Gulfshore Business Daily: October 2

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Video courtesy of WINK News



Despite the pandemic, new business applications are up 51% in Florida. While many business openings were delayed, a number have proceeded after a period of adjustment. A coffee shop in downtown Fort Myers is all too familiar with the process. The Green Cup closed at the beginning of the pandemic, but when loyal customer Robert Podgorski heard the news, he saw it as an opportunity to save the shop and become a first-time business owner. After submitting a new business application, he reopened the doors in August. His advice to new business owners: Stick to what you know, have confidence and be patient, WINK News reports.
Video courtesy of WINK News



The Village School of Naples has become the first school in Florida and one of only three in the U.S. with a K-9 on campus. Thanks to a company called Skool Dogs, which trains dogs specifically to operate on school grounds, Colby has become the newest employee of The Village School, paired with school resource officer Daniel Bledsoe. “She detects firearms and ammunition, gunpowder, black powder as well,” Bledsoe says. Adorable as she may be, Colby is the fastest response to an active shooter situation. Staff considers her a welcome addition to campus. The Village School was able to acquire Colby from Skool Dogs thanks to an anonymous donation, WINK News reports.

Video courtesy of WINK News



In an emergency, seconds count. During a fire, choosing the right door to enter or pinpointing where someone is trapped can be a deadly guessing game. In response to emergency situations, the first tool of its kind in Southwest Florida is helping to save lives. When North Collier firefighters head out on a call, they respond with a $5,000 drone packed in the chief’s truck. The high-tech drone has an infrared camera, giving firefighters a technological edge. Think of it as an extra set of eyes in the sky. In addition to helping to keep firefighters and residents safe, the drone can assist in search-and-rescue efforts, too, WINK News reports.


Naples and Immokalee were ranked in SmartAsset’s “Most Tax-Friendly Places for Retirees” in Florida list. In its sixth annual study, the financial technology company measured income, property, sales and fuel taxes for a prospective retiree. Naples came in at No. 9, with a Retirement Tax Friendliness Index of 80.56. Immokalee followed at No. 10 with a Retirement Tax Friendliness Index of 80.34. For more details on the study results, methodology and interactive map, click here.


Lee County Visitors and Convention Bureau Executive Director Tamara Pigott will speak at ABWA Imperial River’s monthly chapter webinar, held at 6:30 p.m. on Oct, 14. Pigott will discuss the latest on the value of tourism in Lee County, where we stand today, and the outlook moving forward. She’ll also share a broad overview of the Lee County’s response to its residents through its LeeCares Individual Assistance program.  Registration and Zoom account required; for details and registration information, see


Off the Hook Comedy Club is off the hook again in North Naples. The local club, which has been temporarily closed since July 3, reopened Thursday with comedian Jeff Allen on stage. “We’re super excited to be back and looking forward to making everyone in Southwest Florida laugh,” says Off the Hook CEO Brien Spina. Other upcoming shows feature Bret Ernst, Oct. 2-4; Eddie Griffin, Oct. 8-10; and Carl Rimi, Oct. 11. Although no longer branded Row seafood, the club includes a full-service restaurant and bar. Off the Hook Comedy Club, 2500 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Suite 1100, is located in Naples Walk retail center on the southeast corner of Airport-Pulling and Vanderbilt Beach roads. For more information call 239-389-6901 or go to


To celebrate Manufacturing Month in October, the Southwest Regional Manufacturers Association (SRMA) has invited some of Southwest Florida’s leading manufacturers to participate in a virtual roundtable discussion that is open and free to the public from 8 to 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 21. Guests will have the opportunity to meet the owners or representatives of Arthrex, MY Shower Door/D3 Glass, Nor-Tech Boats and Wicked Dolphin Distillery as well as take a virtual plant tour of their facilities. Manufacturers will discuss the challenges they faced during the pandemic and how they pivoted their companies in order to stay relevant. Each manufacturer will then lead us on a behind the scenes tour of their manufacturing plants to show us their day to day operations and products. Featured panelists for the October roundtable include Jimmy Dascani and Michael Koszewnik from Arthrex; Bill Daubmann of MY Shower Door/D3 Glass; Henrik Margard of Nor-Tech Boats; and JoAnn Elardo of Wicked Dolphin Distillery. The event is free for SRMA members and nonmembers. Guests must preregister online at in order to receive the link to the online roundtable event.  For more information, visit, call 239-258-1385 or email

Video courtesy of WINK News


The last few rehearsals before opening night are taking place at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers. “Mamma Mia!” opened Thursday and runs through Nov. 14. While this production is unlike any other these actors have done, the house is expected to be packed, or at least as packed as possible during a pandemic. “If you would’ve asked me in January of this year ‘Oh, by the way, in like two months you’re going to have to completely shut down, lay off all of your employees, oh, and you’re going to go six months without any income,’ I would’ve told you you’re absolutely insane,” says theater owner Will Prather. The sound of music is the sound of survival for the theater and its actors because Broadway is back, WINK News reports.



Deb Logan

Blue Zones Project SWFL leader named to top innovators in healthcare list

Deb Logan, executive director for Blue Zones Project (BZP) Southwest Florida, recently received national recognition as a Top 25 Innovator in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare. For more than five years, Logan has led the BZP Southwest Florida team – which touches more than 225,000 lives and covers a geographic area larger than Delaware – to improve well-being among residents by transforming the places they live, work, and play, according to a news release. Since 2019, Modern Healthcare has honored the industry’s top 25 innovators who are driving change across healthcare to promote quality, affordability, accessibility, and sustainability. Each honoree is distinguished for instituting innovation and leading transformative programs that improve care by achieving measurable results and contributing to the clinical and financial goals of their organization. For more information, click here.

Marilyn Santiago

Santiago Joins Hodges University as a trustee

Hodges University has appointed Marilyn Santiago as a trustee. A native of Puerto Rico, she began her career in the media and entertainment industry. Her biggest passion, radio, led to numerous awards for her work. She served as a faculty member of the CSB school of Broadcasting. In 2006, she launched Sunshine Integrated Solutions, which focuses on branding, media consulting, and entertainment solutions for local and corporate clients.  In 2015, she became the co-owner of Creative Architectural Resin Products Inc. (CARP), which specializes in designing, manufacturing, and installing resin-based, faux architectural trims and accents. Her community engagement has included The New York Puerto Rico Day Parade, Indigo Sky Collective, the National Association of Women in Construction, KKIDS, and Dress for Success. She is also on the City of Fort Myers advisory board for special events.

Patricia Lluch

Lluch joins Aesthetics in Plastic Surgery

Dr. Kiran Gill has hired Priscilla Lluch to join her team at Aesthetics in Plastic Surgery by Kiran Gill, MD, as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Born and raised in South Florida, Lluch has been working as a LPN in Naples for more than three years. From pre-operative and post-operative appointments to Injectables, SkinCare and more, she assists Gill in surgical procedures as well as non-invasive skin treatments in the boutique skin spa. Lluch is bilingual in English and Spanish. For more information, visit


Kevin Borror

Pelican Isle Yacht Club adds two to staff

Pelican Isle Yacht Club has appointed Kevin Borror to the management team as its new clubhouse manager. Borro has an extensive background in private club maintenance and food and beverage experience. He began his career in the private club industry almost 20 years ago at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Borror continued his career working and managing in every area of the club industry, most recently as the director of food and beverage at The Country Club of Naples. He is also an active member of the Club Management Association of America. The clubhouse manager is a new position at Pelican Isle Yacht Club, developed this year to better meet the needs of its members, according to a news release.

Kayla Crain

In addition, Pelican Isle Yacht Club hired a new special dining and events coordinator, Kayla Crain. She joined the club earlier this summer. Crain previously served as catering and events manager at Quail West Golf and Country Club. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in resort and hospitality management with a concentration in event management and a minor in marketing from the Lutgert College of Business at Florida Gulf Coast University. 


Ryan Propp

Owen-Ames-Kimball Florida names general superintendent

Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. (O-A-K) has promoted Ryan Propp to general superintendent. Propp will oversee all superintendents in the company’s Florida operations. Projects Propp has supervised for O-A-K include the $20.3 million Seacrest Upper School’s 34-acre modular campus; the $6.03 million, 33,000-square-foot Covenant Presbyterian Church;  the $5.8 million St. John XXIII parish hall and adoration chapel; and a continuing contract with Collier County Schools totaling $15.8 million. Propp joined O-A-K in 2005 as a superintendent and has more than 20 years of experience as a superintendent in Southwest Florida.  He is from a trades background and has strong carpentry and finish trades supervision skills including finish metal framing, suspended ceilings, drywall and slab. Propp is a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater management inspector, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lead-safe certified, Occupational Health and Safety Administration 30-hour trained, and first aid certified.

Fifth Avenue South launches new PR and marketing campaign

The Fifth Avenue South Business Improvement District is inviting the public to “Rediscover the Avenue” by launching a new public relations and marketing campaign showcasing the area’s restaurants, boutiques and galleries and highlighting Fifth Avenue South as the historic Main Street of Naples. The new campaign will be highlighted across all media platforms, including print and broadcast media with features appearing in publications such as Gulfshore Life and Gulfshore Business. In addition, original branded Fifth Avenue South social media content will be created and showcased on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Fifth Avenue South also is being branded with newly designed window tinting in retail storefront spaces and other enhancements will soon be installed along the Avenue. This visual branding will provide consistency across the avenue with a unified approach. Fifth Avenue South features more than 220 businesses.



Home Base SWFL receives COVID-19 relief grant from community foundation

Home Base SWFL received a $15,000 COVID-19 relief grant from the Collier Comes Together Fund, a charitable fund of the Community Foundation of Collier County (CFCC). The healthcare and mental health grant will respond to the needs of local veterans facing increased levels of post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and co-occurring substance use as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic by funding the Warrior Health and Fitness program. The program provides health, education and wellness services to veterans, service members and their spouses residing in the Southwest Florida five-county region at no cost. The grant will specifically improve access to the supervised exercise, nutrition education, and stress and sleep management skills provided in Collier County in collaboration with Lee Health and the Greater Naples YMCA. The funds will ensure participants have access to physical evaluations, an individualized training program, dietetic consultations, Warrior Yoga, training in relaxation response, PGA Pro golf lessons, and health education. For more information, visit

SWFL Children’s Charities Inc. to host virtual wine tasting, food pairing event 

SWFL Children’s Charities Inc. is hosting a virtual wine tasting and food pairing event at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 16 with Benovia Winery out of Napa Valley, California, and Chef Harold Balink of Harold’s Restaurant in Fort Myers. Guests can choose to order four bottles of wine by Benovia Winery and order a five-course menu of specially paired cuisine from Harold’s Restaurant. Guests will learn about wines and food pairings, enjoy live entertainment, and also receive an update from the organization’s main beneficiary, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. A portion of the wine sales from the tasting will benefit SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. For more information, visit

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