Lead Photo: Ben Allen’s Backyard Grill & Pub is replacing the Brooks Burgers location in Freedom Square
BEN ALLEN’S BACKYARD GRILL & PUB COMING TO EAST NAPLES
Local country singer Ben Allen, who gained national recognition from last season’s TV show “The Voice,” is stepping into the hospitality industry with a new restaurant and bar named after him. Ben Allen’s Backyard Grill & Pub is replacing the Brooks Burgers location in Freedom Square, 12655 Tamiami Trail E., in East Naples. The joint venture, targeted to launch in the last week of June, pairs local restaurateur Todd Brooks with Ben Allen to focus on live music events, a full bar and comfort food such as pizza, pasta and burgers. A few of the award-winning burgers from Brooks Burgers will be on the new menu. Sporting events will be available on more than 20 TV screens, including a 10-by-6-foot screen in the restaurant’s backyard, which will provide an outdoor bar and seating. The venue’s grand opening will be highlighted by a performance from the Ben Allen Band, of course.
ALDI OPENS NEW GROCERY STORE TODAY IN FORT MYERS AREA
ALDI reveals its newest store today at 4560 Colonial Blvd., west of Interstate 75, in Fort Myers. The new location is part of the company’s national expansion plan to become the third-largest grocery retailer by store count in the United States by the end of 2022. ALDI stores, each with only about 12,000 square feet of retail space, are purposefully designed for simplicity and efficiency. The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Fort Myers store will start at 8:30 a.m. today. ALDI will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. ALDI has other area stores under construction in Bonita Springs, Cape Coral and North Naples.
BRAVO SUPERMARKETS LAUNCHES STORE IN GOLDEN GATE ESTATES
Bravo Supermarkets launches a small store today at Wilson Plaza on the southeast corner of Wilson Boulevard and Golden Gate Boulevard in Golden Gate Estates. Locally owned by Ramiro Cazola, the Bravo store is the only location in Collier County for the mid-sized supermarket chain. The longtime Bravo in Gulf Gate Plaza on U.S. 41 in East Naples recently rebranded as Key Food supermarket. Cazola is scouting spots for additional Bravo locations in Golden Gate and Immokalee, as well as in Bonita Springs, Cape Coral and San Carlos Park, said Felipe Arcila, a real estate advisor with SVN KOVA Naples. The new Bravo at 50 Wilson Blvd. is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
NEW LOCAL FRANCHISEE LAUNCHES JERSEY MIKE’S SUBS IN ESTERO
A new franchisee of Jersey Mike’s Subs launched a location in Estero on Wednesday. Mike Silverman is not the Jersey Mike behind the name of the national sandwich chain but he’s familiar with operating fast-casual restaurant franchises in Southwest Florida. Until recently selling most of his restaurants in a package deal, Silverman operated 11 locations of Moe’s Southwest Grill from East Naples to North Port. He’s excited about his new venture with what he says are the best subs in the world. “I have been a fan of Jersey Mike’s for over 25 years,” says Silverman, who especially likes that the chain is charitably inclined. Through Sunday, June 13, his first Jersey Mike’s at 19521 Highland Oaks Drive has a grand opening fundraiser to support Interfaith Charities of South Lee, which helps feed local families. The new Jersey Mike’s, open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, is off of Ben Hill Griffin Parkway between Miromar Outlets and Hertz Arena.
Video courtesy of WINK News
EMPLOYEES OF FORT MYERS BUSINESS ARRIVE TO FIND BEAR INSIDE
A black bear cub spotted roaming Fort Myers this week was tranquilized after being found sheltering inside a local hurricane shutter business. Employees of Hurricane Safe Shutters at 2012 Earl Road off U.S. 41 arrived at work just after 8 a.m. to see the bear cub relaxing inside. Once sedated, the bear was removed in a cage for transportation to the Picayune Strand State Forest in southern Collier County, where it will be released, WINK News reports.
ENTECH TO HOST ‘CYBER LIABILITY INSURANCE 101’ LIVE STREAM ON JUNE 15
Entech will host a live stream panel on “Cyber Liability Insurance 101” at 2 p.m. on June 15. The event is focused on educating the community on cybersecurity and cyber liability insurance, which covers financial losses that result from cyberattacks. Event speakers include moderator David Spire, Entech’s chief development officer; Norman Lutz, CEO of Iron Ridge Insurance; and Jeffrey Haut, attorney at Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP. Register for the event here.
SPEED NETWORKING AND LUNCH HELD ON JUNE 16
SWFL Inc. is hosting a Power Hour event from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 16 at Bravo! Italian Kitchen in Naples. The fast-paced program keeps attendees rotating from table to table so they can meet everyone in the room. The networking part of the program is followed by lunch. Tickets for Power Hour are $40, and attendees have their choice of three lunch entrees from the restaurant. Registration is required by this Friday online here or by calling 239-992-2943.
‘BEING BRILLIANT WITH THE BASICS OF LEADERSHIP’ PRESENTATION HELD JUNE 17
HR Collier will host its next in-person meeting on June 17 at The Vineyards in Naples. Speaker Rich Williams will present “Being Brilliant with the Basics of Leadership.” The discussion will cover how and why to become brilliant at specific basics of leadership. Register for the event here.
STUDIO+ ADDS FIVE TO SOUTHWEST FLORIDA HEADQUARTERS
Studio+ has hired five professionals to its headquarters office in Fort Myers. The five additions include Trevor Wright, project manager; Waldo Quiros, project designer; Joy Brownworth, marketing creative director; Bresheena Kinney, project coordinator; and Dinara Usmankhodjaeva, interior designer. Wright is an architect with more than 25 years of experience. Quiros has more than 10 years of previous experience in healthcare and commercial design. Brownworth brings experience in developing brand identity, establishing effective marketing campaigns and designing diverse business development materials to her new role. Kinney graduated from the University of Michigan with a Master of Architecture and has six years of professional experience in healthcare and commercial design. Usmankhodjaeva has four years of aviation design and three years in healthcare design. Mike Lendino, chief financial officer, leads the recruitment and hiring efforts for Studio+.
MCLEOD JOINS COLLIER COUNTY COMMUNITY LAND TRUST BOARD
The Collier County Community Land Trust has appointed Michelle McLeod to its board of directors. McLeod currently serves as the director of business development for Lutgert Construction. Before joining the company, McLeod was the grants coordinator for the Collier County community assistance program. McLeod previously served as the vice president and financial sales manager for First Citizens Bank and on Naples City Council from 2016 until 2020. Her community involvement includes serving as past chairwoman of the Naples Community Services Advisory Board, a Collier County Mental Health & Addiction Ad Hoc Committee member, and a volunteer with Grace Place, Humane Society, Catholic Relief Services Habitat for Humanity and United Way. Formed in 2020, the Collier County Community Land Trust’s mission is to provide housing opportunities within Collier County that are permanently affordable.
DILORIO APPOINTED TO USF PROGRAM STEERING COMMITTEE
Kristin DiIorio, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank’s vice president and downtown branch office manager, was recently appointed to the University of South Florida (USF) Muma College of Business Customer Experience Certificate Program steering committee. The steering committee provides oversight for the interactive, eight-week online program that teaches participants how to apply principles that drive customer experience using techniques developed by top companies, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank states. The program also teaches how to integrate strategies and methodologies to measure, evaluate and improve the customer experience in participants’ own organization.
Community meets Baker $10 million Gulfshore Playhouse challenge in 42 days
Gulfshore Playhouse has raised $54.3 million for its new cultural campus. Philanthropic, business and community leaders supported Gulfshore Playhouse at the Baker Theatre and Education Center, exceeding the Patty and Jay Baker $10 million match challenge by more than $400,000. Gulfshore Playhouse met that challenge in just over a month. To date, the Bakers have contributed $20 million to the Next Stage Capital Campaign via two separate and challenges at both the start and end of the campaign. Their $20 million commitment ties the second-highest philanthropic gift the Bakers have made to a single nonprofit over the course of their lives, Gulfshore Playhouse states. The professional theatre has raised more than $34 million in the last five months during the pandemic and is closing in on the final stretch, with $5.6 million needed to fully fund the new space in downtown Naples.
Traveling horse performance raises $7,000 for Naples Therapeutic Riding Center
With the support of 40 volunteers and 750 attendees, the Gala of the Royal Horses traveling horse performance raised $7,000 for Naples Therapeutic Riding Center (NTRC). A portion of the ticket sales from three performances held at NTRC’s campus benefited the nonprofit’s therapeutic horseback riding and equine-facilitated group services for children and adults with physical, social and mental health needs. The show featured 11 horses from around the world performing traditional maneuvers from the battlefield.
United Way awards grant to Youth Haven
Youth Haven Inc. has received a $48,750 grant from the United Way of Collier and the Keys. The funds were used to purchase two vehicles for its 25-acre therapeutic campus for children and teens who have been abused, abandoned, neglected or are experiencing homelessness. With beds for up to 73 children and teens ages 6-19, Youth Haven offers a waking staff system that allows for around-the-clock specialized care. The care of each youth often requires off-campus trips, including medical appointments, enrichment outings, school appointments, extracurricular activities and more.
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