Video courtesy of WINK News
SWFL BUSINESSES CONTINUE SEEING BOOM DURING SUMMER MONTHS
An unexpected but welcomed spike in business is happening in Southwest Florida during the summer months long after the season ended. Capt. Ryan Riegsecker, the owner of Fin Crazy Charters, is sailing through summer busier than ever. His charter boat business picked up in the spring as usual but, unusually, never slowed down. He’s sailing twice as often as last summer. “It’s been every day non-stop, hardly any days off compared to the regular season,” he says. Kevin Sawyer, general manager of Snook’s Bayside Restaurant & Tiki Bar, agrees. Sawyer said his local restaurant usually closes a few times during the summer because business is so slow but that’s not the case now. Instead, Snook’s is dealing with a staffing challenge. The host and managers are all serving food because they are having a hard time finding help, WINK News reports.
AAA: GAS PRICES WEAKEN AS CRUDE PRICES FALL FROM 2021 HIGHS
The state average price for gasoline in Florida has fallen below $3 a gallon for the first time this month. The average price for gasoline is now $2.99, down 2 cents from last week, yet still 4 cents more than a month ago. “Crude oil prices declined last week, which has enabled gasoline prices to weaken,” says Mark Jenkins, spokesman for Tampa-based AAA – The Auto Club Group. Gas prices have increased 82 cents this year. The main driver behind the jump at the pump has been the price of crude. Punta Gorda ($2.89) and Fort Myers ($2.95) are among the least expensive metro markets in Florida for gasoline, while the state’s most expensive markets are Panama City ($3.15) and West Palm Beach-Boca Raton ($3.14). For daily gas price averages in Florida click here.
DOWNING-FRYE FOUNDER DIES IN NAPLES AT AGE 92
Earl Frye, co-founder of Downing-Frye & Associates real estate company in Naples, passed away July 10 at age 92. An Ohio native, Frye moved his family to Naples in 1962. He served as president of the Naples Area Board of Realtors in 1969 and was inducted into the NABOR hall of fame in 2009. Frye was instrumental in forming Royal Poinciana Golf Club of Naples and was involved in developing many local projects, including Meridian, Pebble Shores, Wilderness Country Club, Bonita Beach Club, Commodore Club and River Oaks. He was the founding president of the Collier County Appraisal Society, served as a former trustee of Naples Community Hospital, chairman of First National Bank of Collier County and chairman emeritus of Bank of Florida. The family requests that friends and family perform a random act of kindness in Frye’s memory. Memorials in his memory also may be sent to Wounded Warriors of Collier County, 4851 Tamiami Trail N., Suite 200, Naples, FL 34103.
INTERVIEW EVENT CONNECTS JOB SEEKERS TO LOCAL BUSINESSES WITH IMMEDIATE OPENINGS
Express Employment Professionals is putting job seekers to work through its fourth annual mass interviewing event, expanded from one day to a full week, Aug. 2-6. Formerly called National Interview Day, the event was created by the staffing company in 2018 as a new way to recruit and educate job seekers in a historically tight labor market. Job seekers are encouraged to visit ExpressPros.com/HiringEvent before Aug. 2 and complete an application to expedite the interview process. Applicants, who will not be charged a fee, will be contacted for interviews, possibly before Aug. 2, based on the type of work they are seeking. The local Express office at 3358 Woods Edge Circle, Suite 102, Bonita Springs, serves Collier and south Lee counties. Local businesses and applicants are encouraged to stop by, call 239-498-5000 or click here.
BEST WESTERN HOTEL CELEBRATES 60TH ANNIVERSARY IN NAPLES
Best Western Naples Inn & Suites celebrated with a party Friday to commemorate its 60th anniversary at 2329 Ninth St. N. in Naples. The hotel opened in June 1961 to host visitors at its tropical paradise that features lush, botanical gardens, sculpted koi ponds, water features and whimsical sculptures. The property includes 110 guest rooms and suites stretched over three buildings and 4 acres with two outdoor swimming pools and hot tubs. Apartments with fully equipped kitchens are also available for rent.
CAPE CORAL RESTAURANT ADDS PIZZA-SERVING ROBOT
The owner of Lelulo’s Pizza Life in Cape Coral bought a robot to help serve its customers. The robot is not replacing servers but it is bringing a unique experience to the table. With the touch of a button, the robot brings pizzas from the kitchen to the table and it even talks. The robot has sensors so it can tell if something is in the way as it makes its way to the table. The family-owned-and-operated pizzeria plans to reward the winner of a naming contest for the robot with a $100 gift card, WINK News reports.
WATERSIDE RESTAURANT LEAVING CAPE HARBOUR AT END OF YEAR
Rumrunners restaurant is leaving its waterfront location along Cape Harbour at the end of the year. The owners of Cape Harbour are not renewing the restaurant’s lease, WINK News reports. A representative with Realmark Development, which owns Cape Harbour, said Rumrunners will remain open to the end of its lease, which is the end of the calendar year. Realmark said another restaurant will move into the space, but Rumrunners’ regulars say they will be sad to see the 18-year-old restaurant go.
NAPLES PLAYERS EXPANDING ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF
Not only is The Naples Players celebrating the reopening of the theater after COVID, but the local community theater group also is expanding its administrative staff. This year, the development and marketing departments are being led by two new hires, Candace Johnson and Lauren Speirs, who come from both sides of the country and even have international experience. They have been working together to build a new foundation of philanthropy and marketing at The Naples Players and will be responsible for a capital campaign, charitable giving, foundation support and sponsorships. Johnson is the director of institutional giving and events, while Speirs is the marketing and public relations specialist.
CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF NAPLES PROMOTES TWO TO SENIOR POSITIONS
Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (CMON) announces the promotions of Beth Housewert to senior director of play and learning and Desiree Cuenca to director of marketing and engagement. Housewert, who joined CMON in 2012, is responsible for creating inspiring, playful, educational programs and exhibits for CMON guests. She oversees all educational components from exhibit creation to program development, budgeting and grant administration. Cuenca will oversee marketing, communications, volunteer services and the gift store for the local museum. She joined the company in 2020 as marketing manager and quickly rose to a senior-level position. Both Housewart and Cuenca are part of CMON’s senior leadership team and will work closely with CMON Executive Director Dena Rae Hancock.
OFFSHORE SAILING SCHOOL BENEFITS FROM INCREASE IN BOATING
The desire to get out on the water and enjoy boating continues to be robust, according to the National Marine Manufacturers’ Association (NMMA). Offshore Sailing School, headquartered in south Fort Myers, has benefited from the exponential growth in outdoor activities because of the pandemic. “Our customer levels have more than doubled versus a year ago and our business growth trend is very positive into 2022,” says President and CEO Doris Colgate, who co-owns Offshore Sailing School with her husband, Steve, an Olympian, America’s Cup sailor and National Sailing Hall of Fame inductee, who founded the local business in 1964. To accommodate unprecedented demand, the company is actively recruiting sailboat and powerboat owners to place boats in the company’s fleet in Cape Coral, Captiva, Fort Myers Beach and St. Petersburg.
HAMMOCK PARK APARTMENTS PERMITTING SOON IN NAPLES AREA
MK Architecture is nearing completion of the construction documents for Hammock Park Apartments by FL Star Development and Construction. The project consists of a four-story, contemporary design apartment building with 265 units of luxury rental apartments at Collier Boulevard and Rattlesnake Hammock Road in the Naples area. It also includes a two-story amenity center with a grand lobby, fitness facility, business center, demonstration kitchen, games area, a resort-style pool and other outdoor amenities. The project is anticipated to be in for permitting within the next few weeks.
TRUE FASHIONISTAS OWNER SELECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN ELITE EMERGING LEADERS PROGRAM
Jennifer Johnson, the owner of Naples-based True Fashionistas Designer Resale has been selected to participate in the South Florida Small Business Association’s (SBA) Emerging Leaders Initiative, an executive-level series designed to accelerate the growth of high-potential small businesses. Hundreds of business owners apply each cycle, and only a few are accepted.
Community Blood Center at NCH experiences shortage, needs donations
The Community Blood Center in Collier County announced this week that it has low blood supplies and is in need of blood donors. Officials for the center say they’ve seen a decline in the number of people donating recently. The center is especially low on types A and O. To donate blood, visit the Community Blood Center at NCH North Naples, 11190 Health Park Blvd., off Immokalee Road, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Friday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. The minimum age to give blood is 16 and donors can safely give blood every 56 days. For more information call 239-624-4120 or click here.
Cypress Cove awards 26 employee scholarships for fall term
The staff scholarship committee at Cypress Cove recently awarded a total of $52,000 in fall 2021 educational scholarships to 26 employees and dependents of its continuing care retirement community in south Fort Myers. The recent scholar selections bring to 64 the number of employees and their dependents who have been chosen as scholarship recipients. Cypress Cove’s fall scholars’ class is the largest-ever group award given since the program began in 2018. Scholarship awardees will be represented this fall at nine different institutions of higher learning: Florida SouthWestern State College, Rasmussen University, University of South Florida, Fort Myers Technical College, University of Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University, Broward College, Keiser University and the University of West Florida.
‘Ding’ Darling awards $30K for environmental studies scholarships
In compliance with state pandemic guidelines, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) this year remotely awarded $30,700 in conservation education scholarships to 14 students from the surrounding five-county area. During its 15-year history, the DDWS Environmental Scholarship Program has awarded a total of $199,500 to deserving students. Eleven donors sponsored the 14 scholarships this year. DDWS also will award scholarships starting at $1,000 each at the end of the 2021-22 school year. High school seniors and college students living in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades, and Hendry counties and pursuing careers in biology, conservation and environmental studies are eligible. For an application and to read full descriptions of 2020 scholarship winners and donors, click here. Individuals and businesses interested in establishing a named scholarship of $1,000 or more for 2021-22 should contact Lynnae Messina at 239-472-1100, extension 233.
Don’t be the last to know what’s happening in Southwest Florida. Sign up for our free daily newsletter, Gulfshore Business Daily, to stay connected.