BRANDON — So far, Carl Stearns Jr. said, it has been pretty easy to make his business grow.
"Anyone who tries our food becomes a repeat customer," Stearns said.
Stearns opened Lil' Taste of Country this year. He bought an old NASCAR trailer and retooled it, installing a full industrial kitchen and turning it into what he calls "a mobile food dispensing unit."
That's what most people call a food truck.
Most days, Lil' Taste of Country parks on Turkey Creek Road and State Road 60. On alternate Tuesdays it's at Bill's Pharmacy, on SR 60 just east of Parsons Road. Lil' Taste of Country is open from 11 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. five days a week, closed Sunday and Monday.
The fare is authentic barbecue, cooked over low heat.
"I do Southern homestyle cooking," Stearns said. "I start cooking at midnight to start serving at 11 the next morning. I call it fast food cooked slow."
In the evening and on days off, Lil' Taste of Country offers catering. Because he has a much bigger kitchen than most food trucks, Stearns can offer a wide range of menu items for catering jobs. He's not limited to barbecue.
Call (813) 763-6384 for further information.
High-tech business opens in Riverview. Michael Laura runs a high-tech business, but with an old-fashioned philosophy.
Essentially, he said, he keeps his clients happy by being straightforward and scrupulously honest.
"It's all about trust," said Laura, who opened Streams Datalight Technologies on April 25.
Streams Datalight provides technological support for small and mid-sized businesses. Much of its work is focused on schools.
"If they don't have a dedicated IT person or group, we try to be that entity for them," Laura said.
His company can take care of any technology-related task that an in-house IT department would, from designing and setting up networks to providing training in use of new products.
Unlike a lot of other companies that do similar work, Laura said, he doesn't make a profit on equipment and supplies he orders for his clients.
"If I buy something for you, I show you the invoice," he said. "I'll charge you exactly what I paid."
He has been in this line of work, with other companies, for many years, he said, and knows how to get fair prices. If he finds out a supplier has been overcharging, he stops using that supplier immediately and doesn't even consider bids from that company for future jobs.
He generally charges his client companies a flat monthly fee that he negotiates according to their needs. That way they don't have to pay $100 or $200 for a quick phone call to their tech support person, the way they would with some other companies.
Streams Datalight Technologies doesn't have a storefront. To reach the company, call toll-free 1-888-817-4195, email Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to streamsdatalight.com.
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