, along with his
wife, Buffy, recently opened International Deli & Gourmet Foods in New Smyrna Beach.
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- After working the past six years as executive chef at Sugar Mill Country Club, Andreas Thon decided it was time to strike out on his own.
In February, Thon
wife, Buffy, opened a combination deli, bakery, restaurant and catering business at the Food Lion Plaza shopping center in New Smyrna Beach's beachside area.
"The entrepreneurial spirit grabbed me.
I decided to do it now instead of waiting until I got too old," Thon
, 35, said Monday in an interview.
"We chose this location because the plaza had the basic infrastructure and because of the location," Thon
designed the inside of the building -- which is actually two storefronts converted to one large space -- to resemble the type of deli/cafes found in New York City.
opted to open a deli in part because he
believed it was something that would have a better chance of succeeding, based on his
observations of the area the past few years during which he
has seen a number of fine-dining venues come and go.
International Deli got off to a strong start its first couple of months, thanks to all of the visiting snow birds and tourists that flock to the city at that time of the year, according to Thon
Business has leveled off some since then, he
said, adding a lot of his
clientele now are people visiting the area from Orlando as well as locals.
"People that normally have to travel to larger cities for their specialty foods can now get them locally for a fraction of the travel cost and time," said Thon
also noted there are few if any competitors in the immediate area serving German food.
"You have to go to DeLand or Orlando," he
said one of his
first challenges was learning to adjust supply and demand, noting the business was overstocked intially.
had to figure out what sells best during different times of the year.
"In general, everyone is glad that we are here," said Thon, a native of Germany who trained in Europe to be a chef.
came to Florida in 1998 to work in a friend's restaurant in St. Augustine.
From there, he
was hired to work in the kitchen at the Oceanside Golf and Country Club in Ormond Beach.
wife at Oceanside Country Club
was a waitress.
He started as a line cook before eventually becoming executive chef there.
He left that job after three years to work as a chef in Tennessee before returning to Florida to take the job at Sugar Mill.
The couple have three children, ages 3, 7 and 9.
Buffy Thon spent most of the last decade as a stay-at-home mother.
was anxious to get back into the workforce and this was a way to do it, her
"It was tough for her
to find a job," said Thon
, who handles marketing for International Deli, including managing its website.
Buffy Thon said she
stills spends the majority of her
time at home but she
works in the restaurant two days a week.
"We knew we were taking a risk," she
said, about opening the business.
An added bonus of owning the business, Thon
said, is being able to work more family-friendly hours.
still works six days a week but his
hours are more consistent, as opposed to his
last job where his
days were more spread out and he
sometimes worked from 5 p.m. to midnight.
" Now I get my whole Sunday when my kids are at home versus Mondays when I was at Sugar Mill," he said.