Legal Articles and News

Starting a business inspired by a passion can be a risky and intimidating journey, but it can also lead to rewarding and life-changing results. Fitz Koehler’s Gainesville-based fitness company, Fitzness International, proves this to be true. Koehler originally came to Gainesville as an undergraduate student at the University of Florida with a passion for exercise and has spent the last 20 years turning her hobby and healthy lifestyle into her dream career.

Koehler began her career serving as the fitness director for a cruise ship company and then became an instructor on the Cardio Jam television series. She then enrolled in graduate school and earned her master’s degree in exercise and sports science.

Koehler’s company, Fitzness, has a unique philosophy in that the focus is not on fad-diets and expensive weight loss techniques. Instead, Koehler encourages healthy eating, regular exercise, and the general overall improvement of the client’s health. Fitzness is designed to cater to the needs of every individual, regardless of age and current state of fitness health.

Fitzness has flourished into an international company, which includes a website that features online interview segments with celebrities such as Bruce Jenner and Brooke Shields. The company has also grown significantly as a result of Koehler’s writing endeavors and her radio and television segments. She has written articles for well-known online sources and women’s and fitness magazines, and she is the author of several books that focus on fitness and healthy lifestyles.

Starting and maintaining a successful company like Fitzness is no easy task, and ensuring the well-being and growth of a new company is also challenging. Proper planning and good decision making are crucial to ensuring the success of a business, and with these tools it is possible to turn a passion into a successful career as Fitz Koehler has done.

If you are interested in starting a new business or expanding your current enterprise, let the experienced business attorneys at the Knellinger & Associates assist you. We can help you choose the best corporate structure for your business, draft and negotiate contracts, as well as help you prepare for expansion.

“You have to. I already paid your entrance fee,” said Bob. They couldn’t have known at the time, but this would be the first step to a second career for Joey Landreneau. Based on the popularity of the jambalaya he’d always bring to potluck dinners, a friend had volunteered him for a booth at the Alachua Good Life Jubilee Festival. He sold out in an hour and a half. A few months later, Joey’s weekends were consumed with cooking classics from his southern Louisiana upbringing for festivals throughout Alachua and the surrounding counties, having fun and collecting steady additional income to boot. Word of his Creole specialties spread quickly, and the requests for catering came rolling in shortly thereafter. Just a few years later, Landreneau’s Louisiana cooking would be featured at the Black and White Gala, serving a formal dinner for 250 people at Gainesville’s largest annual charity event.

Landreneau learned to cook from his mother while growing up in Southern Louisiana, where food was an integral part of everyday life. From red beans and rice to shrimp whatever, Landreneau enjoys cooking Creole classics and busting the myth that Cajun food must be extremely spicy or full of cream. He believes a good product sells itself, a fact demonstrated by the popularity of his signature items like shrimp-stuffed bread and chicken vermillion, not to mention his fried turkeys which fly off the shelves every year around Thanksgiving. Joey takes pride in using wholesome products like Tony Chachere’s Original Cajun Seasoning with no salt or MSG and preparing Cajun food with an eye toward health. With weekly lunches for the University of Florida College of Medicine and a burgeoning partnership with local business Omi’s Kitchen, Landreneau is happy to have a full-time catering clientele. However, this doesn’t prevent him from daydreaming about the future. Down the road, he’d love to deliver his products from the setting of a Cajun market, offering both prepared items and meals customers could enjoy cooking at home.

Do you have a passion you’d like to turn into a business? Let us help you with the finer details, from trademarking, to registering, to drafting employment or partnership contracts. With more than 30 years of experience, the law office of Knellinger & Associates can help make your idea a reality.

During September and October 2011, the North Florida Regional Medical Center’s (NFRMC) pond was decorated with a big pink ribbon surrounded by many floating pink flamingos. The pink flamingos symbolized the many patients and survivors that have received care or treatment for breast cancer at the hospital.

Education is extremely helpful with the prevention of breast cancer, so NFRMC is trying to educate the public. On September 30, 2011, the event opened with several speakers who talked about breast cancer and urged the public to take a stand against it. Spectators were encouraged to remain aware of breast cancer and take steps to schedule regular physician visits, perform self breast exams and take care of themselves to minimize the risks of getting the disease. Survivors of breast cancer are more common than ever, but the key to surviving is prevention and early detection. Literature about breast cancer was also available during the event.

If one of your family members has cancer or has had the disease in the past, you may be more likely to take the steps to ensure that you are in good health by obtaining the necessary information and scheduling regular examinations. However, breast cancer can strike anyone. Therefore, it is important to prepare for the unfortunate possibility that you could be diagnosed with breast cancer or another terminal illness. Preparing for  a life-threatening disease also requires making sure your wishes are clear if the illness disables you or takes your life.

The Law Office of Knellinger & Associates can help you with your estate planning needs. We can draft wills, trusts, powers of attorney and other similar documents. Our estate planning attorneys can discuss your goals and concerns, so we can recommend and draft the documents that will help ensure that your wishes are carried out.

Restaurants often struggle in a staggering economy. Although some independent restaurants in Gainesville have closed, many franchises are flourishing.

Franchise owners and operators recognize that franchises help their owners succeed. When owners purchase a franchise, they do not have to take care of many details that an owner of an independent restaurant must handle. Franchises have a specific menu and ambiance. If a restaurant owner needs help, he can contact the franchise support number and get assistance. Additionally, owners can benefit from national advertising that independent restaurant owners may not be able to afford. Franchise owners may also be able to obtain substantial discounts on bulk supplies.

Furthermore, customers know what to expect when they go to a franchise. Whether customers are frequenting a franchise in their hometown or one in another area, the food, décor and pricing will be similar.

Popular franchises that are thriving in the Gainesville area include Domino’s Pizza, Burger King, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Subway. The profitability of many of these franchises has encouraged a number of owners to purchase multiple restaurants. Additionally, some independent restaurant owners in the area have successfully created their own franchise restaurants.

If you are seeking to open a restaurant or another business, a franchise may provide benefits that will assist you in becoming profitable. Nevertheless, your finances, the amount of support you need, your willingness to adhere to the rules of the franchise and other factors will influence your decision.

Whether you choose to own a franchise or an independent business, the Law Office of Knellinger & Associates can help you with the process of starting a business or purchasing a franchise. We can review franchise and partnership agreements. Our attorneys can also help you arrange financing and aid in negotiating with employees, vendors and other third parties who are essential to your business growth. Contact our office to learn more about our business services.

A few new restaurants opened this past September and October. Hardee’s and Red Burrito opened at 7300 Newberry Road in Gainesville, Florida. Hardee’s encouraged customers to attend the Grand Opening on October 15, 2011 by offering complimentary biscuits to the first 50 people attending the opening event. Hardee’s is not new to Gainesville, but the four Hardee’s restaurants that were formerly in the area closed a decade ago.

Customers looking for bakery items, ice cream, coffee, smoothies and other beverages will enjoy the new Patticakes, which opened in late September. Jan and David Patterson own the Patticakes restaurant. They hope that the restaurant will be a community meeting place where people can relax to enjoy a beverage and snack.

Church’s Chicken no longer has a license, and the University Avenue location is closed. However, the vacant building may be replaced by Southern Chicken, which is now seeking a license. Another restaurant, Virtually Cuban, is currently closed but may reopen shortly.

If you have a restaurant or other business that is opening or shutting its doors, a business attorney can help you take the necessary steps to secure or dispose of inventory and possibly limit personal liability. Business closings can be very stressful, but having the assistance of an experience lawyer can help to make it less so. The business attorneys at the Law Office of Knellinger & Associates can help you negotiate prices, draft contracts and assist you with other legal details.

Brame, Heck Architects, originally founded by Newbold Goin, has undergone many name changes throughout its century in business. Throughout their one hundred years, the company has established community roots. Among the many buildings the firm has designed are local schools, a local hospital and various types of commercial buildings and housing located in the Gainesville area.

When Billy Brame became an employee of Moore, May, and Harrington Architects in 1973, he never anticipated staying for years or becoming a partner. Recently, he celebrated Brame Architect’s 100th anniversary. The company designs buildings and works closely with engineers, plumbers and other consultants to arrange and design buildings that are functional, attractive and meet clients’ needs.

During his time at Brame Architects, Billy Brame has watched the firm move forward with the times. When he originally joined the team, plans were sketched by hand. Now plans are designed using a computer, and 3-D models are often created. Staying in business for a century also required the firm to adjust to the economy in both plentiful and unfortunate times. During the recent economic decline, the firm reduced its staff and shortened its work week. Fortunately, the economy is improving, so the firm is able to hire additional staff as work increases.

As businesses like Brame Architects experience growth or need to downsize throughout the years, legal issues arise that require a qualified, experienced attorney. The law office of Knellinger & Associates in Gainesville, Florida can help businesses in times of both prosperity and struggle. Let us help you ensure that you take the proper steps to avoid costly legal issues by consulting with our experienced business law attorneys today.

Years ago, the University of Florida set out to create Innovation Hub, a business complex and commercial center. Gradually plans expanded to Innovation Square, which will include science and technology areas, restaurants, and housing.

More recently, the University of Florida excitedly shared its plans for the area with the community and University of Florida representatives indicate that the plans may develop even further into surrounding areas. Plans include increasing the size the project so it encompasses the district more fully and will ultimately help revitalize the community. The University of Florida expects to create a district that will enhance the economy. Developers aim to create an environment that offers the best features of urban living. Residents, business owners and community members will be able to walk throughout the area and enjoy restaurants and shopping.

The Gainesville City Commission has recently approved variances for the project, which should increase zoning approval speed as modifications occur or new ideas are integrated into the project. The University of Florida has plans to charge fees to local businesses that will be part of Innovation District. The fees would help cover the costs of maintaining the area, providing sanitation services and marketing expenditures.

Although plans for expanding are not firmly set, considerations include housing for graduate students on University Avenue. The University of Florida is also considering expanding the Santa Fe College sector into a campus that can service additional students.

When business owners want to expand or lease new space, they need an experienced attorney who can help them avoid and resolve legal issues. Our Gainesville attorneys at the Law Office of Knellinger, Jacobson & Associates can assist you with negotiating leases and contracts. We can also help business owners with non-compete and employment contracts and can help negotiate with employees, contractors, suppliers and vendors.

Whether your business is considering becoming a part of the new Innovation District or expanding to another location in the Gainesville, Florida area, the law office of Knellinger & Associates can help.

The Pew Research Center indicates that 25 percent of fathers do not reside with their children. As a result, many fathers may not play an active role in parenting. Despite these unfortunate findings, some fathers in the Gainesville area still manage to share quality time with their children.

Fathers who make spending time with their children a priority enjoy a wide range of activities with them. They may help their children with homework, attend sports events, help with carpooling and participate in other activities their children enjoy. Some fathers even volunteer to spend time with children who are not their offspring. These volunteer activities are varied, but they can include coaching, mentoring students, acting as a homeroom parent and volunteering at the child’s school. Dads who volunteer have the opportunity to make an impression on children who may not otherwise have a positive male role model in their lives.

Many fathers cherish spending time with their children because children grow up quickly. However, being a responsible dad is not just about sharing time with your children; it also involves planning for the future. Parents need to make sure that they have a plan in place in the event a tragedy occurs that prevents them from caring for their children.

Caring for your children is essential to their well-being. The Law Office of Knellinger & Associates can advise you of the documents necessary to protect your children in the event of a tragic accident or death. Our experienced estate planning lawyers can assist you by drafting a will, creating a trust, or preparing other documents that will protect your children. The ages of your children, your assets and other details about your finances and family circumstances will help our attorneys assist you in drafting the documents that meet your children’s needs and will ensure that your wishes are carried out.

Thinking about your death may be uncomfortable, but preparing for the future allows you to protect your children financially and arrange for their care. The Law Office of Knellinger & Associates has been helping parents plan for the future for years. Consult with our experienced Gainesville attorneys today.

A celebration was held recently to honor the tenth anniversary of the Gainesville Technology Enterprise Center (GTEC). Ten years ago, the City of Gainesville and the area’s Chamber of Commerce combined forces to help local companies and inventors fund technological innovations. Additionally, GTEC also gives seminars about technology. The support of GTEC has helped increase the job market for workers with advanced skill sets and has helped provide monetary benefits to the community.

There were several speakers at the event. Conchi Osa, a well-known Gainesville economic developer, discussed how the City and Chamber created a partnership to foster the growth of technology. Todd Chase, City Commissioner, centered his speech on how GTEC evolved by overcoming challenges. He said he feels confident that GTEC will continue to support entrepreneurs, so they can create and perfect new technology. Ethan Fieldman, a previous Cade Prize winner, also spoke at the celebration.

Past recipients of GTEC’s assistance include Sinmat, a company recognized by President Obama for advances with semiconductors and WiPower, which created a wireless charging mat. GTEC has also helped many other companies make technological contributions throughout the Gainesville area. This year the largest Cade Prize award went to Florida Sustainables, a company that makes green, biodegradable plastics. The $50,000 prize covers a year’s rent at GTEC and $5,000 for legal services. Several other companies also received monetary awards for legal services including Synogen, Infinite Energy, Exatech, and NovaMin Technology.

GTEC’s awards for legal services emphasize the importance of using an experienced attorney when inventing a product or starting a business. The Law Office of Knellinger & Associates can help you protect your ideas and/or form your new business. Our business attorneys can help you choose the right corporate structure for you business, help you with contracts, and advise you as your business grows.

Gainesville restaurant owner and executive chef, Bert Gill, is enjoying success and growth with several restaurants in the area. He attributes much of his success to learning from mentors and working in the industry.

Although Gill originally intended to graduate from the University of Florida, he left the University and began working in the food business.  He had enjoyed the food industry as a teenager. Eventually, he attended the New England Culinary School.

Gill also learned from his mistakes along the way. Early in his career, he interviewed for a job at the Four Seasons in the Boston area. The chef wanted to hire him, but Gill also had to interview with human resources. Gill scheduled the meeting, but he responded to interview questions as though he had the job already and simply needed the details of the position. Ultimately, he was told that his attitude was unacceptable and he did not get the job. Through this experience, he learned that the right attitude is important no matter your confidence in your abilities.

Instead, he obtained a job at the Pillar House in Boston. He quickly advanced to the position of executive chef. This job required him to oversee budgeting and acquire management skills. Despite his success at Pillar House, he left after five years.  He aspired to opening his own restaurant and believed he could have a better lifestyle in a less expensive area.

Eventually, Gill moved to the Gainesville area. He opened and operated a restaurant for the owners of Mildred’s of Micanopy. The restaurant was originally a sandwich shop, but he noticed that dinner was their busiest time. He restructured the business and created another restaurant that used the same kitchen, but focused on dinner fare. Currently, he operates Mildred’s Big City Food, which offers cold lunches and bistro style dining for dinner, and New Deal Café, which offers casual hot lunches. He later opened another restaurant, Ti Amo!.  Ti Amo! utilized the same facility, but Gill recently decided to close it to focus his energies on his newest venture, Blue Gill. He found that managing Ti Amo! independently was challenging, so he now uses a management style that incorporates all of his restaurants regardless of their location.

Blue Gill, a restaurant with native Florida cuisine, is located in the Shands Cancer Center garage, and offers the convenience of ordering and paying for food electronically via a computer or telephone. This new restaurant also delivers to the hospital.

Increasing the number of restaurants Gill owns also increases his staff, inventory, and suppliers. Whether you are in the restaurant business or another industry, it is crucial to use the experience of a knowledgeable business attorney when expanding your business. Our business attorneys at the Law Office of Knellinger & Associates can help you with various contracts such as leases and employment contracts, assist with negotiations with suppliers and distributors, and help you decide the best way to structure your expansion.

The Law Office of Knellinger, Jacobson & Associates provides legal advice and representation for individuals, entrepreneurs, and business owners in Gainesville, Florida, and communities throughout north central Florida, including cities such as Ocala, Starke, Palatka, Lake City, Middleburg, Trenton, Bronson, Lake Butler, Cross City, Williston, Chiefland, Alachua, Jasper, Live Oak, and Jacksonville, Florida.

Alachua County ● Putnam County ● Clay County ● Bradford County ● Union County ● Columbia County ● Gilchrist County ● Levy County ● Marion County ● Hamilton County ● St. Johns County ● Dixie County