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Lead Photo: Pro-Tec Plumbing creates apprenticeship program, career development plan. Details below.



Alico Inc. announced Monday that the Fort Myers-based company purchased about 3,280 gross citrus acres in Hendry County on Oct. 30 for a purchase price of $16.45 million. “This acquisition of the Alexander Grove from the well-respected Gardinier Florida Citrus Inc. allows Alico to add additional scale to our existing 45,000 gross acres of citrus properties,” Alico President and CEO John Kiernan said in a company statement. “This Alexander Grove appears to have been very well maintained and substantial new plantings were completed in recent years. Strategically, the Alexander Grove neighbors existing Alico groves, and this will likely enable Alico to continue to operate as a low-cost, high-producing citrus grower.” Alico Inc. primarily operates two divisions: Alico Citrus, one of the nation’s largest citrus producers, and Alico Water Resources and Other Operations, a leading water storage and environmental services division. Learn more about Alico at


Naples Ships Store and a bit of local nostalgia quietly slipped away in August after surviving 34 years on 12th Avenue South in Crayton Cove. Although the pandemic ultimately played a role in the store’s closing, owner Wanda Klopf believes things happen for a reason and she is happy to start a new chapter. “It was just perfect timing for me. I had been trying to sell it and move forward with my life,” she says. “I needed to move on from the Ships Store myself.” The small rustic store, sandwiched between the Naples City Dock and Napoli on the Bay pizzeria, sold nautical gifts, marine supplies, fishing tackle, antiques, T-shirts, postcards and more. Before relocating a short distance away two years after launching, the Old Naples store started in August 1986 where Bleu Provence restaurant is today. Klopf had tried to sell the nautical store for a number of years since her husband, Eric, passed away in 2011. The couple relocated from Dayton, Ohio, to Naples Bay in 1986 to live aboard a 46-foot boat at the City Dock, which Klopf said they did for nearly five years. “We just had a wonderful, wonderful life,” she said. 

Pro-Tec Plumbing & Drains


Pro-Tec Plumbing & Drains is creating a new Technician Apprenticeship Program to train and develop plumbers as the Naples-based company grows its operations in Southwest Florida. The company has multiple job opportunities available because of a surge in demand that’s fueled in part by COVID-19. “Southwest Florida has a limited pool of experienced, skilled trades workers and journeymen,” said Master Plumber Richard Hume, who co-founded Pro-Tec in 2008 with his brother, Brandon. “Our new Technician Apprenticeship Program will offer paid training opportunities to learn the basics of plumbing, and we also developed a new Career Progression Plan that clearly defines the steps and skills needed to progress from entry-level positions all the way into management roles.” Pro-Tec serves residential and commercial customers from Marco Island and Naples through Bonita Springs and Fort Myers. For more details, visit


The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business Committee will host a virtual program on “Transitioning Your Passion or Hobby into Your Career” at 4 p.m. today, Nov. 4. Attendees will hear from three local business and nonprofit leaders who have turned their passions into their professions. Speakers include Alison Hussey of the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW), Angela Melvin of Valerie’s House and Jen Whyte of Fort Myers Brewing Co. The Women in Business program is $10 for members of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and $15 for future members. Attendees can register in advance at to receive webinar login credentials.


When local fitness trainer Jon Bates learned earlier this fall that a real estate transaction forced him to quickly vacate the Mercantile Plaza space on Airport-Pulling Road where he had operated his Addicted To Fitness business for more than eight years, he wasn’t sure where he was going to go on short notice. But Bates is grateful that he was able to team up with AAH Fitness in Naples. AAH Fitness owner Audra A. Hallenbeck invited Bates to bring his clients to her business in Tanglewood Plaza, the center anchored by Outback Steakhouse at 4910 U.S. 41 N. Bates is a one-on-one fitness trainer specializing in retired baby boomers who want to sustain or improve their mental and physical quality of life. Prospective clients may call Bates at 239-821-5437. 


The Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation Inc. has elected five new board members and reelected another for a second term. The Florida Gulf Coast University Board of Trustees approved the members at its meeting on Oct. 29. Newly elected board members will serve a four-year term. New members are William R. Barker; Indera DeMine; Onur Haytac; Lucienne Pears; and Doug VanOort. Serving a second four-year term is Samantha Scott. The mission of the FGCU Foundation is to advance Florida Gulf Coast University and its students by promoting the institution, securing philanthropy to support the needs of the university, managing and administering assets with a long-term perspective, and providing resources to the University for the benefit of its teaching, scholarship, and public service mission.

Noel J. Davies


The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP announced that Noel J. Davies, a partner in the firm’s Naples office and land use and zoning attorney in the firm’s real estate practice group, has been appointed by the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners as the Special Magistrate for Code Enforcement. A native of Southwest Florida, Davies has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America – Real Estate Law as well as Florida Super Lawyers – Rising Stars. He focuses his practice on real estate development and land use matters, including representation of developers in all facets of land development, from due diligence for acquisitions to public hearing representation, including state and local government relations with respect to site plan approvals, permitting, zoning, wetlands and environmental issues. Davies also maintains a transactional commercial and residential real estate practice, including closing and title services.



Billy and Johnny enjoy their new fenced in backyard, ready to plant their gardens.

ROOF receives grant from Naples Garden Club

Residential Options of Florida (ROOF) received a grant from Naples Garden Clubto help its residents with disabilities acquire the knowledge and skills to establish and maintain gardens. Through this project, ROOF residents have the opportunity to develop horticulture skills, beautify their homes, produce herbs and vegetables for consumption, and to develop social and motor skills. The funding from the Naples Garden Club allowed ROOF to install backyard fences for ROOF’s two homes in Immokalee. The fences will provide protection to newly planted gardens and serve as a safety feature to the homes. With the support of the Naples Garden Club, ROOF will work with community volunteers to teach its residents about horticulture and sustainability.

Fifth Third Bank supports Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast-Collier County

Fifth Third Bank is partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast–Collier County for its annual Giving Tree Toy Drive campaign. The Giving Tree Toy Drive program will begin on Nov. 2 and ends on Nov. 30. Each Fifth Third financial center will host a “Giving Tree” decorated with gift tags with specific information that pertains to the need of a child in the community. The public can visit any local Fifth Third Bank financial center in South Florida during the month of November to pick up a gift tag. To find the nearest location, visit

Naples Originals donates proceeds from Foodie Camp to area nonprofits

Naples Originals, the group of Collier County’s independent restaurants formed in 2008, has donated proceeds of its 2019 Foodie Camp to St. Matthew’s House and Florida Gulf Coast University. The donations fund scholarships and training programs for future restaurant and hospitality professionals. Naples Originals’ Foodie Camp is an annual fundraising event featuring a series of cooking classes held in chef-led restaurants over a period of two weeks. The classes include hands-on demos and luncheons. A portion of proceeds is earmarked for nonprofits including St. Matthew’s, FGCU, Meals of Hope, and other culinary-related organizations. Foodie Camp is on hiatus for 2020 and is expected to be held again in fall 2021. For more information, visit
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