Gulfshore Business Daily: July 29

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Lead Photo: Storm Smart donates to Harry Chapin Food Bank and presents check at the WINK News station. Details below.



In Florida, 3.2 million jobs were retained from the 393,028 of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans funded to Florida small businesses, according to a report from That’s $32 billion in funding, the report shows. The Paycheck Protection Program has funded over $519 billion to small businesses across the country. To produce the report,, scoured through loan-level data to find how many jobs were retained because of PPP loans, then broke down data to see how each state was affected by the PPP loans granted to their small businesses. For the full report, click here.

Credit: WINK News


A lot of people in Southwest Florida are looking for jobs. With the pandemic canceling a lot of career fairs, CareerSource Southwest Florida is taking its career fair virtual from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, July 30. Several local employers, including Lee Health and the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, are taking part, WINK News reports. Pre-registration is required to attend the virtual career fair. You can find more information and register for the event here.
Video courtesy of WINK News


Florida growers must plan ahead to protect the state’s citrus supply during hurricane season. From diseases to storms, citrus grove operators must be prepared, WINK News reports. Jim Snively, the vice president of grove operations for Southern Gardens Citrus in Clewiston, knows the ups and downs of the citrus industry. “Things for us have just been extremely challenging,” he says. “Hurricane Irma caused us about a 65% fruit loss.” In addition to keeping drainage under control, growers should concentrate on securing hazardous chemicals and having machinery ready for the aftermath, suggests Fernando Alferez, who has a doctorate in plant biology and is an assistant professor and citrus horticulturist with UF/IFAS Extension Southwest Florida Research and Education Center. For more information, view the USDA Citrus Producers Guide for the hurricane season here.

Video courtesy of WINK News


As the mask debate continues to heat up nationwide, more businesses are mandating masks, and that includes fitness centers. Planet Fitness sent an email to its members telling them they will be required to wear masks at its gym locations beginning Saturday, Aug. 1. Members will have to wear them at all times, per the fitness center’s guidelines, which means on the treadmill or while lifting weights. Some members don’t agree with the mask requirement, which could be unsafe while working out, WINK News reports.



OFDC Commercial Interiors is now offering an extensive line of customizable desk dividers that provide an added layer of protection for employees who use shared workspaces. The Fort Myers-based company is able to supply and install desk partitions ideal for medical offices, law firms, accounting and payroll departments, call centers, government offices and other businesses where employees spend the bulk of their workday at desks. Dividers are made of acrylic, laminate fiberboard and sturdy cardboard with durable surfaces that are easy to clean. Desktop and freestanding options are available. OFDC also offers panel cleaning services to keep workspaces sanitized. Additionally, OFDC has introduced Business Sanitization Essentials, which includes protective face masks, hand sanitizers, disinfectant sprays and office supplies, as well as a Back-to-Work Bag for employees that includes gloves, disinfecting wipes, sanitizer and masks. For more information, visit


Valerie’s House, a nonprofit organization with the sole mission of helping children grieve, is reopening on Aug. 3, with in-person support groups at its three locations in Lee, Collier, and Charlotte counties. During the past 90 days, 67 new children joined the Valerie’s House program, including children who lost a family member to the coronavirus.  Valerie’s House has been offering virtual support groups since March 29 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A survey sent to families indicated 80% wanted to come back to meeting in person. Safety precautions will be enacted. Valerie’s House has also added additional nights for grief support to allow for social distancing and increased demand.  Groups now will be offered every night Monday through Thursday at each of the locations throughout Southwest Florida.  Two additional counselors have been hired to accommodate the expanded schedule, bringing the total number of employees to 10, including three licensed clinicians. Virtual groups will continue to be available for families who want to continue meeting online. Valerie’s House is accepting appointments for new enrollments. For more information, visit


The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business Committee will host a virtual program at 4 p.m. on Aug. 5, highlighting solutions and resources for job searching and career development in the current climate. The program will be led by Janeth Castrejon, communications manager for CareerSource Southwest Florida, and Nadine Kramarz, reference librarian for the Lee County Library System. Castrejon and Kramarz will cover topics including how to evolve to the new norm of online interviews and meetings as well as the free and varied resources that both organizations provide for individuals and small businesses. The Women in Business virtual program is free to attend, but registration is required by visiting here

Shelly Church


Two continue serving on American Heart Association Southeast Board of Directors

Shelly Church, senior vice president of investments at Raymond James, and Sally Jackson, community volunteer, will once again serve on the American Heart Association Southeast Board of Directors. The American Heart Association is the world’s leading volunteer organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Church has served as a volunteer in many leadership roles with the American Heart Association, including several years on the regional board. Jackson serves as the chair of the Southeast Board Nominating Committee. Both women will serve on the board during the Association’s 2020-2021 fiscal year.

Peter Brochin

Harwick Homes appoints superintendent

Harwick Homes has appointed Peter Brochin as superintendent. Brochin has more than 33 years of experience in the homebuilding industry. He has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Eckerd College with studies in real estate investment analysis and is a Class A State licensed general contractor. Brochin’s experience includes managing the construction of luxury custom homes in the capacity of principal, project manager and superintendent throughout the state of Florida.


2021 Naples Winter Wine Festival goes virtual

The Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF) will present a virtual 2021 Naples Winter Wine Festival, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” on Jan. 30, 2021, celebrating the dedicated community of partners who have helped deliver life-changing services to the underprivileged and at-risk children in Collier County. The Naples Winter Wine Festival enters its 21st year, impacting more than 45 of the most effective nonprofits in the local community and providing more than 275,000 local children with the services and resources they need to excel. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the annual event has been re-engineered to prioritize the health and safety of all NCEF donors, patrons and partners. A highlight of the event is the first-ever televised fundraiser, courtesy of WINK-TV. In addition, the online auction will remain open for bids until Feb. 2, 2021. The 2021 festival chairs are Darlene and Don DeMichele. 

TwinCutZ offers free back-to-school haircuts on Aug. 30

In preparation for back to school, TwinCutZ is hosting its annual free haircut day for students from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 30 at all five Southwest Florida locations. In addition to complimentary haircuts, TwinCutZ is also gifting every student a free backpack. Additionally, TwinCutZ is donating backpacks to Community Cooperative and inviting the community to donate school supplies to help fill those backpacks and support local families. Due to social distancing and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) precautionary guidelines, advance reservations are required. For locations and contact information, visit

Storm Smart donated $100,000 to Harry Chapin Food Bank from June sales campaign

Storm Smart donated $100,000 to the Harry Chapin Food Bank after success with its June sales campaign. A check was presented live on the 6 p.m. news by executive chairman Brian Rist at the WINK News station on July 13. Through the month of June 2020, Storm Smart announced that for every qualifying purchase of $2,500 or more, they committed to donate $100 to the Harry Chapin Food Bank. Storm Smart saw increased community support with this effort and thus had the opportunity to give back to the community in a meaningful way. The Harry Chapin Food Bank has seen a 137% increase in demand for food supply within the five counties it covers. For more information, visit Volunteers are needed.

Youth Haven awarded $10,000 grant from Suncoast Credit Union

Youth Haven Inc. has received a $10,000 grant from Suncoast Credit Union. The funds received will be used to offset the additional expenses associated with running Youth Haven’s residential programs on its 24-acre campus during the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds will directly support the additional staffing expenses and purchase of essential items, such as technology related to education, cleaning and medical supplies, and additional food for residents. Youth Haven is Southwest Florida’s only residential shelter for boys and girls ages 6-19 who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect, abandonment or are homeless, according to a news release. For more information, visit

The Community Foundation of Collier County helps Habitat work from home

The Community Foundation of Collier County is stepping in to help local nonprofits to make that transition to working from home a little smoother. Habitat for Humanity of Collier County was one recipient of a $5,000 grant to invest in remote workstations to help employees better serve local families while the organization limits the number of employees working in its offices as well as face-to-face interaction. The Community Foundation’s Community Impact Grant Pool is one of the tools used to help support organizations struggling with the effects of the pandemic. It’s made up donors who created funds that give the Community Foundation’s board the latitude to address current community needs. That grant pool is the source for Habitat’s remote workstation funding as well as funding for a number of other organizations in Collier County. 

September golf tournament tp support The Heights Foundation’s programs

The Heights Foundation fifth annual benefit golf tournament, “Swing Fore The Kids,” will take place on Sept. 25 at Old Corkscrew Golf Club. The proceeds of the event support The Heights Center’s programs that work to build strong, self-sufficient families in the Harlem Heights neighborhood of Fort Myers.  Last year’s tournament raised $34,000. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. There will be a boxed lunch, and a shotgun start at 1p.m. and hors d’ oeuvres, auction and awards at 6 p.m. The presenting sponsor is Five County Insurance. Tournament registration is now available.  Sponsorships are also available.  The sponsorship deadline is Sept. 11 and golfer registration deadline is Sept. 18. For more information visit

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