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2015 Best of Business

Gulfshore Business readers choose 44 winners.



For the third year running, magazine readers turned out in force to choose their favorite businesses—44 in all. Thousands cast votes for the companies and entrepreneurs who have clearly served their customers and clients well. As usual, there were no hanging chads or long lines, but some of the results were close. Online voting was open at surveymonkey.com, and totals were tallied following the close of balloting. More than 4,300 unique responses were received, and voters were required to provide a name and an email address.

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. The winners in each category are listed as well as the immediate runners-up (in alphabetical order). 

 

FINANCE/INSURANCE

BEST ACCOUNTING FIRM

Established in 1949, Hill, Barth & King  (HBK) specializes in a variety of tax, accounting and business consulting services in Lee and Collier county locations and offices out of state.

FINALISTS:
ASAP Accounting Services Inc.
Wiltshire, Whitley, Richardson & English

 

BEST BANK, COMMUNITY

First Florida Integrity Bank (formerly First National Bank of the Gulf Coast) has seven full-service offices and approximately $1 billion in assets as of March 2015. Headquartered in Naples, it was founded in 2009 by banking veterans Gary Tice and Garrett Richter.

FINALISTS:
Edison National Bank
Sanibel Captiva Community Bank

 

BEST BANK, REGIONAL

IberiaBank has 18 locations in Lee and Collier counties providing retail, business, commercial and private banking service. Its holding company, IberiaBank Corp., has 314 combined offices in Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas and Florida.

FINALISTS:
Regions Bank
Suncoast Credit Union

 

BEST FINANCIAL ADVISORY FIRM

Doug Conroy is a Naplesbased financial advisor with Edward Jones. Conroy has 20 years of experience in the financial industry, handling retirement planning, estate planning, tax advantaged investment strategies and more.

FINALISTS:
Alliance Financial Group
HBK

 

BEST INSURANCE BROKERAGE FIRM

 BB&T-Oswald Trippe & Co. provides comprehensive insurance and riskmanagement services to families and businesses throughout Florida. Originally founded in 1982 as Oswald Trippe & Co., the agency now has Florida offices in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Holmes Beach, Miami, Naples, Ocala and Weston.

FINALISTS:
Gulfshore Insurance
Lutgert Insurance

 

BUILDING / REAL ESTATE

BEST ARCHITECT

Andrea Clark Brown has served as the principal and owner of Andrea Clark Brown Architects since 1986. The firm incorporates projects of all scales, specializing in civic and commercial and residential and religious segments.

FINALISTS:
Gora/McGahey Architects
StudioPlus

 

BEST ENGINEERING FIRM

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

FINALISTS:
Barraco and Associates
TLC Engineering for Architecture

 

BEST INTERIOR DESIGN FIRM

Interiors by Design West is a full-service, Naples-based interior design company serving clients throughout the U.S. and internationally. Its portfolio includes interior design for private residences and clubhouses, architectural detailing, model home merchandising and comprehensive custom home renovations, including custom cabinetry.

FINALISTS:
Andrea Clark Brown Architects
CID Design Group
Clive | Daniel Home

 

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-squarefoot Fort Myers facility is the only office furniture showroom in Southwest Florida.

FINALISTS:
Denmark Interiors
Marco Office Supply

 

BEST BUILDER, COMMERCIAL

DeAngelis Diamond Construction’s work spans a variety of public and private building types, from health care units at Naples Community Hospital to educational centers like First Baptist Church Academy. The company also specializes in green building and has six LEED-accredited professionals on staff.

FINALISTS:
GCG Construction
PBS Contractors

 

BEST BUILDER, RESIDENTIAL

DR Horton, founded by Donald R. Horton 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:
BUILD
PBS Contractors

 

BEST REMODELING FIRM

PBS Contractors is a Naples-based concierge builder that has been serving Southwest Florida’s needs for new home construction, home renovations and commercial construction since 1986.

FINALISTS:
GCG Construction
KGT Remodeling

 

BEST LANDSCAPING COMPANY

Greenscapes has been providing landscape management services in Collier and Lee counties since 1962 and expanded its reach into Charlotte County. Its team includes

state-certified landscape contractors, a horticulturist consultant, pest control specialists and an irrigation contractor.

FINALISTS:
Crawford Landscaping
Julie’s Property Management

 

BEST REAL ESTATE AGENCY, COMMERCIAL

LandQwest Commercial is a nationally recognized full-service real estate brokerage. It builds its reputation on tailoring its expertise to individual client needs and investments. With three Florida brokerage offices operating under the LandQwest Group, LandQwest Commercial provides professional services throughout the state.

FINALISTS:
CRE Consultants
Premier Plus Realty

 

BEST REAL ESTATE AGENCY, RESIDENTIAL

John R. Wood Properties is the oldest real estate company in Southwest Florida, with more than 57 years of experience in the market. The firm has 13 offices serving the areas from Marco Island to Sanibel/ Captiva islands and employs more than 300 agents and staff.

FINALISTS:
Keller Williams Realty
Premier Plus Realty

 

COMPANY

BEST LARGE COMPANY

Sunshine Ace Hardware is recognized as one of the largest familyowned home improvement and recreation retailers in Collier County. It has locations in Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers and, most recently, Port Charlotte. The company is actively expanding throughout the state of Florida.

FINALISTS:
Arthrex
First Florida Integrity Bank

 

BEST FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESS

Sunshine Ace Hardware began in 1958 as an auto parts store and has grown to sell more than 40,000 unique products from hardware tools to fishing and painting supplies. Ace has seven Southwest Florida locations.

FINALISTS:
Larson Educational Services
Norman Love Confections

 

 FOOD/HOSPITALITY/ENTERTAINMENT

BEST CATERER

Artichoke & Co. is a fullservice catering company and special events center in Bonita Springs. It’s been in business for more than 20 years and specializes in custom catering for weddings, birthday parties, bridal showers, luncheons, corporate events and anniversaries.

FINALISTS:
Crave Culinaire
El Gaucho Inca

 

BEST AFTER-HOURS GATHERING PLACE

 CRU is an upscale restaurant and bar located in the Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers. It features indoor dining and an outdoor lounge and serves wine, cocktails, tapas, and lunch and dinner items.

FINALISTS:
Blue Martini
South Street Naples

 

BEST INDEPENDENT RESTAURANT

 El Gaucho Inca was founded by husband and wife duo Mariano Maldonado and Rocio Navarrete in 2011. Open seven days a week, the Fort Myers-based restaurant serves authentic Peruvian, Argentinean and Italian cuisine.

FINALISTS:
The Dock At Crayton Cove
 Fathoms Restaurant & Bar


Marines Porro, Alejandro Aleman, Rocio Navarette (co-owner)

BEST POWER LUNCH

El Gaucho Inca runs lunch specials from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Regular menu items include chicken or beef empanadas, grilled pork chops and grilled steak with rice, plantains, fries and eggs.

FINALISTS:
USS Nemo
The Veranda

 

BEST ENTERTAINMENT VENUE

Artis—Naples is a visual and performing arts venue that hosts more than 300 concerts, performances, exhibitions and educational events each year. The campus includes 1,425-seat and 283- seat performance centers and a 30,000-square-foot museum and education building.

FINALISTS:
Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall
Six Bends Harley-Davidson

 

CREATIVE

BEST JEWELER

Mark Loren has been creating custom-designed jewelry at Mark Loren Designs since founding the company in 1982. With locations in Naples and Fort Myers, Mark Loren Designs serves an array of customers in Southwest Florida and beyond.

 FINALISTS:
Bigham Jewelers
Paradise Jewelry

 

BEST FLORIST

Naples Flowers Inc. has been servicing the Naples area since 1958. The family-owned and -operated company offers floral arrangements and gifts for all occasions and delivers to select communities and facilities in the area.

Sean Stevenson, Ted and Jill Stallone

FINALISTS:
Gene’s 5th Ave. Florist
Ruth Messmer Florist

 

MEETING / LODGING

BEST BUSINESS HOTEL

Hilton Naples is a fullservice, 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 highspeed Internet access and onsite garage parking.

FINALISTS:
The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club
The Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples

 

BEST CONFERENCE OR MEETING CENTER, HOTEL

Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa is the closest full-service resort to Southwest Florida International Airport. It 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
The Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples

 

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
Six Bends Harley-Davidson

 

LEGAL

BEST LAW FIRM, LARGE

Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt is one of the largest law firms between Tampa and Miami, with nearly 60 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 LAW FIRM, SMALL

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 & Cross
Woods, Weidenmiller, Michetti & Rudnick

 

HEALTH / CHARITY / EDUCATION

BEST HOSPITAL

Naples Community Hospital is a part of NCH Healthcare System, which has a total of 716 beds. Last year the system had 36,000 admissions, 94,000 emergency room visits, 3,500 births, 450 open-heart surgeries and 11,700 surgical procedures.

FINALISTS:
HealthPark Medical Center
Lee Memorial Hospital

 

BEST RETIREMENT COMMUNITY

Shell Point Retirement Community was founded in 1968 and now has more than 2,400 residents and 900 employees, making it the largest of its kind in the state. It includes independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and a range of lifestyle amenities and recreational facilities.

FINALISTS:
Gulf Coast Village
Moorings Park

 

BEST CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION

Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida 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.

FINALISTS:
Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida
Gulf Coast Humane Society

 

BEST PRIVATE SCHOOL

(tie) Bishop Verot Catholic High School provides Catholic education to local students and international students in a co-educational college preparatory environment. Bishop Verot is an educational ministry of the Diocese of Venice, Florida. (tie) The Canterbury School, founded in 1964, is dedicated to academic excellence that emphasizes character, leadership and service. The 32-acre campus incorporates grade levels Pre-K3 through 12.

FINALISTS:
Community School of Naples
Royal Palm Academy

 

GOLF / WELLNESS

BEST PRIVATE COUNTRY CLUB

Windstar on Naples Bay is a members-owned club open to both residents and nonresidents. Amenities include an 18-hole Tom Fazio championship golf course, tennis courts, waterfront dining, a wellness center and a 72-slip deep-water yacht basin.

FINALISTS:
Grey Oaks Country Club
Mediterra

 

BEST PUBLIC GOLF COURSE

Fort Myers Country Club is a city-owned course designed by Donald Ross that opened in 1917. A $5.8 million renovation project was recently completed for the course, which received extensive modernization to drainage, turf quality, pro shop and more.

FINALISTS:
Arrowhead
The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club

 

BEST YOGA STUDIO

Naples Yoga Center focuses on the practice of Karma Yoga and contributes 5 percent of its revenue to local charities. Yoga classes are available to all levels and ages.

Clockwise from left: Kathy Meyer, Cesar Rios, Tania Melkonian, Jacqueline Glasgow, Megan McShane, Jim Kurtya, Savannah Glasgow

FINALISTS:
Green Monkey Yoga
Yoga Bird

 

SERVICE

BEST CHARTER AIRLINE

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

 FINALISTS:
Aeronautical Charters
NetJets

 

BEST COMMERCIAL MOVERS

The Two Men and a Truck Fort Myers franchise was purchased by Shawn Grady and Mark Bailey in 2010, and has since expanded into Naples and Marco Island. Customers can choose the company for all stages of moving, or select individual services. Two Men and a Truck is considered the nation’s largest franchised local moving company.

Deon Howard, Mary Kate O'Connell, Devon Wardlow, Dave Knight

FINALISTS:
Hilton Moving and Storage
William C. Huff Companies

 

BEST HVAC COMPANY

Conditioned Air Corp. of Naples is one of the largest air-conditioning contracting and service firms in the area, with 2014 fiscal gross revenue totaling $40.8 million. The company serves both commercial and residential sectors, and was purchased by the present ownership in 1993.

FINALISTS:
Bruno Air Conditioning
Haines Air Conditioning & Refrigeration

 

 BEST INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FIRM

Entech, headquartered in Fort Myers and in business for nearly 20 years, 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.

Logan Roberts, Buddy Martin, Karen Howell, Jake Spanberger, Justin 
Hayman

FINALISTS:
CRS Technology Consultants Naples
Network Services

BEST TRAVEL AGENCY

Preferred Travel of Naples, founded by President and CEO Wilma Boyd in 1984, has a team of more than 60 domestic and international travel specialists, and provides worldwide leisure and corporate travel services to individual clients and groups.

FINALISTS:
AAA Geraci Travel
Gero Travel

 

ADVERTISING/ PR / WEB

BEST ADVERTISING AGENCY

Priority Marketing is a full-service marketing, advertising and public relations agency founded by Teri Hansen in 1992. The agency has more than 15 employees, and clients include several local highprofile businesses and nonprofits.

FINALISTS:
Conric PR & Marketing
Quenzel & Associates

 

BEST PR FIRM

Priority Marketing offers a wide range of public relations services, from ghostwriting and crisis communication to fundraising and spokesperson training.

FINALISTS:
Conric PR & Marketing
E. Sue Huff & Associates

 

BEST WEB DESIGN FIRM

Priority Marketing’s web marketing services include website design and hosting, search engine optimization, online advertising, pay-per-click advertising and email marketing.

FINALISTS:
Fuller Online Solutions
Impulse Creative GB

 

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