Some of the most lucrative businesses have started in someone’s home, and in 1974, Will Radcliff, his mother and sister created what would become a multi-million dollar Slush Puppie in their kitchen in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The icy drink was created by mixing flavored syrup with water then freezing and crushing into tiny pellets that would take on the distinctive flavor of whatever syrup was used.
The company soon grew from Will’s kitchen, to a small one-door warehouse, to a manufacturing plant, to a candy and tobacco distributor, and finally to its own building overlooking the city of Cincinnati.
Slush Puppie had already become quite successful in 1980 when Radcliff, an avid pilot, was visiting friends in Florida and came upon some land in Umatilla, Florida that peaked his interest.
He bought 3,594 acres of pasture and wetlands and named it Fly’n R Ranch, flying often between his new ranchland and his Ohio home.
The first improvement he made was a 19,990-square-foot barn and workshop with sawmill so the lumber for the house he would build could be cut and milled on site.
In 2000 when he sold the ice business for $16.6 million, Will started on his next project: restoring the previously drained Fly’n R Ranch pastures back to their original wetlands.
Highly conservation minded, Will did most of the work himself bringing back the wildlife habitats and increasing their numbers.
Before his death in 2014, Radcliff made arrangements to leave 3,106 acres to the St. Johns River Water Management District, the negotiation of which took years to complete.
His heirs would inherit the ranch that would retain 500 acres with an easement to prevent its later development and the remainder would be turned into a Florida state-owned water and wildlife sanctuary.
Now for sale, the ranch includes a 7,750-square-foot lodge constructed in 2012, 19,990-square-foot airplane hangar-barn, 3,200-foot grass runway, several private lakes, stands of oaks and pasture.
The lodge is built with custom-milled timbers and beams, constructed using mortise and tenon joints fastened with wood pegs.
The massive stone fireplace reaches to the vaulted ceiling giving a warm focal point after the sun goes down; by day the view of nature through the glass living room wall.
A retreat for large family get togethers, a corporate retreat or private sportsman’s club, Will Radcliff’s dream and dedication to conserving original Florida land can now be enjoyed by the ranch’s next owner. Priced at $3.9 million.
Photo credit: Premier Sotheby’s Realty