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Gulfshore Business Daily: December 4


After a five-hour special meeting Thursday with public comment and staff discussion, Naples City Council decided 4-3 to not mandate the wearing of masks in the city as a precaution during the COVID-19 pandemic. Council had options to approve the city’s own resolution or opt into the mask mandate already in place in the unincorporated areas of Collier County. Council members Ted Blankenship, Ray Christman and Paul Perry favored opting into the county mask mandate, while council members Mike McCabe and Gary Price, Vice Mayor Terry Hutchison and Mayor Teresa Heitmann opposed a formal mandate. “I think we’ve made it very clear we support public safety,” Mayor Heitmann says, noting that the city partners with NCH Healthcare System for the “All Heroes Wear Masks” public service campaign and still encourages personal responsibility for residents and visitors to wear masks and social distance when possible. Vice Mayor Hutchison supports people wearing masks as a fundamental right to protect themselves but does not support a mask mandate, which he said is not enforceable. “We have said yes to masks, but no to the mandate,” Councilman McCabe says. 

Video courtesy of WINK News


Now that a COVID-19 vaccine seems close to being released, first responders are preparing to be among the first to get injected. The current recommendation is that health care workers and employees at long-term care facilities will get the first round of the vaccine. Then, it will go to other essential workers, like firefighters and other first responders. While these phases are recommended, the final decision rests with governors of each state who are also consulting with health care officials, WINK News reports.

Video courtesy of WINK News


More than $1 million worth of improvements are coming to Tigertail Beach Park on Marco Island. Collier County has budgeted to improve park features, including the boardwalk, a playground and restrooms. Some community members hope that environmental changes such as concerns about water quality and control will come next, WINK News reports.


Premier Plus Realty Inc. purchased a 3,600-square-foot office suite in Vanderbilt Galleria at 9015 Strada Stell Court #104 in North Naples for $1.08 million. LandQwest Senior Broker Associate Eric Edwards represented the seller, who had the space under contract less than two weeks from it going to market. “The timing was right in that the seller wanted to downsize due to new, remote working standards and simply didn’t need the excess office space,” Edwards says. “The buyer has been a Vanderbilt tenant for over five years, who had intentions of purchasing a space to fit their own needs.” 

Video courtesy of WINK News


There won’t be a mad dash this holiday season to get a popular Christmas present in Southwest Florida: spring training tickets. That’s because Major League Baseball is still deciding whether to allow fans at the games. It has been a longstanding tradition for fans to line up, sometimes for hours, to get their hands on tickets, but that hasn’t happened this year. Fans hope the pandemic doesn’t ruin spring training in 2021, and so do local businesses that count on big bucks brought in by America’s pastime. Lee County said visiting fans for the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins in 2018 spent nearly $70 million in the Fort Myers area, and Tampa Bay Rays fans pumped Charlotte County’s economy by spending $10 million in the shortened season a year ago. The Red Sox and Twins are holding off on selling tickets until they get word from the MLB. The Rays are letting fans put down deposits. As for when the MLB might make a decision, it probably won’t happen until closer to spring training’s opening day at the end of February, WINK News reports.


Local entrepreneurs Lucas and Rachel Oest are starting their own empire of sorts with their second location of Empire Bagel Factory, which opened Nov. 24 in North Naples. The family-owned business started in 1994 on Marco Island, where it still has a large customer base. The Oests bought the local business six years ago and are the fourth owners of the brunch bakery. Their new location of Empire Bagel is next door to Samuel Mancino’s Pizza & Grinders, which also recently opened in the second phase of Vanderbilt Commons, the retail strip on Vanderbilt Beach Road just west of Collier Boulevard. Breakfast sandwiches are the biggest sellers at Empire Bagel Factory, said Lucas Oest, who emphasizes that everything there is made fresh daily. That includes more than 15 flavors of bagels and cream cheese spreads made in house. The most popular bagel flavors are everything, cinnamon raisin and plain, Oest said. The venue also has deli sandwiches for lunch. Empire Bagel Factory, 7273 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Unit 22, is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day. For more information call 239-228-5340 or go to EmpireBagelFactory.com


Raymond J. & Gayle M. Smith recently purchased the 3,640-square-foot industrial warehouse at 1222 SE 9th Terrace in Cape Coral from 1222 SE 9th Terrace LLC for $500,000. Industrial transactions continue to soar in the fourth quarter, according to LandQwest. By scoping out real estate inventory and monitoring transactions, a common theme is portrayed throughout this pandemic: industrial demand is at an all-time high, and inventory is flying off the market, the company states. Bob O’Connor, associate for the LandQwest Fort Myers office, represented the seller in this transaction. Van Deems with Phil Deems Real Estate represented the buyer.

Snead Eye Group lobby


Stevens Construction’s special projects division has completed an interior renovation of Snead Eye Group at 28420 Bonita Crossing Blvd., Suite 120, in Bonita Springs. The 2,700-square-foot interior renovation included the lobby, exam rooms, dilation room, optical displays and a nurse station. Stevens Construction delivered the local project two weeks ahead of schedule, completing the work in five weeks. The Stevens Construction special projects team for tenant improvements, additions, renovations, repairs and specialty projects includes Shane Sindledecker, Joe Cimilluca, Norma Cimilluca and Angie Sugg. Christopher J. Lee Architects Inc. was the architect of record and interior design was provided by Daisy Design Group. 


A newly constructed estate home located at 277 Gulf Shore Blvd. has recently closed for $10.2 million. It is the most expensive price-per-square-foot in the history of Old Naples real estate in a non-beach block, according to Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. The property was marketed exclusively by Rebecca Sinatra of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty’s Broad Avenue office. The home boasts two master suites, three en-suite guest rooms, a large loft with wet bar and balconies from the second floor. For more information, visit premiersothebysrealty.com.


Lee County ‘Sun Saver Passport’ provides exclusive local deals

Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) has launched its “Sun Saver Passport,” a free mobile-exclusive savings pass available to Lee County locals and visitors. Users will have access to exclusive deals on attractions, restaurants and experiences throughout the area. To participate, sign up on the Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel website. The pass will be delivered to your mobile phone via text, which can be redeemed from your phone at participating businesses. Discounts and savings available at area attractions include the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Everglades Wonder Gardens in Bonita Springs and the Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium and IMAG History & Science Center in Fort Myers.

Hope PACE serves community seniors with SendaRide

Hope PACE, the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, has expanded participants’ options for safe, convenient rides to physician’s appointments, essential errands, and Hope PACE Care Centers through a new partnership with SendaRide, a concierge non-emergency medical transportation service. SendaRide’s door-to-door transportation services are paired with state-of-the-art technology that records all rides. PACE participants’ caregivers can stay in contact with the drivers before and during the ride through the SendaRide app. To learn more, visit SendaRide.com.

Youth Haven Inc. earns four-star rating from Charity Navigator

Youth Haven’s financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. This is the sixth consecutive time that Youth Haven has earned this top distinction. Since 2002, using objective analysis, Charity Navigator has awarded only the most fiscally responsible organizations a four-star rating. In 2011, Charity Navigator added 17 metrics, focused on governance and ethical practices as well as measures of openness, to its ratings methodology.  Youth Haven’s rating and other information about charitable giving are available free of charge on charitynavigator.org

B&I Contractors Inc. honored by The Unified Group

The Unified Group, an association of independent HVAC commercial contractors in the industry, announces Florida-based B&I Contractors Inc. as the association’s 2020 Making the Difference Award recipient. Gary Griffin, president of B&I Contractors, Inc., accepted the award virtually during The Unified Group’s Annual Meeting and Owners’ Forum held from Nov. 4-6. Each year, the award is given to a member company that embodies The Unified Group’s core goals of assisting the membership in growing their businesses and improving their bottom-line profits, raising the level of excellence in the HVAC industry, providing members with the opportunity for continued improvement in all aspects of their businesses and sharing best practices. B&I Contractors Inc. was recognized for attending all training sessions throughout the year both live and virtual. Their team was on three planning task forces to create session agendas, choose speakers and present at meetings throughout the year.  

Kathy Parks King

Naples Yacht Club elects first female rear commodore

Naples Yacht Club, the first and oldest private club in Naples, announced its incoming officers and directors, which includes Kathy Parks King as rear commodore. In electing King, Naples Yacht Club becomes one of only a few yacht clubs in Florida and nationwide to have a woman in such a high-ranking leadership role, according to Naples Yacht Club. King holds an undergraduate degree in education from Millersville University and taught in Pennsylvania and California. After completing her master’s degree at the University of Maryland, King founded a private academic school with a focus on early childhood development. King was invited to join the Naples Yacht Club in 2011 and elected to the Board of Directors in 2018. Joining Parks on the Board of Directors are Joseph W. McClanathan, commodore; Richard B. Maxwell, vice commodore; Carol E. Girardin, treasurer; Thomas G. Fitzgerald, secretary; Steven R. McGirr, director; Brett A. Pheffer, director; C. Russell McKee, director; and John H. Tisdel, director.


Bank hosts Giving Tree for Children’s Advocacy Center of SWFL

Sanibel Captiva Community Bank is hosting a Giving Tree for the Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Florida holiday program at select bank locations. Every holiday season, the center identifies families in need that will benefit from their Giving Tree program. Southwest Florida businesses, community organizations and residents are asked to spread cheer by donating unwrapped gifts, cash donations and gift cards. All off-island Sanibel Captiva Community Bank locations are participating in the program. The Giving Tree at each bank location has gift tags available with the gender and age of a child. Participants can return donations at select bank locations until Dec. 18.

Nealon-signed banjo to benefit Hope Hospice in Giving Tuesday auction

Comedian and Saturday Night Live alumni Kevin Nealon has named Hope Hospice as his charity of choice for the banjo he designed and signed for the Giving Tuesday Charity Banjos auction open through Dec. 10. To bid on the banjo, see Nealon express his appreciation for how Hope Hospice has helped his family, and hear him play, click here. Nealon, who started playing banjo at age 18, is among celebrities – including Steve Martin, Scott Avett, and Mumford & Sons – who designed instruments for the Giving Tuesday fundraiser sponsored by Deering, The Great American Banjo Company. The one-of-a-kind maple wood stained Artisan Goodtime banjo has been personally signed by Nealon, with a hand-drawn heart and the quote “Harness the good, block the bad” from his Happy Gilmore character Gary “Psycho” Potter. 
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