Meet Sharon Noll Space Coast City Guide Realtor of the Year for Exceptional Customer Service
California Native Sharon Noll moved to Florida 11 years ago to, as she says, “marry the most wonderful man on the planet,” her husband, John. Once in Florida, she became a real estate agent who has distinguished herself by providing superior customer service to real estate buyers, sellers, those seeking to rent property, and property managers. Palm Bay live spoke to Sharon to learn more about her real estate activities and her approach to customer service.
How did you get into real estate?
“When I got to Florida, I was hired by a team of realtors to do website development, marketing and customer care, and then I did some work for another group of realtors to help with their customer care, and when I started to take care of my mom I realized I needed a more flexible schedule. So that’s why I decided to get my real estate license.”
Tell us more about the Realtor of the Year Award for customer service by Space Coast City Guide and how you were recognized?
“One of the things I am known for with my colleagues, my customers, buyers, sellers and renters is my customer service. It is my number one priority no matter what my connection to the transaction is. I know that Space Coast City Guide looked at my reviews, they spoke to my customers, and I’ve also just been informed that I’ve been nominated for the Business Champion of the Year Award from the Cocoa Beach Chamber of Commerce. So I just feel very honored to be recognized for my customer service.”
The Space Coast City Guide award covered the years 2019, 2020, and 2021. The real estate market was very different in each one of those years, wasn’t it?
“Absolutely. 2020 brought COVID, and with COVID came a lot of fear and anxiety and emotions, so you have to listen to your customer and deal with those emotions, and yes, I did lose some transactions, but not the customers. In 2019, inventory was beginning to shrink, that continued in 2020, and 2021 is super competitive. I put an offer on a home last week that had 27 competing offers. So yes, those three years were each very different.”
How would you describe the real estate market especially in the Palm Bay/Melbourne area?
“Palm Bay is one of the 10 fastest growing communities in the country, its growth is off the charts. Inventory is still down, and constriction and labor costs are higher which pushes new home prices up, so the median price right now is very high. The growth in Palm bay is astronomical. And the market in Melbourne is just as hot, but there is a lot less undeveloped land in Melbourne which is constraining new inventory from coming online. So both Palm Bay and Melbourne are very competitive at the moment, and if you want to get into Brevard County, now is the time.”
You work with buyers, sellers and renters, right?
“Yes, and landlords and property management. I manage properties and I will find tenants for property managers. If you need a roof over your head, I will help you! But all four categories have very different housing needs, and the key is listening to customers to help them get exactly what they need.”
You preview each one of the potential homes for your buyers, don’t you?
“Yes, I do. Each night I get a new list of potential homes that match the criteria for my clients who are buying, and I visit every one of those properties before my clients do. My days are more flexible than many of my clients, many of them have full time jobs, and I want to go see the home before they do just to make sure it’s a good match. I know what my buyers are looking for, and if the home is not a good fit, there is no reason for the buyer to visit the property.”
Sharon has also earned the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation from the National Association of Realtors. This designation recognizes that Sharon has the tools to meet the needs of her elderly clients with real estate transactions and relocation issues.
Business of the Month: Palm Bay’s JamRock Grill Offers Authentic Jamaican and Caribbean Fare
Hungry for a taste of the Caribbean right here in Palm Bay, or maybe you’ve always wanted to try traditional favorites like Jerk Chicken or Pork, Curried Goat of Chicken, Oxtail, and then wash it down with one of Jamaica’s traditional sodas or juices? Then you should definitely try Palm Bay’s JamRock Grill, a casual restaurant with a laid back and friendly Caribbean vibe, where you can find all of your favorites and maybe discover some new ones. We spoke with JamRock’s owners Garth and Michelle Williams via telephone to learn more about them and their restaurant.
What brought you to Palm Bay?
“We were in Washington D.C. and we wanted a better place for our kids to grow up. My wife’s family was here, and when I visited, I fell in love with Palm Bay! And I knew this was a good place to do business,” Garth said.
Where did the idea for JamRock come from?
“We opened a music venue called Sugar Kane Lounge, and I grew tired of the party scene, and I had always wanted to open a place where people could come and enjoy good, authentic jamaican food. So I went back to the drawing board and we opened JamRock.” Garth explained.
Tell us about your menu, which items are most popular, and if there are any secret or family recipes?
Mr Williams explained that he’s always loved cooking and that all of the recipes are his own that he has put together over the years. Michelle added, “The most popular item we’re doing right now is the Jerk Chicken. Garth loves to grill, and we put the chicken on the grill outside so it gets that smokiness and tastes just like the chicken you would get in Jamaica. And people love our signature rum punch.” “I do the chicken on authentic Jamaican Jerk drum like it’s supposed to be, and the oxtail and the Curry Chicken are popular, too. The restaurant is a few blocks from Winn-Dixie, and people walking to Winn-Dixie smell the chicken and come into the restaurant!” Garth said.
How would you describe the vibe/atmosphere of JamRock Grill?
“The vibe is a love vibe, the colors are the colors of the Jamaican flag, and I love the look of wood, and it’s pretty much my design. The atmosphere is really good, and when you walk into JamRock you just feel love, and we get a lot of compliments on our customer service,” Mr. Williams said. Said Mrs. Williams, “Our daughter is our head cashier and she is really good at customer service, which we really strive for. We want people to leave smiling.”
What’s running a business in Palm Bay like, have you been well received by the community?
Garth answered, “I love my community and Palm Bay is a great place to run the kind of business that I am running. The people that I meet, all kinds of people from different cultures, and I get to talk to them, that’s really special for me. So yes, Palm Bay is definitely a great place for the kind of business we have. The majority of our clients are not from the Caribbean, we have a very diverse clientele.”
You opened your current location in July of 2020, during the heart of COVID. What was that like?
“It actaully gave me a lot of time to think and reflect on my plan. We were going so fast before the pandemic and then the pandemic hit really slowed us down. The slow time really helped to clear my mind and focus on the plan and the things that I could control,” Mr. Williams explained.
What’s in the future for JamRock Grill?
Garth explained. “We definitely want to expand and put in a full bar in, maybe bring in Caribbean comedians and bands for live entertainment, and we really want to turn this into a Caribbean sports bar where folks can come in and watch their soccer or football or cricket or whatever, and drink some beer and shoot some pool. We want to expand what we offer so people will want to come for a happy hour and just enjoy themselves, maybe have some rum punch and good food. When I get this one just the way we want it, we definitely want to open the next location and we are thinking about franchising.”
160 Malabar Rd SW
Palm Bay, FL 32907
Business of the Month – Paddling Paradise Offers Numerous Ways to Enjoy Palm Bay’s Beautiful Waters and Nature
Opened in 2018 and located on U.S. 1 at Turkey Creek in Palm Bay is Paddling Paradise, where you can rent paddleboards and kayaks and book paddleboard, kayak and Hobie Mirage Pedal tours. Equipment rentals include the paddleboard or kayak, paddle, and personal flotation device, but be sure to bring your own protective clothing and plenty of water. Paddling Paradise also has a store with clothing and paddleboarding accessories for sale, and they offer paddleboard and kayak storage. Events offered include sunrise paddles, eco tours, private lessons, SUP yoga, paint & paddle parties, birthday parties, and group team building. Whether you want a relaxing time floating across the water of Turkey Creek hoping to catch a glimpse of a dolphin or manatee, or if you’re looking for access to competitive water-based sporting events or anything in between, Paddling Paradise has something to offer you. Palm Bay Live spoke to the operator of Paddling Paradise, Dan Smith, to learn more about the business.
Tell me about your background and how you became so passionate about paddle boarding and water activities?
“I grew up in Melbourne, and traveled around the world, I surfed competitively growing up, and about 15 years ago I got into paddleboarding, and it’s just been amazing. It’s a way to get out on the water and enjoy, and I can surf on a paddleboard or just paddle flat water or I can race on it. And paddleboarding is really for everyone, brand new people can go out with just minimal training.”
Today’s kayaks have gone really high tech, haven’t they? They are made with high performance composite materials and feature advanced designs. Tell us about that.
“For sure! We are a Hobie dealer and we have boats that have the Hobie Mirage Drive pedal drive system which can be pedal paddled or sailed, and we both rent and sell these amazing watercraft. Purchase prices range from $1,500 to $8,000. They’re really fun!”
Paddling Paradise is a jumping off place for many activities such as Women on Water, the Turkey Creek Sanctuary Kayak Tour, and you’re active in other sporting events and competitions, right?
“Yes, we have something for everyone. And this past July we hosted the Amature Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Olympics first ever paddleboard event, and just recently paddleboarding was added as an official AAU event along with track & field, tennis and volleyball. And through our Paddle Sports League we will be promoting paddleboard events with clubs throughout Florida.”
What has it been like to operate through a pandemic?
“We were lucky and remained open the whole time, paddleboarding is an outdoor activity in beautiful Florida, and people were definitely interested in getting outside during the pandemic in a safe and socially-distanced way. Outdoor activities like bicycling and kayaking have been growing in popularity recently, so we were definitely luckier than some of the other businesses.”
On your Facebook page, you have pictures of paddleboarders and kayakers seeing dolphins and manatees up close. Does that happen often?
“Absolutely, that’s an everyday occurrence, and it’s amazing the diversity of the things that we do see. Dolphins, manatees, birds, all sorts of fish, and turtles too. And what you see varies depending on where in Turkey Creek you are. It really is amazing.”
What are your future plans for Paddling Paradise?
“We are definitely looking to get more youth into the sport. The main demographic for paddleboarding is women aged 35 to 55, but now that we are part of AAU and their 700,000 members, many of whom are youth athletes who will now have access to our paddleboarding events. And the moms are already paddleboarding, so this is a way for the moms to include the kids in their hobby. During the AAU event, we had three generations of women from the same family compete in the same race, and they each finished the race and won an award. So our goal is to grow the sport with youth and get the word out that anybody can enjoy paddleboarding. And once the kids paddleboard they love it!
Another important part of our future is that the City of Palm Bay is looking to further develop the property where our business is located, perhaps adding a restaurant and other things that will drive more traffic here. Paddling Paradise will continue to be here on the same property and looking to get more people out on the water to enjoy themselves!”
4220 Dixie Hwy – Pal
m Bay, FL 32905
Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday -Sunday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
APRIL Business of the Month “Palm Bay’s Organic Girly” Cafe & Market Growing Despite COVID
Organic Girly Cafe & Market offers organic, farm fresh, and health promoting products that are both delicious and gorgeously presented. Products in the market include keto (grain free) donuts, carrot top pesto, low calorie high probiotic water kefir, and organic honey, teas, and jams. The OG Cafe offers a flexible, seasonal menu using locally produced, farm-to-table ingredients, and favorites include keto waffles, wild salmon ceviche with yuca tortilla chips, and Cuban sandwiches using pasture raised pork. The Organic Girly is Dina Caballero, a resident of PalmBay, and we spoke to her about her passion for her products and her expanding business.
You have an interesting background, you were an EMT in the U.S. Air Force and also spent time as a Congressional staffer in a local district office. How did you become the Organic Girly?
“I believe that food is a priority when it comes to living healthy, and I started with health coaching for family and friends back in 2007 and 2008 to bring awareness about genetically modified organisms. Then, in 2019, I started selling my elderberry syrup at the farmer’s market and from there it really took off. I’ve been in Palm Bay for a long time and folks knew me and encouraged me to take the next step.”
Where did your passion for organic products come from? Elderberry and elderflower are big for you.
“It started in college, I was pre-med for a while and I took a class in food policy that made me realize that I could have more of an impact by working with the people around me rather than changing the laws in Washington. I found that if you really want to make change, it starts at the local level and not the national level, and so I started working on health things with my family and friends and their friends, and it kind of took off from there.
Your entire family supports your business, especially your sons Xavian and Alex. What is like running a family business?
“(Laughs) Oh my gosh, some days it’s a real challenge! It definitely keeps us close, we are always at the family dinner table together, and I love what it’s teaching my children about hard work and service to the community. You don’t just get stuff for free, you have to work. We work with local farmers and community members, and we support each other by working together. I love what that teaches my children.
You opened and then expanded during the pandemic, what did you do differently?
“Well, you can’t stop a virus, you just have to be proactive with your health, and we thought we could help by offering our healthy foods and products to people when they were more needed than ever. I feel like what we are doing is educating people about living healthily and making good food choices, and that’s important during a pandemic. Our focus is to help people and empower them and let them know they do have alternatives.
You’ve obviously enjoyed great support from Palm Bay, what has that been like for you?“
Oh, it’s wonderful, I love Palm Bay, I always knew I wanted my first store to be in Palm Bay! The outpouring of support from Palm Bay city officials has just been amazing. I live in Palm Bay, and I didn’t want my first store to be anywhere else, and I’d love to open another location in Palm Bay.
Tell us about you Saturdays, you are busy with farmers’ markets, right?
“ Yes, we host along with our partners a farmer’s market on the second and fourth saturday of each month, and Palm Bay Mayor Rob Medina recognized those two days as Palm Bay Farmer’s Market Days, and we very much appreciate his support and recognition. About 80% of the businesses there make the products they sell, many are local local farmers. So our Saturday’s are busy!
Is the Organic Girly donut the healthiest and most delicious donut in the world?
“(Laughs) Oh, my gosh, maybe! Those keto donuts are delicious, and I like making things pretty, that’s the girly part of the Organic Girly. If you can satisfy the visual and the taste buds at the same time, then you feel like you’re eating a real donut! 63 calories and only 1.1 grams of net carbs, for the unstuffed donuts, and only 2 grams of carbs for the stuffed donuts! And no sugar.
Café OG & Market
3200 Dixie HWY NE STE 3 & 4
Palm Bay, FL 32905
Palm Bay, Consumer Alert-Solar X Homes
2021-07-20 – Notice to Correct False Statement Published By Richard Rivera (1)
Writers: Kevin Vaccianna/Molly Fashola
Editor-in-Chief: Cathy Oasheim
Solar X is a construction design and building company found throughout Central Florida. Their website boasts solar powered homes that are energy efficient, sustainable and hurricane proof.
They claim to pride themselves on offering spacious, high-quality homes to families around Florida without the “hefty price tag.”
To anyone looking to buy a home, especially in this time of economic uncertainty, this may sound like a dream come true. In fact, Solar X has attracted many Florida residents using glitzy ads, a fancy website, and social media. Unfortunately, many of those customers have not had a positive Solar X experience.
Palm Bay Live spoke with four residents, three of whom have closed on their homes and one who is still stuck in the process. They have shared their nightmare experiences met while buying their Solar X dream homes.
- Claim: Poor Construction & Questionable Permits
Ashley closed on her Solar X home last year, since then she says there has been non-stop issues with the construction of her house. She has experienced a crack in her homes floor tile that spans the entire length of her house, a constantly leaking and malfunctioning AC unit, and multiple plumbing issues. Additionally, she says the Net Zero solar power claims have proven to be false as her electricity bill is regularly $100 a month. She has reached out to Richard Rivera, who also goes by Richard Hamlet, and his wife, Cathy Rivera, who have presented themselves as the “owners” of the company. Unfortunately, Ashley says the issues have yet to be fixed or even addressed and that the Riveras have stopped returning her calls.
In her frustration, Ashley began doing some added research into Solar X and the work they did on her home.
She claims that when she pulled county construction records, she found evidence of falsified permits and incorrect or non-existent contractor names. As a result, she has been unable to verify that any licensed contractors performed her plumbing and electrical work. When she reached out to the companies listed on the permits, she was told that not only did they never do any work on her home, but that Solar X owed them large sums of money for past completed projects. She was even sent a bill from one company for Solar X’s unpaid liens.
Following this discovery, Ashley reached out to the City of Palm Bay. The City did make Solar X resubmit the permitting paperwork, but no fraud investigation or disciplinary action was taken, and many of the newly listed contractors were still false.
Ashley has since reached out to the Florida State’s Attorney office and she says an investigation is pending.
- Claim: Breach of Contract Threats
Similarly, Melvin, another local resident and veteran, says he saw an advertisement showing a 4-bedroom 2-bath Solar X house on over a quarter acre of land listed for $240,000.
He reached out to Cathy at Solar X and scheduled a time to view a model home. However, when he went to see the model it was nothing like what was advertised. It had fewer bedrooms and a much smaller plot of land. He mentioned this to Cathy who claimed that the ad he saw was posted incorrectly by mistake.
Despite this, Melvin says he ended up liking the model he did see and since he was under a time crunch to move out of his current rental, he decided to move forward. He discussed his move-in time frame with Cathy who assured him his home could be built in time.
Cathy then put Melvin in touch with a banker who could help with obtaining a mortgage loan. Melvin believes this banker is a preferred lender of Solar X.
When it came time for closing and the final home walk-through Melvin was distressed to find that the house was not completed. Additionally, there were cracks in the flooring, plumbing issues, incorrect framing, and several other issues. Melvin decided that he did not want to close and asked that the closing be pushed back until the corrections in the home were made. The mortgage banker and Solar X agreed. A few weeks later, at the second closing date, there were still issues present. At that point, Melvin tried to cancel his VA loan all together.
He says he then received an angry email from Richard Rivera claiming that the construction team, which included Richard’s brother Franklin Rivera, had bent over backwards to give Melvin everything he wanted. Richard also threatened to sue Melvin for over $20,000 under an alleged breach of contract.
After receiving this email Melvin, feeling cornered, contacted Cathy and the two agree to and signed a list of repairs that would be completed if Melvin agreed to move forward with the purchase. A few days later, Melvin closed on the house.
Since then, many of the issues persist, including water leaks, mold, and high electricity and water bills.
Melvin continues to reach out to Solar X to get repairs completed but the response time is slow or non-existent. Melvin says he did his research before engaging with Solar X and saw some negative customer reviews but decided to give the company the benefit of the doubt. He now regrets that decision and says he is in process of seeking legal counsel.
- Claim: Non-Responsiveness & Unpaid Liens
Just like Ashley and Melvin, another local, May, found Solar X on Facebook about a year and half ago. At the time, May lived in an apartment, but in the market for a house with a yard for her grandkids. She liked Solar X’s claims about hurricane protection and steal construction, so she booked an appointment to meet with Cathy.
Prior to the appointment, Cathy sent May several addresses of their model homes in the area for her to take a look at. May says that nearly all of the addresses she was given led to vacant lots. She was able to find and impressive one in Deland, FL that was a huge 5-bedroom home. At that point, she was sold on Solar X.
Like Melvin, Cathy put May in touch with a mortgage broker.
At the pre-closing walkthrough May noticed many issues with her home’s construction. She too she had a crack in the tile that ran the length of the house. She also asked for clarification on how to fix the AC units and demonstrate how the solar panels worked. Cathy informed her that the interworking’s of the home’s systems would be explained, in full detail , after the closing and promised that any building defects would be fixed by then.
Following closing, many issues remained. May found more tile cracks, inoperable faucets, a leaky water heater, and more. May sent several emails and received no response. She eventually contacted the Palm Bay Building Inspector to find out how the house could have possibly passed an inspection. Shortly after, she got a call from Franklin Rivera, the home’s registered contractor. He physically went to her house to review some of her complaints. Despite this promising action, several issues remain in disrepair..
May later received a notice in the mail from an attorney alerting her that Solar X had not paid their workers for any of the septic tanks that they installed in 18 local houses, including hers.
- Claim: Unreturned Deposits
We spoke to Janet Carter, a 50-year-old widow and single parent of five autistic children.
Due to the overwhelming responsibility of her autistic children, Janet received a settlement grant from the Social Security Administration. The rules of the grant required that the money was to be used for the living expenses and benefits of her children. As such, Janet decided the best use of the money would be a home purchase so her children could have a permanent place to live.
Janet stumbled across an advertisement for Solar X homes. The ad claimed that the homes were perfect as low-cost housing since they used well-water and solar power.
Janet eventually signed a contract with Cathy Rivera and put down a deposit. She was told her house would be complete in 10-11 months. After signing the contract, Janet claims that Cathy became less responsive. Frustrated, Janet eventually requested termination of the contract and a refund of her deposit. After some going back and forth over the issue, Solar X agreed to send Janet a termination letter and said that the refund was forthcoming.
It has been several weeks and Janet’s deposit has not been returned. Additionally, Cathy is no longer responding to Janet’s calls and emails.
Janet informed Palm Bay Live that she cries daily because her dream to provide something sustainable and tangible for her kids has become a nightmare. Her current lease ends in August. As the rent will be significantly increased, she says she needs the money back to find alternative housing for her and her children.
Despite feeling defeated, Janet plans to consult an attorney and pursue a legal claim against Solar X and the Riveras as she believes what they are doing amounts to stealing federal money.
These are just some of the interactions Palm Bay Live has had with residents who reached with information about their claims. Supposedly, there are other residents with the same Solar X issues, including two active-duty military service members and elderly citizens, who have had similar experiences with Solar X (also d/b/a as Steel X).
Palm Bay Live reached out to Solar X for comment and spoke to Richard Rivera.
Mr. Rivera states:
“At the root of it all, we’ve successfully built hundreds of homes. Unfortunately, we have had a handful of perpetually unsatisfied customers. We have worked continuously with one customer who we now believe is simply trying to extort money from us. Every issue she has mentioned has been addressed by our warranty department and in fact, 95% of the issues she reported were truly non-issues, but we went the extra mile to make her happy despite the claims. After her issues were fixed, she still wanted money back, but she was not entitled to it. Despite this, Solar X ended up paying the money out of pocket to the title company. This customer has written to the State’s Attorney, Brevard County, her lender, other Solar X customers, and continues to spam all our social media with false claims. Again, all her issues were addressed—we have been investigated and reviewed by the county and city building inspector about her home multiple times and we have never been disciplined. Her issue with Solar X is personal, not professional.”
“Furthermore, Solar X is not a builder or general contractor. We are just the owner of the plans and brand as well as the manufacturer of the steel frame intellectual property. The builder we usually work with is Silver Palm homes. They manage the construction and the building project by subcontracting out various work. Admittedly, Solar X has had issues with Silver Palm as a builder. For example, subcontractors have come to us due to non-payment by Silver Palm. We work hard to resolve those issues and they should have no effect on our customers.”
“We also acknowledge the tile cracking issues. It is common in Florida for tile or flooring to crack or shift, as the home settles, especially during the first year. Because of this, we budget for tile fixes during the first year. We also use high quality ceramic tile, suitable for walls or flooring and install a tile membrane to minimize or prevent extensive cracking. Settling is unavoidable in many Florida homes. Anyone with a complaint about construction is directed to email our warranty department. All they need to do is write an email detailing the problem and we will send someone out to look at it. Our usually quick response time to these requests are delayed due to COVID, and we are getting back on track.
“In the event that the builder does not make the requested repairs on time, we provide customers with an extended warranty.”
“Deposit refunds are assessed on a case-by-case basis. If the customer is eligible for a refund, we will provide it within a few weeks.”
“Solar X does everything we can to police the general contractors that work with our brand, and we make sure we protect the customer as much as we can.”
Business of the Month-Palm Bay’s Business Friendly’s Subs & More thrives through the Pandemic
Friendly’s Subs & More, a deliciously casual restaurant local to Palm Bay, is serving mouthwatering sub and breakfast sandwiches, American classics like wings, and even signature desserts.
Business partners Leticia Thompson and Sophie Exantus started this Palm Bay gem, with help from business manager Monica Thompson. Palm Bay Live sat down with these female entrepreneurs to learn more about their restaurant and their inspiration.
How did you get started in the restaurant business and who or what has been your inspiration?
“We used to work for Publix. Leticia for 23 years and I [Sophie] was there for twelve. We felt the transition to our own restaurant was the next logical step.”
“Additionally, my daughter and Leticia’s granddaughter were our main inspirations. We wanted to have more time with them. Unfortunately, Leticia’s daughter died not too long ago, and so Leticia has been taking care of her granddaughter as promised to her daughter. Owning our own business gives us more time to devote to family and our girls.”
“Though some days can be hectic, overall, we have the flexibility to step way when needed. The ability to take time off or cover shifts has been great. Also, as our girls get older, they have been getting more involved with the restaurant, helping with clean up and greeting the customers, which has just increased the amount of time we get to spend together.”
What were your first thoughts when entering the restaurant business?
“It is a lot and some of what we’ve encountered has been unexpected. There is a lot that we are still learning as first time business owners. Overall, though, it’s going well. We want to expand, eventually.”
Speaking of unexpected, how has Friendly’s been coping during the pandemic?
“It’s been a roller coaster. When it first hit, the place was a ghost town. Business was slow and way down. We were stressed. A few months in, it slowly started to pick up, but then it dipped again.”
“It was and is hard to predict what’s going to happen next. It’s different from week to week.”
“Last year, we thought about closing due to the uncertainty. Thankfully, one of our amazing customers actually worked with us to create a great marketing campaign. She helps us get our name out there and engage the community. We were overwhelmed when the residents of Palm Bay started coming out and showing us so much love. We had so much support that we were running out of inventory!”
“Still, we expect that we will continue to see up and downs over the next few months. But the community truly loves us.”
As women of color, what advice do you have for future female entrepreneurs?
“Customer Service is the best thing and should be a primary focus. Making sure that everyone who comes in feels at home and part of your family is so important. We treat all our customers the same and strive for everyone to be comfortable.”
You’ve mentioned that Palm Bay has been supportive. As a place to do business, why did you choose Palm Bay?
“We are originally from Miami and Fort Lauderdale. However, Leticia has been a resident of Palm Bay for over 10 years.”
“We chose Palm Bay because we love the community and felt at home. Also, when we were looking for restaurant space, we just kept being drawn to the location that we are at now. We kept coming back to look at it and it felt right so, we decided to sign the papers.”
What are your best-selling items and why do you think they are so popular?
“Our Philly Cheesesteak and Heavenly’s Pot Roast are our most popular subs. The Philly is just so tasty. While I think people love the Pot Roast because it’s unique, it’s not something you can get everywhere. We only offer it on the weekend, and it sells out every time.”
“Also, even though we are a sub shop, our “Banana Pudding” is a top seller. I think it gives customers a comfort food feeling, a felling of nostalgia.”
Your business has 4.8 stars and 130 Google reviews. How does that make you feel?
“We love it. Every time I get a pop-up notification about another 5-star review, I’m so happy that we are selling something that people appreciate. We take a lot of pride in this. Even comments about the atmosphere or customer service are so appreciated. As a team, it’s what we aim for and we love to recognize our team members for a job well done.”
“It’s safe to say that subs are something that Leticia and Sophie know well. Their time working in the Publix Deli seems to have given them a lot of experience. Sophie says, “Once we decided to get into the business, we did our research, we were so focus, and the idea just took off.”
Be sure to check out this local spot and follow the Friendly’s Subs & More Facebook Page to learn more about their upcoming Wing Madness Event.
Friendly’s Subs & More
3425 Bayside Lakes Blvd SE, Suite 106
Palm Bay, FL 32909
Friendly's Subs & More
Phil Rotondo Recognized as No. 1 Coldwell Banker Agent, Nationally, for Units Sold
Palm Bay, Fla. (March 4, 2021) – Coldwell Banker Realty in Florida is pleased to announce that for the second consecutive year, Phil Rotondo has earned the ranking of the number one individual sales associate for total units, out of more than 96,000 Coldwell Banker® network sales professionals. Rotondo also ranks as the number one affiliated sales associate for total units in Florida.
Rotondo surpassed his total units for 2019, with a total of 409 total units sold in 2020. In addition, Rotondo is being recognized with the Coldwell Banker International Society of Excellence award.
“Phil continues to raise the bar for success with his continuous achievements in real estate. He has long been in the top ranks, which he has accomplished through hard work, dedication and expertise,” said Duff Rubin, president of Coldwell Banker Realty in Florida. “I am extremely proud of all his success and honored to have him as part of our Coldwell Banker network.”
With over 16 years of experience in real estate, Rotondo successfully meets the needs of homebuyers and sellers throughout the area. His specialties include vacant land listings and sales in all of Florida and residential properties in Brevard County. Rotondo has earned professional designations including Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES), e-PRO Internet Professional and Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR). He has previously been recognized with the prestigious International President’s Premier award and is also a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and the Florida Association of REALTORS®.
Grocery Leader ALDI Opens Third Melbourne-Area Store
Melbourne, Fla. – March 4, 2021 — ALDI, a leader in the grocery industry, will offer Melbourne residents a smarter, faster and easier grocery shopping experience as it opens its newest store at 6460 N. Wickham Rd. The new location is part of the company’s national expansion plan to become the third-largest U.S. grocery retailer by store count by the end of 2022.
ALDI prides itself on setting the standard for quality and affordability, and now even more savvy shoppers can experience the ALDI difference when the new Melbourne store opens on March 18 at 9 a.m. The store will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“We are proud of our continued expansion,” said Matt Thon, Haines City division vice president for ALDI. “Opening new stores allows us to provide even more shoppers convenient access to fresh, high-quality groceries at unbeatable prices. We look forward to serving the Melbourne community at our newest location for many years to come.”
ALDI stores are purposefully designed for simplicity and efficiency. A typical store is approximately 12,000 square feet of retail space, making ALDI stores much easier to navigate than traditional grocery stores. Stores also feature open ceilings, natural lighting and are built with environmentally friendly materials. Most importantly, ALDI stores are optimized to provide the cleanest and safest shopping environment possible, as the health and safety of customers and employees is the company’s top priority. In addition, the retailer remains focused on ensuring stores are stocked with food and household essentials customers need, including healthy, convenient options and a robust selection of produce delivered fresh to stores daily.
Known as private-label pioneers, the ALDI business model is intentionally designed to offer customers high-quality products at unbeatable prices, every day. Now, more than ever, access to affordable groceries is important, and the ALDI commitment to low prices is unwavering. When it comes to value, ALDI won’t be beat on price, and for the past 10 years, ALDI has held the esteemed title of Value Leader among U.S. grocery stores, according to the Market Force Information® U.S. Grocery Competitive Study.* The retailer consistently maintains low prices by working with the best partners to curate a selection of more than 90% exclusive brands, and ALDI guarantees its products are as good as or better than national brands. In fact, 1 in 3 ALDI-exclusive products is award-winning.**
To provide customers choice and convenience in how they shop, ALDI continues to increase its e-commerce presence. ALDI grocery delivery reaches nearly 200 million Americans across more than 10,000 ZIP codes,*** and last year, ALDI quickly mobilized to meet the growing demand for grocery pickup through its accelerated curbside rollout to nearly 700 stores across the country. ALDI also remains focused on expanding curbside pickup to even more stores. Visit shop.aldi.us to place an order.
As an award-winning employer, ALDI is nationally recognized for its commitment to employees and its dedication to prioritizing employee well-being and safety. Known for offering highly competitive wages and industry-leading benefits, ALDI made the Indeed Best Places to Work: Compensation and Benefits list in 2018 and 2019. As one of the fastest-growing retailers in the U.S., ALDI is constantly creating new job opportunities and encourages local residents to apply for open store positions. To learn more about working at ALDI and search job openings, go to careers.aldi.us.
CDC issues new travel Guidelines due to COVID-19 concerns
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an Order on January 12, 2021 requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving from a foreign country to the US. This Order will be effective on January 26, 2021 and published in the Federal Register soon.
Here are some of the frequently ask questions in regards to the new guidelines:
Does this requirement apply to US citizens?
This Order applies to all air passengers, 2 years of age or older, traveling into the US, including US citizens and legal permanent residents.
Can foreign nationals under the Presidential Proclamation travel restriction now enter the US with a negative test?
Several Presidential proclamations established restrictions on the entry of certain travelers into the US in an effort to help slow the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
With specific exceptions, foreign nationals who have been in any of the following countries during the past 14 days may not enter the US. For a full list of countries under the proclamations, visit Travelers Prohibited from Entry to the United States.
When do I need to get a test to travel to the US? And what kind of test do I need?
Get tested no more than 3 days before your flight to the US departs. Make sure to be tested with a viral test (NAAT or antigen test) to determine if you are currently infected with COVID-19. Also make sure that you receive your results before your flight departs and have documentation of your results to show the airline.
What if I recently recovered from COVID-19?
CDC does not recommend getting tested again in the three months after a positive viral test, as long as you do not have symptoms of COVID-19. If you have had a positive viral test in the past 3 months, and you have met the criteria to end isolation, you may travel instead with documentation of your positive viral test results and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official that states you have been cleared for travel. The positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.”
Who is checking to make sure that people have a negative test or documentation of recovery before they board a plane to the US?
The airline will confirm a COVID-19 negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before boarding.
What happens if I don’t take a test and want to travel to the US?
Air passengers traveling to the US are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery. Airlines must confirm the negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before boarding. If a passenger chooses not to provide a test result or documentation of recovery, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.
What happens if I test positive?
People should self-isolate and delay their travel if symptoms develop or a pre-departure test result is positive until they have recovered from COVID-19. Airlines must refuse to board anyone who does not provide a negative test result for COVID-19 or documentation of recovery.
What is a verifiable test result?
A verifiable test result must be in the form of written documentation (paper or electronic copy) of a laboratory test result. Testing must be performed using a viral test (NAAT or antigen), and negative results must be provided to the airline prior to boarding. The test result documentation must include information that identifies the person, a specimen collection date and the type of test. A negative test result must show test was done within the 3 days before the flight. A positive test result must show the test was done within the 3 months before the flight.
What kind of documentation of my test result do I need to provide?
CDC requires that air passengers arriving in the US have a paper or electronic copy of their test result for review by the airline before you board and for potential review by public health officials after you arrive in the US.
If I tested negative before my flight, do I need to get another test when I get to the US?
CDC recommends that travelers get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home or otherwise self-quarantine for 7 days after travel. Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days. If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 10 days. Always follow state and local recommendations or requirements related to travel.
All travelers (including those who have recovered from COVID-19) should remember to wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet apart from people who are not in your household, and wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing and before eating. Travelers should look for symptoms of COVID-19, and take your temperature if you feel sick. Anyone sick with symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate and delay further travel.
For more information, visit After You Travel Internationally
Do I need to get a test before leaving the US?
CDC recommends that you get tested with a viral test (NAAT or antigen) 1-3 days before you travel internationally. Travelers should additionally follow any requirements at their destination.
When does this order take effect?
This Order will go into effect on January 26, 2021.
Does this order apply to all flights? Or just commercial flights?
This order applies to all flights, including private flights and general aviation aircraft (charter flights). Passengers traveling by air into the US are required to have proof of testing regardless of flight type.
Does the testing requirement apply to aircraft crew members?
Crew members on official duty, whether working or in an assigned deadhead status (transportation of a flight crew member as a passenger or non-operating flight crew member), are exempt from the testing requirement as long as they follow industry standard protocols for the prevention of COVID-19 as set forth in relevant Safety Alerts for Operators (SAFOs) issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
If I have one or more connecting flights to the US, does the 3-day period apply to the first flight or the last one?
If you are arriving on a direct flight to the US, your test must be done within the 3 days before your flight to the US departs. If you are arriving to the US via one or more connecting flights, your test must be done in the 3 days before the first flight in your itinerary, but only if the connecting flights were booked as a single passenger record with a final destination in the US and each connection (layover) is no longer than 24 hours long. If your connecting flight to the US was booked separately or a connection in your itinerary lasts longer than 24 hours, you will need to get tested within the 3 days before your flight that arrives in the US.
What happens if my flight is delayed and it goes over the 3-day limit for testing?
If your flight is delayed before departure, you will need to get re-tested if the delay causes your test to fall outside of the 3-day pre-departure testing period requirement.
If I am connecting through the US to another country, do I still need to get tested?
Yes. Any flight entering the US, even for a connection, will require testing before departure.
What should airlines and operators of private flights or general aviation aircraft do with passenger attestations?
Operators of private flights and general aviation aircraft must maintain passenger attestations for two years, per the Order.
Do airlines and operators of private flights or general aviation aircraft need to keep copies of passenger test results?
No, passengers must show a copy of their test results to airline employees or the aircraft operator before boarding, but the airline or aircraft operator does not need to retain copies of test results.
What if I have had a COVID-19 vaccine? Do I still need a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19?
Yes, all air passengers traveling to the US, regardless of vaccination status, are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery.