LEE COUNTY TOURISM UPDATE
The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel Tourist Development Council has released its latest tourism statistics. The October Smith Travel Research Summary showed an average occupancy rate of 61.1% in 2019, up 4.5% from 2018. The average daily rate was reported at $115.19 for 2019, up 3.6% from 2018. The revenue per available room (RevPAR) was reported at $70.34 for 2019, up 8.2% from 2018. The preliminary resort tax collected for October was reported at $2.086 million, a 19.7% increase over October 2018 preliminary collections of $1.743 million. Fiscal year-to-date preliminary tourist tax collections are $2.147 million, an increase of 17.96% year-over-year. Jeff Mielke, Lee County Sports Development director, reported that between June and September, 61,158 room nights were sold, with direct visitor spending of more than $26 million. To view a complete tax collections report, go to www.LeeVCB.com.
NAPLES RANKED AMONG PLACES WHERE RESIDENTS RELY MOST ON CREDIT
The Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island metro area ranked No. 15 in SmartAsset’s list of “Where Residents Rely on Credit the Most.” To determine the places where residents rely on credit the most, SmartAsset analyzed 47 metro areas across five metrics related to credit card debt. Naples was reported with an average credit card debt per borrower amount of $6,847, one-year change in credit card debt of 4.33%, credit card debt as a percentage of income at 9.80%, and overall index of 73.98. The full report on the study, including the methodology and key findings, can be found here.
CALLMINER SECURES $75M INVESTMENT FROM GOLDMAN SACHS
CallMiner, which has an office in Fort Myers, has closed a $75 million investment round from Goldman Sachs. CallMiner will leverage the funding to accelerate go-to-market plans and use case expansion for its industry-leading analytics platform, Eureka. CallMiner plans to leverage the funding to continue acceleration of new business applications, channel partner integration and development, international expansion, and platform innovation and capabilities. Cowen served as exclusive financial advisor to CallMiner in connection with the transaction. DLA Piper acted as legal counsel. CallMiner provides AI-fueled speech and customer interaction analytics to more than 400 customers. The company analyzes over two trillion words annually across all forms of customer interactions including calls, chats, emails, surveys and texts. For more information, visit CallMiner.com.
ANNUAL COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE OUTLOOK CONFERENCE SET
The Southwest Florida CCIM District presents its 20th annual Commercial Real Estate Outlook Conference from 7:30 a.m. to noon on Jan. 21 at Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs. Industry experts will discuss the economic and commercial trends for the coming year and what possible opportunities and challenges lie ahead. Elliot F. Eisenberg, Ph.D, a nationally acclaimed economist, is the keynote speaker, presenting “Economics 20/20.” Lesley Deutch, principal of John Burns Real Estate Consulting, will present “Changing Market Demographics & Project Design Innovations.” Danny Rice, managing director of Colliers International, Tampa Bat, Central & Southwest Florida, will present “Emerging Trends.” The economic development panel consists of John Talmage, director of Lee County Economic Development; Jace Kentner, director of Collier County Office of Business & Economic Development; Dave Gammon, director of Charlotte County Economic Development Office and Michael Swindle, commissioner of Hendry County – District 4. Register at http://flccim.com/sw-outlook-2020/. Register by December 31st and benefit from reduced fees. Discounted room rates are available at https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/group-booking/NAPRN/G-SCIM.
BUSINESSES BENEFIT FROM CRA JOB CREATION, TALENT ATTRACTION PROGRAM
The Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Job Creation and Talent Attraction Program, a grant available to businesses in targeted industries, will benefit two businesses located in the downtown redevelopment area. Cigent Technologies Inc., enrolled four software developers into the program. FieldEdge, also known as dESCO, LLC, enrolled a senior manager/cloud and infrastructure services, enterprise sales engineer, customer success manager, and junior software engineer into the program. Together, these two companies have accounted for all the applications approved for the program. Both businesses are in one of the grant program’s targeted industries, software, computing and technology. The Fort Myers CRA is actively seeking additional businesses in targeted industries to apply for the program. Targeted industries include research and development; light assembly, packaging and fabrication; software, computing and technology; light manufacturing; and general office. For more information, contact (239) 321-7100 or email@example.com, or visit www.cityftmyers.com/craincentives. The CRA Job Creation and Talent Attraction Program has welcomed a total of 17 candidates and a possible total of $81,000 to be issued to companies in targeted industries since the program’s adoption in December 2018.
BUSINESS HALL OF FAME, LEE COUNTY ADVISORY BOARD NAMED
Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida announces the members of its 2020 Business Hall of Fame, Lee County Advisory Board. The committee will be led by chair Gail Markham, president of Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co. P.A. Other members selected to this year’s board include Jason Brewer, market president for BB&T; Talisha Faber, private client relationship manager for IBERIABANK; Elaine Hawkins, president of Private Client Insurance Services; Jan-Erik Hustrulid, business development coordinator for Owen-Ames-Kimball Co.; Mark Loren, owner of Mark Loren Designs; Laurie Moore, financial advisor for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management; Sandy Stilwell-Youngquist, owner and CEO of Stilwell Enterprises & Restaurant Group; and Sharon Torregrossa, real estate agent for VIP Realty Group, Inc. The 2020 Business Hall of Fame, Lee County is slated for April 16, 2020, at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa in Bonita Springs. Advisory board members are responsible for selecting the laureates for the 2020 Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame, Lee County. For more information on the event, or to learn more about sponsorship opportunities and purchasing tickets, visit www.JASWFL.org.
MOORE HAVEN GOODWILL CLOSING THIS MONTH
Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida will close its Moore Haven Retail & Donation Center at 6 p.m. on Dec. 28. The store is located at 1150 US Highway 27. The closing is part of a larger retail restructuring plan that will allow Goodwill to pool its resources and serve more people through its mission. This past September, the LaBelle Retail and Donation Center, located at 91 South Lee Street, was remodeled providing additional retail space, and a new Community Resource Center (CRC) was opened expanding the services provided by their previous Job-Link Center. An expanded CRC will open in Clewiston as well, as part of that store’s new location build-out. The Moore Haven team has been offered continued employment within Goodwill SWFL. A closing sale will run Dec. 26–28, offering customers 50% off all donated goods in the Moore Haven store. For more information about Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, visit www.goodwillswfl.org or call (239) 995-2106.
15th annual Evening with the Red Sox set for February
This year’s 15th annual Evening with the Red Sox will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 17 at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers. The evening will include an extended cocktail reception with complimentary heavy hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine, autograph signings from Red Sox players, and silent and live auctions. A raffle for a Red Sox fan experience with a trip for four to Boston will also be available. The package includes a two-night hotel stay and tickets for four to two games at Fenway Park, including seats on the famed “Green Monster,” a private VIP tour of the ballpark, and on-field access. Only 250 raffle tickets will be sold at $50 each with all proceeds going to support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County. Tickets are available at LoveLeeKids.org. Sponsorships are available from $1,500. Individual tickets are $150 per person. Donations for auction items are also being accepted.
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