Gulfshore Business Daily: August 7

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Credit: Florida Everblades, via WINK News


Saturday is the deadline for small business owners applying to receive a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program. The program is meant to help small businesses keep employees on the payroll. Fort Myers Brewing Co. and Tiki Tails Dog Resort in Cape Coral are some of the businesses locally that took advantage of the PPP loan. For more information and to sign up for the PPP, click here.


The deals have already begun for Florida’s back-to-school sales tax holiday today, Saturday and Sunday. Shoppers won’t have to pay sales tax on supplies under $15, clothing under $60, and computers and some accessories are also tax-free for the first $1,000. Click here for the specific list of tax-exempt items during the three-day period.

Video courtesy of WINK News


As the Luminary Hotel nears its Sept. 17 opening along the Caloosahatchee River, the new business in downtown Fort Myers held a job fair Thursday to hire front desk workers, housekeepers and engineers for the 243-room hotel, as well as chefs and servers for its rooftop bar and restaurants. The new hotel is hiring 100 workers with the intent to hire even more as the hospitality industry recovers, WINK News reports. For a description of jobs available, and the applications you will need to fill out, click here.

Video courtesy of WINK News


The School District of Lee County says it’s ready for face-to-face learning from mandatory masks to frequent sanitizing and even isolation rooms. The first day of school is planned for Aug. 31. From visual reminders on the floor to signs on the walls, staff says students will have constant visual reminders of how to keep each other safe. Any student showing COVID-like symptoms will be sent into an isolation room, and there they will wait to be picked up. If a student ends up testing positive for COVID-19, the school district says contact tracing will begin to determine who was exposed and needs to self-isolate, WINK News reports. “This summer we actually had several schools that did a face-to-face summer program and the students did a phenomenal job,” says Shanna Flecha, Lee County schools’ executive director of school development.


Casa Playa Resort officially joined the SunStream Hotels & Resorts Southwest Florida portfolio on July 29. Casa Playa Resort is located toward the north end of Fort Myers Beach and features seven stories of views of the Gulf of Mexico and Estero Bay. Casa Playa’s signature exterior art was painted by local artist Angela Savko. Guests can choose from three accommodation types, including gulf view studio suites, gulf view one-bedroom suites and bay view standard suites. The resort offers amenities such as a gulf-side heated swimming pool and a beachside tiki hut picnic area with two barbecue grills. The first two floors of the resort are pet friendly. Founded in 1986, SunStream offers a collection of hotels and resorts in Fort Myers Beach, Naples, and the Everglades.
Video courtesy of WINK News


Margaritaville Resort proposed for Fort Myers Beach is being given a green light. A lawsuit that delayed developer TPI Hospitality’s project for years claimed the town’s plan for the resort was unconstitutional and that the height and density of the 254-room resort would have negative consequences, but an agreement was reached. Businesses on Fort Myers Beach say they expect the resort near the base of the Matanzas Pass Bridge to bring more tourism to the area, WINK News reports.


Leadership NEXT, a monthly program for advancing business professionals, will host a virtual program from 5 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 11 to discuss the “State of Lee County.” Leadership NEXT will provide an overview of Lee County’s response to COVID-19, including the LeeCares program and its efforts to offer immediate assistance for individuals, families and businesses recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The August program will be led by Brian Hamman, chair of the Lee County Commission, and John Talmage, director of the Lee County Economic Development Office. The Leadership NEXT program is sponsored by WearTheFund, a wholesale custom apparel company. WearTheFund is offering all registered attendees $100 off a purchase of $200 or more of logoed apparel. The program is free for members of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and $5 for nonmembers. Register in advance at


Creighton Construction & Development has relocated its headquarters to 2240 W. First St., Suite 101, Fort Myers. The 5,600-square-foot office will support the continued growth of the company with workspaces for the approximately 30 Southwest Florida-based employees. The new office includes two conference rooms as well as a guest office to accommodate clients and staff. The space, which was renovated to feature a mid-century modern design, offers a central location that allows Creighton Construction & Development to better serve its clients in Southwest Florida as well as those traveling to the region. Founded by Creighton and co-founder Brent Evans, Creighton Construction & Development provides total real estate solutions for commercial projects nationwide.

Credit: Florida Everblades, via WINK News


The East Coast Hockey League, which includes the Florida Everblades, announced this week that the start of the 2020-21 season is being pushed to December for a full 72-game schedule. The season was originally slated to begin Oct. 16 but will now begin Dec. 4. The 2019-20 season was ended abruptly in March as the coronavirus pandemic began to worsen in the United States. Adjustments to the 2020-21 ECHL schedule will be announced at a later date, WINK News reports.

Lisa Murray


Murray named to FPRA State Executive Committee

Lisa Murray has been appointed to the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) State Executive Committee. She will serve as vice president of accreditation and certification. FPRA is a statewide organization of public relations professionals with 15 chapters, including the Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA), covering Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. Murray’s responsibilities will include promotion and management of accreditation and certification programs for the association and to serve as a resource for chapter accreditation chairs across the state. Murray is currently completing the 2019-2020 term on the Southwest Florida chapter board, where she is the chapter’s immediate past president. Aside from her professional volunteerism, Murray is senior manager of corporate communications at Interop Technologies in Fort Myers.

Ashley Dewji

Dewji joins Boys & Girls Club of Collier County board of directors

Ashley Dewji has joined the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County board of directors. A private banker with J.P. Morgan, Dewji joins as a member of the board development committee. Dewji has supported Boys & Girls Clubs since 2012, volunteering with the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Monica and the Boys & Girls Club of Boston before relocating to Naples and becoming involved with Boys & Girls Club of Collier County. In 2017, she helped start the Boys and Girls Club of Collier County’s NextGen philanthropy group, Friends Circle, creating opportunities for young professionals to engage with the club by creating and promoting volunteer and fundraising opportunities.

Pushing the Envelope promotes Anderson to senior communication coordinator

Pushing the Envelope Inc. (PTE) has promoted Hannah Anderson to senior communication coordinator. In her new role, Anderson will lead the implementation of marketing and communication plans, as well as act as a liaison with clients. Building on her nearly two years with PTE, Anderson will continue to assist with executing public relations and marketing services, including, but not limited to media relations, strategic community outreach, reputation management, video strategy, and digital communication for a variety of clients and industries. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Florida Atlantic University.

Albert Arguelles, president of Vectra Digital


Vectra Digital to give away website redesign to business impacted by COVID-19

Vectra Digital is holding a giveaway that will award one local company with a free, new look online. “Redesigning a website for a company that has been impacted by COVID-19 for free is our way of helping support our business community and local economy,” says Matt Bernhardt, CEO of Vectra Digital. “We know the importance a website has on small business. With COVID-19, strategies have changed, and business has been difficult. This will hopefully help jumpstart a business that really needs it.” Visit  for official rules and to nominate a business. Nominations will be accepted through Sept. 15. The winner is scheduled to be picked on Sept. 25.

Salon Adrian offers discounted back-to-school cuts for kids

Salon Adrian is offering discounted haircuts to students. Now through the end of August, the salon is offering half-priced haircuts to children ages 12 and younger. A discount of 20% is being offered to children ages 13 and up, including college students when they present school identification. Salon Adrian continues to adhere to CDC rules and safety guidelines, enforcing capacity limitations and additional health protocols. For more information or to book an appointment, call (239) 481-1010.

Naples Therapeutic Riding Center converts barn dance signature fundraiser to appeal with virtual elements

Naples Therapeutic Riding Center’s (NTRC) signature fundraiser, Bootstrap Boogie Barn Dance, held every November, has been converted to an online appeal with virtual elements due to health and safety concerns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This would have been the charity’s 15th year hosting the Barn Dance on its campus. Revenue from the new Barn Dance Appeal is important now more than ever due to the lack of program revenue and loss of fundraising income as a result of having to postpone programs and cancel fundraisers for five months during stay-at-home measures. Donations towards the first-ever Barn Dance Appeal will be accepted now through Nov. 14, culminating in a live virtual Pony Pie Bingo game. To donate to the Barn Dance Appeal, click here. Follow the Pony Pie Bingo Game on Nov. 14 on Facebook.

The Immokalee Foundation receives modified grant from Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation

The Immokalee Foundation has received a $25,000 technology grant from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation. Originally awarded as a challenge grant, the modified funds supported the foundation’s technology needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Immokalee Foundation’s Career Pathways and Immokalee Readers initiatives benefited from an original grant of $100,000. Beginning in middle school, Career Pathways students participate in intensive six-week rotations to learn more about the in-demand careers in Southwest Florida. The grant also supported Immokalee Readers, an early literacy intervention program that serves more than 800 struggling young readers in Immokalee’s six elementary schools. The program’s 100-plus trained tutors are high school students who are paid an hourly wage and are supervised by certified classroom teachers.

Naples Rehabilitative Services

Naples Rehabilitative Services offers complimentary custom wellness assessments

Naples Rehabilitative Services, a subsidiary of Vineyards Country Club, is currently offering complimentary wellness assessments for members of the public, as well as Vineyards Country Club members and prospective members. The wellness assessment includes a 15-minute evaluation of strength, range of motion, balance and gait, as well as a screening for musculoskeletal dysfunction. Each participant will receive a printed copy of screening results to review with their physician and determine the need for therapeutic interventions. Screenings are available Monday through Friday by appointment only. All screenings are conducted by NRS Clinical Director and Physical Therapist Derek M. Pirro. Upon arrival, clients are asked to wear a facial covering or mask for the duration of the screening. Masks are available and will be provided to any client in need. For more information or to schedule a wellness assessment, call (239) 353-9317 or email

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