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Get to Know Liz Sheppard, the “Heart of Winter Park”

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Liz Sheppard walks the runway at a recent fashion show. Photo courtesy of Liz Sheppard.

WINTER PARK, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – If you’ve ever been on Park Avenue in beautiful downtown Winter Park, Florida, you’ve probably seen Bebe’s & Liz’s, two distinctive retail stores–one specializing in affordable high end women’s designer fashions and directly next door a store tailored to parents that desire the most cutting edge clothing for young people.

What you probably don’t know, however, is proprietor Liz Sheppard has been in business on Park Avenue for some 38 years–that’s right, 38 years in specialty retail. Though most small businesses fail after 1-5 years, Liz has withstood ups and downs with the economy and pretty much everything in between. Better yet, she doesn’t just own it, she works in the business, dressing everyone from beauty queens to children. I caught up with Liz before she headed to New York Fashion Week. Her story is inspirational and impressive.

Jacqueline Siegel, The Queen of Versailles. Photo courtesy of Jacqueline Siegel.

Jacqueline Siegel, The Queen of Versailles. Photo courtesy of Jacqueline Siegel.

Sheppard has many longtime friends that admire her success and loyalty to our community, including Jacqueline Siegel (above), wife of timeshare mogul David Siegel and most notably known as “The Queen of Versailles.” A longtime customer of both stores, Jacqueline Siegel recently shared, “I am a huge fan of women who mean business and Liz Sheppard is one of those women. I first met Liz while visiting her store with amazing kids fashions. For years we dressed our children with amazing one-of-a-kind clothes from Liz’s store.” Siegel added, “From there I worked with Liz on my own personal fashion choices, eventually having her work with our Mrs. Florida America and Beautiful People Productions with designer evening and cocktail wear. Congratulations on 38 years in business, Liz. You’re a gem in our community.”

Sharie Eldridge Shy. Photo courtesy of Sharie Eldridge Shy's Facebook page.

Sharie Eldridge Shy. Photo courtesy of Sharie Eldridge Shy’s Facebook page.

It wasn’t difficult to identify satisfied customers and friends of Liz’s. “I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Liz when I first moved to the area years ago. I stopped in her shop to find an outfit and walked out with a friend as well,” said Sharie Eldrige Shy. “It’s often said we can attract what we need if only we’re available. In my experience with Liz, that is so true. It was a season of loss for me and I needed hugs and she gladly gave them.

Shy continued, “Her store is as much about heart as it is fashion. That’s part of what makes her so extraordinary and so successful for decades. Liz handpicks her clothes and each item is a accessory to a life memory. She’s the epitome of class and beautiful strength. So very happy to call her my dear friend. She truly is MRS. WINTER PARK FLORIDA!”

Brett Shulman, a friend and fan of Liz's, often stops by her Park Avenue with his St. Bernard to say hello.

Brett Shulman, a friend and fan of Liz’s, often stops by her Park Avenue with his St. Bernard to say hello.

A scan of Liz’s social media photos often finds her with a huge St. Bernard owned by another admirer, Brett Schulman (above). “Liz Sheppard is one of the most incredible hard working women I have ever met. She is so loving and would literally give you the shirt off her back. I just can’t say enough nice things about her.”

In speaking with other notable figures in Winter Park, the consensus is that Liz truly is an icon in the community. Other women in business look up to her for inspiration and guidance.

Shirley Stamper (left) and Liz Sheppard, photo courtesy of Liz Sheppard's facebook page.

Shirley Stamper (left) and Liz Sheppard, photo courtesy of Liz Sheppard’s facebook page.

Shirley Stamper, a local legend and small business owner herself, had this to say, “Liz is a VERY hard working woman and does great things to raise the brand of Winter Park. I know, at times, she wishes she had more support from the City and Chamber proper…but I love her. Her stamina and relentless pursuit of providing her customers excellent service is bar none. She’s a great role model for other women looking to create a business and make it work.”

Liz Sheppard (right) with Burma Posey, Miss Georgia 1968. Photo courtesy Liz Sheppard's Facebook page.

Liz Sheppard (right) with Burma Posey, Miss Georgia 1968. Photo courtesy Liz Sheppard’s Facebook page.

Written Statement by Burma Posey, Miss Georgia 1968 and Pageant Judge

“Liz Sheppard is truly a remarkable woman. She has been an asset to the City of Winter Park and Central Florida for almost 40 years. Her shop on Park Avenue is a treat that families look forward to visiting every time we go shopping on that magical street. Her windows are always precious displays of children’s beautiful clothing and now there are unusual and gorgeous ladies’ clothing and accessories as well. Her extraordinary glamorous fashion shows are events that everyone looks forward to in Central Florida!

 

“But the most wonderful part about Liz is her heart. She truly cares about her customers and all people. She is constantly doing things to help them not only be beautiful, but to be successful and happy as well. She constantly opens her gorgeous home to host special events for individuals and organizations. I was so touched to be the Guest of Honor at one of her special events and Liz managed to make me feel like one of the most special people in the entire world. She does that for everyone!

 

“Liz has a great faith in God. She has had many honors in her lifetime. But she has had tragedy as well. She lost both children and the most difficult thing a person can experience on this Earth [is] the loss of a child. But Liz has taken both the good and the sad and turned everything into ways to serve others. She genuinely wants to help people be the best they can be and I’m simply grateful that she chose Winter Park to be her home.”

– Burma Posey, Miss Georgia 1968

 

Jim Veigle President, Veigle Properties. Photo courtesy of Jim Veigle's Facebook page.

Jim Veigle President, Veigle Properties. Photo courtesy of Jim Veigle’s Facebook page.

Another Winter Park legend, Jim Veigle, had this to say, “Liz has been the Heart of Winter Park for over 38 years. Her love for this City has been her life as long as I can remember. I have always had fond memories of her and her awesome stores. Liz gives kindness to all. Love Liz and her family.”

If you think about her history…38 years in business, in the beginning it was a much different time. Women were literally coming out of their homes and starting to create businesses that transcended traditional roles and responsibilities. Congratulations Liz Sheppard on 38 years. Your class, business acumen and love of the community is appreciated and noticed by all.

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Randy Ross is a political contributor Florida National News. | info@floridanationalnews.com

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Sharie Shy

    February 11, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    We love you very much Liz❤️❤️

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GivingTuesday raises $3.1B for charities in tough economy

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NEW YORK (AP) — GivingTuesday raised a record $3.1 billion in 24 hours for charitable causes in the U.S. earlier this week, as the event that started as a hashtag in 2012 celebrated its 10th anniversary and its status as a staple of fundraising for nonprofits, the group’s leader said Wednesday.

Despite the difficult economic year that many households have experienced, with inflation in the costs of basic goods, gas and housing, people were still willing to give, said GivingTuesday CEO Asha Curran.

“That’s really what we saw yesterday,” she told The Associated Press. “That whatever it is that people are experiencing, they were as generous as they had the capacity to be.”

GivingTuesday estimated that giving increased about 15% from 2021′s $2.7 billion, outpacing inflation. Donations were tallied using an array of data sources that includes major community foundations, companies that offer fundraising software, the payment processor PayPal and large grantmakers like Fidelity Charitable and Vanguard Charitable. Their methodology for compiling the estimate seeks to eliminate duplicate data points, Curran said.

In another measure of the resilience of donations, Fidelity Charitable said Tuesday that for the first time since 2018, the value of grants from its donor advised funds exceeds the value of investments going into the funds.

The organization said this year’s totals marked the largest amount donated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving since the group started tracking it.

The hashtag to promote fundraising on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving started in 2012 as a project of the 92nd Street Y and the organization GivingTuesday became an independent nonprofit in 2020. The organization has also launched a campaign to raise $26 million over five years to expand their database of giving.

In the tenth year of nonprofits and donors marking the day, Curran said, people continue to show incredible generosity.

“They give in a multitude of ways. It does not always have to do with money. It often has to do with community. It is very collective. It has a lot to do with people feeling like they are a fractal of a larger whole,” Curran said. “And yesterday was just one more reaffirmation of that.”

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Stocks fall as Fed signals rates need to go still higher

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Stocks closed lower on Wall Street and Treasury yields rose Thursday afternoon after more indications from the Federal Reserve that it may need to raise interest rates much higher than many people expect to get inflation under control.

The S&P 500 fell 0.3%, with retailers and banks among the biggest weights on the benchmark index. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped less than 0.1%, while the Nasdaq composite closed 0.3% lower.

Decliners outnumbered gainers on the New York Stock Exchange by nearly a 2-to-1 margin. Smaller company stocks fell harder than the rest of the market, pulling the Russell 2000 index 0.8% lower.

Bond yields rose and hovered around multidecade highs. The yield on the two-year Treasury note rose to 4.45% from 4.37% late Wednesday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, rose to 3.77% from 3.69% late Wednesday.

The Fed has been raising rates aggressively in order to tame inflation by applying the brakes to the economy. Investors have been hoping that more signs of easing inflation could help the central bank shift to less aggressive rate increases.

The central bank, though, has been clear about its intent to keep raising rates, possibly to unexpectedly high levels, to tame inflation. James Bullard, who leads the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, reaffirmed that position in a presentation on Thursday, suggesting the Fed’s short-term rate may have to rise to a level between 5% and 7% in order to quash stubbornly hot inflation. The central bank has already raised its key rate to a range of 3.75% to 4%, up from nearly zero as recently as last March.

“Bullard’s comments this morning suggesting that they need to get the fed fund (rate) between 5% and 7% was a surprise, to say the least, to markets,” said Scott Ladner, chief investment officer at Horizon Investments. “That certainly was a shock to folks and pushed us further down.”

The S&P 500 fell 12.23 points to 3,946.56. The Dow dropped 7.51 points to 33,546.32. The Nasdaq lost 38.70 points to close at 11,144.96. The Russell 2000 index fell 14.04 points to 1,839.12. The major indexes are all headed for weekly losses.

The presentation from Bullard follows reports showing that inflation is starting to ease somewhat, but still remains extremely hot as consumers continue spending amid a very strong jobs market. Strong spending and employment remain a potential bulwark against the economy slipping into a recession. It also means the Fed will likely remain aggressive and raises the risk that it will hit the brakes hard enough on the economy to actually bring on a recession.

Stock markets “got a little bit ahead of themselves” after getting encouraging reports on consumer and wholesale prices easing a bit, said Ross Mayfield, investment strategist at Baird. “But, the Fed knows they have a long way to go.”

“When you have the (Fed) statement already laying it out and someone like Bullard saying what he said, there is a little bit of jawboning markets back down and letting investors know this fight is not over.”

Outside of concerns about inflation, the market is also worried about Russia’s war in Ukraine and lockdowns in China hurting the global economy.

The conflict in Ukraine has been weighing on the energy sector and any worsening could cause spikes in prices for oil, gas and other commodities that the region produces. U.S. oil prices fell 4.6%.

China’s “zero-COVID” approach has caused a supply crunch for some of Asia’s biggest manufacturers, denting economic growth.

Markets in Asia and Europe fell.

Companies are also wrapping up the latest round of earnings reports. Macy’s jumped 15% after beating analysts’ quarterly financial forecasts and raising its earnings outlook.

Retailer Bath & Body Works soared 25.2% after reporting strong financial results.

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CFHLA CEO Robert Agrusa Receives Recognition from State Rep. Daisy Morales

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Former State Rep. Daisy Morales recognizes CFHLA President and CEO Robert Agrusa at his office. Photo: Daisy Morales (via Facebook).
Former State Rep. Daisy Morales recognizes CFHLA President and CEO Robert Agrusa at his office. Photo: Daisy Morales (via Facebook).

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – State Representative Daisy Morales (D-Orlando) presented Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association President and CEO Robert Agrusa with a certificate at the CFHLA headquarters last week.

Rep. Morales honored his and the CFHLA’s strong relationship and support for her office. The certificate for “Outstanding Support” reads in part: “I hereby recognize you for your support of the Office of State Representative Daisy Morales.”

 

Former State Rep. Daisy Morales recognizes CFHLA President and CEO Robert Agrusa at his office. Photo: Daisy Morales (via Facebook).

State Rep. Daisy Morales recognizes CFHLA President and CEO Robert Agrusa at his office. Photo: Daisy Morales (via Facebook).

 

“I’m honored to recognize Mr. Agrusa,” said Representative Morales. “I appreciate Mr. Agrusa’s and the CFHLA’s commitment to our rebounding and ever-growing hospitality industry.”

 

Photo: Daisy Morales (via Facebook).

Photo: Daisy Morales (via Facebook).

 

According to research done earlier this year, some 36 million travelers visited Florida in the first quarter of 2022, just six million more than the visitors in 4th quarter of 2021, and the numbers are on a steady upward trajectory. Prior to the pandemic, Florida boasted an average of over 72 million visitors per year.

The CFHLA will host its annual Hospitality Gala, its signature black tie event in which the organization recognizes hospitality industry leaders and supporters, on December 17, 2022 at the Disney Coronado Resort.

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Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

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