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Gulfshore Business Daily: May 19

Credit: WINK News


Hertz Global Holdings Inc. announced Monday that Paul Stone has been named president and chief executive officer, effective immediately. Stone, most recently Hertz’s executive vice president and chief retail operations officer, North America, also has been elected to the Hertz board of directors. Stone succeeds Kathryn V. Marinello, who plans to continue with the Estero-based company in a consulting position for up to one year to support a smooth transition. “Paul brings a customer-centered approach to growing the business that is driven by process excellence and employee engagement. Having successfully run our largest business segment for the last two years, Paul helped strengthen our brands by elevating service standards across the North American car rental operations,” says Hertz Chairman Henry R. Keizer. “We also want to thank Kathy for her contributions as an exceptional business leader. Since joining the company in January 2017, she oversaw a successful operational turnaround, transformed Hertz’s culture, and built a best-in-class leadership team. The board wishes her all the best.” Stone, 50, began his 28-year career with Sam’s Club/Walmart as a store manager and was quickly elevated through the ranks to Western US divisional senior vice president. He led operations for upwards of 200 locations with more than 30,000 employees. Prior to Hertz, he served as senior vice president and chief retail officer at Cabela’s, one of the leading outdoor outfitter retail companies.


Florida is home to 1,170,902 self-employed workers, which is 12.0% of its total workforce, according to a new report by Volusion. Out of all states, Florida has the fourth-highest percentage of self-employed workers in the U.S., the report shows. The Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island metro area ranked No. 1 in midsize metros in Florida with the most self-employed workers (18.3%), with Cape Coral-Fort Myers following at No. 15 (12.2%). Punta Gorda ranked No. 6 in small metros in Florida with the most self-employed workers (16.8%). For the full report, click here.


Florida gas prices are beginning to inch higher as Florida eases restrictions, causing a growing number of people to hit the road. Gasoline demand is now only 30 percent lower than a year ago, compared to the 50-75 percent deficit seen just weeks ago during the height of Florida’s stay-at-home order. Gas prices in Florida increased last week – albeit slightly – for the first time in 10 weeks. After sinking to a four-year low, the state average rose a penny to $1.77 per gallon. The state average is now 1-cent more than a week ago, yet 5 cents less than last month and 89 cents less than this time last year. Among the least expensive metro markets for gas is Punta Gorda, at $1.71 per gallon. State and metro averages can be found here.

Photo credit: Naples Zoo


The Naples Zoo’s Phase 1 reopening begins this Friday with limited capacity and temporarily discounted pricing. All guests, including Naples Zoo members, must reserve a timed ticket online by choosing a day and time to visit. Realizing the challenging financial circumstances many are facing, the zoo is offering the community a temporary discount for admission. Adult tickets will be $12, child tickets $6 and guests 2 years and younger receive free admission. Some of the exhibits and attractions will not be available during Phase 1. “The Zoo experience will be modified to fully provide for the safety of guests, zoo staff and the animal collection and comply with all federal, state and local requirements and recommendations for strict social distancing,” according to the zoo’s website. “The experience will be different, but it is still the same nationally accredited zoo and garden offering a safe, outdoor experience for children and families in the Southwest Florida community.” New hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. To purchase general admission tickets, click here. Ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, Inn on Fifth & Club Level Suites in downtown Naples is welcoming back nearby guests with a number of special “staycation” packages and offers. The boutique hotel had a “gentle” reopening May 15 after a six-week closure, with roughly 25% of its 119 rooms available for overnight stays.


South Florida restaurateur Stefano Frittella recently purchased The Bevy restaurant and bar in downtown Naples from the Hoffmann Family of Companies. The Bevy, 360 12th Ave. S., is temporarily closed, but Frittella plans to reopen the local restaurant by the end of June. “It’s going to be the same concept, the same name,” says Frittella, who is bringing in a new chef from New York City. In addition to operating many restaurants in Miami Beach, Frittella is a partner in four Naples restaurants on Fifth Avenue South: Bice Ristorante, Caffe Milano, La Trattoria and Vergina. Hoffmann purchased The Bevy two years ago from Adam Smith, a Naples redeveloper who launched the restaurant in August 2017 with New American cuisine and craft cocktails.  


SCORE Southwest Florida’s top financial management mentors in an upcoming webinar will discuss changing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) regulations and how businesses can maximize use of PPP funds and keep track of key expenses. The live presentation will take place from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday. The speakers, retired Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) Ben Simmons and James E. Bolinger, will answer key questions regarding the management and tracking of business PPP funds. Register in advance here. For SCORE’s Coronavirus Small Business Resource Hub, click here.


Pushing the Envelope Inc., a strategic marketing communication firm based in Fort Myers, has launched “Kickstart 2020,” a program to help fellow Southwest Florida businesses reopen post-COVID-19. Given the current economic situation and the need for marketing help for businesses trying to reopen and gain traffic, Pushing the Envelope has identified the three most helpful, cost-effective strategies -– social media, public relations, email marketing. For the budget-minded, they are now offering mini-marketing packages focused on each, and a combination of the three. These economical resources will provide businesses with defined return on investment and include a once-a-month consultation to discuss marketing goals, business needs and more, according to a press release. For more details, click here or email info@GetPushing.com.

Good Shepherd United Methodist Church


Stevens Construction completes Good Shepherd United Methodist Church

Stevens Construction has completed construction of a 4,979-square-foot building for Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, announced Mark Stevens, company president. Stevens Construction provided construction management services for a new administrative building that features an expanded choir room, offices and conference rooms. Located at 2951 Trail Dairy Circle, the building is situated on the occupied church campus and services were not disrupted during construction. The Stevens Construction team includes Alan Bennett, project manager; Gary Tipton, superintendent; and Angie Sugg, project administrator. The project was designed by Southview Studios, LLC.  

BSU launches high-efficiency toilet rebate program

Bonita Springs Utilities Inc. members who replace outdated, inefficient toilets in their homes with high-efficiency models can be flush with savings of up to $100 per toilet through a newly introduced rebate program. BSU rebate guidelines require that the new toilet must use 1.6 gallons per flush or less and replace a non-efficient toilet. A $100 rebate per toilet will be credited to the member’s account, with a limit of two rebates per household. The total rebate per item will not exceed the receipt amount. The program is funded in part through a $10,000 grant from the South Florida Water Management District. To be eligible for the rebate program, members must provide a copy of proof of purchase receipt from a store or plumbing company that specifies the purchase date, purchase price, manufacturer and model number. Prior to approval, an on-site inspection may be required. To apply for the rebate, BSU members can click here.


Charity for Change receives a $5,000 grant from Pelican Sound

Charity for Change has received a $5,000 grant from the Pelican Sound Charitable Foundation that will be used to add curriculum content, update the proprietary platform, and create videos to compliment the curriculum. The new curriculum and videos will support the transition to distance learning and make it possible to reach more children. In 2008, Charity for Change started with two in-school programs in Collier County. Since then, the organization has served more than 62,000 children in Florida and several other states in afterschool, summer school, in-school and pre-school settings.

Free meals provided to families in need May 29

Bonita Springs-based J. Lee Salon Suites and The Great Hope Foundation (Mahaan Aasha) are partnering to serve families in need with free meals on May 29. As part of the Project Family Relief, created by The Great Hope Foundation (Mahaan Aasha), to-go meals will be provided by the Tokyo Bay restaurant between noon and 2 p.m. at the Tokyo Bay Plaza on 24880 South Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs. The event is sponsored by J. Lee Salon Suites. Meals will be given out until supplies run out on a first come first serve base. To donate, click here. Additional sponsors of the event are Kava Culture, Tokyo Bay, and B3 Marketing.

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