Gulfshore Business Daily: February 15

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Leadership NEXT will host an event on downtown Fort Myers’ culinary scene from 5 to 7 p.m. on March 12 at Downtown Social House (SoHo) in Fort Myers. Guests will hear firsthand from one of the masterminds behind the River District’s emergence as a culinary hub. The event will also feature a discussion about general real estate development in downtown Fort Myers and a behind-the-scenes look at the Kearns Restaurant Group.

Frank J. Aloia Jr. of Aloia, Roland, Lubell, & Morgan, PLLC, will also speak at the event. Complimentary light appetizers and refreshments will be available. Leadership NEXT is free to attend for members of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and $10 for nonmembers. Register in advance at


Co-owners Rocco Mangel & Big Time Restaurant Group will open Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar on Feb. 27 at the Mercato Shops in Naples. Rocco’s Tacos opened in West Palm Beach in 2007 and has multiple locations.

No two Rocco’s Tacos restaurants look alike, but guests can expect a 5,400-square-foot space decorated with authentic Mexican flair purchased by Mangel himself at small villages throughout Mexico. Outdoors, guests can dine at the covered patio, complete with it’s own bar and a fire pit lounge. The restaurant also offers semi-private dining for groups. Menu items include rotisserie chickens, gluten-free items, market fresh fish and ceviche, and hearty salads.


Two entrepreneurs have purchased three pool service companies to create one of the largest pool service providers in Southwest Florida, a press release states. Partners Dan Buettin and Eric Dobson began their acquisitions with Tri-City Pools in November 2018 and added Majestic Pools Services Inc. and Infinity Pool Service Inc. in February. The companies will now operate as one under the Tri-City Pools LLC brand. For more information, go to


The Speakers Assembly of Southwest Florida is hosting a luncheon, featuring author Karna Small Bodman, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 22 at Vi at Bentley Village. The topic of discussion is “Turning White House Experience into Political Thrillers.” Bodman spent six years serving on past president Ronald Reagan’s White House staff, using her experiences as content for her political thrillers.

The luncheon also includes a program with a question-and-answer section with Bodman. The Platinum Sponsor is Northern Trust and the Florida Gulf Coast University students are sponsored by Lee Health Foundation. Tickets can be purchased online at Tickets are $50 for members and $65 for guests. A second lecture will be held on March 7 with Rev. Edwin D. Leahy.


Greater Naples Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) will hold its monthly meeting from 9:30 a.m. to noon on March 2 at Unitarian Universalist Church in Naples. The program will feature a presentation by actress Janina Birtolo, portraying Marjorie Stoneman Douglas in her one-woman show, Voice of the Everglades. There is no cost to attend.  For additional information, visit


WDG Architecture | Planning + Interiors is a Naples-based full-service architecture firm with both residential and commercial design studios. Naples custom residential designer Robert Mongillo and Naples architect Thomas Jones joined forces in the summer of 2018 to take over Weber Design Group from retiring husband and wife partners Bill and Kerry Weber, who established the firm in 1991.

Mongillo helped shape the former firm’s culture and success over the past decade in a leadership position while concentrating primarily in residential project types. Jones had joined the firm in 2017 to establish a commercial design studio after 20 years of doing primarily large-scale commercial projects as the lead designer for two of the biggest firms in Naples. Together they have reshaped, rebranded, and refreshed the former firm in order to establish a well-rounded professional practice, a press release states.


Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties launches its 9th Women Build season with a kickoff party at 6 p.m. on March 6 at the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center. The 2019 Women Build Kickoff Party will feature real stories of Women Build’s connections, impact and hope from Habitat homebuyers, their children and Women Build volunteers and supporters. Tickets are $25 and include complimentary valet, and complimentary beer and wine during the event. Tickets are available at

This year during Women Build, women will fundraise and volunteer to build two new Habitat homes for two mothers. The Kickoff Party launches fundraising. Two weeks before Mother’s Day, women gather to volunteer alongside the future Habitat homebuyers to complete the houses. The finished homes are revealed at a home dedication on May 11, the day before Mother’s Day.


PLAN to host casino night fundraiser

Physician Led Access Network of Collier County (PLAN) will host its signature fundraising event on Feb. 23 at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club. The event is a casino theme featuring poker tables, slot machines, roulette and craps, among other games. Attendees will purchase tickets to “gamble” with at the various games, accumulating raffle tickets they’ll be able to use to win prizes.

A silent auction will take place throughout the evening as well. More than 150 volunteer physicians and healthcare specialists provided more than 3,800 medical appointments last year for PLAN’s patients. The nonprofit also recently moved into a new office space. For more information, visit

Annual Great Dock Canoe set for May

The 43rd Annual Great Dock Canoe Race will be held on May 11 at the Dock at Crayton Cove. This year’s theme is “Heroes and Villains.” The Naples Junior (Jaycees) will host this traditional Naples event for a third consecutive year with the support of Vin DePasquale, event founder and owner of The Dock at Crayton Cove and Riverwalk at Tin City.

The Jaycees have selected Collier County 4-H Association as this year’s charity beneficiary to help them continue their work for children in our community. Newly introduced this year, the Naples Jaycees will offer free entry into the Theme Canoe Race for any one team representing registered nonprofit organizations in Collier County. For sponsorship information, more information or to register, visit

Businesses promote safe driving at Cars on 5th event

Brown & Brown Insurance of Southwest Florida partnered with Jim Buonavolonta of Ultimate Garages to sponsor Cars on 5th last Saturday. The event is St. Matthew’s House’s largest fundraising event, putting 100 percent of the proceeds back into the community.

For more 30 years, St. Matthew’s House has fought homelessness, hunger, substance abuse, and poverty in Southwest Florida. Brown & Brown and Ultimate Garages participated in the event with the goal of promoting safe driving by gathering hundreds of signatures vowing to not drive distracted on the hood of the Ultimate Garages’ sponsored Alfa Romeo track car. 

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