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Family business grew from postwar $25

Published June 10, 2007


OLDSMAR - Hoping to take advantage of the postwar construction boom in 1947, Sheldon Smith took $25 and started Smith Electric Co.

Today, it's a multimillion-dollar enterprise, still owned and operated by the Smith family.

The business originally opened in Largo on Clearwater-Largo Road and remained in that area until 1984, when it moved to Oldsmar. The name was changed in 1961 to S&S Electric Co.

Smith retired in 1977, and his son, Vern, assumed the helm as president. Now a third generation, Vern Smith's sons, Chris and Shawn, is also involved.

Chris, who has worked at the company since he was a teenager, is now 46 and executive vice president. Shawn, who came aboard in 1997, is 34 and vice president.

A new branch, S&S Air Conditioning, was established 13 years ago to provide service to existing homes as well as to new construction, which has been the electric company's specialty.

"Right now we're trying to figure out how to cope with the slowdown in the housing market, " Shawn Smith said. The air conditioning service to existing homeowners is just now beginning to fill that gap, he said.

Last year, the company completed an expansion of its three-building corporate campus at 105 Douglas Road E, increasing its office and warehouse space by 82 percent to 52, 500 square feet.

In 2005, the company was named to CE Pro 100, a listing of the largest home technology installation businesses in North America. In 2004, it was named a Florida Family Business of the Year. The company was featured on the cover of the June 2004 issue of CE Pro magazine and in the January 2006 issue of Builder/Architect magazine.

S&S has 160 employees with satellite offices in Tampa, Sarasota and Fort Myers. Its combined sales last year totaled $28.8-million.

President of Abilities gets leadership award

Frank De Lucia, president and chief executive officer of Abilities Foundation, received the Lawrence D. Wasserman Humanitarian Award at the recent Jewish National Fund's Tree of Life award dinner in Tampa. Each year, the fund honors a nonprofit professional for leadership excellence.

De Lucia was commended for his dedication, professionalism, positive attitude and commitment to community.

Before becoming president in 2002, De Lucia served as executive vice president and executive director of the foundation and vice president of development, marketing and communications of Abilities of Florida, a nonprofit service agency. He has worked with the organization since 1982 and is responsible for fundraising, grant writing, special events, capital campaigns, media relations and planned giving.

The Abilities Foundation raises funds for Abilities of Florida, a private, nonprofit charity at 2735 Whitney Road, Clearwater, that provides services to meet the employment and affordable housing needs of people with disabilities.

Depco Pump names new general manager

John Tyson has been promoted to general manager of Depco Pump Company, a national distributor of marine, industrial and sanitary pumps.

Tyson joined Depco in 2005 after a 17-year management career in marine wholesale distribution. Depco is based at 2145 Calumet St., Clearwater.

Wells Fargo Insurance hires hospitality pro

Pam Grizzell has been hired by Wells Fargo Insurance Services' Clearwater office as a hospitality marketing specialist to provide hotel and restaurant clients with insurance coverage and terms.

A certified insurance counselor, Grizzell has 24 years' experience in marketing commercial and personal lines, most recently with Harden & Associates of Jacksonville. Before that, she was with Lanier Upshaw of Lakeland.

Wells Fargo Insurance Services provides insurance brokerage, administrative services and financial and consulting services from more than 150 offices nationwide. The Clearwater office is at 311 Park Place Blvd.

Art Attack expands with new equipment

Doug and Christina Rohloff have added an embroidery machine to their Art Attack business at 440 Seminole Blvd. in Largo. The new equipment will be used for designs on shirts, caps, fashion totes, towels, aprons and other textiles.

The couple opened the business three years ago. Its services include silk-screened shirts, printing and promotional products and signs, including vinyl graphics, banners and lettering for vehicles and boats.

Loan manager joins Old Harbor Bank

Lynn Eubanks has joined Old Harbor Bank as assistant vice president and loan operations manager at 2605 Enterprise Road, Clearwater.

She has over 10 years' experience in loan services and 10 years commercial real estate experience in title work, acquisitions and closings.

News of businesses and business people can be faxed to the Business Digest at 445-4119, e-mailed to or mailed to Business Digest, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. We are interested in new or unusual businesses, promotions, expansions, commercial sales and major new contracts. Photos can be mailed or e-mailed as a jpeg file.

[Last modified June 9, 2007, 19:42:57]

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