Gulfshore Business Daily: February 18

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John Talmage
Lead Photo: West Bay Club celebrates opening of Golf Clubhouse and completion of first phase of over $12 million amenity improvement project. Details below.

 

FIRST DOSE APPOINTMENTS IN LEE COUNTY RESCHEDULED

Winter weather impacting the central and eastern regions of the U.S. has caused shipping delays for first dose COVID-19 vaccines in Lee County, announced the Florida Department of Health. First doses appointments that were scheduled for Feb. 17 are rescheduled for Feb. 25 at the same time. People in Lee County who had an appointment this week to get their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will still be able to get their shot. To cancel your first dose appointment, email Lee-PIO@flhealth.gov  
 
 

FLORIDA LEGISLATION PROPOSED TO INCREASE DATA PRIVACY AND SECURITY

A bill before the Florida Legislature would increase data privacy and security, Gov. Ron DeSantis and House Speaker Chris Sprowls announced Monday. The proposal would expand the Florida Information Protection Act to include additional protection and security for biometric data such as fingerprints, voice recordings, retina scans and more. The proposed legislation would require businesses to publish a privacy policy for personal information; give consumers the right to know what information a business has collected about them; allow consumers to request to delete or correct certain personal information; require businesses to allow consumers to “opt-out” of the sale of personal information to third parties; prohibit discrimination for opting out; limit a business’ use and retention of personal information; give the attorney general power to enforce; and limit the new consumer data privacy requirements to larger businesses.
 
Video courtesy of WINK News

RESTAURANT TO-GO ALCOHOL SALES COULD BECOME PERMANENT

Florida restaurants would be able to sell alcohol for takeout and delivery under a bill approved by a Senate committee Tuesday that would make permanent a suspension during the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order last year allowing to-go alcohol to help restaurants that were losing business as people stayed home and capacity restrictions were enforced. While DeSantis has since lifted capacity limits, he has expressed support for allowing the businesses to continue takeout and delivery of cocktails, wine and beer. The Senate Regulated Industries Committee unanimously approved the bill. A similar proposal is scheduled to go before the Florida House Regulatory Reform Subcommittee today, WINK News reports.
 

John Talmage

TALMAGE REPORTS SUNNY OUTLOOK FOR COUNTY, ISLANDS THIS YEAR

Indicators such as building permitting, airport ratings, real estate prices and inventory, and new construction demonstrate the return to a robust economy in Lee County, John Talmage, director of the Lee County Economic Development Office, told members of the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce at its Feb. 10 Economic Development Power Hour virtual meeting. “From an economic development perspective, we’ve never been more busy,” he said. “We hope as a county that our property tax base is stabilized, that we’re not going to have to see any serious budget cuts.” For coastal communities such as Sanibel and Captiva islands, staycations and the “snow chicks” trend, where families temporarily relocate here while their children learn remotely, are the silver lining. As a result of Lee Cares, the county was able to put about $2 million into Sanibel, he said, including to non-profits such as CROW, the Community House, and F.I.S.H.; and grants for more than 110 Sanibel-based businesses. The next virtual business meeting of the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce is scheduled for noon on March 10 with Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau Executive Director Tamara Pigott as guest speaker. For more details, contact Lai at 239-472-2348 or John@sanibel-captiva.org.
 

Samantha Padgett

CHAMBERS PARTNER WITH FRLA FOR HOSPITALITY VIRTUAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE 

Two speakers with the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) will address hospitality industry issues in the upcoming state legislative session during a Hospitality Virtual Legislative Update 2021 scheduled from 9:30-10:15 a.m. on Feb. 24. The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce and Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce are partnering on the presentation, which is sponsored by SENTEXT. As FRLA general counsel, speaker Samantha Padgett provides legal advice and services to FRLA and its leadership and serves as an advocate for the restaurant and lodging industries at the federal, state, and local levels. She previously served for 10 years as the vice president and general counsel of the Florida Retail Federation. Speaker Richard Turner assumed the role of FRLA senior vice president of government relations in September 2002. He has been a member of the Florida Bar for more than 25 years and has more than 17 years of experience in state government. The Sanibel-Captiva chamber already has sent its members Zoom invitations to register for the virtual event. When members RSVP, they will receive a link to the Zoom meeting in advance. For more information, contact Lai at john@sanibel-captiva.org.
 

NAPLES CHAMBER EVENT TO DISCUSS FUTURE OF RESTAURANT INDUSTRY

The Greater Naples Chamber will host a panel of local restaurant owners to discuss the future of the local restaurant industry on March 3 at Hilton Naples. Registration begins at 3:30 p.m., followed by the 4 p.m. program. Panelists Vincenzo Betulia, owner of Osteria Tulia, Bar Tulia and The French; Mick Moore, partner at The Turtle Club; and Tony Ridgway, co-owner of Ridgway Bar & Grill, Bayside Seafood Grill & Bar and Tony’s Off Third; will discuss how the restaurant industry responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, lessons learned over the past few months and opportunities for growth in the future. The event is similar to “Wake Up Naples” and will provide opportunities for networking prior to the program. Hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be offered. Register online here. The cost to attend is $30 for members and $40 for nonmembers. 
 

SWFL COUNTIES NAMED AMONG PLACES WITH HIGHEST TAX REFUNDS IN FLORIDA

Collier, Glades and Hendry counties were included in SmartAsset’s “Places with the Highest Tax Refunds” list for Florida. To determine the counties that received the highest average tax refunds in Florida, the study divided the total amount of money refunded to residents by the IRS by the number of refunds distributed in each county. Collier County topped the list with Glades County following at No. 3. Hendry County ranked No. 7. For more details on the study, including our methodology and interactive map, click here.
 

MARDI GRAS PLANNED THIS WEEKEND AT PARADISE COAST SPORTS COMPLEX

The United Arts Council of Collier County, in partnership with Paradise Coast Sports Complex, is hosting Mardi Gras this weekend at Paradise Coast Sports Complex, 3868 City Gate Blvd N., Naples. The local event, 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, will feature live music from local and regional musicians, an art exhibition with local artists, as well as festival-inspired food and beverages.  The event will include local jazz musicians including Gerald Augustin, Dan Miller and Lew Del Gatto. Social distancing practices should be followed, as well as the requirement to wear masks per CDC and Collier County guidelines. Tickets are limited and can only be purchased online by clicking here.
 

WEST BAY CLUB COMPLETES FIRST PHASE OF $12M AMENITY IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

The West Bay Club, an 868-acre luxury community in Estero, is celebrating the completion of the first phase of a planned $12 million-plus renovation project as the club recently unveiled its newly expanded and redesigned golf clubhouse. Improvements focused on enhancing the member and guest experience. Phase two of the multi-phase amenity improvement project is currently underway and includes updating and transforming the Golf Club’s Niblick bar and community’s Bay House activity center, poolside fitness building and expanded dining options. Phase three of the project will include the Beach Club ocean-side amenity. The West Bay Club recently gave members a guided tour of the $5 million golf clubhouse renovation. Meyers & Associates architects and Troon Design worked with West Bay Club management and a resident-led Renovation Task Force collaborated for nearly a year on the West Bay Vision 2020 plan for the amenity improvements. Crews began working on the first phase of construction in April 2020. The entire multi-phase project is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. The amenity improvement project comes on the heels of a $4 million enhancement of The West Bay Club’s Pete Dye championship golf course in 2018 by Fry/Straka golf course architects.
 

DESIGN COMPLETED FOR NEW LUXURY CONDO COMMUNITY IN PUNTA GORDA

PDS Architecture has completed the design of the exterior and interior of Paradise Pointe — the first luxury condominium community in Punta Gorda in more than 10 years. The team completed this project, from plan to permit, in approximately six months. All 39 units have full views of Charlotte Harbor and features such as imported quartz countertops, porcelain tile floors and sliding pocket glass doors. Two lifestyle floor plans, from 1,832 to 2,597 square feet, include two to three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms built around distinctions like dual closets, tray ceilings and LED lighting in the master suite as well as double sinks, a garden tub, an enclosed shower door and linen closets in the master bathroom. The adjacent kitchen includes stainless-steel appliances, soft-close cabinets and an eat-in island.
 

SEAGATE COMPLETES HERITAGE CARPET AND TILE PROJECT

Seagate Development Group has completed the interior of Heritage Carpet and Tile LLC’s new location — Premier Airport Park, 16240 Airport Park Drive, Suite 140, in Fort Myers. Part of the full-service flooring contractor’s plan to transition from two facilities to one central location, this project satisfies its short-term goal and accommodates future growth. Seagate entered a preexisting shell of a building in the third quarter of last year and completed the interior one month ahead of schedule. The scope of work for this approximately 17,000-square-foot headquarters included warehouse and office space for dozens of employees.
 

MS CENTER OF SWFL WELCOMES NEW BOARD CHAIR, MEMBERS

The Multiple Sclerosis Center of Southwest Florida has appointed a new board chair, Shannon Diener, and two new board members, Suzanne McGuire and Ann Walsh, for 2021. Diener owns MSD Property Management and has served on the board of directors for four years. She was involved in a start-up wheelchair manufacturer and the disabled sports world at the age of 24. McGuire is a Realtor and broker for Go McGuire Group in Bonita Springs. Walsh, the executive director for All Seasons Naples, has a background in senior housing and served in various executive-level positions over the last 20 years. McGuire and Walsh join sitting board members Kevin Hallinan, treasurer; Julie Fisher; and Charles Stanisce, secretary.
 
 

CHARITABLE NOTES

 

Collier Capital Club sponsoring A Taste of Food & Art to benefit St. Matthew’s House

Collier Capital Club is sponsoring A Taste of Food & Art this week to benefit St. Matthew’s House. The event from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, features culinary delights at the Collier Capital Club, 3200 Bailey Lane, Suite 275, Naples. Chef Don Splain’s menu includes Gulf Coast ceviche, brisket sliders, Caprese skewers, elote, ocean vegetable salad, charcuterie, blood orange mousse, key lime cheesecake and profiteroles. Bid on a personal dining experience with Chef Splain in the silent auction. Pre-purchased tickets are required for attendance and have been capped to ensure a safe socially distanced event. Complimentary PPE will be available, provided by NCH, as well as sanitizing wipes and gel. To secure tickets on EventBrite, clickhere.
 

Midwest Food Bank FL hosting virtual auction through Friday

Midwest Food Bank of Florida is hosting a virtual auction until midnight on Feb. 19, featuring items such as gift certificates to area restaurants, vacation get-aways, and an in-home gourmet dinner by James Beard Award-winning executive chef Adam Siegel. The virtual auction will be followed by the nonprofit’s Carryout Dinner on Feb. 20. Tickets are available here. Midwest Food Bank of Florida is a volunteer-driven, faith-based organization dedicated to alleviating hunger, malnutrition and providing disaster relief locally.
 

Jennifer’s March Fashion Forward Friday to benefit Foster Care Advisory Services

Jennifer’swomen’s boutique is celebrating 38 years in business by giving back to local charities at “Fashion Forward Friday” events through April. Foster Care Advisory Services (FCAS) will receive 5% of all sales from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 5. Shoppers will enjoy champagne and cupcakes and receive 15% off all dresses. Jennifer’s will also be collecting gift cards to Target and Walmart to support Foster Care Advisory Services’ programs. Foster Care Advisory Services is an all-volunteer charitable organization that provides additional support for foster children and their caregivers. 
 

Catalyst Community Capital Inc. completes first impact investment

Catalyst Community Capital Inc., in collaboration with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, has closed on its first investment through the Foundation’s newly established revolving loan fund. The Foundation formed the impact investment fund last year to provide nonprofit and for-profit social entrepreneurs access to capital. The first investment was structured as a loan to Total Healthcare Alliance, LLC d.b.a. Sozo Wellness of Dunbar, a minority- and woman-owned business. Dr. Shadreka McIntosh, a fifth-generation Dunbar resident who has always dreamed of bringing a pharmacy to her community, formed Sozo Wellness Pharmacy with a vision to create not just a pharmacy, but a wellness center that provides a suite of services and solutions that lead to wholeness in mind, body and spirit. Sozo’s opening will fill a gap that has long been present in this area of healthcare services, as there is currently no pharmacy within a 2.5-mile radius of the 33916 zip code. The Foundation collaborated with Catalyst Community Capital, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) mission-based lender and certified Community Development Entity, to help facilitate the investment. 
 
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