It is always exciting to hear and learn about the successful companies that were developed out of the recession, but even more so when it is in your own backyard. The amazing couple, Jonathan and Terri Toner, turned lemons into lemonade, or to put it more accurately, turned Caribbean Rubs, Seasonings, Sauces into three separate successful companies right here in Clearwater!
Jonathan Toner’s primary trade is as a registered landscape architect and certified arborist in the State of Florida, operating the company Terra Tectonics design group, inc. In 2011, the construction business had a downturn and Jonathan decided to channel his creative abilities into the food business, creating Pirate Jonny’s Caribbean Rubs, Seasonings & Sauces. His expertise as an arborist and designer enabled him to produce high quality products being MSG free, gluten free, low sodium with no preservatives, to both retail and food service clients.
Jonathan created a couple of rubs which people loved, so he thought perhaps a submittal to the National BBQ Association might be a fun thing to do. Whala! Pirate Jonny’s won a 2nd Place National Award for their Caribbean BBQ Rub! This gave Jonathan the encouragement needed to pursue other National Awards!
Over the last 9 years Pirate Jonny’s expanded product line of “Floribbean” flavors has won local and National Awards such as the National BBQ Association, Scovie Awards, Local Hot Pepper Festival, Supermarket Guru award, World Hot Sauce award-Louisiana, Kissimmee Kowtown festival award for Sauces and many more.
Pirate Jonny’s is on the map!
After initially utilizing shared commercial space Pirate Jonny’s needed their own state certified Commercial Kitchen in order to produce for retail outlets and food service, if they were going to grow. This need for their own space turned into the next unexpected company for Terri and Jonathan: My Rent-a-Kitchen. After being in a consumable product start up space for a little while, the couple was very aware of the need for easy access commercial space for other entrepreneurs.
My Rent-a-Kitchen serves as the outlet for a variety of small business creations in Florida. Users are able to book completely private kitchen time to work on their products in a State Certified space.
Now in addition to a kitchen Pirate Jonny’s also required some special equipment for packaging of their rubs and sauces, which like the kitchen, was not going to be in operation 24/7. Again the couple put their entrepreneur cap on and asked “what can we do to leverage the downtime of these machines?”
Spice-Co-Pack, company #4 is born! Now dozens of products from around the country and Canada utilize Spice-Co-Pack to package their products and ship them to the appropriate fulfillment centers.
Now, after the last decade of launching multiple businesses Jonathan’s original company, Terra Tectonics Design Group, Inc. is thriving once again. Pirate Jonny’s secured distribution with a variety of national retailers, however after evaluating the individual market investments required to make each market successful the couple has decided to keep distribution smaller sticking with online and Tampa Bay area local retailers.
Jonathan and Terri Toner are proud to support the small business community with four thriving businesses, and their willingness to share what they have learned in the process of business development. The City of Clearwater has been a tremendous help to Pirate Jonny’s in the support they have provided.
Through the 10 Clearwater Business SPARK partners there are many educational opportunities, support programs, and free access to expert consultants. Check out the details about all SPARK partners and their offerings at https://www.clearwaterbusinessspark.com/.