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Jan 06

Down the Road Thrift

Posted to Business Spotlight on January 6, 2020 at 11:26 AM by Rachel Horst

Down the Road Thrift group photo in front of shopIn November 2017, when Jerry Vaughan started Down the Road Thrift, he had no idea the store would end up finding a home in the heart of Cocoa. While searching for a home for his business, finding the Peachtree spot through Craigslist gave him the perfect location for his true calling, serving Veterans.

Down the Road is a thrift store for the general public but is a nonprofit charity with the goal of helping, “Brevard's in-need or homeless Vet population,” explains Vaughan. “I'm a Veteran, my father was a Veteran, my grandfather worked for the Army Corps of Engineers paving the Cape.” His military history runs deep, and it shows, from the framed portraits of his father and himself in uniform that greet you as you walk through the door, to the memorabilia and photographs of servicemen that line the walls of the “FootLocker” in the back.

Since March of 2018, Vaughan and his team have partnered with Veterans of America and outfitted 186 apartments for Veterans, “from the couch all the way down to the silverware.” To start, the apartments are typically furnished with a bed and nothing else. Vaughan hopes to be able provide for the needs, so all an individual or family has to do is maintain the residence. As with many thrift stores, the rooms are full of shoes, clothing, furniture and more, but what you won't find at other stores is the “FootLocker”. The room lies behind olive green pallet walls, its
contents include; a food pantry, undergarments, toiletries, tents, camping equipment, and even an assortment of military dress uniforms that can be requested by funeral homes to lay a Veteran to rest.

When Down the Road Thrift moved from Rockledge to the current location on Peachtree, Vaughan was met with a Cocoa Police notice on the door, encouraging more lighting for added
safety. The positive partnership between the City of Cocoa and Down the Road Thrift continues to flourish. From the business license process to feeling welcome and wanted in Cocoa, he
doesn't plan on moving the business again any time soon. Stop in and browse the merchandise, strike up a conversation and ask Vaughan for a tour of the shop, he'll happily agree with a smile.
For more information on Down the Road Thrift, you can find Down the Road Thrift on Facebook or visit Down the Road Thrift's website or check out our Down the Road Thrift Business Spotlight feature video.
Oct 17

Crydermans Barbecue

Posted to Business Spotlight on October 17, 2019 at 10:32 AM by Samia Singleton

Chad & Amy Cryderman

In 2016, husband and wife team Amy and Chad Cryderman opened Historic Cocoa Village’s first barbecue restaurant. Located on the main thoroughfare of Florida Ave., award-winning Crydermans Barbecue receives acclaim for its Central Texas inspired barbecue, from the cuts of meat to sauces made with brisket trimmings. Locals and visitors alike cannot resist the intoxicating aromas of smoked brisket, turkey and pork wafting from the restaurant on a daily basis. While Crydermans Barbecue was an instant dining sensation, this is not an overnight success story.

The story began in 2008, when Mr. Cryderman moved to Florida from Michigan and tried barbecue for the first time. “I never had barbecue before then,” said Mr. Cryderman. The Crydermans starting smoking briskets in their driveway. “A next door neighbor let me borrow the smoker and I fell in love with the idea,” he said.

Shortly thereafter, Mr. and Mrs. Cryderman were inspired to open a restaurant after a successful Christmas party. “I cooked for about 40 people and everyone left very happy,” said Mr. Cryderman. Both husband and wife had restaurant experience with Mr. Cryderman managing a restaurant at the time. The Crydermans wanted to locate the restaurant in a vintage gas station and Mrs. Cryderman, a Cocoa-native, fell in love with the 1930s gas station building on Florida Ave. After nearly 10 years of research and planning, the couple brought their dream from their driveway to fruition.

Crydermans won the 2019 News 6 Best of Barbecue Award, beating 50 other barbecue restaurants throughout Central Florida – a well-deserved feat for a restaurant serving premium, all natural, no growth hormones and no antibiotics sustainably sourced meats, which are then smoked for 24-hours.

The menu at Crydermans includes brisket, smoked turkey, pork spare ribs, pulled pork, and all the accompaniments you would expect to see on a barbecue joint menu. However, Crydermans use of Duroc pork sets it apart from its counterparts. Crydermans number one seller is brisket. “We sell more brisket than all the other meats put together,” said Mr. Cryderman. The Crydermans recommend visitors try every item on the meat-market style menu, where items are priced by the pound.

Making the most of its success, Crydermans recently expanded, opening a second location in Melbourne, FL. and plans to expand to third location in the near future. For more information about Crydermans or to sign up for exclusive deals and promotions, visit

Jul 08

VA Paving, Inc.

Posted to Business Spotlight on July 8, 2019 at 1:06 PM by Samia Singleton

VA Paving, Inc. Debra Mallard, Al Mallard and Terri Hart

Founded in 1982, VA Paving, Inc. is a family-owned, women-owned business led by sisters Debra Mallard and Terri Hart, and brother Al Mallard, located at 800 Cidco Rd. in Cocoa, FL.

“We are second generation, but we have been involved in the company from the very beginning,” says Debra. “Our parents started the company. We have been a women-owned business since 1982, because Mom owned a majority of the stock.”

Wanting to capitalize on his background in construction, their father convinced their mother to start a construction company. This company evolved into the VA Paving, Inc. we know today with more than 60 employees.

VA Paving, Inc. started out undertaking site work as subcontractor for projects, such as the Kennedy Space Center. In the beginning, the company would purchase asphalt to use in projects. In 1990, the company went from sourcing asphalt to making it when the company purchased its own asphalt plant. VA Paving, Inc. experienced exponential growth – the company went from building roads and parking lots to runways.

Owners went without for many years to grow the company. There were many times they were not sure they were going to make it. During 2007 recession when many contractors were out of work, VA Paving, Inc. relied on its government contracts to stay afloat.

The siblings credit prayer for success. “The money made doing site work supported development of asphalt plant,” says Al. “Now the asphalt plant is so successful, it supports the site work.”

All three siblings agree that one of the company’s most challenging and largest projects was building Space Commerce Way, a multi-phase road in Merritt Island that provides an alternate hurricane evacuation route.

Recently the company built an access road on the backside of Space Commerce Way to Kennedy Space Center. “The key to the project was they wanted us to get started in June and be 100 percent complete by December so they could be open for the Christmas tourist season,” says Al. “We made it on time and within budget through the rain and hurricanes, through whatever happened.”

VA Paving, Inc. intends to remain a family business for generations to come by grooming the next generation of family to take over the company and continue the legacy. “The opportunity was always there for our children to learn about the business if they wanted to,“ says Terri. “Some of them have gone to do other things, but migrated back to be a part of something that their grandmother and grandfather started.”

VA Paving Inc. was awarded the NASA “Small Woman-Owned Business of the Year” and has won the award four times over the span of 35 years. Last year the company grossed over $20 million in sales in 2018.

For more information about VA Paving, Inc. visit