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Best of Business

Our Annual Readers' Choice Awards for the Top Businesses in Southwest Florida



Voter apathy? What voter apathy?

Our second annual Best of Business survey, which ran for nearly a month this spring, closed with a turnout that bested last year’s by 25 percent.

From Best Caterer and Best Entertainment Venue to Best IT Firm and Best Conference Space, the top vote-getters in 45 categories are revealed on the following pages.

The results show clearly that so many companies and entrepreneurs are doing the right thing by their customers and clients. And with only a handful of exceptions, the poll singled out local businesses, not the national outfits.

This year we added a few categories and removed others. If you have suggestions for additional business types, please email them to pborchmann@gulfshorebusiness.com. After all, this is your poll.

Online voting was open at www.SurveyMonkey.com, and totals were tallied following the close of balloting. Nearly 5,000 unique responses were received, and voters were required to provide a name and an email address. In many categories, more than a dozen businesses were entered, and in many cases the final tally revealed tight finishes.

The winners in each category are listed as well as the immediate runners-up (in alphabetical order).  — compiled by Phil Borchmann

Best Accounting Firm

Hill Barth & King specializes in a variety of tax, accounting and business consulting services at offices in Lee and Collier counties.

Finalists:

CliftonLarsonAllen

Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co.

Best Advertising Agency

Priority Marketing is full-service marketing, advertising and public relations agency founded by Teri Hansen in 1992. Clients include several local high-profile businesses and nonprofits.

Finalists:

Quenzel & Associates

Spiro & Associates

Best After-hours gathering place

The Pub at Mercato in Naples is known of British comfort food (fish and chips, bangers and mash), American favorites and an array of international beers.

Finalists:

Crü

South Street

Best Architect

StudioPlus in Fort Myers focuses on segments such as healthcare, commercial, religious, higher education and senior lifestyle centers. Key projects in the area include Park Royal Psychiatric Hospital, Nova Southeastern University and Hope Hospice.

Finalists:

Christopher J. Lee Architects

McWard Architects

Best Automobile Dealership

DeVoe Cadillac has been selling the luxury brand in Naples since 1968. A new showroom, twice the size of the current one, is under construction at U.S. 41 and Solana Drive.

Finalists:

Germain Lexus

Tamiami Ford

Best Business Hotel

Hilton Naples is a full-service, four-diamond luxury hotel with 18,000 square feet of meeting space that offers a complete conference, catering and audio-visual team. Guests receive complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access and onsite garage parking.

Finalists:

Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa

The Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples

Best Caterer

Sage is a full-service catering company that also prepares and delivers gluten- and dairy-free meals to busy professionals. The business started in 2006.

Finalists:

Artichoke & Co.

Wynn's Catering

Best Charitable Organization

Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida (tie) is committed to serving people with disabilities and disadvantages by offering life-changing opportunities to achieve independence. Programs and services include job placement, youth mentoring and education, and vehicle assistance.

Voice For Kids of Southwest Florida (tie) supports the 20th Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program for Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The organization provides funding for recruiting, training and retaining, expenses that are not provided by the state.

Finalists:

Baby Basics

Salvation Army

Best Charter Airline

Naples Air is an FAA-authorized air charter company approved to fly to 48 states, the Bahamas, and Caribbean. It serves customers at Naples Municipal Airport, Southwest Florida International Airport and Page Field in Fort Myers. The company also provides air ambulance services.

Finalists:

Aero Charter

NetJets

Best Commercial Builder

DeAngelis Diamond Construction’s work spans a variety of public and private building types, including educational, retail, faith-based, healthcare, hospitality, automotive, residential, financial, industrial and green. The company has five LEED-accredited professionals on staff.

Finalists:

GCG Construction

PBS Contractors

Best Commercial Movers

Peluso Movers, founded in 1908, is fourth-generation family-owned and -operated moving and storage company based in Naples. Now agents for United Van Lines, Peluso offers local and cross-country services.

Finalists:

Hilton Moving and Storage

Two Men and a Truck

Best Commercial Real Estate Agency

Colliers International Southwest Florida offers services to investors, property owners, tenants and developers. The company’s local office—one of 485 worldwide—is in Fort Myers.

Finalists:

IPC Naples

Premiere Commercial

Best Community Bank

First Florida Integrity Bank (formerly First National Bank of the Gulf Coast) has five full-service offices and has approximately $570 million in assets. Headquartered in Naples, it was founded in 2009 by banking veterans Gary Tice and Garrett Richter.

Finalists:

Edison National Bank

Finemark and Florida Community Bank (tie)

Best Conference Or Meeting Center, Hotel

Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa has more than 70,000 square feet of function space, including 31,000 square feet of indoor space, 42,000 square feet of outdoor space and 7,261 square feet of pre-function space.

Finalists:

Hilton Naples

Naples Beach Hotel

Best Conference Or Meeting Center, Non-hotel

Naples Art Association at the von Liebig Art Center is a nonprofit organization founded in 1954 to promote and advance education, interest and participation in the visual arts. Its vision is to serve individual artists of all ages and levels.

Finalists:

Harborside Event Center

Naples Beach Hotel

Best Engineering Firm

Forge Engineering, established in 1996, is a locally owned, multi-disciplined engineering firm based in Naples. Florida. The company provides assistance to clients in one or all phases of a project's life, including pre-construction, construction and post-construction.

Finalists:

Hole Montes

Johnson Engineering

Best Entertainment Venue

Silverspot is a movie and performing arts theater opened in at Mercato in 2009 by Venezuelan Gonzalo Ulivi. The upscale venue features hand-stitched leather theater seats and a European-style café. 

Finalists:

Artis—Naples

SkyZone Indoor Trampoline Park

Best Family-owned Business

Sunshine Ace Hardware, now 56 years old, started as an auto parts store and now sells more than 40,000 unique products from hardware supplies and tools to painting and fishing supplies.

Finalists:

De Marco Tile

Larson Educational Services

Best Financial Advisory Firm

Doug Conroy is a financial advisor with Edward Jones. Based in Naples, he has nearly 20 years of experience in the financial industry.

Finalists:

Alliance Financial Group

Hill Barth & King

Best Fitness Facility

LA Fitness is a national operation, founded in Southern California in 1984, with five operations in Lee and Collier counties.

Finalists:

Around the Clock Fitness

Beyond Motion

Best Hospital

Naples Community Hospital is a part of NCH Healthcare System, which has a total of 715 beds. This year the system had 36,000 admissions, 91,000 emergency room visits, 3,000 births and 11,700 surgical procedures.

Finalists:

HealthPark Medical Center

Physician's Regional Healthcare System

Best HVAC Company

Conditioned Air is one of the largest air conditioning contracting and service firms in the area, with more than $24 million in sales, serving both commercial and residential sectors. It was purchased by the present ownership in 1993.

Finalists:

B&I Contractors

Florida Comfort Systems

Best Insurance Brokerage Firm

Gulfshore Insurance has been in business in Southwest Florida for more than 44 years. The company has over 100 professionals working to assist clients manage their business and personal risk. 

Finalists:

Baldwin Krystyn Sherman

BB&T-Oswald Trippe and Co.

Best Interior Design Firm

Clive Ι Daniel was opened in November 2011 by retailers Clive and Daniel Lubner. The firm offers all facets of furnishings and design. Clive Lubner led Robb & Stucky for more than 30 years until 2010.

Finalists:

Interiors by Design West

Wegman Design Group

Best Information Technology Firm

Entech, founded in 1998 and headquartered in Fort Myers, is a full-service technology solution provider specializing in Managed IT Services for businesses ranging from 20 users to enterprise organizations with hundreds of users.

Finalists:

Fuller Online Solutions

Pulse Business Solutions

Best Jeweler

Bigham Jewelers is one of the largest independent family-owned jewelry stores in the country. Since 1995, has Bigham represented some of the finest jewelry and watch brands available in the world.

Finalists:

The Diamond District

Mark Loren Designs

Best Landscaping Company

Greenscapes has been in business for more than four decades, providing landscape management in Collier and Lee counties. It has expanded its reach into Charlotte County and has state-certified landscape contractors, a horticulturist consultant, pest control specialists and an irrigation contractor.

Finalists:

Crawford Landscaping

R.S. Walsh Landscaping

Best Large Company

Sunshine Ace Hardware, now 56 years old, started as an auto parts store and now sells more than 40,000 unique products from hardware supplies and tools to painting and fishing supplies.

Finalists:

Arthrex

Gulfshore Insurance

Best Large Law Firm

Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt is one of the largest law firms between Tampa and Miami, with more than 55 attorneys. Founded in Fort Myers in 1924, it currently operates offices there and in Bonita Springs, Sanibel and Naples. 

Finalists:

Pavese Law Firm

Quarles & Brady

Best Men’s Clothing

Jos. A. Bank is a national retailer with locations four locations in Southwest Florida. The company sells men’s tailored and casual clothing, footwear and accessories.

Finalists:

Brodeur Carvell

Men's Wearhouse

Best National/Regional Bank

IberiaBank has 18 locations in Lee and Collier counties providing  retail, business, commercial and private banking service. Its holding company, IberiaBank Corp., has branch bank offices in Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas and Florida.

Finalists:

Chase Bank

Wells Fargo

Best Office Furniture

Office Furniture & Design Concepts has been in business since 1974 and offers more than 100 lines of new and used furniture from brands including Cherryman, JSI and Richelieu. Its 7,000-square-foot Fort Myers facility is the only office furniture showroom in Southwest Florida.

Finalists:

Marco Office Supply

Office Depot

Best Power Lunch

Shula's Steak House, located at Hilton Naples, is part of the Shula family of restaurant brands founded by former Miami Dolphin head coach Don Shula. It is rated an OpenTable Diners’ Choice restaurant, based on dining reviews. 

Finalists:

Food and Thought

USS Nemo

Best Private Country Club

Windstar on Naples Bay is a members-owned club open to both residents and nonresidents. Amenities include a Tom Fazio championship golf course, waterfront dining, a wellness center, and a 72-slip deep-water yacht basin.

Finalists:

Grey Oaks

Mediterra

Best Private School

Royal Palm Academy teaches through Christian values in the tradition of the Catholic faith.

The Naples school encourages the discovery and pursuit of talents through instruction in a foreign language, art, music, physical education and technology. 

Finalists:

Canterbury School

Community School of Naples

Best PR Firm

Priority Marketing is full-service marketing, advertising and public relations agency founded by Teri Hansen in 1992. Clients include several local high-profile businesses and nonprofits.

Finalists:

Conric PR & Marketing

Spiro & Associates

Best Public Golf Course

Fort Myers Country Club is a city-owned course designed by Donald Ross that opened in 1917. It is currently undergoing a $5.8 million renovation scheduled for completion Nov. 1.

Finalists:

Arrowhead

Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club

Best Remodeling Firm

PBS Contractors, which is based in Naples, has been a concierge builder serving for new home construction, home renovations and commercial construction projects since 1986.

Finalists:

GCG Construction

Professional Contractors Group

Best Residential Builder

DR Horton, founded in 1978 in Fort Worth, Texas, is actively building homes in numerous Southwest Florida communities. The company has been America's largest builder for 12 straight years, according to Builder magazine.

Finalists:

PBS Contractors

Titan Custom Homes

Best Residential Real Estate Agency

John R. Wood Properties is the oldest real estate company in Southwest Florida with 55-plus years of experience in the market. The firm has 12 offices serving the areas from Marco Island to Sanibel/Captiva Islands, and employs more than 300agents and staff.

Finalists:

Downing Frye Realty

Premier Sotheby's International Realty

Best Retirement Community

Shell Point Retirement Community was founded in 1968 and now has more than 2,100 residents and 900 employees, making it the largest of its kind in the state. It includes two medical centers, three assisted living facilities, a skilled nursing center and rehabilitation facilities.

Finalists:

The Arlington of Naples

Moorings Park

Best Small Law Firm

Hamilton Mikes is a Naples-based firm established in 2011 by veteran real estate attorney Jason Hamilton Mikes. It provides service and counsel in matters of business and real estate law with clients that include an array of corporate entities that own or manage real estate assets.

Finalists:

Goede, Adamczyk & DeBoest

Treiser Collins Attorneys at Law

Best Travel Agency

Preferred of Naples, founded by President and CEO Wilma Boyd in 1984, has a team of 53 domestic and international travel specialists, and provides worldwide leisure and corporate travel services to individual clients and groups.

Finalists:

AAA

Gero Travel

Best Women’s Clothing

Chico's FAS, through its brands Chico’s, White House | Black Market, Soma and Boston Proper, is a leading women’s specialty retailer of private branded, casual-to-dressy clothing, intimates, complementary accessories and other non-clothing items. It was founded in 1983 on Sanibel Island.

Finalists:

Dillard's

Nordstrom

Best Yoga Studio

Bala Vinyasa Yoga, opened by senior Baptiste yoga teacher and owner Kiersten Mooney in 2007, has two studios in Naples and one in Coral Gables staffed by nearly 25 instructors.

Finalists:

Ruby and Pearl's

Yoga Bird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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