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Gulfshore Business Daily: August 13


Stein Mart is permanently closing most, if not all, of its brick-and-mortar stores, including its four locations in Collier and Lee counties. The company already has launched a store closing and liquidation process with local stores expected to shutter this fall. The national chain’s four regional locations, all along U.S. 41, are at The Marketplace at Pelican Bay in North Naples, Tamiami Crossing in East Naples, Prado at Spring Creek in Bonita Springs and Cypress Trace in Fort Myers. Stein Mart Inc. announced Wednesday that it and its subsidiaries have filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida – Jacksonville Division. 
Video courtesy of WINK News


Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday the state’s best option is likely to ask the federal government for a loan to pay for President Trump’s new proposed boost in unemployment benefits. The president’s executive order calls for all states to pay for a portion of the extra unemployment money, but DeSantis confirms Florida’s budget is too tight to pay $100 out of an extra $400 weekly for unemployed residents. If what the president wants the states to do is legal, Florida would seek a loan from the U.S. Department of Labor, WINK News reports.

Rusty’s Raw Bar and Grill in Estero has alcoholic beverage license suspended. Photo via WINK News


An Estero restaurant had its retail beverage license suspended by the state for violating the governor’s executive order on COVID-19 operations. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation on Tuesday reported the emergency suspension of the license for Rusty’s Raw Bar and Grill. The DBPR report states the restaurant had more than 200 patrons waiting in a line to enter when they were allowed fewer than 100. The report also states that patrons were packed inside the establishment and social distancing measures were not being enforced. The order states the restaurant “is hereby suspended from the sale of alcoholic beverages until such time this order is lifted of a final order is issued.” A formal proceeding is required for reinstatement of the license, WINK News reports.
Video courtesy of WINK News


Saturdays are about to change for many college football fans as the pandemic forced the BIG-10 and PAC-12 to postpone all fall sports. While fans are bummed, businesses that are already hurting expect it to get worse. Businesses such as Shoeless Joe’s Sports Cafe at Crowne Plaza hotel in south Fort Myers are used to seeing crowds pile in to watch college games, especially since it is the main hub for the local chapter of the Ohio State Alumni Association. The sports bar estimates in one day alone it brings in about $7,000 to $10,000, WINK News reports.


The planned temporary closing to replace the Clam Pass Park Boardwalk at 465 Seagate Drive, has been postponed because of a material shortage associated with the construction project. The work is now scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Sept. 8, after the Labor Day weekend with an anticipated reopening in early November. Once the project to replace the boardwalk begins, Clam Pass beach will remain open with accessibility through the county’s North Gulfshore Beach access point at the end of Seagate Drive. Visitors will still be able to continue to launch kayaks and canoes from the Clam Pass parking lot. For more information, call Michael Cherbini at 239-252-4020.

Video courtesy of WINK News


Developers behind a controversial construction project hope to win over some community support with their newly released renderings of One Naples in North Naples. The architectural renderings of the major residential project show a plan to transform about 6 acres near Vanderbilt Beach with nearly 200 condos in towers 16 stories high. Neighborhood residents fear the already busy Vanderbilt Beach will become busier with this proposed development. Opposition to the project has included concerns about high-rise buildings blocking sunsets or possibly lowering property values. The developer of the project believes One Naples will increase area property values. “It’s a major improvement to the neighborhood,” says Keith Gelder, vice president of Stock Development. A public hearing for the project’s plans will be scheduled soon before the Collier County Planning Commission, WINK News reports.


 “Mapping Your Media – Navigating through the Changing PR Landscape,” the Media Breakfast event for the Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA), has been rescheduled. The Media Breakfast, previously scheduled for Sept. 8, will be held from 8-11 a.m. on Dec. 8 at CareerSource Southwest Florida in Fort Myers. The event will include presentations from speakers and breakout networking opportunities. The lineup of speakers will be announced at a later date. PR and communications professionals, nonprofit groups and others will benefit from the opportunity to meet news representatives face-to-face and get expert advice on effective communication approaches, tips for story pitching, and how to develop authentic relationships with the media. The event is $35 for students, $50 for members and $60 for nonmembers. Click here to register. Masks will be required and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines will be followed.


Century Oncology, a GenesisCare company, has introduced the Halcyon system, a new non-invasive cancer treatment system, at its Cape Coral location. As the most recent advancement in cancer care from Varian, the system’s technology targets tumors with pinpoint accuracy while providing patients with comfort and convenience, according to a news release. Halcyon offers comprehensive cancer treatment for head and neck, breast, lung, prostate, and more forms of cancer. Using advanced image-guided volumetric-modulated radiotherapy, Halcyon is an entirely non-invasive treatment option with no post-surgery recovery period. The system delivers a precise, tightly focused radiation dose that conforms to the shape of the tumor and minimizes the impact on surrounding healthy tissue. Computer-generated 3D images contribute to its pinpoint accuracy, as well as enable physicians to custom design a patient’s treatment plan. For more information, visit 21co.com.


Dr. Scott Gray, owner of Back In Motion Sport & Spine Physical Therapy in Fort Myers, is expanding into a new location in Cape Coral. He is partnering with Dr. Krista Zivkovic, a family medicine specialist, at her location at 2546 Heydon Lane. Gray plans to begin treating patients there on Aug. 31. As a physical therapy specialist, published author and the lead physical therapist for the Mountain Dew Tour for extreme winter and summer sports, Gray takes a systematic and holistic approach to treat people with lower back, neck, hip and shoulder pain. For more information, visit backinmotionsspt.com.


Elite Jets Charters hires six new pilots as demand for private air travel surges

Elite Jets Charters has hired six additional pilots as the Naples-based company responds to surging demand for private air travel in light of COVID-19, according to a news release. The additional pilots hired at Elite Jets include Jorge Lopez, captain; Jorge Martinez, captain; Brandon Parks, pilot; Israel Ordonez, first officer; Kyle Nornberg, first officer; and Karl Herrmann, first officer. The new pilots have experience flying private, commercial and cargo planes, and also have taught their craft as flight instructors. Elite Jets now employs 18 FAA-certified captains, pilots and first officers based out of the company’s private terminal at Naples Airport. Combined, the company’s pilots have flown more than 57 million nautical miles over their careers. Elite Jets continues to fill additional positions. For more information, visit EliteJets.com.

Cheryl Wellman and Mary Beth Ebenger

Premier Sotheby’s International Realty appoints two key leaders

Premier Sotheby’s International Realty has appointed two to its leadership team. Cheryl Wellman has been named vice president of operations and Mary Beth Ebenger has been appointed to corporate controller of the $5.2 billion real estate company. A certified public accountant, Wellman joined the brokerage in 2011 as corporate controller, overseeing the company’s financials during significant periods of growth. She has over 20 years of experience in the management of financial operations in diverse industries including real estate, law firms, hotel and retail franchises, manufacturing and construction. She holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from The State University of New York College at Geneseo (SUNY Geneseo). Ebenger, a certified public accountant, brings more than 25 years of experience in corporate accounting and finance, real estate development and operations management to the company. She previously served as vice president, corporate controller at WCI Communities, Inc./Lennar for over 20 years, where she held various roles in finance and operations. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting and a Master of Business Administration, both from the University of South Florida.

Everglades Wonder Gardens names vice president of environmental education

The Everglades Wonder Gardens has appointed Jacob Winge as the vice president of environmental education. Winge will lead strategic partnership efforts, community relations, fundraising, and environmental learning center marketing initiatives as well as oversee the formation of staff and the development efforts on the grounds of the Wonder Gardens. A Southwest Florida native, Winge recently served as field marketing manager for the United Group of Cos. He also served as past president of the East Naples Civic Association and The Friends of the Collier County Museums. He is part of the 2019 Leadership Collier class and the 2015 Associate Leadership Collier class. Winge is a graduate student at Hodges University and an alumnus of Florida SouthWestern State College, where he served as the State President of the Florida College System Student Government Association.


Emergency COVID-19 grants help Community Cooperative provide food

Community Cooperative received $50,000 in emergency COVID-19 grants, in both March and May, from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, to provide emergency food and other assistance to those affected by the pandemic. Community Cooperative has seen visits to mobile food pantries triple during the pandemic. With federal unemployment supplements expiring at the end of July, the first mobile food pantry in Cape Coral on Aug. 4 served 415 people. Before the pandemic, food pantries averaged about 150 households per pantry. In August, 17 food pantries are planned, up from 16 in July, with eight new locations. Community Cooperative expects the need to continue to grow and is planning for long-term recovery efforts through 2021. For more information, visit CommunityCooperative.com.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast-Collier County receives $10,000 grant

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast has been awarded a $10,000 grant for general operating support from the Community Foundation of Collier County’s Community Impact Grant pool. Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast Program staff need laptops with cameras to perform program-required services that must be undertaken virtually during the pandemic, along with agency-issued cell phones connected to their office numbers for Big Brothers Big Sisters-related calls. To meet program requirements during the pandemic, Big Brothers Big Sisters has identified the need to hire IT support and human resources specialists on a contractual basis. The support from the Community Foundation of Collier County will help sustain the agency by providing funding for current operating expenses.


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