Gulfshore Business Daily: November 12

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Lead Photo: Representation of Freeport from D.R. Horton. Details below.



Estero-based Hertz Global Holdings Inc. this week reported results for its third quarter 2020 with revenue of $1.3 billion, a net loss attributable to the company of $222 million and adjusted corporate EBITDA loss of $26 million. Liquidity at the end of the third quarter was $1.1 billion, the company reports. “Our U.S. Chapter 11 process is progressing well. Recent, new funding and commitments of more than $6 billion allow us to continue taking steps to best position our business as a rental-car and fleet-leasing leader through the pandemic and for the future,” says Hertz Global President and CEO Paul Stone. 

Video courtesy of WINK News


A local doctor is warning of incoming hurdles for the promising COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer. Early analysis shows the vaccine is more than 90% effective at preventing symptomatic illness. But it uses new technology that relies on synthetic messenger RNA, which has never been approved for human vaccination before. It also has to be stored at minus 75 degrees Celsius, which is colder than any vaccine currently used in the United States and requires two rounds of treatment. Dr. Larry Antonnuci, president and CEO of Lee Health, isn’t sure everyone will follow up with the second round. “Any time you have a vaccine that requires two shots your compliance goes down a little bit,” Antonucci says. The Centers for Disease Control have asked states to be ready to receive Pfizer’s vaccine by Nov. 15, WINK News reports.


Lee County commissioners voted Tuesday to reduce building permit fees by 25% for one year beginning Dec. 1. The reduction will apply to fees assessed by the Lee County Department of Community Development to cover costs for processing and reviewing applications and inspecting work for most building permits in unincorporated Lee County. The discount applies to permit applications received on or after Dec. 1. It would include the typical building permits associated with residential and commercial construction. People building new homes, installing fences or replacing mechanical or plumbing systems will benefit from the reduced fees. Businesses remodeling their facilities will also save money on permit expenses. The Community Development Department issued more than 25,000 such permits in the most recent fiscal year. The discount does not affect impact fee collection rates or fees charged by other departments or agencies, such as water and sewer connection fees, right-of-way permit fees or fire district-related review fees. For more information on the permitting discount, call 239-533-8585.


Collier County commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved a developer agreement with Rural Neighborhoods Inc. for an invitation to negotiate the development of affordable housing at the former Golden Gate Golf Course in Golden Gate. According to the developer agreement, Rural Neighborhoods of Florida City will build at least 350 dwelling units on about 25 acres. Plans for the future development area show the housing will be built along Collier Boulevard on the southeastern edge of the golf property. The development will consist of 100 units for seniors and 250 to 300 essential services units with 5% of the units targeted to veterans. The development will serve clients with incomes between 30% to 140% of the area median income. Essential services occupation preferences include individuals employed in health care, education and emergency services. The investment is a public-private partnership with Community Foundation of Collier County, a local 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The county purchased the 167-acre golf course last year for more than $29 million. 


Collier County commissioners on Tuesday voted 4-1 to amend the Orange Blossom Ranch planned unit development to increase the maximum number of dwelling units from 1,600 to 1,950. Commissioner Penny Taylor dissented. The more than 600-acre inland community is located on the north and south sides of Oil Well Road about one mile east of Immokalee Road. The addition of 350 dwelling units would increase the density of Orange Blossom Ranch from 2.8 dwelling units per acre to 3.4 per acre. Increasing density allows attached villas and townhomes to be built in the community of single-family homes.


Luminary Hotel & Co., the latest property from Mainsail Lodging & Development and the first Autograph hotel in the Fort Myers-Naples area, opens The Silver King Ocean Brasserie today. As the hotel’s signature restaurant, Silver King Ocean Brasserie will offer a menu showcasing fresh seafood through clean, simple preparations using classic techniques for a modern palate. While Executive Chef Kiel Lombardo leads the hotel’s culinary team, Chef de Cuisine Matthew Mohler and General Manager Anthony Sambrato Jr., collectively have brought the Silver King to life. Centered on an open kitchen, the 60-seat restaurant will feature a coastal-inspired menu and 40 additional outdoor seats. The décor includes modern elements such as a flowing silver and copper artwork installation inspired by the restaurant’s namesake, the “Silver King” Atlantic tarpon, as well as silver accents, rich woods, marble and velvet. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made via Yelp. For more information on The Silver King Ocean Brasserie and Luminary Hotel & Co., visit


D.R. Horton Southwest Florida is marking its entry into Hendry County with Express Homes in LaBelle. Three residences are already underway on select homesites throughout the suburban rural area and are set to be move-in ready in early 2021. The nation’s largest homebuilder has chosen two single-family floor plans to kick off this milestone — Boardwalk and Freeport, both starting in the high $100,000s. The 1,389-square-foot Boardwalk includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two-car garage. Freeport consists of 1,499 square feet that seamlessly connect four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two-car garage. For more details, visit



Healthcare Network to provide drive-thru COVID-19 testing Saturday

Healthcare Network, a nonprofit organization committed to the health and well-being of everyone in the community, will provide free drive-thru COVID-19 testing from 9-11 a.m. this Saturday, Nov. 14, at Healthcare Network’s Nichols Community Health Center, 12655 Collier Blvd., Golden Gate. Testing will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, as long as supplies last, for all ages—including children—regardless of symptoms. A physician or provider referral is not required, and those receiving tests do not need to be patients of Healthcare Network. Testing will be administered via a gentle nasal swab. To ensure proper follow-up, a photo ID is required. Results are expected in three-to-five business days. This is a drive-up testing offering only. For safety, walk-ups or cyclists cannot be accommodated. Drivers and others needing testing must wear masks and remain in their cars at all times. For information, call the COVID-19 Resource Line at 239-675-7080 or visit

2020 Business Summit keynote speakers announced

The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce has announced Christin Collins and Charly Caldwell as the keynote speakers for its 2020 Business Summit, which will be held virtually this year beginning at 4 p.m. on Nov. 16 and lasting through Nov. 19. The virtual event launches with a keynote address by Collins, “Thriving Through These Unprecedented Times: Organizational Health Starts with You!” Caldwell will conclude the multi-day summit at noon on Nov. 19 with a presentation on “Make 2021 Your Best Year Ever Through the Power of the 5P’s.” In addition to the keynote presentations, the 2020 Business Summit is bringing local business leaders together to host 18 one-hour virtual workshops, which will be held at 8 a.m., noon and 4 p.m. on Nov. 17 and Nov. 18. The virtual Business Summit is $75 for members of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and $99 for non-members. Attendees can choose to attend nine live sessions, including the keynote and closing presentations, and will also receive the recordings of all sessions and presentations. To register and learn more about each session, visit or call 239-332-2930.



Southwest Florida businesses named among 2020 Companies to Watch list

GrowFL has honored three Southwest Florida businesses in its 2020 Companies to Watch list, a designation that recognizes second-stage businesses poised for significant growth over the next several years. Lenkbar LLC in Naples, Impulse Creative in Babcock Ranch,  and Priority Marketing in Fort Myers were named 2020 honorees. GrowFL announced 50 honorees on Nov. 10 from a pool of 82 finalists named in September. The organization received more than 400 nominations for the award this year. Honorees were selected after a final round of judging by a panel of independent judges comprised of past honorees, economic development leaders and corporate partners of GrowFL. Now in its 10th year, GrowFL’s Companies to Watch program was developed by the Edward Lowe Foundation and honors second-stage companies that are developing valuable products and services, creating quality jobs, enriching communities and broadening new industries throughout Florida. Second-stage companies are defined as those with six to 150 full-time employees and between $750,000 and $100 million in annual revenue. Companies named to the list will be officially recognized at the 10th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Celebration on Feb. 18 at the Hammock Beach Resort and Spa in Palm Coast. The event will also be live-streamed. For more information, visit

‘Nov(m)ember’ campaign challenges community to shop locally in November

The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce has launched a month-long campaign, called Nov(m)ember, which challenges the community to shop locally in November. To participate in Nov(m)ember, the community is encouraged to patronize local businesses, snap photos of their visits and share them on social media using the hashtag #GFMCCNovMember. The chamber is also offering leave-behind cards that allow customers to share notes of encouragement for the businesses they frequent. These cards are available for download or pick-up at the chamber’s office, 2310 Edwards Drive in Fort Myers. The chamber has rallied several of its member businesses to offer special offers and discounts as part of the Nov(m)ember campaign. A list of participating businesses and promotions can be viewed at Chamber members who wish to share an offer for their business can email to be featured among Nov(m)ember promotions.

Naples Health tech company wins state award

HealthMe Technology, a digital marketplace to connect doctors and self-paying patients, earned an award at the 2020 Florida Early Stage Capital Conference organized by Space Florida and the Florida Venture Forum. Naples-based HealthMe won $20,000 after a committee of venture-capital investors selected the firm from a pool of 150 applicants and 21 finalists selected to present their business at the Florida Early Stage Capital Conference Oct. 14 and 15. Founded by Dr. Michael Havig, an orthopedic surgeon in Naples, HealthMe is a software platform that lets patients select their own doctors and pay them directly for health care, bypassing insurance and red tape. The direct-to-consumer solution brings together doctors and patients in a digital marketplace for transparently priced bundled health care. “As a seed investor in HealthMe, Adrenaline Venture Fund recognized that Dr. Havig, who is responsible for running his own medical practice, is on the front line of patient care and health care costs,” said Timothy Cartwright, partner of Fifth Avenue Family Office and general partner of Adrenaline Venture Fund. For more information, visit

LeeSar and CSF announce new executives

LeeSar and Cooperative Services of Florida Inc. (CSF) have named Junette Grant as executive director of sourcing and contract administration for CSF. Grant is responsible for the development of the group purchasing organization value model, member collaboration strategies, portfolio performance, and supporting analytics.  She leads the sourcing and contracting teams that serve CSF’s four-member healthcare organizations. Grant has more than 12 years of healthcare strategic sourcing, project management and data analytics experience. She has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Science degree from St. Thomas University. Additionally, CSF have named Jennifer Tokash as executive director of process excellence.  In this role, Tokash will be instrumental in the achievement of LeeSar/CSF’s strategic imperatives designed to support members in reducing costs and increasing the overall value of services provided, CSF states. Tokash has worked at Cardinal Health, Nationwide Insurance, Vizient, and most recently at OhioHealth, located in Columbus, Ohio. Tokash has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. 

CLA announces career achievements in Fort Myers 

CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP) announces the following individuals who have reached new stages in their chosen career paths: Judith Rohde, senior, state and local government; and Mark Arnone, senior, tax. CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP) exists to create opportunities for its clients, people, and communities through industry-focused wealth advisory, outsourcing, audit, tax, and consulting services. For more information, visit



Capital Wealth Advisors’ Turkey Drop, St. Matthews House deliver hope for the holidays

The First Baptist Church parking lot in Naples will be converted to a holiday central for the 16th annual Capital Wealth Advisors (CWA) Turkey Drop event, held Nov. 16. Capital Wealth Advisors joins with 14 community partners in donating more than 2,000 frozen turkeys, 2,000 dinners with sides, pumpkin pies, and 2,000 dozen eggs by Eggland’s Best to deliver hope for the holidays to thousands of Southwest Florida neighbors in need. More than 100 volunteers will gather to assemble Hope for the Holidays meal boxes that will be distributed later by St. Matthew’s House. to low-income families, people with disabilities, senior citizens and veterans. St. Matthew’s House also will host its annual turkey dinner with all of the fixings for shelter residents and others in need on Thanksgiving Day. The public is invited to participate in the Turkey Drop event by donating frozen turkeys and canned goods. Donations can be delivered to the St. Matthew’s House donation drop off located at 2601 Airport Road S. through Saturday, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Cash donations to help with last-minute items for families in need also are appreciated. 

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