One of Us

Francisco Villafane


I understand you were surprised last week with tickets to THE PLAYERS and other gifts. Tell us about that.

That was actually a total surprise. I guess they had talked with our corporate office. They had it all set up. When I came in on a Thursday, all the cameras were outside. Everything was outside. And they presented me with a letter and stuff.

It was really cool. I was shocked.

The letter is pretty cool, because it states through the COVID-19 and everything else, this store here, we didn’t get a single person sick. We remained open. We maintained taking care of our customers on a regular basis.

The great thing about the customers here, they are so unique and so great. I always get those compliments: “Here you are! Here you are every day!” I’m like, “Well, I have to be here to take care of you guys.”

Because you know, we’ve got the gas; we’ve got everything else.

So, it was kind of nice of them when they came up totally unexpected. It blew my mind.

Are you a big golf fan?

You know, I do follow golf. My kids do a lot more than I do, but, I mean, I go every year to THE PLAYERS. This year, it would have been tough because of the limited space and everything else.

Tell me about your background and your career with Daily’s.

I’m from Puerto Rico, but I grew up in New York, and then I moved up to Connecticut when I was 16.

I ended up coming down to Florida back in 2013. Since I moved here, I started working for the company. So, back in 2014, I was the one who opened the store here in Nocatee. And I’ve been here ever since.

I started on the bottom, and then I got promoted to manager. My first store was this one here.

I still have some of my same employees that I hired back in the beginning of 2014, which is very rare for this kind of business.

Now, from this store here, I have five kids that went into the Air Force, Marines, Army. They all started here and moved into the service. It made me proud of them. My son is in the Air Force, as well. But, five employees from here just kind of moved up and are serving their country now.

What do you like most about what you do?

You know, customer service, taking care of people. Making sure that people are pleased. Having a great store. Having a great appearance in the store to make sure people are comfortable.

You know, they call me – because I see a lot of people – the “Mayor of Nocatee.” [Laughs] That’s what they call me around here.

It’s been an amazing journey. I’ve been with this company since I moved down here. Great company to work for. I’m really proud to be part of this organization.

I have learned a lot. I mean, I’m 46, and every day to me is a learning experience. And every day that we wake up, it’s something new that we’re going to learn.

And of course, we’re not perfect. I make mistakes. We learn from them.

What do you like best about living in this area?

The people. And having the beach close to us – that’s great. The weather is just amazing, coming from Connecticut to this type of weather. It’s just been a great, great journey.

This area here is just my hometown.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’ve got three sons, three daughters, so spending time with them. It’s so important nowadays. We tend to forget how important it is to be with the family, together.

And I have a dog, a golden retriever who keeps me on my toes. [Laughs]