They’re true believers in local supporting local. Family-oriented through and through. And when it comes to facing life catastrophes, Tim and Anna Burklew do not accept defeat without putting up a fight with a great deal of faith and compassion.
The Burklews opened Golf Carts of Vero Beach in 2012. The golf cart manufacturer show lot is located at 1826 U.S. Hwy 1. It was formerly on Aviation Boulevard.
Why the address change, you ask?
Catastrophe — by way of a warehouse fire that destroyed their Aviation Boulevard location back in 2018. The unfortunate event resulted in a 100 percent loss of the Burklews’ inventory, and an inability to pay the staff of employees they had at the time.
However, remember what was said about facing catastrophes and the Burklews being family-oriented? That held true, as Tim and Anna managed to secure a loan to keep their staff members employed as the couple figured out what to do with the business and how to deal with the insurance.
“I was there the day the fire happened,” said Jeff McEwen, one of the Burklews’ employees. “I am still here. I was never told not to come to work. I was told that we would be taken care of and that is what happened. I didn’t miss a day of work or a week without pay. I wasn’t asked to hang tight while they sorted things out. Right from the get-go they never wavered from the fact that they would take care of us, that we were – and are – family. ”
The fire didn’t seem to stop business for even a moment. McEwen, who has been employed at GCVB for three years, said that operations continued. Employees worked out of the Burklews’ garage, stored golf carts in a local airplane hangar, and operated their service shop out of another employee’s garage.
That glimpse of reassurance and accountability is exactly the type of people that Tim and Anna Burklew are. Their staff and their clients are more than just random people – they are family. They are community. They are a magnificent representation of Vero Beach.
Directly after the fire, Tim explained, he and Anna called in their 14 employees at the time to tell them what had happened. The group met at CJ Cannons and were told of the devastation as they dined at the Vero Beach establishment. Before the Burklews had a chance to pick up the bill, their server informed them that a customer had taken care of it for them.
The Burklews were blown away at a stranger’s generosity in their time of grief.
In true Vero Beach fashion, the rest of the community did its part to help as well. The Burklews recalled how locals Chris Bieber, Fred DiRocco, and Derrick Cave initiated a GoFundMe fundraiser and miraculously raised approximately $18,000 quickly thereafter the fire in an effort to help provide for the business and their staff as they all began the long road to recovery from the fire.
Stricken by their total loss, Tim and Anna were then faced with several other obstacles, including revocation of their current loan with their long-time bank. They were told they no longer had the business to back up the loan. This string of misfortune carried on with being denied financial assistance, despite the fact that they were established bank customers and had always paid everything on time and were told they had excellent credit.
Anna recalls sitting down with her two sons and telling them that her and her husband were not giving up, and that with faith and hard work, good things will come.
Though they faced obstacle after obstacle, determination hardly wavered. When they considered the concept of closing for good, a former golf cart customer approached Tim with a proposal for a personal loan to fund the rebuilding venture.
At first, Tim said he thought nothing of the gentleman with his generous offer, because it seemed too good to be true. The Burklews still get misty-eyed as they reminisce about the support from the community and their friends, and this amazing, unnamed, trusting and confident individual and his offer.
That unnamed person called Tim shortly after their initial discussion and said he had asked around about Golf Carts of Vero Beach, and heard feedback about what great people they were, and wanted to make his offer come to reality. The Burklews were floored. Grateful, emotional, and ecstatic, they accepted his offer.
Barely two months later, Golf Carts of Vero Beach opened its new location on U.S. 1, which according to Tim, “was a blessing.”
The Burklews pride their business with being chosen to build custom golf carts for big name-networks NBC and The Golf Channel. One of which, Tim added, was given away at the Phoenix Open. Golf Carts of Vero Beach has also been voted as the top golf cart company in the area for several years running, he said. They work with so many areas within the county and beyond, including the Orchid Island Golf and Beach Club, Johns Island, Windsor, The Moorings, Pointe West, Riomar, Indian River Club, Meadowood Golf and Tennis Club, Quail Valley, Village Green, Heron Cay, and Pointe West.
Like so many local businesses in the community, the Burklews believe you get out what you put into a business and the community it is located in. The Burklews care deeply for their employees, and are charitable in the county as often as they can be.
“We are only as good as our staff,” Tim said. He believes his staff represents the company and treats employees as family, as they treat their customers – who come in all ages, occupations, and genders. Anna agreed.
“We are only as good as our staff.”~ Tim Burklew
“We love to see the faces of people when we are able to meet their budget and actually get them more than they expected,” Burklew pointed out. He loves Vero Beach, and the people within it are his biggest supporters, he said.
“From the little old lady who needed just a headlight, to the person who orders a custom limousine worth thousands of dollars,” he said. The married duo agreed they cherish Vero Beach as a “hidden secret.” Both feel as though it’s the perfect mix of people – both residents and tourists.
“We treat everyone as though they are the boss, because they are,” Anna said.
Tim and Anna have helped to initiate two parades in the area over the years, as well as participated in several charity golf events. The first was in collaboration with Matilde Sorenson; the Easter Parade, which is always the Thursday before Good Friday. The second is the Pointe West Golf Cart Parade, which will take place this year on December 14.
Anna Burklew, who is from the Netherlands, married her husband in 2000. The two enjoy traveling, remodeling homes, attending community events, and spending time with their two kids; one of which is currently in school to become a pilot, and the other is anticipating attending school at George Mason University, majoring in Cyber Security. Tim is from Melbourne Beach. The couple moved to Vero Beach in 2012. Both had previously been golf course owners before starting their golf cart business together.
In June of 2019, Burklew was forced to sell the business as a result of the fire claim not having been settled. He still manages it; and still is grateful for each and every one of his customers.
If you’re interested in a golf cart (Christmas is coming, y’know), visit their location on U.S. 1 in Vero right next to IHOP, or find them online at www.golfcartsofverobeach.com, and on social media. Their phone number is (772) 778-2278.