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by Danielle Anderson

Sage advice says love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life. For three Volusia County businesses in the health and wellness industry, truer words have never been spoken.

Finding their niche in a $4.5 trillion dollar industry came with trial and error, fine-tuning their skills and a sprinkle of love, to come up with the perfect recipe for success – mind, body and soul.

Meaghan Phillips Sutter

Heading into Port Orange Acupuncture, the first thing you may envision is a body of needles, but as you sit with Meaghan Phillips-Sutter, a board certified practitioner of Oriental medicine for your first consultation, it’s pretty clear you won’t be on pins and needles in the relaxed atmosphere.

Starting her practice in 2003 as a licensed massage therapist after graduating from the University of Central Florida, Meaghan realized she preferred the clinical side of healthcare to administration. It was during a visit to an acupuncturist while in Thailand studying abroad, that she discovered her true calling.

“I fell in love with acupuncture and the rest is history,” she said.

Returning to the United States and earning her Master’s Degree from the Florida College of Integrative Medicine in Orlando, she opened the doors to Port Orange Acupuncture in 2011, in the community of Spruce Creek.

With more than a decade of experience, Meaghan says her profession entails addressing the root cause behind the symptoms that bring patients to her door. Her knowledge of traditional Oriental medicine and a holistic approach to health and wellness has built a rewarding and successful boutique practice that allows her to provide individualized care.

Whether it’s massage therapy, acupuncture, homeopathic injections or herbal medicine, she’s seen the immune boosting benefits of preventative care and the direct impact on acute patients an accurate diagnosis can have.

“I think the health industry is such a broad field and there is so much you can do with it. It’s not a one size fits all and there’s a different modality for every patient,” she said.

Not only is how you care for your body and mind of the utmost importance, what you put into your body is just as essential.

Anthony “Skip” Perna and Jinny Perna

For Anthony, aka Skip, and Jinny Perna, owners of Skip’s Garden in South Daytona, a shared passion for wholesome food and an heirloom tomato many years ago, created their ‘love at first bite’ fairytale story.

Exiting the construction industry, Skip decided to put his culinary training to work for his family. And Jinny, a licensed clinical family therapist and 30-year vegetarian, supported the decision. The health-conscious couple decided to create a high-quality, high-end, professional meal service business back before it became widely popular.

Now, seven years later, the Johnson and Wales trained chef serves up a global array of dishes–catering to everyone from busy professionals on-the-go to those who crave a healthy rendition of their favorite meals, rich with handpicked flavor.

Whether you prefer to eat like a caveman with a paleo diet or dine like a king with savory sauces and homemade pastas, Skip and Jinny have made it their mission to deliver the freshest, tastiest meals in Volusia County, each week, from their Beville Road brick and mortar.

The couple share a dream of expanding and one day owning enough acreage to grow all their own heirloom vegetables for the business.

“Wait until we have a farm,” muses Skip.

The couple hopes to incorporate field trips for school age students offering the same opportunity to experience whole foods and the wonder of gardening, as their own children did growing up.

“We work as a family, how can I not be grateful for that, in a world like this,” asked Jinny, whose 19-year old son helps deliver the prepackaged meals, before he heads off to the University of Florida this fall.

Their heart for health spans all ages and came in handy during the recent COVID pandemic when a number of their senior clients were homebound for their safety. Delivering the weekly meals, the couple added special baked goods like apple or banana breads as a surprise, to the delight of those on the receiving end.

“They’re more than customers. Some of these people have been with us for seven years, they’re family,” said Jinny of the intimacy and trust established with those who order from their weekly menus.

Before long, people began paying the goodwill forward, purchasing meals to be delivered to strangers and bringing even more joy to the Pernas.

“In the midst of all the ugliness going on in the world, there’s still so much good,” she said. “It was beautiful.”

Also helping busy professionals and those seeking to find their passion through health and wellness, Crossfit 386 co-owners Lane Gauntt and Mark Leedy opened their Port Orange location in 2014. The couple have built the business, perhaps not with blood but definitely with plenty of sweat.

The two-bay massive warehouse tucked behind the Post Office on Dunlawton Avenue is the machine shop for the human body.

Taking a break from the intense workout, Lane, a Stetson University grad, will tell you she once worked the corporate grind as a marketing executive but found herself wanting to be a business owner.

“As much as I loved what I was doing, I felt like I had this calling to do more. I needed to do something that involved helping others, which is what I love to do, and I could use all my business and marking for my own business.”

Tapping into their shared passion for fitness, Lane and Mark took the plunge and haven’t looked back.

“We decided we wanted to open our own gym and share our love for health and fitness with the community in a way that was different from where we were before,” said Lane.

“You come for the people and stay for the workout,” she said.

“The community aspect is the biggest draw, especially for adults. Maybe you played sports in high school or college. Somewhere along the line we lose touch with that side of ourselves, so it’s a really cool way to reconnect with other like minded individuals and also, if you’re new to the community, make new friends.”

With the mantra “your body is your home,” Lane says it’s a combination of being able to rebalance and reset, while factoring in healthy nutrition, discipline and lifestyle, that has the biggest overall impact on health.

“It comes down to you’ve got to put your body first. Your body is your home and you have to take care of it,” she said.

Danielle Anderson has worked in the public relations and media industry for a decade. She started her career as a reporter for Flagler Broadcasting where she discovered her passion for telling the stories of communities in Florida.

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