Lead Photo: Oxbow Bar & Grill opens in downtown Fort Myers
FLORIDA NO. 9 BEST STATE FOR JOB SEEKERS
Florida is the ninth-best state for remote job seekers, according to CareerCloud’s study on the Best and Worst States for Remote Job Seekers. Florida ranks No. 25 for the current number of remote jobs per 1,000 jobs but is expecting a 24.3% increase in remote jobs by 2028, the fifth-highest increase in the country. In Florida, an accountant is the most common remote job currently, according to CareerCloud. The company created the study after analyzing the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau on current levels of remote jobs, projected growth rates in these jobs through 2028, and broadband access in each state. View the full report here.
SOUTHWEST FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT REPORTS FEBRUARY TRAFFIC
During February, 725,735 passengers traveled through Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers. This was a decrease of 41.5% compared to February 2020; however, it was a 5.7% increase compared to January 2021. Year-to-date, passenger traffic is down 40.5% compared to last year. The traffic leader in February was Southwest Airlines with 151,619 total passengers. Rounding out the top five airlines were Delta (151,466), United (84,978), American (82,205) and JetBlue (74,266). Southwest Florida International Airport had 7,875 aircraft operations, a decrease of 22.6 percent compared to February 2020. Page Field saw 10,724 operations, an 8.2 percent decrease compared to February 2020.
ORIGINAL ESTERO COUNCILMEMBERS TO BE HONORED TODAY
Estero council will present the key to the city to former councilmembers Nick Batos, Howard Levitan and Bill Ribble, all of who completed their terms on March 3. Nick Batos served as Estero’s first mayor, Howard Levitan served as Estero’s first vice-mayor and Bill Ribble most recently served as Estero’s mayor. These founding members were all elected to serve on the initial Village Council, which held its first meeting on March 17, 2015. Since Batos, Levitan and Ribble had no competition in their initial bid for election, they served two years their first term, with the other four councilmembers serving four years, setting up the rotation of elections. All council terms are now four years. On March 17, Katy Errington was elected by the new council to serve as Estero’s first female mayor and Jon McLain vice-mayor, along with the installation of three new councilmembers: Larry Fiesel, Joanne Ribble and Jim Ward, all of who ran unopposed to replace the outgoing councilmembers.
LUMINARY HOTEL & CO. OPENS OXBOW BAR & GRILL IN DOWNTOWN FORT MYERS
Oxbow Bar & Grill opened Monday in downtown Fort Myers’ River District in what was once known as the City Pier Building. Oxbow is open daily for lunch and dinner with brunch on the weekends. It’s the fifth food and beverage offering from the new Luminary Hotel & Co. With panoramic riverfront views on the Caloosahatchee, Oxbow features an upbeat nautical vibe and a mix of casual dockside dining and shopping. The 150-seat eatery offers indoor and outdoor dining with a menu that includes fresh oysters and signature favorites with fresh seafood, steaks, burgers and craft sandwiches. Oxbow’s retail store offers sportswear, gear, accessories and destination souvenirs from St. Petersburg-based Boaters Republic. A watersports outfitter with kayak and paddleboard rentals will be available soon. Oxbow, 1300 Hendry St., is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. For more information call 239-314-3856 or click here.
SEAGATE DEVELOPMENT GROUP ANNOUNCES ALICO TRADE CENTER
Seagate Development Group has announced Alico Trade Center as the name for a 40-acre business park coming to Alico Road and I-75 in Fort Myers. Seagate owns and will develop the commercial land. Lee & Associates is handling design-build leasing and sales of the pad sites. The official name of the space comes just before Seagate breaks ground on Rice Insulation & Glass’ 35,000-square-foot facility. It will include offices, a reception area, a conference room, training and break rooms, workstations, a warehouse of insulation, glass, shower door and shelving materials, high-dock and grade-level doors, and 100 parking spaces. Seagate and Lee & Associates are also working with other to-be-announced businesses that would like to lease or purchase single-tenant, flex or industrial buildings in Alico Trade Center. The first freestanding building in Alico Trade Center is slated for completion in October, with all other owners’ and tenants’ projects to be completed on an ongoing basis.
RISING CONSTRUCTION COSTS, MATERIAL SHORTAGE AFFECTS BUILDING OF HOMES
Lumber and other construction supplies have gotten so expensive that some builders won’t build new homes now. Many homes are under construction in places like Cape Coral, but no one is working on them. Not because of a shortage of desire but a shortage of materials. There has been a considerable rise in the cost of materials and some items such as aluminum, lumber and appliances are becoming more difficult to acquire. One reason we are seeing these price hikes and delays in completion is because of the pandemic. There are lockdowns and safety protocols in factories and also tariffs, WINK News reports.
BAILEY’S GENERAL STORE TRADEMARKS NAME AND LOGO
Bailey’s General Store has trademarked its name and logo after more than 100 years of operation on Sanibel Island. A staple of the Sanibel community, Bailey’s General Store is the oldest family-owned business in Lee County, the company states. The trademarks will aid in the preservation of a brand that has been an integral part of the growth of Sanibel Island. When Frank Bailey opened the store in 1899, he was able to bring necessities to the island’s residents, including farming supplies. The store has endured a lot over the years, surviving The Great Depression, both World Wars, and many hurricanes. The store blew away in 1926 during a hurricane but was rebuilt. It has since expanded to include a location at Sundial Resort and most recently acquired the Island Store on Captiva. Calli Johnson is the fourth-generation owner-operator.
EAT SMART WOK RESTAURANT LAUNCHES AT BERKSHIRE COMMONS IN EAST NAPLES
Eat Smart, a local restaurant that serves fully customizable bowl meals stir-fried in a wok, launched Monday in Berkshire Commons retail center on the northwest corner of Radio Road and Santa Barbara Boulevard in East Naples. The space had been vacant since December 2018 when Sauce Lady Buffetto closed there, in a unit that had been a long-time Starbucks until the coffee shop relocated nearby to a new drive-thru spot. The restaurant’s owners are Ross Miller and Monika Lehr-Hotaling, who opened locations in Cape Coral and Fort Myers in late 2018 and 2019, respectively. Their build-your-own bowls concept features the slogan “We rock the wok.” Diners choose which vegetables, protein and starch they want in their bowls. Eat-Smart24, 7083 Radio Road, is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed Sundays. For more information call 239-692-8002 or click here.
THE STADIUM GALLERY OPENS ON FIFTH AVENUE SOUTH IN NAPLES
The Fifth Avenue South Business Improvement District has announced the opening of The Stadium Gallery. Located at 612 Fifth Ave. S. in Naples, The Stadium Gallery offers licensed panoramic stadium prints with more than 800 stadiums currently available. For more than 25 years, The Rob Arra Collection has captured historic, milestone, memorable and never to be repeated sporting events in baseball, basketball, football, hockey, college and more. The Fifth Avenue South location joins other Stadium Gallery stores in Sarasota; Cooperstown, New York; Kennebunkport, Maine; and Newport, Rhode Island; offering decades of historic sports moments captured and preserved for enjoyment in buyers’ homes, offices, workplaces or bars. Stadium Gallery also offers a wide range of collectibles and sports memorabilia.
BONITA RESTAURANT THAT OPENED EIGHT HOURS BEFORE COVID-19 SHUTDOWN CELEBRATES ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY
Seaside Bar & Grill on Old 41 Road in Bonita Springs recently celebrated its one-year anniversary with the week of grand opening festivities it never had the chance to host in 2020. Just eight hours after Seaside’s opening to the public on March 17, the COVID-19 outbreak led to a mandatory shutdown of restaurants. Seaside, owned by Marc Devisse and now operated with a staff of approximately 20 employees, responded to the pandemic with community outreach. That included food deliveries to first responders, allowing individuals to order groceries through their vendors, hosting a virtual fundraiser to help feed restaurant workers, and creating a family meal menu, which is still available as a takeout option.
FREE WEBINAR ON EMPLOYEE RETENTION CREDIT, PPP GUIDANCE HELD THURSDAY
CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen) on Thursday, March 25, will host a complimentary webinar focused on Employee Retention Credit and PPP Guidance. The virtual livestream is designed to share recent updates on the employee retention credit, what it entails, and what it means for attendees. CLA will also provide the latest PPP guidance. Register here.
FREE TRUST AND INVESTMENT SEMINARS CONTINUE IN APRIL
Charlotte State Bank & Trust concludes its current series of complimentary trust and investment seminars in April. The eight seminars cover a wide range of topics from a trust officer’s point of view. Bank Vice Presidents Christine Hause and Gregory Thomas deliver timely information to help attendees with estate planning and portfolio management, respectively. The sessions will be held as live seminars and online webinars. Attendees may participate in person at the bank’s Murdock branch office, 1100 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, or online via the Charlotte State Bank & Trust website. In-person capacity is limited to allow for social distancing. Masks are mandatory, and advance registration is required for the seminars or webinars, which last from 10-11:30 a.m. The first April meeting, “Financial Decision-Making,” is held on April 6.
NONPROFIT VIRTUAL TOWN HALL SEEKING PARTICIPANTS
Soukup Strategic Solutions is hosting its first Nonprofit Virtual Town Hall, which invites nonprofit leaders to discuss the challenges and needs of their organizations and the nonprofit sector in Southwest Florida. Soukup Strategic Solutions will host the town hall from 4-5 p.m. on May 18 via Zoom. Nonprofit leaders will have the opportunity to communicate with similar organizations in organized breakout rooms. Moderators will open discussion for attendees to share the opportunities and challenges of their nonprofit and the sector. The gathered information will be sent to legislators and community leaders. All attendees are invited to share topics of discussion when registering online. Registration is free for all attending.
PREMIER SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY NAMES NEW MANAGING BROKER
Premier Sotheby’s International Realty has named Erin McDonald as the new managing broker of the company’s Bonita Springs, Sanibel and Captiva sales galleries. She succeeds Chris Maccarone, who has served in the role since 2017 until announcing her retirement last month. An experienced leader with two decades of success in the real estate industry, McDonald has extensive sales, marketing and leadership experience, most recently serving as managing broker for LIV Sotheby’s International Realty’s Cherry Creek office in Denver. A native of Philadelphia, she sold resort properties in the Colorado Rocky Mountains for 10-plus years before her passion for helping others grow in business ultimately drew her from sales to leadership.
13th Annual BUG Chase 5K Run raises money for children
The Fort Myers Metro-McGregor Kiwanis raised more than $7,500 at its 13th annual BUG Chase 5K run. The race, made virtual this year, benefited the Fort Myers-Metro Kiwanis Club’s BUG (Bring Up Grades) program and other local club-sponsored youth service projects. More than 100 registered individuals participated from local race routes to those as far away as Michigan. The race was supported by RunSignUp with the RaceJoy app and was supervised by the Fort Myers Track Club. Race sponsors included Passarella & Associates and Weinstein Wilkes Financial Group. The run was featured in a two-page spread in the March edition of the Kiwanis International magazine, which is distributed worldwide. Full race results and photos can be found here.
Truist supports David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health
David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC) received a $3,835 grant from Truist. Truist, now the sixth-largest U.S. bank holding company, was recently formed from the historic merger of BB&T and SunTrust. The funds will be applied to the capital expenses DLC needed to purchase and renovate its first certified recovery residence: Hope Home. Hope Home is a six-bed recovery residence for men that opened in June 2020 and is located less than one mile away from the DLC Main Campus on Golden Gate Parkway. The cost to purchase the home and complete the renovations for the five-acre, five-bedroom residence cost more than $630,000. To date, 63 donors contributed $400,000, including in-kind furniture contributions from St. Matthew’s House and the former homeowner. The Branch Banking & Trust Co. funds will be applied to the $200,000 needed to cover the remaining costs. Hope Home is supported by recovery support specialists with sustained recovery and provides a substance-free and affordable living option for individuals in early recovery. To donate to Hope Home, click here.
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