Gulfshore Business Daily: August 18

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Almost a year to the day after Del Ackerman’s passing, his legendary convenience store for bait, beer, burgers and much more is now just a memory, too. After operating nearly nonstop for more than 55 years, Del’s 24 Hour Store permanently closed Sunday night in East Naples. “I’ll be here until the next month or so, making sure everything gets cleared out,” says Nick Malliarys, who has managed the local store for years. Collier County is scheduled to close Sept. 23 on the purchase of Del’s Corner – acreage that includes the store, warehouse and surrounding property on the southeast corner of Thomasson and Bayshore drives in East Naples. “This is an important corner and a very important acquisition,” Commissioner Penny Taylor said in May when the county agreed to purchase the property for more than $2 million, contingent upon the county’s sale of the Gateway Triangle at Davis Boulevard and U.S. 41 East. The future use of Del’s three parcels, totaling 1.84 acres, is still unknown. “It will be redeveloped. We don’t have an exact action plan yet,” says Debrah Forester, director of the county’s Community Redevelopment Agency. The property likely will be rezoned with an opportunity for community feedback regarding its use, Forester said. 


The FutureMakers Coalition and Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) created a poll for local human resource departments to better understand COVID-19 issues affecting their current workforce needs during a relaunch or within the next six to 12 months. Sixty-three businesses responded to the poll. Approximately 76.2% of employers reported that it is very likely or likely that hiring new employees is a priority during a relaunch or within the next six to 12 months. Just over 84% of businesses said it is very likely or likely that training existing or new employees is part of their strategies during a relaunch or within the next six to 12 months. Approximately 36.2 percent of the responding businesses indicated that finding, hiring, and training a qualified workforce is their biggest challenge. For the full report, click here.


FutureMakers Coalition partners are teaming up to hold an online informational event where interested participants can learn about essential careers as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or Medical Assistant (MA). The free event will be held from 2-4 p.m. on Sept. 10 online through Zoom. Potential students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA here. Anyone interested in getting a start with a career in healthcare is encouraged to register for the online event. The goal is to find interested students and help them get their tuition and related fees paid for so they are ready for a new career in just one year. The event is open to current high school students that meet eligibility requirements. To register for the event, click here.


Lee Memorial Hospital, HealthPark Medical Center and Gulf Coast Medical Center earned recognition as a 2020 Best Regional Hospital, ranking No. 15 in Florida out of 251 hospitals evaluated by U.S. News & World Report. The hospitals combined earned high-performance ratings in four medical procedures and conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure, hip replacement and knee replacement. Additionally, Lee Memorial and HealthPark Medical Center, which share the ranking because they share a Medicare license, earned high-performance ratings in lung cancer surgery and heart bypass surgery and Gulf Coast Medical Center in colon cancer surgery. Cape Coral Hospital earned high-performance ratings in COPD and heart failure. The annual U.S. News “Best Hospitals” analysis reviews facilities’ performance in clinical specialties, conditions and procedures. Scores are based on several factors, including patient safety, survival, nurse staffing and more. Hospitals are ranked nationally and regionally within states and major metro areas.

Walmart Store. (Credit: CBS. Sourced from WINK News.)


Walmart announced Friday expanded store hours at more than 4,000 stores nationwide. That includes store locations in Southwest Florida, WINK News reports. Stores closing times at certain Walmart locations will extend from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily. See SWFL Walmart locations with extended hours.


Guests are no longer required to reserve timed tickets for their visit to the Naples Zoo. On-site purchases will now be allowed, however, online ticket purchases are still highly recommended to allow for contactless entry. The regional zoo also will now accept admissions for pre-purchased tickets, complimentary tickets and rainchecks through Sept. 17. The outdoor entrance is also being moved. Instead of entering the zoo to the left of the gift shop, people with pre-purchased tickets and members will enter the group gate facing the parking lot at 1590 Goodlette-Frank Road; just look for the “enter” sign. Despite removing timed ticketing, the zoo will still be maintaining a limited capacity of 1,200 visitors each day. 


Venture X deposits are being accepted for private offices and desk memberships at its under-construction space in the new, modern-designed Class A Lutgert Professional Center located at 44850 Tamiami Trail N. in Naples. Venture X Naples has created a membership-based office that includes touchless systems; filtered air exchanged every 10 minutes with outside air; digital tools for virtual meetings; 1-Gig internet; and natural light through floor-to-ceiling windows. Additional features include a podcast room, wellness room, four conference rooms, training room for 25 people, event space for 100 people, café, vertical living gardens and bio walls, and natural, sustainable materials throughout. Full-time members will have access to all Venture X locations around the world which includes Dubai, London, Toronto, Ireland, Mexico City, Sydney, Costa Rica, and over 40 U.S. locations to date. 

Jeremy Hinds


Vi at Bentley Village announces new director of sales

Vi at Bentley Village has appointed Jeremy Hinds to the director of sales for the continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Naples. In his position, Hinds directs all sales efforts of Vi at Bentley Village, manages a team of eight sales members and represents the retirement community to the larger Naples and Bonita Springs area. Originally from Traverse City, Michigan, Hinds has called Southwest Florida his home since relocating here in 2000. He brings more than 20 years of hospitality sales and marketing experience to his new role. For the past 12 years, he has served as the market director of group sales for The Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples. Hinds holds a bachelor of arts degree in business management and psychology from Albion College in Albion, Michigan. He is also nationally certified as a hospitality sales executive/professional (CHSE/CHSP).

Kerry DeLeon

Sanibel Captiva Community Bank hires DeLeon

Kerry DeLeon has joined Sanibel Captiva Community Bank as a customer service representative and teller at the Gateway Branch. She is responsible for assisting customers with personal and business banking transactions. Prior to joining the bank, she was employed by a local community bank and credit union as a customer service representative. DeLeon also has previous experience in office administration and the hospitality industry. Founded in 2003, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank has two locations on Sanibel Island and six more locations throughout Lee County. To learn more, visit


Rusty’s Raw Bar & Grill to host ‘Stuff a Bus! Fundraiser’ Saturday

Rusty’s Raw Bar & Grill will host a Stuff a Bus! Fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday at its Cape Coral and Fort Myers locations. Rusty’s is asking patrons to help stuff a bus with school supplies to be donated to Lee County schools. Participants in the fundraiser will receive a coupon for a free appetizer with the purchase of any meal. For more information, click here.

The United Arts Council of Collier County receives $17,500 in two grants

The United Arts Council of Collier County has received $17,500 in two grants from the Community Foundation of Collier County. The awards include $15,000 for general operating support and $2,500 to support the development of the United Arts Council’s fundraising capacity.  The grant funds will help the United Arts Council continue to advance and promote the cultural community in Collier County and provide after-school arts education for 2,300 at-risk children and teenagers annually. The capacity-building grant will enable the United Arts Council to increase its ability to raise funds following its merger with the Cultural and Performing Arts Center (CAPA), which was formalized at the end of July. 

Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance receives $2,500 grant

The Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance (IFHA) has received a $2,500 grant from the Community Foundation of Collier County.  These funds will support the Lake Trafford Road Immokalee Housing Project. The project will build 128 affordable, safe, hurricane/fire-resistant rental units in Immokalee for farmworkers, their families and low-income residents. In addition to the housing units, the project will build a neighborhood community center that will provide pre- and after-school learning, adult education classes, an athletic facility, as well as meeting rooms for health and job counseling. The Community Foundation of Collier County awards annual grants through a competitive application and review process. For more information, visit

WGCU receives grant for education programming

WGCU Public Media has received a $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Collier County. These funds will support the public media nonprofit’s At-Home Learning and PBS LearningMedia programs. Last spring, WGCU joined with other Florida public television stations to schedule educational programming in the daytime on the HD channel for children from kindergarten through 12th grade and make available supplemental teaching materials for the programs. To keep its youngest viewers engaged, WGCU moved the preschool programs that normally ran on the HD channel to its 24/7 PBS Kids channel. At-Home Learning schedules were published each week on the WGCU website, in advertisements in other media, and through an electronic newsletter WGCU publishes weekly. In addition, the grant supports PBS’ ongoing LearningMedia program, a multifaceted educational platform used by teachers, kids and parents at no charge. 

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