The Immokalee Foundation’s Career Pathways program educates students for in-demand careers opportunities in Southwest Florida. Details below. Photo Courtesy The Immokalee Foundation
BAYFRONT INN HOTEL SELLS FOR $17 MILLION
Gordon River Hotel Association sold Bayfront Inn Hotel, an 84-hotel room property located at 1221 Fifth Ave. S., Naples, for $17 million. Gary Tasman and Shawn Stoneburner of Cushman & Wakefield | Commercial Property Southwest Florida represented the buyer and the seller in negotiating the transaction.
WERT RETIRING AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF COLLIER COUNTY’S TOURISM BUREAU
Jack Wert has announced plans to retire from his post as executive director of Naples, Marco Island and Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau, effective Sept. 30. Starting July 1, oversight of the department will transition to Paul Beirnes, now serving as the deputy director of Collier’s tourism division. Since 2002, Wert has led the county’s efforts as the official source for area travel and tourism information about Florida’s Paradise Coast. Under Wert’s leadership, area visitation grew by 53%, resulting in substantial increases to the overall economic vitality of the region.
MCLEOD ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR COLLIER COUNTY COMMISSION
Former Naples City Councilwoman Michelle McLeod has announced her candidacy to run for the District 4 Collier County Commission seat now held by Penny Taylor. A native Floridian, McLeod has lived and worked in both the public and private sectors in Naples for more than 25 years. As a commissioner, McLeod’s top priority would be adhering to the county’s comprehensive plan and land development codes while protecting individual property rights, according to Monday’s news release. Daija Renee Hinojosa, a local real estate sales associate in North Naples, is also running for the District 4 seat,
THE FOOD ROCK CAFÉ OPENS AT UNIVERSITY VILLAGE IN FORT MYERS
The Food Rock Café opened on June 24 in Suite 440 at University Village in Fort Myers and is planning an official grand opening on July 9. The restaurant overlooks a lake and fountain in a space previously home to Get Fried. The Food Rock Café restaurant offers salads and daily homemade soups, hamburgers with fries, tacos, gyros, empanadas and more. Many of the dishes have an island twist, with flavors and influences from chef and owner JD Damas’s Haitian homeland and the Colombian heritage of his wife and co-owner, Jennifer Verbel Damas. The Food Rock Café previously operated as a food truck. For more information, call 239-257-1176.
LIDS OPENS AT MIROMAR OUTLETS IN ESTERO
Lids has opened a new location at Miromar Outlets, located in Suite 167, next to the Nike Factory Outlet. The store offers 2,330 square feet of officially licensed sports and branded merchandise including hats and apparel for men, women and children, accessories and Florida Gulf Cost University gear. Lids at Miromar Outlets will also feature a customization and embroidery station, where guests can customize hats and purchase licensed professional and collegiate gear.
MINORITY AND SMALL BUSINESS BOOT CAMP CONTINUES THROUGH AUG. 25
Enterprise Florida and the Florida Small Business Development Center Network’s Virtual Minority & Small Business Boot Camp continues through Aug. 25. The 11-session webinar series began on April 7. Each hour-long session provides small businesses owners with resources to create, maintain and grow a successful business. A one-time, no-cost registration allows attendees to participate in all sessions. For more information, click here.
ENTREPRENEUR SEMINAR FOR WOMEN HELD JULY 17
Dress for Success SW Florida will host its Entrepreneurial Spirit Program (E$P) virtually from 9 a.m. to noon on July 17. Women looking to start their own businesses can learn from E$P panelists, including Angela Cooley, Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co. P.A., presenting on business accounting; Christina Harris Schwinn, Pavese Law Firm, discussing the importance of legal formalities, entity formation, copyright, trademarks and personal liability; Barbara Melvin, First Florida Integrity Bank, presenting on small business loans and financing; and Connie Ramos-Williams, CONRIC pr + marketing, sharing information on branding and marketing. Online registration is required with a suggested donation of $25, benefiting Dress for Success of SW Florida. A Zoom link will be sent upon registration and an E$P certificate will be emailed after course completion. Register online here.
MEDIABRAINS PARTNERS WITH LEVERAGE LAB
Naples-based MediaBrains has partnered with Leverage Lab, a first-party data and technology consultancy. MediaBrains and partners such as Leverage Lab help publishers gather unique insights through first-party behavioral data collected from website visitors and MediaBrains subscribers. “Leverage Lab will help our marketing clients tap their first-party data to understand buyer motivations and create predictable programs that facilitate informed purchase journeys for B2B buyers,” said Sadie Ludwig, president of MediaBrains. Leverage Lab developed data-driven methodologies through its work with media organizations, member associations and brand marketers. MediaBrains helps buyers discover, evaluate and buy products and services using a platform of more than 100 industry websites.
HENDERSON FRANKLIN WELCOMES REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY
Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt P.A. has appointed attorney Shayaan “Shay” Raja to its Fort Myers real estate team. He is admitted to practice in all state courts in Florida and the District of Columbia. Before joining the firm, Raja had an active real estate practice in Tampa and Naples. He also was a member of a global technology firm’s legal department in Seattle, Washington. Raja received his Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina School of Law, where he served as the senior articles editor for the North Carolina Journal of Law & Technology. He received his Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from the University of Florida. Raja is originally from Miami.
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION FOR WOMEN IN BUSINESS
The September 2021 issue of Gulfshore Business magazine will include a special advertising section featuring profiles of Women in Business. For advertising inquiries, please contact Associate Publisher Chris Renstrom at 239-498-8517 or chris.renstrom@
The Immokalee Foundation receives $18,750 grant from United Way
United Way of Collier and the Keys recently awarded an $18,750 grant to The Immokalee Foundation to support career-focused educational programming and training through Career Pathways, a comprehensive curriculum that prepares the foundation’s students for in-demand, well-paying professional careers. Developed with industry experts and educators, the Career Pathways program includes concentrations in business management and entrepreneurship, education and human services, engineering and construction management and healthcare. One hundred percent of The Immokalee Foundation’s students have graduated from high school, 100% have a post-secondary plan for a professional career and 92% graduate with a postsecondary certificate or degree, The Immokalee Foundation reports.
Brighter Bites partners with Harry Chapin Food Bank, Lipman Family Farms
Brighter Bites, a nonprofit organization that delivers fresh fruits, vegetables and nutrition education resources to families, partnered with Harry Chapin Food Bank and Lipman Family Farms to ensure Southwest Florida families continue to receive produce after the pandemic impacted their communities. At the beginning of the 2021 semester, the three organizations increased their number of families served to more than 930, resulting in more than 266,000 pounds of produce distributed and 10,477 boxes delivered to students, their families and teachers, Brighter Bites reports. Thousands of nutrition education materials were also distributed directly to participating Brighter Bites families, along with in-class lessons conducted at schools. In addition to monetary and product donations, Harry Chapin Food Bank and Lipman Family Farms provided volunteer support with produce sorting, packing and box distribution.
Registration open for October DLC golf tournament
David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC) will host the eighth annual Chip in for DLC Golf Tournament on Oct. 22 at Quail Creek Country Club in Naples. The lunch and registration begin at 11:30 a.m., with a tee-off set for 1 p.m. The tournament will be played in an 18-hole scramble with four-person teams. Participants who enter as individuals will be placed on a team. Immediately following the tournament will be a casual awards cocktail reception. Individual players are $250 per person and teams are $1,000 per foursome. Individual player fees include green fees and a cart, lunch and the awards reception. Awards reception only tickets are $50 per person. Golfers may also participate in a variety of raffles, skills challenges and on-course activities. A Super Ticket, which includes two mulligans, one super raffle entry and a drink ticket, is available for $50.
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