Best of Business 2013

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The readers of Gulfshore Business magazine have spoken.

When asked in mid-April to participate in our inaugural Best of Business poll, they made their choices known by the thousands. From Best Accounting Firm and Best Advertising Agency to Best Small Law Firm and Best Women’s Clothing, the top vote-getters in 44 categories are revealed on the following pages.

Specific groups were chosen after input from magazine staff, readers and business leaders in Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties. The main reason for creating the first of what will become an annual readers’ choice awards issue of the magazine was simple. We are sharpening our focus on the local business community and felt that recognizing the best out there—by voters’ standards—would serve as an appropriate topic. Online voting was open at through mid-June and totals were compiled following the close of balloting. Nearly 4,000 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).


Best Accounting Firm

Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Company PA is a full-service certified public accounting and business consulting firm with offices in Lee and Collier counties. It’s been in the area since 1979.


CliftonLarsonAllen LLP

Hill Barth & King LLC / Myers, Brettholtz & Company PA (tie)


Best Advertising Agency

Spiro & Associates was founded as The Spiro Group in 1989 and serves clients seeking innovative ideas for advertising, marketing and public relations.


Priority Marketing

Wilson Creative Group


Best After-Work Gathering Place

Cru is a New American restaurant at the Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers that’s owned and operated by Chef Harold Balink. It features a selection of tapas, wines and cigars, in addition to desserts and dinners.


Blue Martini

The Pub (at Mercato)


Best Architect

Gora/McGahey Architects was originally established as Bruce T. Gora, AIA Architect in February 1981. The firm’s principals, the late Bruce Gora and Dan McGahey, began their practice together in 1985. It provides services for a broad range of projects in both public and private sectors.


Christopher Lee Architects Inc.



Best Auto Dealer

Galloway Ford began in 1927 with Galloway’s grandparents. It was passed to Sam Galloway Sr. and then to Sam Jr. Another generation, including Sam III, is now involved in an outfit known for philanthropy.


Fort Myers Toyota

Fucillo Kia


Best Business Hotel

The 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.


Hilton Naples

The Ritz-Carlton, Naples


Best Caterer

Artichoke & Company is a full-service catering company 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.


Rene’s Custom Catering

Reuben’s Catering


Best Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce Inc. is a voluntary organization of business and professional men and women who’ve joined together to promote civic and commercial progress. Its 2012-13 board of directors is led by President Heather Christie.


Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce

Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce


Best Charitable Organization

The Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida was created in 1983 as the Lee County Food Cooperative, with a primary responsibility to help distribute the surpluses of cheese and other dairy products held by the federal government.


Conservancy of SWFL

Naples Zoo


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 customers at Naples Municipal Airport, Marco Island, Southwest Florida International Airport and Page Field in Fort Myers.


Aeronautical Charters Inc.

Cape Air


Best Commercial Builder

Fowler Construction was incorporated in 1968 and has experienced times of boom and bust. It’s affiliated locally with the Lee County Building Industry Association, the Real Estate Investment Society, the Lee County Conservation 20/20 Land Program, the Fort Myers Beach Foundation and the Lee County School Construction Committee.


Owen–Ames–Kimball Co.

Stevens Construction


Best Commercial Mover

Peluso Movers Inc. began in 1908 and remains as a fourth-generation Naples-based business specializing in moving and storage. It is an agent for United Van Lines, the No. 1 mover in the country.


Hilton Moving and Storage

Two Men and a Truck


Best Commercial Real Estate Agency

Colliers International Southwest Florida was founded in 1974 and specializes in commercial real estate brokerage, property management and valuation in the Southwest Florida market. Colliers International employs more than 13,500 in 482 offices worldwide.


LandQwest Commercial

North American Properties


Best Community Bank

Edison National Bank is the oldest locally owned and managed national bank in Fort Myers. It has two locations in Fort Myers, one on Sanibel Island and one on Captiva.


First National Bank of the Gulf Coast

Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank


Best Conference or Meeting Center

The 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.


The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club

The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort


Best Conference or Meeting Center

Harborside Event Center hosts events ranging from large exhibitions, concerts and sporting events to the most intimate of gatherings, with 42,000 square feet of exhibit and event space that’s fully wired to accommodate client networking needs.


Naples Conference Center at the Naples Area Board of Realtors

Venture X


Best Country Club

Windstar on Naples Bay includes an 18-hole Tom Fazio-designed championship golf course, Har-Tru tennis courts and a clubhouse overlooking Naples Bay. Its general manager, Nancy Boros, is the daughter-in-law of golfer Julius Boros, a three-time major champion.


Cypress Lake Country Club

Fiddlesticks Country Club


Best Employment Agency

Express Employment Professionals was created in 1983 by founders Robert A. Funk, William H. Stoller and James Gray from the dissolution of Acme Personnel, a Washington, D.C.-based staffing company in which all three were associates. The three purchased and operated several franchises of Acme, which became Express Employment Professionals.


Banyan Brown Employment Solutions

Robert Half


Best Engineering Firm

Johnson Engineering was established in 1946 and has a team of nearly 100 professional engineers, ecologists, scientists, geologists, surveyors and mappers, certified land planners and landscape architects throughout Florida. It has offices in Fort Myers, Naples, Port Charlotte, LaBelle and Land O’Lakes.


Avalon Engineering

Forge Engineering


Best Family-Owned Business

Larson Educational Services’ co-founder and manager Rick Larson opened a real estate education company in 1979 in Minnesota that grew to include real estate, mortgage, appraisal, insurance, securities, contractor, home inspection and computer education. The business was sold in 2001 and Larson and two sons created Larson Educational Services in 2008.


A Dog’s Dream Day Care

El Gaucho Inca Restaurant


Best Financial Advisory Firm

Macke Financial Advisory Group Inc. was founded in 1996 by Todd C. Macke, who decided that to work in his desired atmosphere and fulfill his professional philosophy, the best option was to create his own firm. The Macke Financial Advisory Group now serves more than 100 clients in 11 states.


Advanta Trust

Alliance Financial Group


Best Hospital

HealthPark Medical Center, a 368-bed acute care facility that opened in 1991, is the primary location for Lee Memorial Health System’s Heart and Vascular Institute. It is also a designated chest pain center and home to the endovascular suite for endovascular neurosurgery and a variety of other vascular procedures.


Lee Memorial Hospital

Naples Community Hospital, Downtown Campus


Best HVAC Company

Conditioned Air Corporation of Naples Inc. was purchased by the present ownership in 1993 as a predominately residential, $2.5 million company. It is now one of the largest air conditioning contracting and service firms in the area, with more than $24 million in sales while serving both commercial and residential sectors.


B & I Contractors



Best Information Technology Company

CRS Technology Consultants started out in 1993 as Computer Rescue Squad, offering computer service, repair and sales. As technology expanded, it advanced to software and hardware integration and system designs, security and network audits.


Fuller Online Solutions

Pulse Business Solutions


Best Insurance Brokerage Company

BB&T—Oswald Trippe & Co. is part of BB&T Insurance Services, which was founded in 1922 and is now the sixth-largest insurance broker in the nation. It represents most major carriers nationwide and offers personal and business insurance products with local agents through the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and California.


Baldwin Krystyn Sherman

Ted Todd Insurance


Best Interior Design Firm

Interiors by Design West specializes in sophisticated interiors utilizing factory-direct purchasing and strategic partnerships with providers such as Kreiss furniture and Wood-Mode.


Karen L. Benson & Associates

Clive Daniel


Best Jeweler

Mark Loren Designs is a retail jewelry company that designs, creates and manufactures custom jewelry. In addition, it offers repair of jewelry and watches as well as eyeglasses, silver and antique jewelry; buys, trades and sells gold and precious gems; and provides consignment sale opportunities.


Bigham Jewelers

Diamond District


Best Landscaping Company

GreenScapes Florida 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.


Crawford Landscaping

Lombardo Landscaping


Best Large Company

Chico’s FAS is a specialty retailer of women’s clothing, intimates, complementary accessories and other non-clothing gift items. It began with a boutique on Sanibel Island and today operates in 48 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.



Lee Memorial Health System


Best Large Law Firm

Henderson Franklin founded in 1924, is headquartered in Fort Myers and has offices in Sanibel and Bonita Springs. It is one of the oldest and largest law firms between Tampa and Miami and has more than 55 attorneys in business organizations and planning, commercial litigation and employment law, among other specialties.


Pavese Law Firm

Quarles & Brady / Morgan & Morgan (tie)


Best Men’s Clothing

Brodeur Carvell Fine Apparel, founded in 2003, is a locally owned retailer in Fort Myers that focuses on the region’s local professionals, seasonal residents and visitors. It launched women’s collections in the fall of 2009.


Jos. A. Bank

Men’s Wearhouse


Best National/Regional Bank

Iberia Bank, founded in 1887, is a subsidiary of Iberia Bank Corp., which had $13 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2012. The corporation is the largest bank holding company headquartered in Louisiana, and employs more than 2,500 banking professionals and associates.


Bank of America

Wells Fargo


Best Networking Group

The Women in Business Group of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce is responsible for the presentation of the Apex Award, which is given at the end of the year. The group focuses on careers, networking and community and meets the first Wednesday of each month.


BNI SW Florida



Best Office Furniture

Office Furniture and 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.


Office Depot



Best Office Supply Company

Staples is headquartered in suburban Boston and has become the world’s largest office products company and its second-largest Internet retailer. It has five retail locations in Southwest Florida, between Fort Myers and Marco Island.


Office Depot

Office Max


Best Power Lunch

The Veranda evolved from a pair of houses built at the corner of Second Street and Broadway in Fort Myers. The houses were joined in the early 1970s, and when Paul Peden bought the buildings in 1978, he transformed them into the restaurant.



Bistro 41


Best PR Firm

Priority Marketing was established in 1992 by Teri Hansen and is a full-service marketing, advertising and public relations agency. It since has been the marketing impetus behind some of the most respected businesses in the Southwest Florida region.


Conric PR & Marketing/Publishing

Spiro & Associates


Best Public Golf Course

Eastwood Golf Course is owned and operated by the city of Fort Myers and opened for business on Sept. 9, 1977. It was designed by Robert Von Hagge and Bruce Devlin, sits on more than 150 acres on the old City Wellfield and has been ranked as one of the top 100 public golf facilities in the United States by Golf Digest.


Fort Myers Country Club

Coral Oakes


Best Remodeling Firm

PBS Contractors has worked on homes and commercial projects in Southwest Florida since 1986. It includes three LEED-accredited professionals with an average of 30-plus years in the construction industry and nearly 2,500 new home projects and residential renovations.


Cornerstone Builders of SWFL

Progressive Builders / KGT Remodeling (tie)


Best Residential Builder

Neal Communities has more than 40 years of experience and has become Southwest Florida’s largest and most established locally owned and operated private family-run company. It has built more than 9,000 homes and says it has a 98 percent customer satisfaction rate.


Aubuchon Homes

Stock Development


Best Residential Real Estate Agency

Keller Williams Elite Realty has a profit-sharing program in which approximately 50 percent of every market center’s monthly profits are returned to those who have contributed to its growth by attracting productive associates to the office.


Century 21 Sunbelt

John R. Wood Realtors


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.


Moorings Park

Vi at Bentley village


Best Small Law Firm

Kelley Kronenberg is full-service law firm with 11 offices and more than 80 lawyers, including nine Florida-based locations and one in Fort Myers. It’s been in business for more than 30 years, with a specific stated focus on client service.


Goede, Adamczyk & Deboest PLLC

Hamilton Mikes


Best Women’s Clothing

Saks Fifth Avenue was the creation of Horace Saks and Bernard Gimbel, who operated independent retail stores on 34th Street at Herald Square in New York. There are three retail locations in Southwest Florida—Saks Fifth Avenue stores in Naples and Fort Myers and a Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th location in



Brodeur Carvell Fine Apparel

White House Black Market/Beall’s (tie) 


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