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Pirate Jonny's barbecue seasoning business growing in Oldsmar

Terri and Jon Toner show off their trophy after Pirate Jonny’s Caribbean BBQ sauce earned first place at Kissimmee’s Kowtown Festival on March 16.

Courtesy of the Toner family

Terri and Jon Toner show off their trophy after Pirate Jonny’s Caribbean BBQ sauce earned first place at Kissimmee’s Kowtown Festival on March 16.

There are a lot of barbecue aficionados in the Tampa Bay area and local entrepreneurs Jon and Terri Toner couldn't be happier about that.

Since the Oldsmar couple created Pirate Jonny's BBQ Rubs and Seasonings in 2011, the business has steadily grown. A second-place award for Jon's Caribbean rub recipe in a National BBQ Association competition early on didn't hurt, either.

The Toners introduced their rubs directly to the public at local farmers markets, festivals, small gourmet shops and health food stores, putting all the proceeds back into the business.

Jon created five new rub recipes in 2012 and won awards for several of them at the Hot Pepper Awards in New Jersey. At a barbecue competition March 16 at Kissimmee's Kowtown Festival, the Toners submitted their new Caribbean BBQ sauce and walked away with first place.

The couple recently started selling their products on and hired the company's first employee. They also now bottle new sauces in their own commercial kitchen in Clearwater and have found a number of new retail outlets for their rubs and sauces.

The company plans to introduce two new sauces to the public by summer's end, expand production and rent out its kitchen to others trying to start their own small business.

• • •

Melanie Lewis, owner of Fitness Club of Florida in Palm Harbor, has created and copyrighted an exercise workout she calls STARbarre, approved by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America.

The acronym stands for "strength, toning and rhythm" at the ballet barre.

As its creator, Lewis is also the master trainer at STARbarre workshops.

A 2009 graduate of the University of South Florida, Lewis received a bachelor's degree in physical education and specialized in exercise science. She has been teaching exercise classes for nine years and has appeared on the television show Daytime, where she offers exercise tips to viewers.

• • •

Looking for work or thinking of changing jobs? Dress professionally and bring plenty of resumes to a career fair hosted by WorkNet Pinellas 12 to 3 p.m. Wednesday at Bright House Field, 601 N Old Coachman Road, Clearwater.

At the event, job seekers will have an opportunity to discuss options with representatives from AGR Group, Bright House Network. B.E.A.R. Solutions, HealthPlanOne, La Salle Computer Learning Center, New Horizons Computer Learning Center and Ultimate Medical Academy. A WorkNet recruiter will also be on site to provide resume assistance and job search techniques.

Attendees will receive free admission to a game between the Clearwater Threshers and Daytona Cubs, courtesy of Bright House Field.

Admission and parking are free. Preregistration is recommended.

Call (727) 608-2452 or visit

• • •

Now that income taxes have been paid (or at least extensions filed) it's time for a fun event that can be written off next year's taxes. Join the folks of Business Reboot for a unique networking experience, the After Taxes Happening, 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Riverside Grille House Veranda, 10 W Dodecanese Blvd., Tarpon Springs.

Relax on the deck overlooking the Anclote River and the Greek fishing village of Tarpon Springs and enjoy free appetizers and drink specials.

Admission is $5 at the door.

For information, call (727) 348 6682.

• • •

Those in the child-care industry might want to check this out. Palm Harbor-based Nannies Who Care, which provides in-home childcare throughout the Tampa Bay area, will collaborate with more than 35 support groups and agencies from across the country to provide a mix of education, resources and networking opportunities at its National Nanny Training Day event, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Aston Gardens Westchase, 12951 W Linebaugh Ave., Tampa.

Nannies, babysitters, preschool teachers, day care workers and parents are invited to attend a day of workshops that include newborn care, positive discipline, creative play and effective communication, all taught by certified trainers.

Attendance costs $25 and a certificate of participation will be awarded. To register, call (727) 784-8868 or visit

Mail business news to Nova Beall at Tampa Bay Times, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756; fax to (727) 441-4119; or email

Pirate Jonny's barbecue seasoning business growing in Oldsmar 04/13/13 [Last modified: Friday, April 12, 2013 6:58pm]
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