Gulfshore Business Daily: May 6

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Departures and arrivals board at RSW airport. WINK News


Vote for your favorite businesses to win our 2020 Best of Business Awards. Gulfshore Business is honoring firms in six sections: The Best in Business Finance & Insurance, The Best in Legal, The Best in Marketing, The Best in Commercial Building & Real Estate, The Best in Business Services, and. The Best in Business Dining & Drinks. Cast your vote here by the May 15 deadline.

Video courtesy of WINK News


Gov. Ron DeSantis is directing the Florida inspector general to investigate the state’s CONNECT online unemployment application system after many citizens encountered problems with it since losing their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. A slowdown in performance is believed to be caused by data buildup over the years. The governor says he wants to look at CONNECT’S 2011 contract, which has had costs totaling nearly $78 million. “To pay that much money and all the problems to deal with is a big problem,” DeSantis said. Story reported by WINK News.

Video courtesy of WINK News


Many businesses reopened their doors Monday, but are still dealing with how to bring people together and get work done while keeping everyone safe. Wendi Fowler with the Southwest Florida Regional Technology Partnership joins WINK News to speak about how businesses can bounce back. Southwest Florida Regional Technology is hosting a virtual webinar at 5:30 p.m. Thursday for businesses reopening. You can find more information on that webinar here. Story reported by WINK News. 

Departures and arrivals board at RSW airport. WINK News


With flights down 80% and passenger traffic down 90% at Southwest Florida International Airport, the Lee County Port Authority is expecting $36 million in federal relief to help pay the bills at the Fort Myers airport and essentially keep it up and running. An important requirement of the federal grant is that the airport must keep 90% of its workforce employed. Also, the LeeTran county bus service is slated to receive $19 million to be used for employee wages and protective equipment on buses such as plexiglass and disinfectant. Story reported by WINK News.

Video courtesy of WINK News


Cape Coral reopened more public spaces Tuesday that had been closed for weeks because of the pandemic. Tennis and pickleball courts reopened at some parks and Rotary Park’s dog park is now open. The public will be free to use Yacht Club Public Beach from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., but playgrounds and pavilions there will remain closed as staff monitors social distancing. There are other restrictions, too: Up to four players are allowed on each tennis and pickleball court at Camelot Park, Joe Stonis Park, Burton Park and Jefferson Park but no spectators are permitted. Yacht Club tennis courts have restrictions from 8 a.m. to noon, and no public seating is available at Rotary dog park. Some athletic fields in Cape Coral will reopen May 12. Story reported by WINK News.


PierSide Grill and Famous Blowfish Bar has reopened its doors on Fort Myers Beach with adjusted hours from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. as of Monday. Current menus are available here. Matanzas on the Bay on Fort Myers Beach has reopened its indoor and outdoor dining options with adjusted daily hours from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. as of Monday. Matanzas on the Bay’s latest menus are available hereThe Island Cow on Sanibel Island reopened for indoor and outdoor dining with adjusted hours starting at noon Tuesday. For more information on what to expect from local restaurants during the first phase of Florida reopening, click here.

Lena White


Greater Naples Leadership (GNL) elected its 2020-2021 slate of board officers and directors during its annual meeting held virtually on April 28. The nonprofit’s newly elected board assumed office on May 1. 2020-2021 Officers include president – Sue Dillon, president-Elect – Gerald Godshaw, secretary – Loreen Sellitto, treasurer – Doug Draeseke, and immediate past president – J R Philp. Directors include  Caren Arnstein,  Maria Dines, Sandie Fleming, Barbara Hurt-Simmons, Mary Beth Jones,  Kitty Keane, John Mancuso, Donna Messer, Geoffrey Murphy, Martha Rozman, Mark Schwab, Ruth Seydel, Beth Stein, Steve Teaford, Giselle Wagner, and Gunther Winkler.


Michael G. Lawler Cos. has announced Lena White as its new general manager. White’s responsibilities will include oversight of the boutique company’s sales and marketing strategies, as well as its operation initiatives. White, a licensed broker associate, brings with her more than 30 years of real estate sales and operations expertise, most recently serving as the chief operations officer of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, supporting over 1,100 sales associates in more than 40 sales galleries. Prior to being named COO, White served as vice president of marketing. Moving to Naples from Sarasota in 2013, White worked for Coldwell Banker as the Florida marketing manager. Further experience includes management experience in events, relocation, and luxury and international marketing. 

Todd Hall


Gulf Coast International Properties has named Todd Hall as Agent of the Month for April. Hall is a Naples native with family roots in the area extending as far back as 1936. His local experience extends to knowledge of land value, building costs and quality construction. Hall holds the record for representing the sale of the highest price home ever sold in the Villages of Monterey in North Naples and also for the highest price per square foot in that community (higher by nearly 20%, according to a press release).


United Way of Collier and the Keys distributes more than $250,0000 for #GivingTuesdayNow

The United Way of Collier and the Keys participated in #GivingTuesdayNow by supporting local nonprofits in Collier County. #GivingTuesdayNow took place Tuesday as a day of giving and unity, and as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. United Way of Collier and the Keys is continuing its Agency Allocations process, this year known as Project ALICE. The first quarter payments for Project ALICE will be $255,375, supporting numerous nonprofit agencies in the area. Funds raised will support the skyrocketing demand for services at the United Way of Collier and the Keys 2-1-1 non-emergency help line. To make a donation to the United Way of Collier and the Keys, click here.


Florida 7-Eleven stores to provide free lunch to frontline workers

Florida 7-Eleven stores will provide healthcare workers and first responders with a free lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 7 at more than 800 participating locations. To identify a participating store, customers should look for the attached flyer in the store’s front window. Healthcare workers and first responders can simply show their work identification to receive a free lunch during the indicated time. Participants can choose either a Big Bite Hot Dog or two taquitos and their choice of a Big Gulp, Slurpee or coffee beverage. All meals will also come with potato wedges. Additionally, participating locations will take a minute beginning at 11 a.m. to applaud and honor those who are working tirelessly on the frontline during this pandemic. This state-wide celebration was started by a franchisee who wanted to recognize the first responders and healthcare workers in his community, including his brother. What initially began as an event in one store gained traction and spread across the state.

Lee Health to celebrate National Nurses Week

National Nurses Week is May 6-12 and Lee Health will honor and recognize the contributions made by nurses through a variety of virtual activities, videos and social posts. The Lee County Board of County Commissioners also issued a proclamation to mark the occasion and importance of the profession. National Nurses Week is celebrated annually to raise awareness of the critical role nurses play in healthcare and our society. The International Council of Nurses 2020 theme, Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Nursing the World to Health, demonstrates how nurses are central to addressing a wide range of health challenges. For more information, visit

David Lawrence Center receives COVID-19 Assistance Grant

David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC) has received a $30,000 COVID-19 Assistance Grant from the Collier Comes Together Fund, a charitable fund of the Community Foundation of Collier County (CFCC) The grant will be used to fund communications about the psychological impacts of this pandemic, including post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression, which can also trigger heavier consumption of drugs and alcohol, according to a press release. The goal of this grant is to educate the community about what warning signs and symptoms to be aware of so individuals can intervene early and avoid life-threatening crises such as suicide and overdose. The grant will also help promote DLC’s new virtual care services.

Swinging With Purpose fundraiser successful despite pandemic

Due to COVID-19, Swinging With Purpose (SWP) canceled the Liberty Mutual Invitational Golf Tournament set for May 3 at Quail West Golf & Country Club, but still raised more than $100,000 through virtual campaigns of a golf cart raffle and donations of tournament fees and sponsorships. SWP is a nonprofit organization that provides financial and in-kind support to grassroots organizations serving women, girls and children in Southwest Florida. For more details, visit

Sails Restaurant  supports St. Matthew’s House

Sails Restaurant in Naples is catering 170 meals every day this week for St. Matthew’s House shelter and soup kitchen residents. Sails has been and is continuing to provide different meals at 10:30 a.m. each day for five days, totaling 850 meals. The restaurant has been doing this for hospitals and healthcare workers the last few weeks to show appreciation for what they’re doing in the community. For more details, click here. St. Matthew’s House moved to a new distribution site at Naples Baptist Church on 3000 Orange Blossom to open its thrift store at the same site as its former food distribution site. The organization’s regular food drive will take place from 1-5 p.m. on Thursday at Naples Baptist Church. Last week, St. Matthew’s House fed 2,083 families in-need through its food distribution drives.

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