Gulfshore Business Daily: April 8

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Photo courtesy of WINK News


With so many unknowns on the horizon, we are all asking ourselves some tough business questions, especially with regards to marketing during these sensitive times. Gulfshore Life Media has asked nationally known marketing expert Ryan Dohrn to share 10 marketing survival strategies to help you not only survive COVID-19 but potentially thrive when this crisis subsides. This webinar is offered at no cost, as Gulfshore Life Media’s gift to its business partners. Can’t make it live? No problem. Sign up for free here and we will send a link to watch the replay. Dohrn is an Emmy-winning, best-selling business book author recognized by with the “Best of the Best” award for his business strategies. Dohrn’s focus is marketing, sales, leadership and team performance. His passion for sales and marketing has allowed him to touch half a billion dollars in revenue for companies in seven countries. He has held leadership roles at the Walt Disney Co. and his management insights have been featured in USA Today and on CNN. Dohrn is an internationally certified business coach, has trained over 20,000 professionals and works monthly with companies in 15 business sectors.


The Southwest Florida Community Foundation has released results from a COVID-19 regional nonprofit survey. Funders in Southwest Florida collaborated to launch a short poll to assess the needs of the nonprofit community amid the COIVD-19 outbreak. Partners included Central Florida Behavioral Health Network; City of Cape Coral; Lee County Human and Veterans Services; Lee Health; Richard M. Schulze Foundation; United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee; and Southwest Florida Community Foundation. Disruptions to programs and projects, health and safety of staff and community, and fundraisers being canceled were the top three concerns voiced by respondents. These were closely followed by concerns about impacts on staffing as well as loss or funding from major funders, donors, and/or sponsors. Sixty-four percent of respondents reported seeing increased or stable demand for their services since the COVID-19 outbreak began. Simultaneously, 98 percent of respondents reported that the pandemic would either somewhat or severely impact their budget negatively. A significant number of respondents realize they must adapt to serving existing or new clients with fewer financial resources available. Ninety-seven percent of respondents anticipated seeing a medium or high likelihood that COVID-19 will negatively impact their programs and services. Almost 50 percent of respondents reported having three months or less saved in operating reserves. For the full results, click here.


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is hiring for a number of temporary positions, the Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency reports. Openings are available for jobs in these areas: call center customer service representatives, document preparation/legal review/loan closings, loan processing/credit analysis/mortgage underwriting, and program support. These jobs will help with disaster relief efforts. Bilingual skills are a plus. For more information, click here

Photo courtesy of WINK News


Wells Fargo bank is bowing out of a new federal program aimed at helping small businesses retain workers and pay bills during the coronavirus pandemic. The bank announced early this week that it would no longer accept new loan applications under the government’s Paycheck Protection Program, which launched last week as part of the nation’s $2.2 trillion economic relief package. Wells Fargo said it planned to lend a maximum of $10 billion through the program and that it has already received more than enough applications to reach that threshold. Any requests for loans submitted after April 5 will not be considered, according to the bank. Story reported by WINK News.


As an update to this Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) post, Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co. P.A. clarifies that its firm, MNMW, is only able to provide guidance to its clients as they navigate the PPP application process.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued an interim final rule for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) which will allow up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for use to provide wages to their employees during the COVID-19 crisis, according to a message from Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co. P.A. (MNMW) Businesses that are interested in applying for the PPP should do so now as there is expected to be a high demand for funds. All loan terms will be the same for everyone. Eligible businesses are those with 500 employees or less, and this includes sole proprietors and other self-employed individuals. Small businesses should contact their financial institution and inquire on if and how they are accepting applications for the PPP, MNMW recommends. Those planning to apply for the PPP can find the application here


GFA International, Inc. (GFA) and Universal Engineering Services, LLC (UES) is hosting a COVID-19 training series for this week. The first Michelle McIntyre, director of environmental health and safety, will present “Controlling Exposure: Working Around Infectious Agents” from 2-5 p.m. today. The next event, “Worksite COVID-19 Training for the Competent Person / Compliance Coordinator,” takes place from 1-5 p.m. on Wednesday, followed by “One Hour COVID-19 Awareness for the Work Place” from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday.


The Florida Department of Health has launched a website for self-checking coronavirus symptoms. The website has useful information for checking your symptoms, what you should do before getting tested, and how to practice social distancing if you think you have signs of the virus. The website also has links to the latest case numbers and what counts as an essential business in Florida. Story reported by WINK News.


DocClocker, an app created by physicians for physicians, enables medical facilities to provide patients with real-time wait time reporting to decrease sick patient exposure, according to a press release. In addition, providers who use DocClocker may receive an increase in new patient bookings, as they can be located and selected on the app by prospective, in-network patients. The app may also allow patients to manage appointments through the app and receive appointment reminders. Developed by Tampa-based Fast Pathway Inc., DocClocker app was created and funded entirely by practicing medical physicians. For more information, click here. Request a free demo at


Marco Island City Council approved opening two beach access points in a 4-3 vote Monday. The council wants to open an entrance and exit for a beach area on the island beginning April 13. The plan includes limiting the amount of gear individuals can bring, and the access areas would be open only from dawn until dusk. Story reported by WINK News


As schools transition to online learning because of the coronavirus pandemic, many students do not have internet access, which makes it hard to learn, so Lee County is working to change that. The district ordered 3,000 more hot spots expected to arrive any day. The process for a student to get one is pretty easy. The first-come, first-served hotspots can be picked up at whatever school they attend. First, seek approval by calling the school as soon as possible. Story reported by WINK News


Cabbage Key is donating fallen dollars from the walls of its restaurant.


Cabbage Key donates fallen dollars to local causes

Cabbage Key is indeed donating dollars that have fallen from the walls to help with COVID-19 relief efforts. The dollars are from Cabbage Key customers who hang them on the walls when they visit. These dollars will benefit two organizations: Beacon of Hope Pine Island’s Beacon Bites program and The United Way. For Beacon of Hope, the dollars are used to purchase meals for people who otherwise would go without food. Beacon Bites’ volunteers deliver one meal a day to Pine Islanders in need. Delivery happens every day but Sunday with two meals delivered on Saturday. Cabbage Key is still counting the dollars but estimates between $6,000 to $10,000 to support Beacon Bites and the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee’s SWFL Emergency Relief Fund. Cabbage Key’s dining room is closed but the restaurant is offering dockside takeout.

Harry Chapin Food Bank donates to St. Matthew’s House

The Harry Chapin Food Bank made a food donation on Tuesday to St. Matthew’s House to feed the hungry of Southwest Florida. St. Matthew’s House handed out the food from 1-5 p.m. on Tuesday at its Naples Thrift Store Location at 2601 Airport South Road.

Chad O’ Connor

Naples caterer delivers for the community

Fresh Fit Foods—a certified, licensed meal plan delivery company—has expanded safety precautions to address the growing demand for home meal delivery. Based in North Naples, Fresh Fit Foods chefs have been preparing gluten- and dairy-free lunches and dinners throughout Naples and Fort Myers for more than eight years. The company has also launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for people in need during this time and will match up $5,000. The fund will be established with the Community Foundation of Collier County, working through the Salvation Army who will handle inquiries and distribution to those directly impacted during these challenging times. Donations can be made online here. In addition, Fresh Fit Foods has increased distribution routes in Fort Myers and Naples to now include Gateway and other locations as market demand continues to increase. Home delivery is free through May for all clients. Online ordering is available here. Naples resident Chad O’Connor privately owns Fresh Fit Foods.


Village of Estero Mayor earns Home Rule Hero Award

The Florida League of Cities (FLC) has recognized Village of Estero Mayor Bill Ribble with a 2020 Home Rule Hero Award. Ribble earned this award for his efforts throughout the 2020 legislative session to promote local voices making local choices, protect the Home Rule powers of Florida’s municipalities and advance the League’s legislative agenda, a press release states. This is the third year in a row Ribble has been honored with this award. Home Rule is the ability for a city to address local problems with local solutions with minimal state interference. Home Rule Hero Award recipients are local government officials, both elected and nonelected, who consistently responded to the league’s request to reach out to members of the legislature and help give a local perspective on an issue.

Mertz Taggart advises clinic transaction

Cielo House Inc., a comprehensive eating disorder treatment center with four locations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, has been acquired by Refresh Mental Health. Refresh Mental Health partners with outpatient mental health, substance abuse and eating disorder centers across the country, including Comprehensive MedPsych Systems – Fort Myers. Mertz Taggart served as the exclusive advisor in this transaction, representing the seller. Mertz Taggart, with offices in Fort Myers, specializes in mergers and acquisitions of healthcare, behavioral, and home healthcare organizations.

Wayne Olson, Samira Beckwith, Kevin Ahmadi, Cecil Pendergrass, Leah Valenti

The Preserve hosts grand opening

The Preserve held its grand opening on March 9 to celebrate the completion of Southwest Florida’s newest skilled nursing and assisted living community. Located at the Hope Preserve Campus in south Fort Myers, the new three-story, 118,000-square-foot facility features 75 private skilled nursing suites for senior residents with specialized or advanced health care needs, as well as 21 boutique assisted living apartments and 17 memory support suites. Attending the grand opening event were local government officials, area business leaders, staff members from The Preserve and Gulf Coast Village, and representatives from Volunteers of America, the non-profit parent organization that operates both senior living communities.

Erin Myers

‘Ding’ Darling hires deputy refuge manager

Erin Myers has joined the staff at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge as the new deputy refuge manager. She comes to the refuge from a position as the private lands biologist for South Florida. Myers served as a collaborative partner with a U.S. Fish & Wildlife (USFWS) program developing and implementing wildlife management plans, managing multi-agency restoration programs, and coordinating partnerships between government and non-governmental agencies and the public. She is a founding member and past co-chair of the Florida Invasive Species Partnership, and co-chair of the Southwest Florida Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area. Myers studied to become a wildlife veterinarian at Texas A&M University. She went on to earn her master’s degree in wildlife pathology at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Sanibel Captiva Community Bank promotes Rodgers 

Sanibel Captiva Community Bank has promoted Mark Rodgers to assistant vice president at its Gateway branch. His primary responsibility is to continue expanding the bank’s lending footprint in the Gateway community. Rodgers has been a loan officer at the Gateway location since 2018. A Southwest Florida resident since 1981, he has more than two decades of banking experience as well as a background in the home health care industry.

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