Gulfshore Business Daily: March 13

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Guadalupe Roastery, an Immokalee coffee-roasting cooperative that helps impoverished communities, was acquired Saturday by Pittsburgh venture development firm BlackStripe Ventures.

BlackStripe Ventures will take over day-to-day operations; implement a strong marketing, sales and logistics strategy; and provide legal counsel; website services; and capital investment. The venture development team also will update the website and make online purchasing and checkouts easier. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The coffee roasting and import-cooperative startup was incorporated as Guadalupe Life in 2017 by Brad Fassbender and silent partner Tom Pinter. Fassbender was joined by Andrew Natali, who roasts the coffee and works as the chief business developer.

The deal will enable Fassbender to reduce prices by offering a tiered price structure based on the coffee’s country of origin. Under the deal, Pinter will become the chief operating officer and Natali will become president of day-to-day operations.


Quarles & Brady LLP’s Commercial Litigation Group has named Benjamin Brown as the firm's new Florida chair of litigation. Brown has served as commercial litigation chair for the firm's Naples office since 2016, and in this new role will extend his leadership to include the firm's Tampa office as well. 

Brown has worked as a Florida litigator with Quarles & Brady LLP for nearly 13 years, practicing at both the trial and appellate court levels, with a particular focus on complex business and real estate disputes.

Brown is a graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law and is board certified in business litigation. He is also a member of the Leadership Collier Class of 2018 and has been named as a Rising Star by Florida Super Lawyers from 2009-2019. 


John R. Wood Properties (JRW) has appointed new corporate positions and promotions.

Dottie Babcock, a member of the JRW executive team for 26 years, has transitioned to broker emeritus, where she will continue to assist JRW with a variety of executive-level initiatives and will also serve on the board of directors.

Tess Scalise has been named chief operating officer and will continue to oversee all sales operations, relocation and customer service, as well as the company’s new business development operation.

Spencer Haynes, a real estate agent with JRW for 15-plus years, will become director of business development, working to recruit experienced agents and also mentoring a select group of newer agents.

Deborah Spahr comes to JRW from VIP Realty as the new relocation director.

Scott Langevin, previously an agent with JRW’s North office, has taken over as the customer service coordinator.


Santiago Arenas has joined Hodges University as the senior creative designer of marketing content. In this position, he will be responsible for creating all university branding and design and overseeing the design and production of university marketing materials. He will also assist with the marketing, advertising and promotion initiatives.

Arenas brings 10 years of expertise in marketing and creative services. Prior to joining Hodges University, he was the marketing coordinator for auxiliary services at Florida SouthWestern State College.

He graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in graphic design and earned his master’s degree in media design from Full Sail University in Orlando.


LCEC is offering GenerLink, a generator connection that eliminates the use of extension cords and other hazardous connections by providing a safe connection from the electric meter directly to the generator. It also detects when a generator is operating and automatically disconnects from the utility grid, eliminating dangerous backfeed.

Customers can run virtually any appliances up to the capacity of their generator. The connector is installed behind the electric meter by a certified LCEC technician and it comes with a seven-year manufacturer’s warranty.

For tips on generator safety and for more information on GenerLink, visit


Gulfshore Playhouse has named Tony Panzica as chair of the building committee for its Next Stage Capital Campaign.

Currently on the board of Gulfshore Playhouse, Panzica has an extensive background in arts-related construction projects and board service. As president and CEO of Ohio-based Panzica Construction, he has overseen a major renovation and expansion of the Cleveland Museum of Art, working with architect Rafael Viñoly on the project. He also spearheaded a renovation of Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra. Panzica has served on the board of directors for the Cleveland Play House and also worked on the renovation of the Playhouse Square theatre district in Cleveland.

He has been a member of the board of trustees for Arts Cleveland and has served on boards and committees for a number of other organizations over the past 42 years, including Kent State University, Ursuline College, and the Greater Cleveland Partnership.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Purdue University and is leading Panzica Construction’s expansion into the Florida market.           


Twenty-six high school seniors will attend Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) in the coming months thanks to funding made possible by a joint program of the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation and FGCU.

High school seniors have the opportunity to qualify for Earn to Learn FL financial aid throughout the four years they attend FGCU by accumulating $500 in a special savings account and completing money management training. That savings, along with a $4,000 Earn to Learn FL financial aid match, will be ready to invest when they graduate from high school and enroll at FGCU.

A few Earn to Learn FL openings remain available. The deadline to apply is March 20 via this link. To be eligible, applicants must have a FAFSA Expected Family Contribution (EFC) score of 12,000 or less, be a U.S. citizen or legal resident and Florida resident. 


Crew Naples/Ft. Myers Kentucky Derby Party set for May

Commercial Real Estate Women and Valbridge Property Appraisers will host a Kentucky Derby Party from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on May 4 at 2240 Venetian Court, Naples. Event includes cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction, and prizes for Best Derby Hat. Cost to attend is $25.  Proceeds will benefit Valbridge Women’s Council Scholarship Fund and CREW Naples/Ft. Myers. Visit to sign up for the event. 

Robbie’s Riders presents adaptive tricycles to Southwest Florida children

Thanks to support from Grampy’s Charities and Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, Robbie’s Riders presented four adaptive tricycles, worth nearly $8,000, to Southwest Florida children through its Freedom Program at the bank’s McGregor branch in Fort Myers. The Robbie’s Riders program provides special adaptive bicycles and tricycles to children with disabilities, according to their individual capacities and needs.

The charity works to donate special needs cycles as quickly as they can raise funds to purchase them. Working with Claire Le Boulenge, a pediatric physical therapist with Golisano Children’s Hospital who donates her services to assist, each child is evaluated and fitted for their special adaptive cycle.

For more information, visit

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