Lee Executive Business Climate Index Reaches Record Low

Plus: Chrysalis Award nominations are sought, the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan application is extended, a First Amendment Festival is set and more.



Need to catch up on Southwest Florida business news? No problem. Here are the top stories of the week pulled from our daily newsletter, Gulfshore Business Daily.

Friday, November 9

Lee Executive Business Climate Index Reaches Record Low

Lee County’s Executive Business Climate Index for the fourth quarter of 2018 fell four points to 64, according to the results of the latest survey. The index reading was the lowest on record since the fourth quarter of 2016. After beginning the year with a peak of 73, the index fell throughout the year. Concerns about the economic effects of red tide and blue algae on the region’s business fueled this quarter’s decline, a press release states. Ninety-one percent of respondents were “very or somewhat concerned” about the effect this year’s environmental crisis will have on the local economy. Nonetheless, 56 percent of those responding said red tide or blue algae had “little or no impact” on their individual businesses. Sixty-four percent believed the adverse environmental conditions would have a temporary effect on the region. The survey, conducted quarterly by the Horizon Council and Florida Gulf Coast University, was based on the responses of 195 Lee County business owners and executives. For the full report, click here.

Thursday, November 8

Chrysalis Award Nominations Sought

The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) is seeking nominations for the 10th annual Chrysalis Awards Celebration of Business & Tourism. The VCB and the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce organize the luncheon and trade show, which will be from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 10, 2019 at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa. The Chrysalis awards recognize the value of tourism and community teamwork in maintaining and enhancing tourism as a major economic engine for Lee County. The awards represent an opportunity for Lee County community members and businesses to recognize tourism partners. At the luncheon, six Chrysalis award recipients will be announced. A panel of local business and community leaders judge the nominations and select one award recipient for each of the six categories: Business Development, Cultural Achievement, Education, Business Tourism Leader, Eco Innovation and Sales & Marketing. Submit nominations at leevcb.com.  Nomination deadline is Jan. 18, 2019. 

Wednesday, November 7

Bridge Loan Extended for Businesses Impacted by Red Tide

Small businesses impacted by naturally occurring red tide now have until Dec. 16 to apply for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan. Activated by Gov. Rick Scott and administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) in partnership with the Florida SBDC Network and Florida First Capital Finance Corp., the bridge loan program is a short-term, interest-free loan program designed to help small businesses bridge the gap until long-term recovery resources, such as insurance claims or federal assistance, are available. Small businesses with two to 100 employees may apply for loans up to $50,000 for 180-day terms. While the bridge loan is a source of expedient funds, it is not designed to be the primary source of assistance for affected small businesses. As part of the eligibility, businesses must indicate pursuit of other sources, including insurance claims and federal disaster assistance. To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to Aug. 13, be located in one of the 14 designated disaster counties, and demonstrate economic injury or physical damage as a result of red tide. Businesses in affected counties are encouraged to complete a Business Damage Assessment Survey at FloridaDisaster.biz. Response to the damage assessment is not an application for assistance, so businesses that fill out the survey and are interested in the bridge loan program must fill out a bridge loan application as well. For more information, www.FloridaSBDC.org/disaster

Tuesday, November 6‚Äč

'Free Speech, Free Press' Festival Upcoming

The “Free speech. Free press. 2018 First Amendment Festival” will be held from 7-9:30 a.m. on Nov. 13 at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). The event will feature NPR’s Mara Liasson, Fox News Channel’s Phil Keating, The News-Press’ Amy Bennett Williams, the Miami Herald’s Jeff Kleinman, FGCU’s Lyn Millner, CBS News’ Alex Pena and WGCU’s Rachel Iacovone. Its four events are designed to give the public the chance to engage with journalists on the state of the freedom of the press, free speech and access to information within the U.S. Headlining the festival is NPR national political correspondent Liasson, who will speak at a free event at 7:30 a.m. in FGCU’s Cohen Center. Attendees will have the chance to meet various news reporters. Tickets are $25, with proceeds going to the FGCU Journalism Program, at https://fgcu.edu/freespeechbreakfast.

Monday, November 5

Campbell Lodge Breaks Ground

St. Matthew’s House hosted a renaming and groundbreaking ceremony for the renovation of the Naples homeless shelter on Monday at 2001 Airport Road, South in Naples. The existing shelter was built in 1993 and since then it is estimated that more than 25,000 residents have been served. Remodeling the facility will allow the space to be repurposed in order to better meet the needs of homeless families. It is estimated that the new shelter will serve more than 1,200 men, women and children per year. The facility has been renamed Campbell Lodge in honor of longtime board member Don Campbell and his wife, Ruth, who made the renovation possible through a donation.

Publicly Traded Companies

Report: Beasley Profits Drop

Beasley Broadcast Group Inc. (BBGI) has released operating results for the three-month and nine-month periods ended Sept. 30, 2018. The company reported a third-quarter net income of $2.6 million, down from $6.1 million the year prior. Net income for the nine-month period was $4.4 million, down from $17.5 million the year prior. Operating income, net income and net income per diluted share in the three months ended Sept. 30, 2018 were impacted by the $1.7 million USTN bad debt expense, a press release states. In addition, the 2018 third-quarter net income and net income per diluted share were impacted by a loss of $0.3 million due to a modification of long-term debt and $0.8 million of professional expenses incurred in connection with the shelf offering completed during the period.

Herc Holdings Income Up in Q3

Herc Holdings Inc. reported a third-quarter net income of $46.2 million, up $33.4 million from $12.8 million in the third quarter of 2017. The increase was primarily due to improved operating results and a tax benefit related to a revision in the one-time transition tax estimate under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, a press release states. Net income rose $89.8 million to $35.8 million for the nine-month period ending Sept. 30 compared with a net loss of $54 million the year prior.

In other news...

Do school administrators have summers off? Christy Kutz, principal at San Carlos Park Elementary School, explains.

Don’t wait until the end of the week to find out what’s happening in Southwest Florida. Sign up for our free daily newsletter, Gulfshore Business Daily, to stay connected.