Video courtesy of WINK News
WORKER SHORTAGES IMPACTING CUSTOMERS, BUSINESS OWNERS IN SWFL
From retail stores to restaurants, businesses have a hard time hiring workers now, but many owners also can’t afford to temporarily close. Instead, they’re pushing through, albeit short-staffed. Customers are feeling the impacts of those staffing shortages. They’re waiting longer to be seated and, in some places, paying higher prices. Restaurants are not the only businesses feeling the pinch; even some convenience stores cut back on hours because they don’t have enough employees. FGCU Economics Professor Victor Claar says he doesn’t know when things will get better, but he doesn’t see the shortage worsening because people are going back to work. They’re just being selective when choosing jobs, WINK News reports.
LEE COMMISSIONERS ACCEPT GRANT TO ASSIST RESIDENTS WITH ELECTRIC SERVICE
Lee County commissioners voted Tuesday to accept $979,612 from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to assist residents with electric costs or to prevent the disconnection of electric services. This allocation will provide assistance to about 1,000 households in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2022. Since May 2017, Lee County Human & Veteran Services has received more than $5.5 million in grant funds for the program. To be eligible, household income must be at or below 150% of the federal poverty level. For more information, call the department’s coordinated entry help line at 239-533-7996 or click here.
Video courtesy of WINK News
RENTAL ASSISTANCE STILL AVAILABLE IN SWFL AS EVICTIONS LOOM
Recent reports show that Florida has distributed only 2% of the money the federal government has made available for rental and mortgage assistance. Some Florida counties are topping a list for areas not getting federal CARES Act rental assistance funds to people facing eviction before the CDC’s eviction moratorium ended July 31. Collier County is ranked No. 4 nationally for unspent or re-allocated rental assistance funds as of March 31, where 6% of the money has not been used for rental assistance. Lee County received $51.7 million to hand out and still has roughly $17.5 million left. The city of Fort Myers still has $86,000 unused out of its $2.5 million. The city of Cape Coral has $488,000 remaining out of its $1.98 million for mortgage assistance, WINK News reports.
Video courtesy of WINK News
NAPLES SENIOR CENTER REOPENS FOR FIRST TIME SINCE EARLY 2020
The Naples Senior Center was hoping to reopen at full capacity this fall, but with the rise in COVID-19 cases, that goal looks less achievable daily. Nevertheless, Monday’s partial reopening means a lot to staff and older adults alike because the pandemic made it clear how important it is for seniors to have a sense of community. Signs and balloons greeted seniors as they walked through the center’s doors this week for the first time since March 2020. Mask requirements, temperature checks and glass barriers serve as a reminder that the pandemic is not over. For the time being, no one is allowed to linger at the center once they are finished with a class or activity; they must leave, WINK News reports.
Video courtesy of WINK News
CHILDREN’S EYE INSTITUTE OPENS IN FORT MYERS
The Southwest Florida Children’s Charities Eye Institute of Golisano Children’s Hospital launched Monday in Fort Myers. The facility is much larger than the previous location and will have more pediatric ophthalmologists. Kids have some common eye issues that they can help with, such as lazy eyes and issues with tear ducts. Children’s eyes are also suffering from extra computer screen time during the pandemic. The institute has extra-long exam rooms designed to help diagnose different eye conditions, WINK News reports.
NAPLES-BASED HOFFMANN ACQUIRES MINNESOTA-BASED MILLWORK COMPANY
Naples-based Hoffmann Family of Companies has acquired Minnesota-based Ferche Millwork and its brands, including Ferche Frames, Firerated Frames, Ferche Lumber and 87 acres of land in Rice, Minnesota, and Mount Pleasant, Tennessee. Since 1958, Ferche Millwork has been internationally recognized for providing high-quality standard moldings and veneer millwork and is a leader in hardwood moldings in North America. Ferche Millwork produces more than 13,000 products per year and continues to grow. Ferche leadership and employees will continue with the company, which is hiring for multiple positions that can be found on the Hoffmann Family of Companies job board online.
HICKMAN ACHIEVES FLORIDA BAR BOARD CERTIFICATION IN IP LAW
Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt P.A. Registered U.S. Patent Attorney Luca Hickman is now Florida Bar board certified in intellectual property law. Hickman focuses his practice on all aspects of copyright, patent, trademark and trade secret matters. With a background in engineering and law, Hickman also represents engineers and architects in design defect and professional liability matters. Hickman is registered as a foreign practitioner through the Canadian College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents. He serves as co-chair of the intellectual property section of the Lee County Bar Association, on the Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Board of Directors, the Ave Maria School of Law Alumni Board, and is a member of the Catholic Bar Association. He received his undergraduate degrees from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and Lübeck University of Applied Sciences, and graduated valedictorian and first in his class from Ave Maria School of Law.
NAPLES ZOO WELCOMES PARSONS AS CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Naples Zoo has welcomed Jason Parsons in a newly structured position as chief operating officer. Parsons comes to Naples Zoo with more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He attended Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, where he studied political science. Parsons previously worked with Rosen Hotels and Resorts before joining Naples Beach Hotel as general manager. Parsons served on the Naples Zoo Board of Directors as treasurer and chair of the board’s finance committee from 2012-2015. Naples Zoo is nearing completion of its $25 million Roaring into Our Future Capital Campaign, with more than $10 million in projects and improvements completed to date and $15 million to be invested and completed in the next two to three years.
HR COLLIER ADDS BELLMAN TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS
HR Collier has added Jessica Bellman, vice president of membership, to its board of directors. Bellman has more than 20 years of experience in coaching, training and leadership. She previously co-owned a drywall and construction company and served in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard. She has worked at Florida SouthWestern State College and The City of Fort Myers, and she currently works for a general contracting company as its talent coach.
CAPITAL WEALTH ADVISORS ADDS SCHMELZLE AS ANALYST
Capital Wealth Advisors (CWA), headquartered in Naples, has appointed George Schmelzle as a portfolio analyst. Schmelzle will be responsible for portfolio analysis, trade implementation and management of equity positions across the firm’s investment strategies. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Brown University. He previously interned at MKM Partners in Connecticut as well as CWA before transitioning to a full-time CWA employee. CWA is an independent financial advisory firm serving families and entrepreneurs through wealth advisory, estate planning and family office services.
Summertime Backyard BBQ Craft Beer Dinner set for Aug. 12
The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce Foundation is hosting a Summertime Backyard BBQ Craft Beer Dinner fundraiser with Palm City Brewing from 6-9 p.m. on Aug. 12 at the Crowne Plaza Fort Myers at Bell Tower. Palm City Brewing has teamed up with Crowne Plaza’s culinary team to create a pairing of handcrafted brews with a five-course dinner menu. Proceeds from the event benefit the Foundation’s efforts to enhance education and professional development at a variety of levels as well as provide grants for students, educators and educational institutions. Tickets to attend are available for $75 per person and $700 per table, which seats a party of eight. Advance registration is required. For more information and to register, click here or call 239-332-2930.
Don’t be the last to know what’s happening in Southwest Florida. Sign up for our free daily newsletter, Gulfshore Business Daily, to stay connected.