Gulfshore Business Daily: April 12

United Airlines expands Fort Myers service, SecondMuse comes to Southwest Florida, St. Matthew’s House is top-ranked, and more.

UNITED AIRLINES TO START NONSTOP FORT MYERS-WASHINGTON DULLES SERVICE

United Airlines will inaugurate new service between Fort Myers and Washington, D.C., on Oct. 29. United will operate twice-daily, year-round service between Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW). United currently operates more than 140 daily flights to 12 Florida cities. For more information or to book a flight, visit https://www.united.com.

GLOBAL INNOVATOR COMES TO SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

SecondMuse, a global collaboration agency and B-Corp, is set to launch a community-sourced incubator in Fort Myers alongside the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and in partnership with the City of Fort Myers.

Based out of the new Collaboratory that is adjacent to the Dunbar community, SecondMuse’s incubator will focus on developing the next generation of leaders as well as strengthening the overall economic ecosystem.

SecondMuse specializes in building connected 21st-century economies and has multiple offices in and outside of the U.S.

Jonathan Romine (pictured left) will be the program director of SecondMuse’s Southwest Florida location. Romine has spent the past decade in Southwest Florida starting, growing and managing small businesses that generate more than $14 million in revenue. He most recently served as principal and director of landscape architecture for EnSite, Inc.

ST. MATTHEW’S HOUSE RECEIVES THREE NATIONAL ACCOLADES

St. Matthew’s House earned top ratings from three prominent nonprofit evaluators. St. Matthew’s House earned Charity Navigator‘s highest possible four-star rating, top honors from Best Christian Workplace Institute and a certification of excellence from Citygate Network.

Charity Navigator is the largest and most-visited evaluator of nonprofit organizations in America; only a quarter of the more than 9,000 charitable organizations evaluated earn their top four-star rating.

For the second straight year in a row, Best Christian Workplace Institute certified St. Matthew’s House as a “Best Christian Workplace.” This honor is given to participating organizations based on anonymous staff surveys.

Citygate Network certified St. Matthew’s House after a 360-degree look at the organization and audit of all its facilities, policies and procedures, and financial records.

 NAPLES SOAP CO. ADDS TWO LOCATIONS

Naples Soap Co. will add two new Florida stores. The company will open its first location on Florida’s east coast in May in Cocoa. The 1,200-square-foot store is located in historic Cocoa Village at 407 Brevard Ave.

An additional location is slated to open on April 15, just blocks away from the beach at 30 Beach Drive NE in downtown St. Petersburg. The 1,000-square-foot location is the company’s second store in the Tampa Bay area.

Naples Soap Company currently operates retail stores along Florida’s west coast and in the middle of that state with a store in Mount Dora. A full line of skincare products, including those aimed at relieving eczema and psoriasis, are also available at NaplesSoap.com.

PARATRANSIT DRIVER EARNS TOP AWARD

Lee County employee Chris Cowles has won a state competition for transit drivers and will advance to the national competition on May 19 in Palm Springs, California. LeeTran joined more than 60 public transportation systems on April 5 to participate in The Annual Florida Triple Crown Bus Roadeo in Jacksonville, a competition of driving skills and maintenance disciplines.

Cowles took first place with the highest combined score in the paratransit competition and was also recognized as first-place winner in vehicle inspection while also receiving a perfect score in wheelchair training and overall general testing. This is the sixth consecutive year Cowles has earned a top award.

Also participating on behalf of LeeTran was first-time participant Ben Wilson, who is a fixed route operator.

IMMOKALEE FOUNDATION STUDENT SEEKS NATIONAL BETA CLUB SECRETARY POSITION

This summer, Immokalee Foundation student Wenchy Dutreuil will travel to Beta Club’s 2019 National Convention in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where he hopes to be elected national club secretary.

A junior at Immokalee High School, Dutreuil is currently state secretary of Beta Club, the largest independent, nonprofit, educational youth organization in the U.S. National Beta Club promotes the ideals of academic achievement, character, service and leadership among elementary and secondary school students.

Locally, students in Beta Club lead service projects such as Noah’s Attic, an outreach of the First United Methodist Church of Immokalee; Broadway Buddies, associated with Naples Performing Arts Center; and others.

Dutreuil is also involved in networking opportunities, summer programs, activities and events, as well as the school’s mock trial program. He hopes to become biomedical engineer or a computer software engineer.

BLUES, BREWS, BBQ CRUISE HELD IN MAY

The N.A.P.L.E.S Group (Naples Area Professional League of Executive Services) has partnered with Riptide Brewery and the Naples Princess Cruises to host a Blues, Brews and BBQ Cruise on May 21. Boarding begins at 6 p.m.

Guests can sample a selection of Riptide Brewery’s craft brews paired with a menu of barbecue eats. The cruise is open to the public and members of the Naples Group, and provides an opportunity to learn more about the group and visit the recent million-dollar renovated Naples Princess.

Pre-sale tickets are available for $65 per person and, after May 1, for $75 per person, by clicking here. Sponsors include Naples Art AssociationNaples Princess CruisesMarco Island Center for the ArtsRipTide Brewing Co. and Shula’s Steak House Naples.

CHARITABLE NOTES

IBERIABANK Pine Ridge to host shred party

IBERIABANK continues its community outreach program with a post-tax season shred event at the Pine Ridge branch. Residents and small-business owners are invited to dispose of outdated bank statements, checks, contracts, junk mail and other documents in a safe and secure manner. A professional truck from Shred-It, a NAID certified document destruction company, will be onsite from 9 a.m. to noon on April 27 at 1905 Pine Ridge Road.

A $3 voluntary donation will be collected for each box or bag of shredded material. All proceeds from the event will be donated to Empty Bowls Naples, a non-profit organization whose mission is to create awareness and raise funds to eliminate hunger in the Naples community, one bowl at a time. For more information about the event, call Indira Maharaj at (239) 403-5170. Shredding is limited to 10 boxes per person.

Give A Meal program raises more than $90,000 for Harry Chapin Food Bank

The Bank of America Give A Meal program has brought in $91,521 for the food bank to help feed neighbors in need. For the seventh consecutive year, Bank of America partnered with Feeding America and its nationwide network of food banks, including the Harry Chapin Food Bank, in the Give A Meal program to fight hunger across the country and in Southwest Florida.

During the holiday campaign, which ran through Dec. 31, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation gave $2 for every $1 donated, up to $1.5 million in donations nationwide for Feeding America programs, and up to $50,000 to any individual local food bank. People could also donate directly to their local food bank by going to the Bank of America website and typing in the ZIP code.

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