Category: Blog

Tampa Bay’s Millennials are Encouraging Winn-Dixie, Publix to Carry Local Products

stephen overtonMillennials are provoking grocers, such as Winn-Dixie and Publix, to carry products that are produced in/near/around the Tampa Bay area.

Mike’s Pies, a 20-year-old staple in the Tampa Bay community, is an example of homegrown goods that’s been featured in supermarket Winn-Dixie. On its Winn-Dixie’s shelves for more two years, the 9-inch pies have sold well, selling at $7 to $8 each. Today, Mike’s Pies can be found in more than 500 Winn-Dixie bakeries. Sales are climbing for Mike’s, it’s now up 57 percent. The relatively small company has 64 employees who prep and bake 30,000 pies each week.

Over the last handful of years, consumers have expressed a hunger and thirst for local and regionally produced items. Grocers are making the effort to meet demands, and this is positively impacting small businesses and the local economy.

“I think what’s happening is everyone’s looking for that local brand they can associate with in the marketplace,” Mike’s Pies owner Michael Martin, told Tampa Bay.

Millennial consumers are the largest subset in the nation, and their shopping trends have changed the market, and their buying power is helping to dictate trend movement. Millennials are more inclined to buy local because they perceive it and made with better products. Millennials tend to be more trusting of these brands.

Publix Super Markets have created special branding efforts to draw attention to local products, aware that this will beckon Millennial dollars. “100% natural,” products with a name, or “made in Florida” are buzzwords

“Millennials have driven things now for the last several years,” he said. “Particularly for produce in the last few years we have made more of an effort to promote the fact that those items are grown locally when that’s the case.”

“I joke all the time that I’m really tired of the word millennial,” said Cammie Chatterton, owner of Tampa-based Bay Food Brokerage. “I’m at corporate Publix three to four days a week working on promotions, and at every meeting the word comes up.”

CDS Hot Sauce Products, which produces Tabañero Hot Sauce, has capitalized on this trend. Publix launched Tabañero in 1,300 stores this summer, coming a long way since it was founded in 2011, when it was exclusively sold in restaurants. The young population’s taste for the spicy condiment has helped to boost the CDS, which has reached a $1 billion valuation. The company is presently on track to sell 7 million bottles of hot sauce.

Grocers have developed a symbiotic relationship with local businesses than to the support of millennials, who are considered to be smarter about food and more conscientious about what goes into their mouths.


A Beginner’s Guide to Wakeboarding

stephen overton

After a few months of the cold weather, I like to take a break and visit a tropical island.  It’s a welcome distraction and I indulge in the delights of the warm weather. One of my favorite things to do on a warmer day is hit the water. Laying out by the pool can be nice, but I prefer to be active. Wakeboarding is my preferred activity, but I’ll take surfing, jetskiing or snorkeling if you’re offering. If you haven’t tried wakeboarding, I want you to go out and do it now! Or, at least try it on your next warm-weather vacation. Like hiking, you should be prepared before you hit the water. To make sure you’re safe while you test out your new favorite hobby, I’ve put together a short list of tips to help you start wakeboarding.

First thing’s first, make sure you wear a lifejacket. This goes without saying, but I just want to remind you. Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) anytime you’re in the water. Once you’ve got your lifejacket on, find someone to be your spotter. Since you’re new to wakeboarding, you will need to have another pair of eyes on you. The spotter is responsible for you, and he, or she, will keep the driver alerted about your position at all times, and keep their eyes out for other approaching boats, or objects in the water.

Alright, so you have the very basics covered. Now, you have to get yourself on the board. Before you go out into the water for the first time, decide which foot you want to face forward. This is most basic wakeboarding tip, and you should know before you’re out on the water. Decide by figuring out which foot you intuitively place forward. Imagine you’re about to kick a ball or you’re catching yourself after a stumble, the foot you place first will be the foot that faces forward.

Now, take a beginner’s stance. Place your back binding far back, closer to the end of the board, and align it at zero degrees. You should be able to press your weight directly on the top of the rear fin. Your front binding should be between a 15-27 degree angle, and point slightly towards the front of the wakeboard. During your first few wakeboarding trips, you should use a shorter rope, so it’ll be easier to get up on the board and out of the water.

stephen overton wake boarding

Now that you’re on the board, stay as close to it as you can. Keep your arms and knees tucked in, and stay crouched down until your fully out of the water. As you stand up, take it slow and make every more deliberate, so you can evenly balance and distribute your weight. As you get up and out of the water, keep most of your weight on your front foot. Once you’re standing, remember to shift some of your weight back. As you’re standing, keep the row handle low. As you continue practicing, you’ll be able to hold it higher. The most important thing is to take your time. You should also stay relaxed, and avoid feeling frustrated. Practice makes perfect, and you will make mistakes, but that’s a part of learning. Remember, just have fun with it!


Dressing for Winter Hiking


Now that winter is in full swing, it’s time to get out and enjoy the crisp cold weather. Many adventurers will pack their gear and shy away from the cold weather, but I encourage you to go out and enjoy the winter. But, before you go out hiking, make sure you are fully equipped to handle the cold temperatures. Under the usual temperate conditions, you need to be careful. But, in the winter you need to be even more considerate of your surroundings and your gear. Here is some advice to make sure you can enjoy hiking in the winter.

Layering your clothing is critical. Your ultimate goal is to set up a hiking outfit that is comfortable in a range of activity. Ideally, you shouldn’t feel cold when you’re standing still, or sweat when you’re active. Avoid sweating as best you can. Remember, sweat evaporates extremely slowly in the winter. Once you stop exerting yourself, the remaining sweat can leave you cold and clammy. You can avoid this feeling by maintaining a steady pace during activity, and removing layers as you see fit. It is inevitable that you will spend some of your hike standing still, whether you’re waiting for a slower hiker, or stopping for a meal. So, whether you’re moving around vigorously or taking a pause, your clothing should be comfortable at any given moment.

You may be accustomed to dressing for the winter in your day to day life, and while the same basic strategy will apply to your hiking gear, you will need to be more thorough when dressing yourself. Your base layer is the foundation for your hiking outfit, it should keep you dry and move sweat away from your skin. You should wear something made of wool, or similar wicking fiber. Typically, hikers will wear their base layer with an additional layer, like a thin jacket or windbreaker. Next, you should add layers for insulation, like a fleece or wool sweater. The insulating layer should provide the most warmth, and should be easily added or removed. On top of your insulating layer will be a shell to protect you from the elements like wind, rain, or snow. Ideally you want your shell to be made of Gore-tex, or a similar all-weather waterproof but breathable material. The last layer will be your puffer jacket. Look for something with a down or high-quality synthetic filling, depending on your preference. This layer should be easy to put on or take off.

When you’re looking for layering pieces, stay away from cotton, even with your socks or underwear. While cotton is comfortable and breathable for everyday wear, it will absorb your sweat and trap it near your skin while you hike. Your cotton layers will become cold and damp, which is dangerous and could lead to hypothermia once you stop moving. Remember, the key is to stay comfortable and dry. Do your best to avoid sweating, so start out cold by removing a layer before you start hiking, you can add or remove layers as your conditions change. Adjust your pace to optimize your body temperature. Slow your pace as you hike uphill to avoid overexerting yourself, and move faster downhill to keep warm. Most importantly, communicate with your group. Do not force your slower hikers to overexert themselves, have them lead the group, or position them near the front of the group to set the pace. Hiking is an adventurous activity, but it is important to stay safe!



Stephen’s Other Website

You probably already learned that Stephen loves hiking.  Hike on over to his other website to see his great work with non-profits in the Tampa area by clicking the link below.

To Non-Profit Website

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