Friday, July 19, 2024

Second Acts: Inspiring Entrepreneurship Stories

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According to data from the U.S. Small Business Administration, approximately 25 percent of new entrepreneurs today are aged 55 to 64, with even more people interested in starting a business.

Why is everyone so busy? Reasons abound, including supplemental income, tax benefits, pursuing passions set aside in the younger years or simply staying engaged in their communities post-retirement. In the following paragraphs, we’ll introduce you to three remarkable new entrepreneurs who have embarked on ventures they are deeply passionate about.

Jon Cummins (left and above) spent several decades in the corporate world, working in a range of industries from printing to automotive marketing technology to private equity. But he was always an entrepreneur at heart. “I’ve always loved working with my hands, and I’ve been making furniture since I was a kid,” he says. So, at 61, he walked away from the global tech firm where he was a senior product manager and launched Kitchen Solvers of Jacksonville, a kitchen design and remodeling franchise, in November 2022.

“The kitchen is the heart of the home,” Cummins says. “I love working with clients to transform their kitchen from an outdated look to something they love.” Connect with Jon online at or on Facebook by searching Kitchen Solvers of Jacksonville.

Sharon Frye, Sharon’s Kitchen Adventures

Speaking of kitchens, Sharon Frye spent a whole lot of time in hers when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. So, when she retired from a 22-year-career at Mayo Clinic where she worked as an IT program manager in December 2020, that’s exactly where she chose to set up shop for her new venture. From her Springfield home, Frye operates Sharon’s Kitchen Adventures, offering a range of tasty menu items from cannolis (Sicilian pastries made of tube-shaped dough shells filled with a sweet, creamy ricotta filling) to carnitas (simmered Mexican pork dishes).

“I’ve had a love of food all my life and during the pandemic, I started baking again,” Frye says.

“Now, I’m having a ball cooking up things that are niche to this market and finding other unique bakery and dessert items that I can offer my customers.”

A unique favorite is a French pastry that originated in Bordeaux with a custard middle and a crunchy, caramelized outside. With both her culinary talents and her dollars, she supports causes like Lasagna Love, a global nonprofit centered on delivering home cooked meals to families in need. See what’s cooking by visiting Sharon on Facebook. Just search Sharon’s Kitchen Adventures.

Troy Wynn, Flip Flop Shop

Troy Wynn’s winding career included stints as a paralegal, former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney’s event planner and an insurance underwriter. At 75, she knew she was ready for something new, but certainly not full-on retirement. Earlier this year, she and partner Keith Hutchison opened the Flip Flop Shop in Jacksonville’s Five Points neighborhood, selling flip flops and other beach, surf and relaxation footwear.

“I’ve never done retail in my life. You can’t get more removed from a comfort zone than this,” she said. “But I’m in the fourth quarter of my life and I am energy bound. I can’t sit home and darn socks.” Visit the Flip Flop Shop at 1620 Margaret Street in Jacksonville and connect with them on Facebook by searching Flip Flop Shops Jacksonville.

These three individuals exemplify the spirit of Second Acts, venturing into new business endeavors, guided by their passions and a desire for continued engagement. If you’ve recently embarked on a new business journey, we’d love to hear about it. Please share your story with us at


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