Gulfshore Business Daily: March 20

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The Village of Estero Council approved a state of local emergency resolution on Wednesday due to the coronavirus outbreak at its meeting. While a majority of the Village staff will be working remotely during the state of local emergency, the Village is still open for business. Almost all building, public works, records and meeting comment requests will be taken digitally; the Happehatchee Center programming is canceled; there will be daily disinfecting of all surfaces in the Village Hall, and there will continue to be close coordination with Lee County, neighboring cities and fire districts. There are no future Council meetings scheduled to date as a result of the state of local emergency. Village Manager Steve Sarkozy and Estero Mayor Bill Ribble will determine when the next meeting will be held. For more information, click here. The Sanibel City Council on Wednesday adopted Proclamation and Resolution No. 20-011, declaring a state of local emergency resulting from COVID-19. For the most current information, visit the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.   


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) on Wednesday announced that small businesses located in the State of Florida adversely impacted by COVID-19 can now apply for disaster loans. For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA is offering Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the Coronavirus. All 67 Florida counties are included in the disaster declaration for Coronavirus. SBA Resource Partners information can be obtained on the SBA website at SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in economic assistance to help small businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue resulting from the disaster. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. To apply, visit the SBA Disaster website at For additional information, contact the SBA Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or email


The Southwest Florida region’s healthcare leaders Lee Health and NCH Healthcare System (NCH) have joined efforts to combat the challenges presented by the current pandemic COVID-19. Lee Health and NCH on Thursday announced the “SWFL Stronger Together” campaign. This campaign is representative of the work that has and continues to take place and the collaborative relationship that exists. Together, Lee Health and NCH are asking the Southwest Florida community to join them, to come together and show support. Gifts to the SWFL Stronger Together fund will provide critical resources, equipment and supplies needed to support our doctors and nurses. Donations will help provide additional ventilators, protective gear, mobile units, employee relief and more. The healthcare systems also shared a need for blood donations. Community members can arrange to donate blood by calling Lee Health blood centers at 239-343-2333 or NCH Community Blood Center at 239-624-4120. For more information or to make an online donation to SWFL Stronger Together, visit Resources through this site also include free telehealth information, hotlines, COVID-19 news and updates, as well as an “Ask the Experts” forum.


Waterside Shops has decided to temporarily close through at least March 29. Its restaurants may remain open. Coconut Point Mall is also closed until March 29, but restaurants remain open for takeout as of Thursday afternoon. All J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge buildings are closed to the public until further notice. The Visitor & Education Center, administration building, the concessionaire, Tarpon Bay Explorers are all closed to the public, and all programs and tours are canceled. The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge Wildlife Drive and all trails, including the Indigo Trail and the Bailey Tract, are open and free. Moran Wealth Management has canceled all of its remaining spring seminars. At the same time, the practice is offering private teleconference consultations with Tom Moran, the founder, chief executive officer and senior PIM portfolio manager of Moran Wealth Management. To schedule a complimentary consultation, individuals may call (239) 920-4440 any time (lines are open 24/7) or book an appointment at The Lee County Clerk of Courts limited public access to all Clerk of Courts customer service counters as of Thursday. It will re-evaluate public access at its office locations on April 3. The Clerk’s Offices in Bonita Springs and Cape Coral are closed effective Friday and until further notice. All services are moved to the Downtown Fort Myers Clerks Office locations. Sanibel Captiva Community Bank has temporarily closed all branch lobbies, until further notice. All drive-through locations remain open during regular business hours. Customers have access to accounts 24/7 through online and mobile banking. For more information, click hereAngelina’s Ristorante has temporarily transitioned to takeout only, implementing a new carry-out menu, available hereNorman Love Confections is offering curbside pickup as an option for customers. For more information, visit NormanLoveConfections.comGolisano Children’s Museum is temporarily closed. CareerSource Southwest Florida will stop public access to its network of career centers throughout Southwest Florida until April 3. Within the next few days, CareerSource Southwest Florida will have a list of businesses that are hiring posted on its website.


Inc. magazine has recognized several Southwest Florida firms in its inaugural Inc. 5000 Series: Florida list. The companies on this list show growth rates across all industries in Florida. Between 2016 and 2018, these 250 private companies had an average growth rate of 302 percent and, in 2018 alone, they employed more than 56,000 people and added $12.6 billion to the Florida economy. Companies based in the Naples metro area were among those that brought in the highest revenue overall, according to a press release. Naples companies making the list include Chomps (ranked No. 31), Capital Wealth Advisers (No. 80), Elite Auctions (No. 128), Earth View (No. 161), ArgotTrak (No. 165) and DeAngelis Diamond (no. 218). Lee County businesses ranked on the list include Target Roofing & Sheet Metal of Fort Myers (No. 25), Roman Roofing of Cape Coral (No. 40), Surf9 of Bonita Springs (No. 69), Scotlynn USA Division of Fort Myers (No. 92), FieldEdge of Fort Myers (No. 167), MY Shower Door / D3 Glass of Fort Myers (No. 209). For the full list, click here.


Bite Squad, a leader in on-demand food ordering and delivery, has announced several initiatives to help protect and support its restaurant partners, diners, drivers and employees during the COVID-19 outbreak. Bite Squad is working with restaurant partners to offer free delivery and marketing programs. Bite Squad is now offering “No-Contact” delivery, which allows for distancing between customers and delivery drivers. In addition, the company is supplying all drivers with gloves. Bite Squad will continue to pay any hourly employee that contracts the virus and/or is in quarantine. Founded in 2013 and based in Lafayette, Louisiana, Waitr is a leader in on-demand food ordering and delivery. Waitr, along with recently acquired food delivery company Bite Squad, connects local restaurants to hungry diners in underserved U.S. markets. For more information, visit

Marco Island Academy rendering


GATES Construction has started the building of the new Marco Island Academy (MIA), a public charter high school located at 2255 San Marco Road on Marco Island. Designed by LDG Architects, the new 52,761-square-foot facility will accommodate students in grades nine through 12.  The new school will consist of two wings joined in the center by a beautiful tall curved glass front lobby.  The three-story academic wing will house 17 classrooms and science labs, as well as a second-story walkout terrace and green roof garden. MIA places an emphasis on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), and offers advanced curricula and certification programs in conjunction with the University of Cambridge. The opposite two-story wing will house administrative offices and a gymnasium with multi-use athletics space, basketball court, locker rooms, performing arts stage and performing arts classrooms.  Manta Ray Hall, named after the school’s mascot, will be located between the two wings and will feature a café and student lounge. Exterior elements, which will be completed in the project’s final stages, include an entry pavilion, athletics field with stadium bleachers and concession area, expanded parking, and bus loop. For more information on this project, its capital campaign, and opportunities for becoming a named donor, contact Hilary Noyes at (239) 393-5133 or, or visit


United Way ready to help businesses with food rescue

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, United Way stands ready to assist businesses with food rescue as they see a disruption in their general operations.  As restaurants cut hours or production, there may be a need to responsibly re-allocate excess food. United Way will work with area restaurants to coordinate the pick-up and distribution of perishable and non-perishable food items. United Way collaborates with a network of social services and will distribute donated food to agencies working with families in need. Restaurants may contact Alexis at (239) 433-7551. The United Way will not be distributing food directly to individuals. For families and individuals looking for food resources, call United Way 211 by dialing 2-1-1 or (239) 433-3900.

Founder/CEO of Lifeline Family Center Kathy Miller and guest speaker Dr. Tony Evans.

Lifeline Family Center raises $212,029 at annual dinner

A record crowd of 800 people attended the Annual Benefit Dinner for Lifeline Family Center featuring Radio Evangelist Dr. Tony Evans, who has been named one of the 12 Most Effective Preachers in the English-speaking world, according to a press release. To date, the March 12 event at McGregor Baptist Church raised $212,029 for the work of Lifeline Family Center, which helps women in crisis pregnancies become self-supporting. Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Tex., and president of The Urban Alternative, chaplain of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, and author of more than 100 books, booklets and Bible studies. His radio broadcast, The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, can be heard on more than 1,200 U.S. outlets daily and in more than 130 countries. For more information about Lifeline Family Center, visit

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