Gulfshore Business Daily: February 13

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Best Buddies of Southwest Florida uses the "buddy" system for best outcomes.


Voters preparing for the March 17 Bonita Springs City Council race have a new resource to learn about each candidate: podcasts. The Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce has interviewed all five candidates running in the special election, and those interviews are available now for free at Listeners can also hear an interview with the Lee and Collier Supervisors of Elections, Tommy Doyle and Jennifer Edwards, to get an overview of the major elections happening in 2020, and the processes voters need to understand to make their vote count. The Bonita Springs Area Chamber’s “Chamber Chat” podcast series, including all candidate interviews, is available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Corey Vertich


Corey Vertich, principal with Uhler and Vertich Financial Planners, was selected by Forbes magazine for its annual list of the top wealth advisors across the country. Forbes’ list spotlights wealth advisors who were chosen based on an algorithm of quantitative and qualitative criteria, including in-person interviews, industry experience, compliance records, revenue produced and assets under management. Vertich is one of five Fort Myers wealth advisors included on the list. Vertich, a graduate of Barry University School of Business in Miami, began his financial planning career in 1989 and became a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) professional in 1994. He has served as president of the local chapters of the Institute of Certified Financial Planners and Financial Planning Association of Southwest Florida. Vertich was charter president of the Kiwanis Club of Iona McGregor. He is an Eagle Scout and a life member of the National Eagle Scout Association.


Clive Daniel Home has appointed John G. Whitman III as the company’s new vice president of interior design. The industry veteran brings to his new position more than 25 years of achievements in product design for the home furnishings industry as well as luxury interior design. He will be working between both Clive Daniel Home locations in Naples and Boca Raton, as he leads in the management of the firm’s 60 interior designers. NCIDQ Certified and licensed in both Florida and Georgia, JW has earned praise and awards for crafting interior and exterior designs for residential, hospitality, retail, marine and commercial applications. The native Floridian earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from Ringling School of Art & Design in Sarasota. Professional affiliations include membership in ASID plus a list of regional and national design awards, including 2000 Dream Home Best of Show for Tampa market, Sand Dollar awards from CBIA, Pinnacle awards from LBIA and a national Aurora award.


Sanibel Captiva Community Bank announces the Zelle experience is now live within its mobile banking app. Embedded into the digital banking experience of Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, Zelle enables convenient person-to-person (P2P) payments for mobile banking consumers. The Zelle Network includes banks and credit unions of all sizes. For more than 140 million consumers, Zelle is already available from the convenience of their mobile banking app, making digital payments a fast, safe, and easy alternative to cash and checks. Zelle allows for funds to be sent from one bank account in the U.S. to another, using only a recipient’s email address or U.S. mobile number. Funds are typically available within minutes when both parties are already enrolled with Zelle. For more information, visit


Interior designer Ann Del Pero, a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), at 11 a.m. on Feb. 27 at Clive Daniel Home, will combine her interior design experience with her CAPS training to help clients modify their homes and changing lifestyles for aging in place. To register for the complimentary event, “Staying in Place,” contact CDH at (239) 213-7844 or register online here. Del Pero holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in interior architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design, a master’s certificate in industrial design and design management from Milan, Italy, and a master’s degree in museum studies from Johns Hopkins University.

Justin Ungar


CONRIC PR & Marketing names Justin Ungar as its art director. Ungar, who previously served as the agency’s senior graphic artist, is now in his third year with CONRIC. Over the years he has applied his fresh perspective to CONRIC’s imagery and visual design to craft logos, advertising design, promotional marketing materials, brand guidelines, digital graphics and animation for a number of regional and national clients. Many of Ungar’s visual designs created in collaboration with CONRIC’s marketing team have garnered regional, national and international awards and recognition. In his new role, Ungar will work more closely with clients in an effort to ensure that campaign objectives and client expectations are exceeded. He will also be joining our creative director to lead the design team as CONRIC continues to expand its graphic design department in 2020.


Wilson Creative Group (WCG) has appointed Christian Anderson to traffic coordinator. In this role, Anderson is responsible for directing and monitoring the flow of materials and resources through the company, tracking and disseminating information, creating schedules for the timely delivery of resources and materials, and identifying potential issues to avoid the disruption of work schedules. Utilizing the agency’s comprehensive project management software, he develops workflow schedules and timelines, identifies opportunities to adjust and revise processes, and increases efficiency by developing solutions for potential workflow delays. A Naples native, Barron Collier High School graduate and freelance mixed-media artist, Anderson studied film/video and photographic arts at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Blackberry French Toast


Traditional Italian cuisine meets trendy brunch favorites at Miromar Outlets’ newest dining establishment, Italian Kitchen & Brunch Patio. Located in suite 315 near Michael Kors and La Bamba Mexican Restaurant, the eatery hosts plenty of outdoor seating with lake views. Open as a weekend destination, the patio menu offers a variety of brunch selects such as avocado toast, shrimp and grits, blackberry and goat cheese French toast, omelets, and $20 bottomless mimosas until 1 p.m. Lunch items include prime burgers, sandwiches and wraps. The Brunch Patio is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Italian Kitchen offers full service inside and outside as well as carry-out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Dine at Italian Kitchen & Brunch Patio located lakeside inside the Restaurant Piazza or call (239) 948-2684 for more information. 


Studio+ supports American Heart Association

In celebration of National Heart Month, Studio+, an Architecture and Interior Design firm, is supporting the American Heart Association (AHA) by pledging to match up to $5,000 in donations to the organization. Studio+ encourages the public to join them in support of National Heart Month by making donations via According to the American Heart Association, Heart Disease is the number one killer of Americans. By donating to the American Heart Association, supporters can help fund critical research and programs to prevent heart-related illnesses.

Bonita Chamber receives grant to support Career Compass

The Bonita Springs Area Chamber will continue its Career Compass program through 2020 with support from a grant from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. Career Compass is a workforce retention program the Bonita Springs Area Chamber created in partnership with Florida Gulf Coast University to connect students with employers across Southwest Florida through informational interviews, mock interviews and networking opportunities. For more information about Career Compass, contact Charles Stanisce at the Bonita Springs Area Chamber at (239) 992-2943.

Best Buddies of Southwest Florida uses the “buddy” system to bring the community together.

Best Buddies to host second annual walk for Inclusion 

Best Buddies of Southwest Florida will host its second annual Friendship Walk in support of the local community with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in isolation on April 18 at Miromar Outlets. Registered walkers raising a minimum of $50 will receive a Best Buddies T-shirt and join the movement of igniting life change through inclusion and international friendships. Following the walk will be a “Party in the Park,” a celebration that will include the walk, music from a live DJ, face painting, food, cheerleaders, therapy dogs, and many more family-friendly activities for people of all ages. Since October of 2017, Best Buddies in Southwest Florida will host has grown from having two school chapters to 26 school chapters. Best Buddies is closing the gap on an isolated community and bringing elementary to college-aged students together through the “buddy” system. Register here. For sponsorship information, call (239) 275-2510.

Community Foundation of Collier County distributes $50,000 in grants from new fund

The Community Foundation of Collier County has distributed five $10,000 grants from the newly established Community Fund for Marco Island at a private reception at the home of Allyson and Jim Richards to Art League of Marco Island, Collier County Parks and Recreation, YMCA of South Collier, Marco Island Academy, and Our Daily Bread Food Pantry. An advisory board of members of the Marco Island community provides volunteer leadership focusing on setting priorities, introducing donors, and directing grants to the Island’s greatest needs. The Community Fund for Marco Island is a field-of-interest fund, supported by the Community Foundation of Collier County and private donors, whose goal is to build a permanent endowment of $5 million. The Community Foundation will hold the fund, provide investment, accounting, grantmaking, and administrative support. Learn more at

Meals of Hope expands mobile food pantry outreach

Meals of Hope, the largest food pantry provider in Southwest Florida, has expanded its weekly mobile food pantry outreach at a new location: Farm Workers Village, 1724 Elm Hammock Circle, Immokalee, open from 3:30-5:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Anyone who needs assistance is welcome to choose from a varying selection of food offered at mobile pantries, including frozen meat, fresh produce and canned goods. Please bring an ID and bags to carry food. Volunteers should arrive at 2:30 p.m. To donate food, sponsor meal packing event, or volunteer at a mobile pantry, please email for information. Volunteers need to arrive one hour before the mobile pantry distribution starts, stay the full three hours, and wear closed-toe shoes. To help those in need, a new interactive map of Collier County Food Pantries can also be found at

Youth Haven to participate in 24-hour giving campaign

Youth Haven is one of 40 local nonprofits selected to participate in the 24-hour “Give Where You Live” campaign, hosted by the Community Foundation of Collier County. The campaign will run from noon on Feb. 19 to noon on Feb. 20. Funds will be maximized through a matching fund provided by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation and the Community Foundation of Collier County. Donors are able to give to Youth Haven by check, credit card, or wire transfer. Give Where You Live Collier is a county-wide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy in Collier County through a donation match. In 2019, the 24-hour campaign yielded more than $5 million by 2,221 donors. For more information, email or call (239) 687-5175.

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