Harbor Style Harbor Style July 2017 : Page 73
Young & IN CHARGE Local young professionals find success by using fresh approaches in running their formerly traditional businesses. as being the second oldest in the nation in terms of resident age, it’s not every day that we hear stories about the young professionals in our community. And when we do hear about them, it is most often as the employee. However, our community is fortunate to have some vert driven and successful young professional business owners in our midst, and we will meet four of them here: four men under the age of 40 who have established businesses in our area and, within a relatively short amount of time, found success. Maybe you’ve been hearing about them just as we have. The buzz, if you will, has it that they are using fresh approaches in running their formerly traditional businesses, and the public has responded…overwhelmingly. Because of their innovative styles, their enterprises continue to expand as more and more people discover their fresh ideas. Come along and meet the men behind the businesses: Dylan Reilly and Cory Malone, owners of Isles Fitness in Punta Gorda; Jeremy Jones, owner of Tall Pines Realty in Englewood; and Brian Chapman, Jr., owner of three State Insurance offices in Southwest Florida. ä In a community known Story by Nancy J. Semon Photography by Steve Donaldson H ARBOR STYLE | 73
Young And In Charge
Nancy J. Semon
Local young professionals find success by using fresh approaches in running their formerly traditional businesses.
In a community known as being the second oldest in the nation in terms of resident age, it’s not every day that we hear stories about the young professionals in our community. And when we do hear about them, it is most often as the employee. However, our community is fortunate to have some vert driven and successful young professional business owners in our midst, and we will meet four of them here: four men under the age of 40 who have established businesses in our area and, within a relatively short amount of time, found success.
Maybe you’ve been hearing about them just as we have. The buzz, if you will, has it that they are using fresh approaches in running their formerly traditional businesses, and the public has responded…overwhelmingly. Because of their innovative styles, their enterprises continue to expand as more and more people discover their fresh ideas.
Come along and meet the men behind the businesses: Dylan Reilly and Cory Malone, owners of Isles Fitness in Punta Gorda; Jeremy Jones, owner of Tall Pines Realty in Englewood; and Brian Chapman, Jr., owner of three State Insurance offices in Southwest Florida.
Cory Malone, MA CPT and Dylan Reilly, MS CPT Isles Fitness
It was a fateful day when freshmen Dylan Reilly and Cory Malone moved into their campus housing at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pa., some 14 years ago. “We were on the same floor and lived two doors down,” Reilly said. The two became buddies and even joined the same fraternity, but after graduation, each went his own way to earn his master’s degree. Malone entered City University of New York and Reilly enrolled in Ithaca College’s School of Health Science and Human Performance.
After graduate school, Malone worked for the federal government and began his career in fitness by training co-workers and special agent candidates for law enforcement positions within the federal government. He was recognized by the Department of Labor for mentoring others, and he holds dual certifications in Personal Training (AFAA) and Tactical Training for First Responders/Law Enforcement/ Military Personnel (NSCA). In 2016, he obtained his Progressive Calisthenics certification and is certified as a gymnastics instructor through USAG.
Reilly, an exercise physiologist, went on to manage multiple fitness facilities in New York after graduate school, including the 2,000-member YMCA in Ithaca, and he developed and implemented on-site corporate wellness programs for firms such as The Nielsen Company, also in Ithaca, in addition to creating fitness classes for inmates at a New York detention center.
Despite their separate post-graduate paths, the two remained friends and “stayed in touch during graduate school by going on golfing trips and on long weekends with groups of friends.” But how did they both wind up to Punta Gorda, some 1,400 miles away, give or take?
“I’ve been down here since 2003,” Malone said, explaining that his grandparents had a home in Punta Gorda. In 2009 he purchased a condo in Punta Gorda Isles since he was frequently visiting the area. Then over the years, “Cory said the area was becoming a more active community,” Reilly said. Malone said he saw that “people were riding bikes and walking.” It wasn’t long – 2014 in fact – before the two friends decided to open a business in Punta Gorda.
Their mission is “...to teach our members how to perform better, live healthier and extend the productive years of their lives through hands-on instruction and mentoring.”
That first year they traveled to individual homes for training sessions. And then, on March 17, 2016, they opened their door to their own facility. The double palm tree mural on the wall of Isles Fitness, which is also the company logo (their firm’s name is MRE, LLC, the M for Malone, the R for Reilly and the E for Enterprise), was painted by Reilly’s mom, who also hand-paints the inside of small seashells with the logo, which are then given out to members.
Visiting Isles Fitness, which is housed in a 4,000 square foot portion of the strip mall along Aqui Esta and Bal Harbor, one notices that this is no ordinary fitness center. Instead of the usual array of exercise machines cluttering the floor space, the focal point is a metal-framed contraption called a “functional training rig” from which hang numerous straps with handles. There are also the standard elliptical machines, recumbent bikes, treadmills, rowers, etc. that share floor space. Also, along one wall are many different weighted barbells, and there is a separate room in which Zumba classes (led by Carla Peralta) are held.
Another thing that sets Isles Fitness apart from other fitness clubs is that each member gets a tailor-made program and instruction for their individual needs and ability. You are taught exercises and strength training on the rig and on equipment that suits you and you alone. And depending on your interests, both Reilly and Malone can lead you to better fitness and better health, as the club offers a smoothie bar and “grab and go” healthy meals provided by vendor The Lean Box. The meals are fresh, not frozen, and prepared locally for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nutrition is also a key at Isles Fitness, and Reilly and Malone will offer information on nutrition to help members.
Clearly Reilly and Malone have combined their interests in order to offer unique training classes for all members. Malone teaches classes incorporating suspension training, body weight exercises and aerobic activities. This fits right in with his calisthenics and gymnastics certifications.
Reilly teaches a bi-weekly barbell club, incorporating free weight programs and training techniques, and a golf-focused explosive power class and circuit training, based on his certifications, training and experiences.
People of all ages work out at Isles Fitness although “the average, or median, age is 66,” Malone said, adding that the oldest member is 88 while the youngest, Jon Le, is an 11-year-old boy whose mother owns the nail salon next door.
And, of course, there is the exciting new program at Isles Fitness, called F.I.R.S.T. – “Fighting insulin resistance with strength training.” While Reilly was training the wife of Cornell University’s laboratory director, Dr. William Y. Shang, she asked whether Reilly would work with her husband, a type 2 diabetic. Malone said that this was despite the fact that Shang was “very lean and a cyclist.” Soon, Reilly and Malone constructed the proper resistance training program for people diagnosed with prediabetes and diabetes. Inspired by his training sessions with Reilly, Shang went on to write a book Fighting Insulin Resistance with Strength Training, which explains how regular resistance training builds muscle. Shang’s book reveals that, over time, the total amount of skeletal muscle drops and the decreased amount of skeletal muscle leads to insulin resistance. The exercises described in Shang’s book were designed by Malone and Reilly, and participants in the F.I.R.S.T. classes at Isles Fitness receive a copy of the book.
“We are now working in association with Dr. Hanson at the Hanson Diabetes Center in Port Charlotte,” Reilly noted. Information on this can be found on the club’s website, www.islesfitness.com, or on its Facebook page.
Now in its second year – and the third year of Reilly and Malone’s business venture – Isles Fitness is ever-expanding with new programs and workouts, such as yoga classes. To keep things organized and moving along, Janet Hamvas serves as office manager. “Janet and I met coaching gymnastics in North Port,” Malone said. A Small Business Administration volunteer, Hamvas “volunteered to help us out,” he added. Apparently her sage business advice has served Reilly and Malone well, for Isles Fitness is humming with activity and new members are constantly signing up.
Isles Fitness offers massage therapy as well, with Reiki Master Ed Roberts, a licensed massage therapist. The club also works with post-operative patients who need to do their therapy exercises, Reilly said.
Wanting to give back to the community, Isles Fitness has been involved with and has sponsored several community projects, including the “Guns and Hoses” Fallen Heroes Race, a coordinated public safety event benefiting local fire and law enforcement agencies. Isles Fitness also participated in the “Big Orange Throwdown Competition” in September, in which Reilly and Malone offered pre-competition warm up routines and post-competition stretching for athletes.
Also new is the club’s affiliation with Fyzical Therapy and Balance Centers in which Isles Fitness, in conjunction with Fyzical, provides a person’s body analysis and health score for such things as flexibility, balance, basic health, spine and posture and more. The overall analysis reveals the areas in which improvement is needed.
Look for new classes and innovations from the two 32-year-old men who had a vision long ago and decided to “hit the ground running” with their vision of improving the health and fitness of others.
Isles Fitness is located at 1133 Bal Harbor Boulevard, Suite 1111, Punta Gorda. Call (941) 621-8238 or visit www.islesfitness.com for information.
Jeremy Jones Tall Pines Realty
Some people are born entrepreneurs – from an early age they are extremely focused and know exactly what they want and how to go after it. This surely would describe Jeremy Jones who, at the age of 37, has two real estate offices – Tall Pines Realty – in Englewood. But his success story actually began before he became a broker and opened his current businesses.
“I was told at the age of 18 that I would have to pay rent,” he said. His parents owned a local irrigation and landscape business for 26 years, and they instilled in him the “old school” work ethic. But their son had an idea. “Why should I pay rent when I can…charge rent,” he said.
From the time he was in middle school in Englewood, Jones was finding ways to earn money and make his way in the adult world. He laughed when telling how he “got in trouble” when he bought candy bars for 50 cents in a fundraiser by high school students and then resold them for $1 each. He sold other things, too, in order to earn – and save – money, including cinnamon toothpicks.
In high school, Jones held down three jobs, which is how he saved up the down payment for his first home in El Jobean; the seller financed it for him. Taking in roommates, that first home paid for itself, in effect. “It got me through college” and paid the bills, he said.
Jones went to Manatee Community College and to the University of South Florida. Out of college, he didn’t go right into real estate right away, he explained. Working on and off at Palm Island Resort, he received lessons in real estate, stocks and investments from the guests and resort owner. It was also there that he met his future wife, Danielle, who is now a broker in the firm. Her parents, who owned a business similar to Jeremy’s parents, were staying at the resort and were apparently impressed with the young man with ambition. They showed him their daughter’s photo taken during the YMCA’s annual Tropical Nights fundraiser. That was in 2004. Danielle and Jeremy met, and four years later were married. Jones described it as “a perfect match.”
Before a career in real estate beckoned, Jones started out as a deputy for the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office all the while continuing to invest in real estate. Partnering with a licensed Realtor, he purchased a vacant lot for $35,000. A buyer came along and offered $92,000, which gave Jones a profit that was higher than his CCSO salary. So after 14 months working as a deputy, he “made the decision to leave” and concentrate on real estate.
Jones and his partner went on to buy more lots and flip them. They purchased spec homes, too. Their priciest single purchase was a $1 million dollar home on Palm Island that they rented out, but “used it when we could.” Another home on Palm Island was worth some $700,000. Then in 2008, the market began to change. “My fatherin- law asked me to figure my cash flow.” After analyzing where the market was headed, “I decided it was time to sell,” Jones said. He sold off everything that he could, a liquidation, if you will. But he did have a few vacant lots left. “In 2008 I was in the hole quite a bit,” he admitted. At the same time, he was putting Danielle through nursing school.
By then Jones was turning his attention towards becoming a licensed Realtor. In 2006 he did earn his license as a sales associate and later, broker. In 2015 he purchased the real estate business of Adorjan and Company, a longstanding Englewood real estate business owned by Margaret and Bud Adorjan. He renamed it Tall Pines Realty. A year later he purchased “the assets and goodwill” of Florida Shore Real Estate, making Jones the proud owner of two offices, one on Tamiami Trail and one on Dearborn Street. Florida Shore broker Julie Starbuck stayed on and runs the Dearborn Street office.
Besides investing for himself, Jones has racked up impressive sales numbers as a broker. “In 2014-15 I sold more than 1,000 properties; a lot was land,” he said. Meanwhile, Danielle decided to enter the world of real estate herself. In 2014 she became a sales associate and in 2015 a broker/associate. She works at the Tamiami Trail location.
Jones said that he “always tries to stay ahead of the trend,” which is probably how he was able to bounce back so quickly – and so well – after the real estate recession. For instance, Jones did short sales when other Realtors wouldn’t touch them. And remember that he also knew when to liquidate his assets. We asked him whether he thought this current robust real estate market would continue, and he answered, “I do foresee a bubble, but the economy is very strong with many buyers coming from out of state.” In brief, while there is a bubble in the future, Jones doesn’t seem to think that it will happen anytime soon. He said another factor that looks good for the market is the fact that lenders have tightened up on loans, which “should help stabilize the market.”
Five years ago the couple had son, Jayce. Danielle entered the room and, as proud parents will do, they talked about their son, who is obviously the apple of their eyes.
Family time is important to them; Jones said they enjoy boating and camping and spending time with their large families. He has three generations of his family living in Englewood, including two grandmothers. Danielle, who is from Rhode Island, has some family members nearby, but most are in Rhode Island.
When they are not working, Jeremy and Danielle like to spend a lot of time outdoors. “We have no television; we have Netflix,” he said. “We live in a secluded area and like to fish, hike, ride, take nature walks and explore parks.” Obviously family is first for this young and ambitious couple.
Now that the summer season is upon us, Jones’ hours will “shrink to seven to eight hours a day; we slow down,” he said. And Danielle comes into the office a bit later than her husband and leaves a tad earlier to take care of Jayce, who is in daycare. The couple manage to juggle career and family by “taking turns,” but this does not include sports. The entire family turns out to cheer on their youngest member.
The Joneses manage to give a lot of their time to the community. Jeremy is the youngest member of the Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary, which has more than 90 members and is involved in up to 100 events, including the Fourth of July fireworks. Besides Rotary, he also serves on several organization boards. Because of his commitment to the community, a typical day for him begins at 7 a.m. and continues until 8 at night, he said.
From a 17-year-old who held down three jobs to an entrepreneur of today who runs two offices with 43 agents and four full-time and one part-time staff members, we wonder whether anyone gave Jones a copy of the iconic graduates’ book by Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You’ll Go, because he certainly has.
Tall Pines Realty is located at 1500 South McCall Road, Englewood. Call (941) 698-4111 or visit www.TallPinesRealty.net for information.
Brian Chapman, Jr. State Insurance
Brian Chapman, Jr., owner of State Insurance in Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda and Cape Coral, said his “lifelong dream was to become a State Farm agent.” That’s what his father, Brian Chapman, Sr., did for a living, and the senior Chapman continues to work in his State Farm agency in Port Charlotte. When Chapman graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University, he went to work for his dad. However, the times were changing for those who Chapman called “captive” agents, those who represent just one company.
So Chapman “counseled with my dad and I decided to be on the independent side and not one brand,” he said. In 2009, at the tender age of 26, the younger Chapman opened State Insurance agency, which back then was located north of Murdock in Port Charlotte. It has since moved a bit south on US Highway 41.
Being an independent agency allows freedom, he explained. “We are contracted by carriers to write contracts for them.” State Insurance has 35 different carriers for homeowner’s insurance and 15 carriers for auto insurance. This allows customers to have choices, Chapman pointed out. He gave this example of a hypothetical client: “I drive in my car with my dog and I need coverage for the dog.” Some clients’ priorities might be price, while others wouldn’t mind paying a higher premium to get the firm of their choice, he continued.
While work is important to Chapman, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t take the time to have a very happy personal life. In May of 2005, Chapman married Julie, who is a nurse practitioner at Millennium Physician Group, and the couple now have five children, two of whom are adopted. Clearly a family man, Chapman said that during promos for his agencies, “I always share our story of adoption.” The Chapman kids are very close in age – a boy, 7; girl 6; boy, 4; and two girls ages 3 and 2.
Family is important to Chapman, himself one of four siblings. Additionally, his father has remarried and so he also has half-siblings. His brother works as an agent for his firm. The combined families are close. He said that he and his wife “are blessed that both our parents live in the community.”
With youth on his side and an apparent abundance of energy, Chapman expanded his business. In March 2015 he opened his Punta Gorda office, and in September that same year he opened an office in Cape Coral. The Port Charlotte location is his largest, with 15 agents working in a strikingly handsome modern building that State Insurance moved into in 2012. There are five agents each at the other two locations.
What’s interesting is the fact that Chapman started his business when the economy was in a recession. The mood was pessimistic, he recalled. But other agencies didn’t have the formula that Chapman applied to make his business a success, he related. “What we are doing is exceptional; it is different and unique,” he said. He compared his team to an efficient “engine that’s running.” When hiring, “we really take our time to pick the right people; we have a great team.” He said that besides offering his customers more options due to the multiple carriers he represents, “We are advocates for the consumer.” And for those who have never worked in Chapman’s business, you might be interested to know that it is “an ultra-competitive market,” he said.
Chapman admitted that perhaps his biggest challenge is time. Besides overseeing day-to-day operations at his three locations, he also serves the community. He is currently serving a two-year term as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Florida SouthWestern State College. He was appointed by Governor Rick Scott and has met with Scott “a handful of times” over the six years he has served on the board, which meets eight times a year.
He said that while now most of his social and business life is in Charlotte County, when he was younger his business life was in Charlotte County while his social life was in Lee County. That’s largely because Brian, who grew up in South Fort Myers, and Julie and their children reside in Fort Myers; their home is on the water.
It is hard to imagine that with five children and two careers, the couple finds the time to have fun, but they most certainly do! Again, time management is the key! Chapman said that he and his wife like to kayak, and they enjoy using their neighbor’s boat. He is in the market for his own powerboat “that will hold seven people,” he laughed. Since his family comes first, Chapman will often have to shuffle things around to fulfill business, personal and volunteer commitments. He admitted that sometimes that is not easy. Growing somber, he said, “We only have 24 hours in a day and I’m not going to make everybody happy.” He added in a lighter note, “I only have so much time, but I make most people happy.”
Clearly Chapman is a man pulled in many directions. But again, it is family first for this father of five. This spring Chapman volunteered to coach not one, but two baseball teams that his sons were on. That’s right, in addition to running three busy insurance offices, this man also coached two different teams! It was apparent that this was a joyful experience for the coach dad.
Looking towards the future, it appears further expansions are on the horizon for State Insurance. When asked where Chapman might open his next office(s), he said that while “we don’t know yet,” it would probably be south, “the Fort Myers or Bonita/Estero market.” He said future plans might also include Naples. “We are working our way south.”
We realized that we had taken up quite a bit of time with Chapman the morning we interviewed him, so it was time to say farewell. The day ahead loomed long, and we imagine there were a lot of people in the wings who needed some of his time.
State Insurance is located at 2455 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, (941) 979- 8426; 301 W. Marion Avenue, Punta Gorda, (941) 347-4707; and 3321 Del Prado Blvd. S., Cape Coral, (239) 205-2012. Visit www. cigflorida.com for information.
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