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Gulfshore Business Daily: June 11


More than half of Southwest Florida business firms responding to a local survey still had employees working from home during the last week of May. Twenty percent of the respondents from both large and small firms had less than 20 percent of their employees back working at the office after working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report produced for the Lee County Economic Development Organization and the Horizon Council of Lee County by Florida Gulf Coast University’s Regional Economic Research Institute. Fifty-six percent of respondents reported a decrease in customer demand of more than 50 percent as a result of the coronavirus and sales revenue decreased more than 50 percent for 60 percent of all firms. On the flip side, 15 percent of respondents reported an increase in demand and 9 percent of the surveyed respondents saw sales increase in May. Most executives – 61 percent – expect the adverse effects of the coronavirus to be temporary, according to the FGCU survey results released Wednesday. 


Hyde Park Village, a new 642-acre community planned near Golden Gate Estates, was approved 4-1 Tuesday afternoon by the Collier County Commission. Hyde Park will be platted north of Oil Well Road and east of Everglades Boulevard. The approval allows Neal Communities of Southwest Florida to develop a maximum of 1,800 residential dwelling units, of which 300 to 1,000 will be multi-family residences. Hyde Park will include at least 45,000 square feet of commercial development and 18,000 square feet of civic, governmental and institutional uses in a village center.



Collier County commissioners voted 4-1 this week to award an invitation to negotiate with South Florida-based Rural Neighborhoods Inc. for a workforce housing development on part of the former Golden Gate Golf Course on the southwest corner of Collier Boulevard and Golden Gate Parkway. The company was one of five that presented proposals to the county, which purchased the 167-acre golf course last year for more than $29 million. Rural Neighborhoods’ non-profit proposal includes 350 housing units, which would include 100 units for seniors and veterans but not use the entire acreage. Presumably, there would still be space for other public uses such as a possible nine-hole golf course or a Veterans Administration hospital.


The Fort Myers CRA will hold its Joint Workshop to discuss the TIF application and guideline revisions from 10 a.m. to on June 17. In accordance with social distancing orders limiting gatherings to 10 people or less, anyone who wishes to speak during Public Comments is asked to submit a comment via email at publiccomment@cityftmyers.com or by phone to 239-321-7100 no later than 2 p.m. on June 16. Contact the CRA Office for assistance if needed at (239) 321-7100 or cra@cityftmyers.com.


Elizabeth (Betsy) Barbour


Elizabeth (Betsy) Barbour, an American field linguist with over four decades of field-based experience, will be the featured speaker at the Association for Talent Development’s virtual chapter meeting held from noon to 1 p.m. on June 24. The discussion on “Laying PRO Foundations in a New World: Leveraging Personal Knowledge and Skills in the ATD Capability Model,” offers tips on mastering “PROACTive” learning strategies. These strategies can help us better anticipate and respond to changing needs, leveraging personal capabilities to support organizational strategy and generate competitive advantage. Registration is $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers. Members are allowed one guest for free. Students are $10. Register online at atdswfl.org. The deadline to register is June 23. This session is eligible for 1 ATD Educational Credit.


Collier County’s five museum locations reopened to the public this week. Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The number of guests will be carefully monitored and visitors will be asked to socially distance themselves by remaining 6 feet apart. Arrows have been placed on the museums’ floors to guide visitors through the exhibits. High-touch areas will be disinfected throughout the day. Staff will use personal protective equipment as needed and visitors are encouraged to do so, as well. The reopened museums include Naples Depot Museum, Collier County Museum at the Government Center in East Naples, Museum of the Everglades in Everglades City, Immokalee Pioneer Museum at Roberts Ranch and Marco Island Historical Museum. For more information, visit CollierMuseums.com.



The Spa at Shangri-La Springs, located in downtown Bonita Springs, has reopened, offering massages and body treatments. The Spa hours are Tuesday-Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The spa offers massages including hot stone, warm VOYA seaweed muslin bag and muscle recovery deep tissue, as well as body treatments. The spa has implemented additional health and safety procedures during this time. For more details, visit ShangriLaSprings.com.



RCMA regional director elected to Florida Head Start Association board 

Gloria Gonzalez of Lehigh Acres, an RCMA employee for 16 years, was recently elected to the Florida Head Start Association board of directors. Gonzalez started as a child development center assistant coordinator with RCMA, the state’s largest nonprofit provider of early childhood education, and now serves as a regional director overseeing seventeen centers that serve 961 children and their families throughout Hendry, Glades, Highlands, Indian River and Palm Beach counties. RCMA provides Head Start, Early Head Start and Migrant Head Start comprehensive services to children of low income and migrant families in 21 rural Florida counties. Gonzalez earned a bachelor of science degree in management from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2007 and a master of science degree in management from the same school in 2012.

Stock Development exceeds sales projects, says supply of new homes is limited

Homes in highly-amenitized communities are selling fast and the supply of new homes is limited, according to Brian Stock, CEO of Stock Development. Through May, the company netted 147 new home sales worth $210 million. The company’s May sales included 11 new build contracts, six inventory homes and four furnished modes. Stock said there has been a dramatic increase in interest in Southwest Florida homes from across the country but especially from major cities. The Burns Housing Survey reported a 59% year-over-year increase in net sales in the state of Florida, according to a new release that cites Lesley Deutch, a principal at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, as the source of information. Builders from Jacksonville to Naples are reporting the strongest sales rates of the year, driven by out-of-state buyers, the news release also states.


DeAngelis Diamond starts construction on Heritage Bay clubhouse

DeAngelis Diamond has been selected as the general contractor for Heritage Bay Country Club’s 13,600-square-foot clubhouse renovation and expansion project. This project consists of expanding the existing clubhouse to include a brand-new kitchen, indoor/outdoor bar and grill, and renovations to the existing main dining room. Additional features include a new pool cafe, new 2,800-square-foot beach entry pool, and three new bocce ball courts. Heritage Bay Country Club is one of DeAngelis Diamond’s current clubhouse projects, with similar developments recently completed. DeAngelis Diamond completed Shadow Wood Country Club in Estero and The Club at Mediterra in Bonita Springs in early 2020.


Jeff Jerome

Naples Therapeutic Riding Center adds Jerome to board of directors

Naples Therapeutic Riding Center (NTRC) has welcomed Jeff Jerome to the Board of Directors. Jerome is the director of marketing and sales for Shula’s Steak House. He and Shula’s Steak House have supported NTRC for more than four years, providing sponsorship and in-kind catering services for many of the organization’s fundraising events, including its signature event, “The Bootstrap Boogie Barn Dance,” held every November. Jerome currently serves on the board of directors for Collier Child Care Resources and as president of NAPLES Group. Jerome is a 2007 graduate of Leadership Collier.

Pavese Law Firm unveils new website

Pavese Law Firm has launched a new and enhanced website, paveselaw.com, focused on its mission and highlighting its many resources. Established in 1949 by founder Frank A. Pavese Sr., the website chronicles over seven decades of growth, reputation and experience. The website includes its history and roles in preserving state lands, supporting development projects, the creation of Florida Gulf Coast University and more. The firm’s list of practice areas is also listed, in addition to recent news articles, newsletters, legal updates, a video library, and page for available jobs with the firm.

Jesse Zeimet with Chef Jamie’s Cuisine and Cape Coral Hospital


Mercola donates meals to hospital staff

Mercola recently sponsored healthy, organic meals to be sent to the emergency and COVID-19 staff at Cape Coral Hospital. Working with two local catering companies, the staff at Mercola in Cape Coral planned, purchased and helped deliver 60 lunches and dinners to the emergency and COVID-19 staff at Cape Coral Hospital to express their appreciation to the frontline workers. Mercola.com is a natural health website that’s dedicated to helping more than 50 million monthly readers improve their health with research-proven nutritional, lifestyle and exercise principles.

Kensington Golf & Country Club raises over $113,000 for veterans

Kensington Golf & Country Club has raised $113,434 for the benefit of local veterans through its partnership with Home Base. The latest amount raised brings the total to more than $1 million in the nine years since the club started hosting the Home Base program. Each year, Kensington Golf & Country Club hosts a scramble-format tournament with all proceeds from fees and sponsorships going directly to treat local veterans. When this year’s event, originally scheduled for April 4, was canceled due to the pandemic, organizers generated funds through a raffle, which netted $13,140. Home Base is a nonprofit program of the Boston Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital. Kensington hosted its first annual Home Base Family & Golf Outing in 2012 and is planning next year’s 10th Annual Home Base Family & Golf Outing set for March 20, 2021. 

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