Gulfshore Business Daily: June 23

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Lead Photo: Great Wolf Lodge Naples

 

COLLIER COMMISSIONERS APPROVE $15 MILLION IN INCENTIVES FOR GREAT WOLF LODGE

Collier County commissioners voted 4-1 on Tuesday to approve a $15 million economic development agreement with Chicago-based Great Wolf Resorts Inc. for a proposed Great Wolf Lodge indoor waterpark and a 550-room hotel project at the City Gate Commerce Park adjacent to the Paradise Coast Sports Complex in the Naples area. Commissioner Rick LoCastro was the lone dissenter on the issue. “Lots of things could go on that footprint, on that property. You guys are the right thing but I have a real problem with the $15 million of taxpayers’ money,” LoCastro said. “You are a one-of-a-kind destination, but so are we.” The lodge, which has 17 other locations in the nation, will feature a 2-acre waterpark, an indoor adventure park, themed hotel rooms, a convention center, restaurants and other amenities. The 20-acre proposed property is between the new sports park and the future Uline distribution plant, east of Collier Boulevard and north of Interstate 75’s Alligator Alley. 

 

COLLIER CAPITAL CLUB HOSTING JOB FAIR THURSDAY IN NAPLES

Employers in medical, caregiving, food and beverage, administration, I.T., consulting and other fields will be represented Thursday during an in-person job fair 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. hosted at Collier Capital Club in the Wilson Professional Center, 3200 Bailey Lane, Suite 275, Naples. HR Collier will be providing free resume reviews during the event. Job seekers can send resumes ahead of the event to resumes@CollierCapitalClub.com and they will be forwarded to presenting employers. Employers can reserve offices and conference rooms to conduct Interviews and showcase their company to job seekers. The job fair will be followed by a Collier Capital Club networking event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. with beverages and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are required to attend the evening event by clicking here

 

Video courtesy of WINK News

DRUG COMPANIES REFOCUSING EFFORTS ON VACCINES, LEADING TO OTHER SHORTAGES

The vaccine rollout effort has disrupted the medicine supply chain. The pandemic has led to various medication shortages, the FDA reports. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is reporting shortages of birth control medications after the company reorganized its priorities to producing COVID-19 shots. “Meds that people have been on for 20 years – there’s just nobody to produce it,” said T.J. DePaola, the pharmacist in charge at Cypress Pharmacy, which has served the Fort Myers area for more than 40 years, WINK News reports.

 

Video courtesy of WINK News

GROCERY PRICES NOTICEABLY HIGHER – AND CLIMBING

The cost of everything from milk to chicken is going up and there is no end in sight. The Consumer Price Index shows grocery prices continuing to climb, so if it feels like you’re buying less but spending more, it’s because you are. Consumer prices are up 5% from 2020, the worst inflation since the 2008 recession. Shoppers have really noticed the increase in meat prices, but it doesn’t stop there. Compared to early 2020, you’re now paying 18.7% more for seafood, 7.5% more for fruit, 5.1% more for fresh meat, 3.1% more for vegetables, 2.4% more for cheese and 1.1% more for eggs. Prices only continue to increase because demand is up, shipping is slow and workers are in seriously short supply. These higher food prices are also hitting restaurants, of course, which are being forced to eat the cost or pass on the higher costs to their customers, WINK News reports.

 

AIRLINES CHANGING ROUTES, CANCELING FLIGHTS WITH LITTLE WARNING

Just as the airline industry is bouncing back and thousands of people head out of town for summer vacations, flights are being canceled or times and routes are being changed. Unfortunately, the airlines aren’t giving much warning because they may not be ready for the recent travel rush. American Airlines says the surge in demand, coupled with bad weather across the country and labor shortages, has caused them to change and cancel flights through mid-July. Book flights with a flexible change or refund policy, WINK News reports.

 

Video courtesy of WINK News

FINN FARMS BEGINS PRODUCTION AT BABCOCK RANCH

Finn Farms, a one-of-a-kind prototype greenhouse in Babcock Ranch, is negotiating with buyers to start selling its produce. Its goal is to naturally grow produce year-round without fighting Florida’s humidity while using 95% less water than traditional agriculture. The $13 million greenhouse uses recycled rainwater and condensation from the plants. The greenhouse is about the size of a soccer field and can seed 60,000 plants a day and produce 1.5 million pounds of greens a year. That’s the same as 60 acres of open-field farming. Most of the plants, which grow on 300-foot tables, are harvested in less than 30 days. The second phase of the project is expected to double the size of Finn Farms and include vertical farming, WINK News reports.

 

RIB CITY EXPRESS OPENS SECOND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA LOCATION

The second Rib City Express has opened at 4233 Tamiami Trail, Unit B, in Port Charlotte. Rib City Express is a fast-casual restaurant concept offering counter service and self-seating rather than Rib City’s traditional full-service locations. “Since launching our first Rib City Express last year in Lehigh Acres, we have been looking to launch more fast-casual versions of Rib City, and with COVID-19 changing the way we operate all our stores, this was the perfect time to launch another Rib City Express,” Paul Peden, managing partner of Rib City, says. Rib City Express offers the same style of food as a full-service Rib City, including cheese fries, fried okra, buffalo chicken tenders, Skyscraper BBQ sandwiches, baby back and spare ribs and smoked chicken, and desserts and kid’s meals. Peden has owned and operated multiple restaurants in Southwest Florida, including the Veranda in downtown Fort Myers and 14 Rib City locations across Florida, along with 11 Rib City franchises across the country. Michael Williamson serves as general manager of the new Rib City Express. 

 

FPRA SWFL TO HOST IN-PERSON PUBLIC RELATIONS CRISIS PLANNING SEMINAR

The Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) is hosting a crisis communication seminar from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on July 13 at Dave and Buster’s in Fort Myers. This tabletop event will include a small-group setup, led by crisis communications experts including Mary Briggs, Lee Health; Betsy Clayton, Lee County government; Victoria Moreland, Lee County Port Authority; Trish Robertson, Collier County Supervisor of Elections; and Jessica Walker, Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co. Business leaders, public relations and marketing professionals are invited to attend. The event is $25 for students, $30 for members and $40 for nonmembers. Registration is open here until July 9.

 

CBIA’S SAND DOLLAR AWARDS CEREMONY SET FOR SEPT. 25 

The 2021 Sand Dollar Awards Gala, “The Wind Beneath Our Wings,” is set for Sept. 25 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples beach resort. The black-tie optional event will begin with a 6 p.m. cocktail hour, followed by dinner and the awards ceremony at 7 p.m. Sand Dollar Award registration is now open through July 11 for 51 awards in the categories of product design, interior design, remodeling, commercial, marketing and sales. The Sand Dollar Award represents the highest accolades given by the Collier Building Industry Association and its Sales and Marketing Council annually. Sand Dollar Awards are presented to member builders, developers, architects, remodelers, interior design firms, landscape architects, trades, marketing, sales, and advertising professionals who have demonstrated building, design and marketing excellence throughout Collier County.

 

BONITA SPRINGS YMCA NAMED NONPROFIT OF THE YEAR BY ESTERO CHAMBER

The Bonita Springs YMCA was awarded nonprofit of the year at the Estero Chamber of Commerce Annual Business and Awards Luncheon on June 18. The Bonita Springs YMCA is dedicated to providing its members and the Bonita Springs, Estero and surrounding communities with the support necessary to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive, the organization states. Last summer, the Bonita Springs YMCA partnered with the Village of Estero to offer more of its services in Estero with YMCA Camp Estero. In 2020, the not-for-profit gave more than $50,000 in scholarships, provided 496 youth sport experiences and opened the new Suwyn Early Learning Center. The Bonita Springs YMCA offers youth programs and various adult fitness classes and activities for the communities regardless of their inability to pay. Scholarships are available. 

 

CHARITABLE NOTES
 

Earn to Learn FL receives $55,000 in community investment funding

Fort Myers-based Earn to Learn FL will receive $55,000 in community investment funding from United Way Suncoast for its Near Peer Coaching for Postsecondary Success program. Earn to Learn FL recruits, trains and deploys AmeriCorps members to provide near-peer success coaching to income-challenged students in the areas of postsecondary access, personal finance training and career planning. The coaches support student preparation to pursue career and technical education, associate degree, bachelor’s degree or advanced degree. United Way Suncoast has committed to a $6.05 million boost to 77 area nonprofits for the 2022 fiscal year. The allocation, an increase of more than $400,000 from the 2020 allocation, will impact nearly 150,000 people in United Way Suncoast’s five-county region. United Way Suncoast also raised and distributed $1.9 million for pandemic relief over a six-week period in 2020. 

 

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