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Outstanding Local Businesses

Outstanding Local Business Award Recipients for May & June 2023

Outstanding local businesses for May and June are being recognized for their contribution to their clients and the local community.

By: Sylvia Slezak | Jun 2023

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Photo by Neel Shakilov

Darley's Plumbing - Jacksonville, FL

A family-owned and operated business, Darley's Plumbing has been serving Northeast Florida for more than twenty-three years. Professionally licensed and insured, every plumber is an employee of Darley's Plumbing and not a subcontractor. Some of the best plumbers in Northeast Florida work for Darley's, and it shows in every plumbing job they complete. Their plumbers wear foot covers when they enter a home to make sure they don't track in dirt or mud. In addition, the plumbers do not work on commission, and aren't going to sell any part or service that isn't necessary.

One of the things Darley's Plumbing is proud of is that seventy-five percent of their business comes from word-of-mouth referrals. That is a reputations to be proud of.

While the company's primary service area is Northeast Florida (Duval County, St. Johns County, Clay County, Nassau County, and Baker County), Darley's Plumbing also installed tankless water heaters in Pensacola, industrial water heaters in Daytona, and provided new construction plumbing for apartments in Orlando, just to name a few.

Serving both residential and commercial clients, Darley's Plumbing services include: sewer and drain cleaning, leaky faucets, plumbing bathroom and kitchen remodels, water lines, clogged toilets, leaky pipes, slab leaks, complete re-piping. service, repair, remodeling, new construction, video inspection of lines, water heater repair and replacement,

Carl Darley, President of Darley's Plumbing, started plumbing while at Englewood High School in Jacksonville, Florida, where he has been a resident since 1972. While in high school, he was also enrolled at Southside Skill Center as part of their plumbing program. He has been plumbing since 1981, passed the Journeyman exam in 1986, obtained the State Plumbing Contractor's license in 1993, and with help from his father, opened Darley's Plumbing in 1993.

Carl's brother, Dale Darley, Vice President of Darley's Plumbing, graduated from the University of Florida with bachelors degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. After graduation, he worked in the environmental engineering field until joining the family business in 2005 as Vice President in charge of office management and finances.

Moccasin Stables LLC - Tallahassee, FL

Family-owned and operated, Moccasin Stables is more than just a stable for horses. It provides the opportunity to create a lifelong partnership between the horse and rider and seeks to create a peaceful and positive environment. Through lessons, summer camps and shows, Moccasin Stables introduces and instructs boys and girls of all ages in effective positive horsemanship. Their horsemanship programs help individuals reach their highest potential, gain self confidence, and self-esteem through equine activities.

Services offered at Moccasin Stables include lessons, equine therapeutic, camps, home school program, equestrian teams, After School U.S. Pony Club, boarding, horse shows, birthday parties, and merchandise. Boarding amenities include: full size, sand, dressage arena (dragged daily), round pen, spacious jumping arena, play field, tack rooms, wash racks, clean bathroom, 12x12 well-maintained stalls, trailer parking, and grazing pastures. Professional trainers are on the premises and available to teach dressage and jumping. Clinics with several different quality horse trainers are also available.

Born in Argentina, Ms Julia Capdevila had a strong bond with animals. Her love for horses started at the age of seven during a trip a horse ranch. There she knew that she wanted to spend the rest of her life caring for these magnificent creatures. Coming from a family with excellent horsemanship reputation, she quickly picked up on the different techniques that she needed to train and care for them. She also learned the importance of the special and delicate touch that horses need on a daily basis. In 1999, Julia moved to the United States, spending most of her days working along side top national horse trainers. As soon as she moved with her family to Tallahassee, Florida, she bought her first horse. Julia trained him night and day, earning him multiple awards that included Dressage Championship Training Level.

Today, Julia and her daughter, Valeria, are proud owners of multiple horses that specialize in Dressage and Hunter Jumping. They currently own a beautiful property on the North East side of Leon County. Twenty-six acres of lavishing land, Moccasin Stables includes a beautiful dressage arena, a specialized jumping gated ring with one of a kind horse jumps, three barns, a round pen, and very large paddocks. Multiple acres are available in an open, gated paddock that boarders can take their horses to for pleasure riding. Because of Julia's love for horses and education, she is able to provide a unique yet unforgettable experience to everyone that walks into Moccasin Stables.

Stevens Exhibits and Displays, Inc. - Chicago, IL

A full service custom exhibit designer and builder in Chicago, Stevens Exhibits and Displays offers solutions for purchase, lease, or one-time use, as well as graphics, field service coordination, traffic management, warehousing, and installation/dismantling services. Stevens Exhibits delivers on their goal to design and construct innovative and economical custom exhibit programs encompassing their client's goals and objectives imminent to maximizing the return on investment.

Types of designs include, but are not limited to, custom exhibits, one-time-use exhibits, portable exhibits, nature centers, museum exhibits, and custom corporate interiors. Comprehensive exhibit services include, design & detailing, new fabrication, exhibit reconditioning/refurbishing, graphics design & production, structural engineering, audio visual, traffic management, warehousing & property management, show service & coordination, indoor personal protection, field supervision, meeting/event coordination, destination management, nationwide installation & dismantling, virtual events.

The company inhabits an entire city block with a 100,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility in Chicago near McCormick Place and the key staff members are actually the fourth generation in the exhibit business: Founder Tom McKernin, President Julie McKernin, Vice President Lisa McKernin, and Director Chuck McKernin.

Their grandfather, the late John McKernin was affiliated with their great uncle Joe McKenna in Advertisers Displays, Inc., at the time of the Chicago's Century of Progress Exposition. Joe sold the business at the start of World War II. Tom McKernin began building exhibits when he was fifteen. In 1966 he was offered a partnership at a POP house, Stevens Displays and was soon joined by his brothers, who have since retired. Together, they turned the business into the full service exhibit success it is today, changing the name to Stevens Exhibits/Displays Inc.

As kids, they loved going down to the shop, and would take turns going on installations with Dad. For them, the shop was the best place to play hide and seek and to see all the cool stuff being built. Things like a giant working coffee pot, furniture that rose out of the carpet and a huge Willy Wonka Oompa machine that had lights, sounds and a big breathing balloon with polka dots.

Before joining the family business, Lisa worked, for thirteen years, as an exhibit designer for both Field Museum in Chicago and Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. She was also a scenic painter and sculptor. Julie was employed as a runway/print/tradeshow model, demonstrator, and manager of professional television wrestling. Chuck joined the company full time straight out of high school and ran the graphics production department.

Tom says of the three children who run the company, "They are naturals at the business and I could not be a prouder father. They work so well together, and they really understand the business. They understand and respect each other enough to handle the ups and downs of the exhibit industry."

Other family members play an active role in the business as well. Tom's youngest son, Brian McKernin, works in traffic and the warehouse, Tom's sister Edie in accounting and grandsons Jeff McKernin and Jason Sawatski are both carpenters in the shop and in the field. Show time is the most fun and the whole family shows up to personally service their clients.


CityOf.com showcases thousands of incredible businesses in more than 300 industry categories that are located in over 100 major U.S. cities. The Outstanding Local Business Award (OLBA) is given to locally-owned and operated businesses in recognition of their services to the local community and have met all of the Criteria listed on https://www.cityof.com/outstanding-local-business-award-badge

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