Gulfshore Business Daily: June 22

NAPLES-BASED MITCH’S COOKIES ACQUIRED BY HOFFMANN FAMILY OF COMPANIES

Mitch’s Cookies has been acquired by the Hoffmann Family of Companies, although founders Mitch and Lynn Mitchell will continue to run the company and maintain partial ownership. In addition to operating Mitch’s Cookies Dessert Bar & Soda Fountain at Kings Lake Square on Davis Boulevard in East Naples, the local business established in 2013 creates gift boxes and its more than 50 variations of gourmet cookies are shipped everywhere. The cake-like but chewy cookies evoke childhood memories of grandma’s culinary creations. With the acquisition comes expansion and plans to put Mitch’s Cookies in downtown Naples, grow it alongside new locations of Tacos & Tequila Cantina, open a store in Winnetka, Illinois, as well as offer the sweet treats in other businesses owned by the Hoffmann family. For more information, go to mitchscookies.com and hoffmannfamilyofcompanies.com.
 

LEECARES BUSINESS RELAUNCH GRANT APPLICATION DEADLINE IS FRIDAY

Businesses have a final opportunity to apply for help through the LeeCARES Business Relaunch grant program today through Friday. Then, the county will move to its next phase of assistance to businesses. Under the Business Relaunch program, assistance is available to Lee County businesses with up to 25 employees as of March 1 that were closed by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ safer-at-home order. The application period will close at 8 p.m. Friday. The one-time, $5,000 relaunch grants are to help offset the unintended costs of reopening or relaunching a small business, such as sanitation, signage or marketing. Applications and additional eligibility requirements will be available online at leeflcares.com or by appointment by calling 239-533-2273.
 

LEE COUNTY BUSINESS REHIRE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM BEGINS JULY 6

On July 6, Lee County will launch its COVID-19 business assistance program for job creation. The program, referred to as Business Rehire, will provide grant funding to small businesses for rehiring full-time equivalent positions that were on the payroll as of March 1. Eligible positions must be rehired on or after July 6. It also provide grants of $5,000 per full-time equivalent positions rehired, up to $10,000 for businesses with 10 or fewer employees or up to $20,000 for larger qualified businesses with fewer than 250 employees. Visit leeflcares.com for additional information about all available programs.
 

APPLE AGAIN CLOSES STORES IN NAPLES, ESTERO BECAUSE OF COVID-19 SPIKES

Apple retail stores at Waterside Shops in Naples and Coconut Point in Estero are among 11 stores nationwide the big-tech company decided to temporarily close again as coronavirus infection rates increase in some regions of the U.S. The regional stores are the only reopened locations to close again in Florida. Apple also is again closing six stores in Arizona, two in North Carolina and one in South Carolina, the company reports.
 
 

Video courtesy of WINK News

EXPERT SAYS COLLIER COUNTY AMAZON FACILITY WILL BRING LOCAL JOBS, BENEFITS

A project is in the works to bring an Amazon distribution center to Southwest Florida. A construction crew spent last week at the planned Amazon facility at the corner of Davis and Collier boulevards in unincorporated Collier County. Not only will this location benefit Southwest Florida shoppers, but it will also bring more jobs to the area, WINK News reports. Last year, the delivery giant opened a location near Treeline Boulevard in Lee County, bringing hundreds of jobs to the area. Shelton Weeks, chairman of FGCU’s Lutgert College of Business, expects something similar to happen in Collier County. “When you look at where we are in terms of the economic situation right now, anything that’s going to bring jobs to the area, it’s going to be a step in the right direction,” Weeks says. 
 

FORT MYERS CRA TO HOST MEETING WEDNESDAY

The Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Board of Commissioners will hold its regular meeting from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday. In accordance with social-distancing orders limiting gatherings to 10 people or less, anyone who wishes to speak during the time for public comments is asked to submit a comment via email at publiccomment@cityftmyers.com or by phone to 239-321-7100 by June 23. Attend via Zoom call at 877-853-5257 (Toll-Free). The webinar ID is 973 7472 7692. Contact the CRA Office for assistance if needed at (239) 321-7100 or cra@cityftmyers.com.
 

EMERGE SWFL TO HOST FREE VIRTUAL EXPO THURSDAY

Emerge SWFL is hosting a free virtual expo with the goal of reinvigorating the local economic landscape. The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday and provides three unique virtual expo halls along with nine keynote speakers. Supporting partners of Emerge SWFL include Lee County Economic Development Office, Lee Health, United Way, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida SouthWestern State College, the Small Business Development Center, Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, Estero Chamber of Commerce and more, according to a press release. Organizing sponsors include SWFL Regional Technology Partnership, Stickboy, Two39 Group, and Fieldr. To register, visit swflvirtualexpo.com.
 

James Sweeney

GLOBAL ECONOMIST TO SPEAK AT UPCOMING WEBINAR

New York-based global economist James P. Sweeney will be the keynote speaker at the Above Board Chamber of Florida’s webinar, “Economic Recovery after COVID-19,” held from 4-5:30 p.m. on July 9. Sweeney will provide the business community with his view of the current state of the economy here in Southwest Florida, the nation, and globally, and what we can likely expect the future to hold. and T. Rowe Price International, Ltd of Boston, will serve as the guest emcee. The cost to attend the virtual event is $30. Visit aboveboardchamber.com to register and pay online.
 

HEIGHTENED BUYER DEMAND INFLUENCES NAPLES REAL ESTATE MARKET

Pent-up demand for homebuying resulted in a spike in buyer interest in May, according to the May 2020 Market Report released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS (NABOR), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island). As a result, showings in May increased 244% compared to showings in April. Showings in May outpaced showings a year ago, which increased 5.5% compared to May 2019. Overall inventory during May decreased 27.2% to 5,116 homes from 7,023 homes in May 2019. However, while there was a 4% decrease in new listings of single-family homes in May, there was a 6.5% increase in new listings of condominiums. To view the entire report, visit naplesarea.com.
 

IN THE KNOW

The Alliance for the Arts GreenMarket reopens July 4

The Alliance for the Arts GreenMarket is reopening to the public from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on July 4 with added precautions, following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.  The decade-old market has been operating as a drive-thru market since its April 2020 closure due to COVID-19. The GreenMarket will resume normal Saturday hours on the Alliance for the Arts campus located at 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. For more information on the Alliance for the Arts GreenMarket, visit artinlee.org/greenmarket or call 239-939-2787. To order online for Wednesday drive-thru pickup, customers can visit ArtInLee.org/DriveThru.
 

Moorings Park Grande Lake

Moorings Park Grande Lake receives Florida Green Building designation

Moorings Park Grande Lake, a new life plan community in Naples, was recently recognized by The Florida Green Building Coalition. The community’s first three newly completed buildings were awarded the “Florida Green” High-Rise Residential Building certification. Of the 101 points necessary for this designation, the Phase 1 buildings at Moorings Park Grande Lake scored 157. Combining luxury mid-rise living with concierge healthcare, the project is a partnership between Moorings Park and London Bay Development Group. Currently, three buildings have been completed and are occupied, with another three under construction. Entrance fees start at $1.5 million and are 70% refundable. For more details, visit mooringsparkgl.org.
 

Gulf Coast International Properties outranks competitors based on MLS figures

Based on Multiple Listing Service (MLS) figures released the beginning of this month, Gulf Coast International Properties (GCIP), a boutique luxury real estate firm in Naples, took the top spot among all Naples real estate firms for listings sold in the Port Royal, Aqualane Shores and Old Naples areas, according to a press release. GCIP surpassed its nearest competitor by 33% in listings sold volume. GCIP has a team of more than 30 real estate agents. Tim Savage, a Naples resident since 1986, is the owner and principal of GCIP. 
 
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