 70 Silver Forest Drive, they can be contacted at 904-342-2457 or In this “Lunch with Les” photo taken at the grand opening (from left to right) is Les Loggins, Julie Reston, Jared Reston and COO of Peterbrooke Corporate, Jeff Smith.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Bee Friends Farm Is Leading The Beekeeping Industry In North Florida

 There is a lot of “buzz” around the Beekeeping business in North Florida, and the premier experts in the industry are Michael and Christie Leach, owners of Bee Friends Farm. At the Rotary Club of South Jacksonville, Michael talked, not only about his business operation, but also the need of maintaining healthy bee hives in our community and all over the world. Michael, who rents out his bees to farmers in California and Michigan, says that using bees for pollination will increase crop yields by at least 30%. Bee Friends Farm, which began in 2013, is involved in every aspect of beekeeping. In addition to commercial pollination (where they manage over 600 bee colonies), the company has a retail store at 1118 Edgewood Avenue South, offering bee-related gifts (various flavors of honey, beeswax candles, even honey recipes), beekeeping equipment, tours and beekeeping courses on their farm. In this “Lunch with Les” photo, Michael and Christie are shown here with a live bee box display they brought in for their Rotary presentation. For anything involving the bee industry and for honey oriented gifts, stop by the Edgewood store; visit; or email

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Jacksonville Business Community Loses Woman Business Pioneer Anne Renfroe

 I wanted to note the passing of one of the top women business pioneers in Jacksonville – Anne Renfroe. Anne was the owner of J.C. Renfroe & Sons, a manufacturer and marketer of industrial lifting products. She took over the business with very little knowledge of manufacturing when her husband, Charles, died. The business was not doing well but she identified and brought in top talent, expanded the product line and built the company into one of the top two clamp companies in the world. I had the honor to help her redirect the approach of her advertising, which resulted in changing the way industrial competitors and related companies advertise. She entered an almost totally dominated male industry and became so popular she was elected president of the national association, Associated Wire Rope Fabricators (AWRF). As one of my favorite advertising clients, I knew her as a very strong woman, who could bring out the best in people, and doing it with respect and total class. She was proud when the nation called on her company to provide products to move the Liberty Bell twice, build the St. Louis Gateway Arch and recover the Spaceship Challenger wreckage from the Atlantic Ocean. The Jacksonville business community and Downtown Rotary will miss this classy lady, Anne Renfroe, who was a business and civic inspiration to men and women alike.