2018 Best of Business Awards

Honoring nearly 50 Southwest Florida businesses across several industries.

Gulfshore Business magazine’s Best of Business readers’ poll is now in its sixth year. And once again, enthusiastic participation turned out nearly 6,000 unique votes cast for hundreds of businesses.

Online polling was conducted at surveymonkey.com, where respondents were required to provide a name and an email address so that people could cast only one vote.

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

FOOD/ HOSPITALITY/ ENTERTAINMENT

BEST CATERER

Artichoke & Co.

Artichoke & Co. is a full-service catering company and special events center in Naples. 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

Artisan Eatery

Crave Culinaire

BEST AFTER-WORK GATHERING

Ocean Prime

Ocean Prime in Naples features craft cocktails, a large wine list and daily drink specials, as well as plenty of space to socialize, talk business and celebrate.

FINALISTS

Backstreets

Matanzas on the Bay

BEST INDEPENDENTLY OWNED RESTAURANT 

Artisan Eatery

Artisan Eatery in Fort Myers (pictured) collaborates with local and national farmers and purveyors to provide the freshest ingredients possible. The chef-driven restaurant prepares food in a quick-serve environment and strives to deliver a made-from-scratch menu.

FINALISTS

Key Lime Bistro

Matanzas on the Bay 

BEST POWER LUNCH

Ocean Prime

During season, Ocean Prime in Naples is open for lunch and is a great place for a business meeting. The menu features signature non-alcoholic beverages, cocktails, appetizers, sushi, salads, soups, sandwiches, raw bar items and select dinner entrees in lunch-size portions.

FINALISTS

Shula’s Steak House

USS Nemo Restaurant

BEST ENTERTAINMENT

Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall at FSW

Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall is located on the Florida SouthWestern State College campus in Fort Myers and offers free parking. The 1,864-seat venue hosts an array of productions, including national musical acts, theater and dance.

FINALISTS

Artis—Naples

Dixie Roadhouse 

Next up: Meeting/Lodging

 

MEETING/LODGING

BEST CONFERENCE OF MEETING CENTER (HOTEL)

Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa

The Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa in Bonita Springs has more than 82,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor function space, including high-tech meeting rooms, ballrooms, courtyards and terraces.

FINALISTS

Hilton Naples


The Ritz-Carlton, Naples

BEST CONFERENCE OR MEETING CENTER (NON-HOTEL)

Endeavor Innovative Workspaces


Endeavor Innovative Workspaces in Fort Myers offers private offices, co-working spaces and conference rooms, laid out to promote collaboration. Other perks include reception and guest check-in, a shared kitchen and high-speed fiber-optic Internet.

FINALISTS

Harborside Event Center

Venue Naples

BEST BUSINESS HOTEL

Hilton Naples

Hilton Naples is a full-service, four-diamond hotel with more than 18,000 square feet of meeting space that offers a complete conference, cater- ing and audio-visual team. Guests receive complimentary wireless high-speed internet access and on-site garage parking.

FINALISTS

Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa

The Ritz-Carlton, Naples 

Next up: Building/Real Estate

 

BUILDING/REAL ESTATE

BEST ARCHITECTURE FIRM

Studio+

Studio+ is an integrated design and services firm focused on the health care, senior living, hospice and educational markets. The Fort Myers firm provides a wide array of services, such as architecture, interior design, lean design, process improvement, surfaces and branding.

FINALISTS

BSSW Architects Inc.

Weber Design Group

BEST COMMERCIAL BUILDER

DeAngelis Diamond Construction

DeAngelis Diamond Construction, which was founded in 1996, is headquartered in Naples and works with a variety of public and private building types, from health care and educational centers to corporate and public spaces. The company also specializes in green building.

FINALISTS

GCG Construction Inc. 

Stevens Construction Inc. 

BEST RESIDENTIAL BUILDER

D.R. Horton

Founded in 1978 in Fort Worth, Texas, D.R. Horton has operations in 79 markets in 26 states in the East, Midwest, Southeast, South Central, Southwest and West regions of the United States—including Southwest Florida.

FINALISTS

Daniel Wayne Homes

Stock Development

BEST COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE AGENCY

CRE Consultants

CRE Consultants (pictured) is a commercial real estate services firm with offices in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Naples and Stuart that has served the Florida market since 1998. CRE provides strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; property management; valuation, research and consulting.

FINALISTS

LandQwest Commercial

Premiere Plus Realty Co.

BEST RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE AGENCY

Premiere Plus Realty Co.

Premiere Plus Realty Co. is the largest independent real estate company in Southwest Florida, with more than 1,100 agents. The Naples-based company has offices in Naples, Old Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers and Cape Coral.

FINALISTS

John R. Wood Properties

Royal Shell Real Estate

BEST ENGINEERING FIRM

GFA International Inc.

GFA International Inc. is an engineering and geological consulting organization in Fort Myers that focuses on environmental, geotechnical, construction materials testing, inspections and code compliance services for a broad spectrum of industries.

FINALISTS

Forge Engineering Inc.

Velocity Inc.

BEST INTERIOR DESIGN FIRM

Interiors by Design West


Interiors by Design West, a full-service firm located in Naples, specializes in interior design services for private residences, clubhouses, architectural detailing, model home merchandising and comprehensive custom home renovations.

FINALISTS

Jinx McDonald Interior Designs

Studio +

BEST LANDSCAPE COMPANY

Greenscapes Florida

Greenscapes has been providing landscape management since 1962 and serves Charlotte, Collier and Lee counties. Its team includes state-certified landscape contractors, a horticulturist consultant, pest control specialists and an irrigation contractor.

FINALISTS

Green Leaf Lawn Services

Juniper Landscaping

BEST REMODELING COMPANY

GCG Construction Inc.

Since 2000, Fort Myers-based GCG Construction Inc. has been delivering comprehensive design-build, general contracting and construction management services for the health care, commercial, hospitality, retail and marine industries.

FINALISTS

Cornerstone Builders

KGT Remodeling 

Next up: Finance/Insurance

 

FINANCE/ INSURANCE

BEST ACCOUNTING FIRM

Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co.

With offices in Fort Myers and Naples, Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co. P.A., offers a range of services including individual and business tax planning and preparation, litigation support, forensic accounting and human resources consulting.

FINALISTS

Hill, Barth & King

Wiltshire Whitely

BEST FINANCIAL ADVISORY FIRM

Investors’ Security Trust


Investors’ Security Trust is
an independent, Southwest Florida wealth management company headquartered in Fort Myers. Its team includes legal, investment, financial planning, and trust and estate planning professionals. The company partners with attorneys, tax professionals and banking professionals to provide a full range of fiduciary services.

FINALISTS

Doug Conroy-Edward Jones

Nolte Wealth Management Group

BEST INSURANCE BROKERAGE COMPANY

Brown & Brown Insurance

Brown & Brown of Southwest Florida consists of more than 80 professional experts with revenue exceeding $1 billion dollars. Brown and Brown was founded more than 75 years ago, and in 2017 the Naples and Fort Myers offices merged.

FINALISTS

Gulfshore Insurance

Private Client Insurance Servies

BEST COMMUNITY BANK

First Florida Integrity Bank


First Florida Integrity Bank
has seven full-service offices, with $1.4 billion in assets as of March 2016. Headquartered in Naples, it was founded in 2009 by banking veterans Gary Tice and Garrett Richter.

FINALISTS

Edison National Bank

FineMark National Bank & Trust

BEST REGIONAL BANK

BB&T

Building on a tradition of excellence in community banking that stretches back to 1872, BB&T offers clients a complete range of financial services, including banking, lending, insurance, trust and wealth management solutions.

FINALISTS

IBERIABANK

SunTrust Bank

Next up: Creative

 

CREATIVE

BEST JEWELER

Bigham Jewelers

Kathy Kelly Bigham opened the jewelry store in 1995 with a 2,800-square-foot space in Naples. Today, Bigham Galleria is housed in an 8,000-square- foot, diamond-shaped building that features jewelry by award-winning designers.

FINALISTS

Diamond District

Mark Loren Designs

BEST FLORIST

Ruth Messmer Florist


Ruth Messmer Florist has served Lee County for 65 years. It is a third-generation, family-owned and -operated company that features fresh floral arrangements, foliage plants, silks and fruit baskets.

FINALISTS

Fort Myers Florist

Gene’s 5th Ave. Florist 

Next up: Service

 

SERVICE

BEST CHARTER AIRLINE

Air Trek

Air Trek (pictured), a family-owned and -operated business, offers private jet flights out of Naples, Fort Myers and several other Florida airports, as well as hundreds more across the Southeastern United States.

FINALISTS

Paragon Charter

BEST TRANSPORTATION COMPANY

ROCKSTAR LIMO

ROCKSTAR LIMO provides luxury transportation in Southwest Florida as well as 600 cities worldwide. The company’s fleet includes stretch limousines, luxury sedans, SUVs and party buses.

FINALISTS

Dolphin Transportation Specialists

Naples Transportation & Tours

BEST DRY CLEANERS

Tide Dry Cleaners

Tide Dry Cleaners, which has locations in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs and Naples, offers drive-thru valet and 24-hour services. Tide provides inspection of garments for stains, damage, and missing or broken buttons, and caters to special instructions from its customers.

FINALISTS

Fashion Fresh Dry Cleaning and Alterations

Platinum Dry Cleaners

BEST STAFFING FIRM

Spherion

Spherion is a recruiting and staffing provider, specializing in temporary and direct hire placement of administrative, clerical, customer service, light industrial and professional job candidates. The firm has offices in Fort Myers and Naples.

FINALISTS

BanyanBrown Employment Solutions Inc.

Express Employment Professionals

BEST HVAC COMPANY

B & I Contractors

Fort Myers-based B & I provides installation, service and maintenance of HVAC, refrigeration, electrical and plumbing systems for commercial, industrial and institutional clients in Florida.

FINALISTS

Bruno Total Home Performance

Conditioned Air

BEST INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY COMPANY

Entech

Entech, headquartered in Fort Myers and in business for 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.

FINALISTS

ITVantage


Naples Network Services

BEST TRAVEL AGENCY

Preferred Travel of Naples

Founded by President and CEO Wilma Boyd in 1984, Preferred Travel of Naples Inc. (pictured) presents a team of domestic and international travel specialists and provides worldwide leisure and corporate travel services to individual clients and groups.

FINALISTS

AAA


Gero Travel

BEST COMMERCIAL MOVING COMPANY

Eagle Moving

Eagle Moving is a locally owned company in Fort Myers with large box trucks (up to 26 feet), dollies, hand trucks, furniture pads and all the necessary tools.

FINALISTS

Two Men and a Truck

William C. Huff Moving and Storage

 

GOLF/ WELLNESS

BEST COUNTRY CLUB

Naples Lakes Country Club

Naples Lakes features
 the 18-hole Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course within a 490-acre gated community, which contains more than 200 acres of protected nature preserves and lakes.

FINALISTS

Bonita Bay


Cypress Lake Country Club

BEST YOGA STUDIO

Naples Pilates, Fitness & Therapeutics

Naples Pilates, Fitness & Therapeutics offers clients personalized fitness instruction that develops correct alignment through Pilates, muscle activation techniques and personal training.

FINALISTS

Yoga Bird

Yoga Lab

Next up: Company

 

COMPANY

BEST LARGE COMPANY

Royal Shell Real Estate

With about 160 employees, Royal Shell Real Estate spe- cializes in sales, and vacation and annual rentals. The com- pany has offices in Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Captiva and Sanibel islands, Ocala and North Carolina.

FINALISTS

First Florida Integrity Bank

Norman Love Confections

BEST SMALL COMPANY

Priority Marketing

Fort Myers-based Priority Marketing is full-service marketing, advertising and public relations agency founded in 1992. The agency has more than 25 employees, and clients include several local high-profile businesses and nonprofits.

FINALISTS

Above Board Chamber of Florida

Preferred Travel of Naples

BEST FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESS

Sunshine Ace Hardware

Sunshine Ace Hardware is one of the largest family-owned home improvement and outdoor recreation retailers in Collier County. It has locations in Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Port Charlotte and Largo.

FINALISTS

Harmon-Meek Gallery

Larson Educational Services

Next up: Legal

 

LEGAL

BEST LARGE LAW FIRM

Pavese Law Firm

Pavese Law Firm, established in 1949, is a full-service law firm with offices in Fort Myers, Cape Coral and West Palm Beach. The firm provides a broad range of legal services for individuals, families, small businesses and large corporations.

FINALISTS

Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt

Morgan and Morgan

BEST SMALL LAW FIRM

Kagan Law Firm

Led by attorneys Elizabeth P. Kagan and Christopher A. Kagan, Kagan Law Firm’s practice areas include medical device failure litigation, personal injury law cases and complex business disputes. It is headquartered in Fort Myers and serves Southwest Florida.

FINALISTS

Barbara M. Pizzolato

Wilbur Smith Attorneys at Law

Next up: Health/Education/Charity

 

HEALTH/ EDUCATION/CHARITY

BEST MEDICAL CENTER

NCH Baker Hospital Downtown

NCH Baker Hospital Downtown (Naples) offers advanced heart, cancer, obstetrics, newborn, orthopedic and other services. It is part of the two-hospital NCH Healthcare System, which has a total of 716 beds and provides care for more than 40,000 patients.

FINALISTS

HealthPark Medical Center Physician’s Regional

Medical Center

BEST VETERINARIAN/ANIMAL HOSPITAL

Angel Animal Hospital and Boarding

Serving the community since 2008, Angel Animal Hospital and Boarding in Naples offers a wide variety of veterinary care that includes general wellness exams, laser therapy and laser surgery, senior pet wellness and grooming services.

FINALISTS

Florida Veterinary Referral Center

Gulf Coast Humane Society

BEST RETIREMENT COMMUNITY

Vi at Bentley Village

Vi at Bentley Village is a senior living community in Naples, where residents have access to a private 18-hole golf course, two clubhouses, a care center and beautiful walking trails.

FINALISTS

Gulf Coast Village

Moorings Park

BEST CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION

Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties

Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties (pictured) is one of the largest Habitat affiliates in the country. Since 1982, more than 1,500 families in need of a hand up have partnered with Habitat to build or improve their home.

FINALISTS

Captains for Clean Water

Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida Inc.

BEST PRIVATE SCHOOL

Fort Myers Christian School

Fort Myers Christian School was established in 1979 by First Assembly of God in Fort Myers. Since 1987, FMCS has been a fully accredited PreK3 through eighth-grade school through the Florida Council of Independent Schools and the Florida Kindergarten Council.

FINALISTS

Canterbury School

Community School of Naples

Next up: Advertising/Pr/Web

 

ADVERTISING/PR/WEB

BEST ADVERTISING AGENCY

Priority Marketing

Fort Myers-based Priority Marketing is full-service marketing, advertising and public relations agency founded by Teri Hansen in 1992. The agency has more than 25 employees, and clients include several local high-profile businesses and nonprofits.

FINALISTS

Quenzel & Associates

Spiro & Associates

BEST PR FIRM

PriorityMarketing

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

FINALISTS

Pushing the Envelope

Spiro & Associates

BEST WEB DESIGN FIRM

Priority Marketing

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

FINALISTS

Quenzel & Associates

WBN Marketing