Gulfshore Business Daily: October 30

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Carly Sanders (l) and Kendra Rizzi (r) wear face masks adhering to Culinary Concepts DINE SAFE program to keep customers and employees safe and healthy.
Lead Photo: More than $40,000 custom plexiglass hygiene and safety barriers have been installed in all five Culinary Concepts restaurants’ bars and dining rooms. Details below.



As Election Day approaches, millions of Americans have already voted via absentee ballot or early in-person voting, according to a news release. Yet due to unprecedented long lines and concerns around the coronavirus, many people still haven’t managed to cast their ballot. No laws in Florida require companies to give workers time off to vote, according to, but workers cannot be disciplined or fired based on how they vote. Employers can still help employees to pick times to vote that will be least disruptive for the workplace.  It’s crucial to adhere to voting guidelines, Rob Wilson, president of Employco USA, says, because companies who violate an employee’s right-to-vote may face fines or other punishments. “[Workers who vote during office hours] still need to ensure that their supervisor knows they will be absent during that time so their shift can be covered,” Wilson adds.



A growing coalition of more than 150 business owners across Florida is calling for passage of Amendment 2, which would gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2026. Florida Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, which includes restaurants, retail, manufacturers, tourism, personal services, construction, and more, says minimum wage increases will boost consumer spending, strengthen Florida’s workforce and help the economy. If passed – with a 60% majority required for approval – Amendment 2 will increase Florida’s minimum wage from $8.56 to $10 per hour effective Sept. 30, 2021, and then by $1 each year until it reaches $15 on Sept. 30, 2026. For perspective on Amendment 2 from Southwest Florida business leaders featured in the October issue of Gulfshore Business, click here.



The Naples Museum of Military History has outgrown its longtime location at the Naples Airport. The local museum’s collection has grown to more than 12,000 military artifacts from the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf wars. Expect an announcement Nov. 9 about the proposed development and new site for the 40,000-square-foot museum that will house the local collection as well as showcase a 15,000-square-foot hangar display area for larger items such as Sherman tanks, jeeps, aircraft, larger artillery items as well as a 30-foot scaled model of the USS Florida cruise missile submarine. The new site, renamed Gulf Coast Museum of Military History, also will have two memorial gardens, a 3,500-square-foot lakefront deck and a 4,000-square-foot ballroom for military ceremonies, weddings, presentations and memorial services. In addition, the site will be home to the new Veterans Advancement Center, a 6,000-square-foot complex offering PTSD assistance and treatment, housing assistance and employment search programs geared to assist in placing service personnel into internships with promising, long-term possibilities. The new museum also will serve as a satellite home for the Museum Studies program at Florida Gulf Coast University and will host museum studies classes, presentations, displays and other school-related projects. The museum, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, seeks community support to continue to grow and serve the area. For more information or to donate to the cause, go to 



Collier commissioners this week amended the county budget to approve a more than $10 million contract with Naples-based Quality Enterprises USA Inc. for the first phase of extending Veterans Memorial Boulevard in North Naples to access a proposed high school. The extension’s first phase will be built from the intersection of Livingston Road and Veterans Memorial Boulevard to GGG High School, the working title for a yet-unnamed school targeted to open in August 2023. A second phase would extend Veterans Memorial Boulevard from the future high school’s 60-acre site to Old 41 Road and possibly even to U.S. 41. Commissioners also approved an interlocal agreement for the school district to contribute nearly $1.4 million for road improvements that will benefit the new high school and the existing Veterans Memorial Elementary School at 15960 Veterans Memorial Blvd. 



Catalyst Community Capital, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, in partnership with the Lee County Housing Authority and Revital Development Group, has acquired 4.6 acres in Cape Coral that will be developed as a 96-unit affordable and workforce housing community. The community, known as Civitas of Cape Coral, will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom units, all of which will be reserved for families that earn 80% or less of the area median income. Rents will range from $388 – $1,434, including utilities, filling a large void in the market for rental units that are affordable to the working-class residents of Lee County. The $22 million development will utilize local, state, and federal funding, including 4% housing tax credits, mortgage revenue bonds, and $5.6 million in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Relief (CDBG-DR) funding from Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC). The project also received $300,000 in Neighborhood Stabilization Funds from the City of Cape Coral. In addition to affordable rents, Civitas will offer programs to its residents, including employment assistance and financial management education.  The development team has also partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Lee County to build a 2,500-square-foot club on-site, which will offer after school programs and summer camp. The development team worked with PDS Architecture, Boral Engineering, and NPS Consulting to design the project, which will be ‘green building’ certified under the National Green Building Standard rating system. Construction is expected to commence in early 2021, and will be the first city’s first affordable family housing development in over 20 years, according to a news release.


Owners of the St. James City Woody’s Waterside recently sold its island bar and restaurant for $2.665 million, with plans to keep the iconic brand but continue to enhance the Woody’s experience, according to a news release. Located at 3051 Stringfellow Road, the freestanding building sits on 0.7 acres along the Monroe canal. The tropical venue offers views, brews, and seafood since 2007. Its ‘Florida feel’ of tiki bars, waterfront dining, and direct boat access will continue to feature all of the same things, a news release states. New ownership intends to re-open by the end of the year. LandQwest Senior Broker Associate, Frank Kupiec represented both the seller, Zeisloft Investments LLC, and buyer, Phelan Acquisition 44 LLC.


Carly Sanders and Kendra Rizzi wear face masks adhering to Culinary Concepts’ “Dine Safe” program.


Culinary Concepts’ “Dine Safe” is a new comprehensive and multi-layered restaurant program designed to continue improving health and safety measures at its award-winning restaurants: Pazzo! Cucina Italiana, Chops City Grill, Yabba Island Grill on Fifth Avenue South, Chops City Grill in Bonita Springs and The Saloon in Estero. Founder Skip Quillen recently installed more than $40,000 worth of custom plexiglass safety and hygiene barriers in all five of the restaurants’ bars and dining rooms, added hospital-grade MERV-13 air filters to create a healthier indoor air quality and completely “fogged” all restaurant surfaces with Clean Zone Hydrogen Peroxide Sanitizer. The “Dine Safe” program includes more than a dozen safety precautions as directed by local and state regulators and in compliance with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. For more information on Culinary Concepts, visit



The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) has again named Florida Skin Center Founder and Medical Director Dr. Aurora Badia as the Top Screener, and the practice as Top Practice for performing the most free skin cancer screenings in the nation. This is the second consecutive year that ASDS has recognized Florida Skin Center for these achievements in its Choose Skin Health program. ASDS operates this year-round program in partnership with Neutrogena promoting free skin cancer screenings to the public. Florida Skin Center performed 2,355 free skin checks in 2019-2020. This was an increase of 500 over the previous year despite the limitations and restrictions from the COVID -19 pandemic placed on non-essential services and group gatherings this year. These free skin checks, provided by Florida Skin Center locally in Southwest Florida, represent two-thirds of the total 3,500 annual free screenings provided by all ASDS participating members nationwide this year, according to a news release.




Community Foundation scholarship application process to begin

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s scholarship application process for the 2020-2021 school year will begin on Nov. 9. All scholarships require the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form available at Approximately $800,000 in scholarship money is available through more than 100 scholarships for local high-school students, adult learners, undergraduate and graduate students from Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. Last year, one in four students who applied received a scholarship from the Foundation. Beginning Nov. 9, students can apply for scholarships through the Foundation’s online portal. The scholarship application process will close on Jan. 11, 2021.  For resources to complete the FAFSA, visit The Southwest Florida Community Foundation will hold a “Students Thrive Scholarship 101” webinar from 3:30-5 p.m. on Nov. 5. Community members can sign up for this free event here. The event is from 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. Attendees of this virtual event will learn what they need to know to submit a competitive scholarship application to the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, as well as hear tips and tricks, a discussion of FAFSA, and an opportunity to have their questions answered. To learn more about how to contribute to the Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s scholarship funding opportunities, click here.




Ben Wilson

Suffolk promotes two

Suffolk has promoted Ben Wilson and Chris Eastman to key regional leadership positions in their Florida gulf coast operations. Wilson has been promoted to chief operating officer of the gulf coast, and Eastman will now serve as vice president of operations in the Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida area. Wilson has spent his entire career in the Florida construction market, overseeing projects in nearly every sector including senior living, education, multi-family residential, retail, and entertainment.  He serves as a regional champion for the company’s operational excellence initiative which continuously evaluates procedures to create efficiencies and improvements in process. He also spearheads many of the innovation initiatives on Suffolk jobsites to enhance the value of services for clients and partners. During Eastman’s career, he has amassed experience on both the construction and development side of the business. His resume spans multiple sectors including senior living, healthcare, Class A office, multi-family residential, institutional, mixed-use urban, and waterfront development of more than 10,000,000 square feet.


Nikki Calvo

Zehr Center for Orthopaedics adds regenerative medicine treatments, expands staff

The Zehr Center for Orthopaedics is expanding its non-surgical treatment of orthopaedic conditions to include regenerative medicine treatments. Over the next several months, Dr. Robert J. Zehr will introduce stem cell therapy and exosome therapy programs into his Naples-based practice. To further research the opportunities and develop the ZCO treatment program, Nikki Calvo has returned to the office as the regenerative therapy coordinator. Calvo, a certified surgical technologist, has served alongside Zehr in the operating room for the past 10 years and will continue to assist him in surgery. In her new role, she will be the office liaison to the labs and manufacturers to coordinate patient data collection for research and improvement of care; direct the acquisition of the various stem cell derivatives; and arrange patients’ appointments in coordination with delivery of these time-sensitive biologics.


Strehan Dyer

Doctor’s Choice Home Care Inc. announces promotions

Doctor’s Choice Home Care Inc.,  the state’s largest independent home care agency, according to a news release, recently promoted Deborah Strehan Dyer and Sue Tamburin to the roles of vice president of operations. Dyer will be responsible for the leadership of the Broward, Miami, Sarasota, and Stuart providers, which include branches in Broward, Englewood, Fort Myers, Naples, Port Charlotte, Miami, Sarasota, and Stuart. Tamburin will oversee the leadership of the Bradenton, Brooksville, Gainesville, Orlando, and Palm Harbor providers. Strehan Dyer joined Doctor’s Choice in January 2016 as the executive director for the Fort Myers branch and was later promoted to regional director of operations in 2018. She brings 22 years of experience in healthcare, nine of which consisted of various leadership roles within the home health care industry. Tamburin has been with Doctor’s Choice for more than 10 years, joining in November 2009 as the director of clinical services for the Bradenton branch.


Clive Daniel Home installs furnishing for Mangrove Bay Coquina II model

Clive Daniel Home’s (CDH) award-winning Interior Design team of Christina Rosalia and Ashton Reams provided furnishings and decorative light fixtures for interior design of the Coquina II model home located on Lot 8 in the Mangrove Bay waterfront residential development in Naples. The Coquina II model on Lot 8 features an influence of organic comfort, according to a news release. The overall palette of the home is a blend of natural textures, ceruse finishes, and woven materials with accents of dark distressed metals. The property features large entertainment spaces that include oversized seating areas and indoor and outdoor dining. The estate is being brokered by the Paradise Realty Team, Mangrove Bay’s exclusive firm.


Charitable notes


The Babcock Ranch Foundation awards $10,000 grant to The Heights Foundation

The Babcock Ranch Foundation has granted $10,000 to The Heights Foundation to support programs for at-risk children in the Harlem Heights neighborhood of Fort Myers. Funds will be used to enhance School Success programming that supports the continued academic growth of children. The Babcock Ranch Foundation is a Florida nonprofit corporation whose mission is to support, enhance, and implement projects that positively impact causes in Southwest Florida. Passionate about the issues that most profoundly affect at-risk children, the Foundation plans to build on the rich heritage and many opportunities in abundance in the new town of Babcock Ranch and at the Babcock Ranch Preserve, according to a news release. Through both partnerships and new opportunities, the Foundation hopes to help educate and inspire the next generation of Floridians. For more information, visit


Southwest Florida Community Foundation receives $200,000 grant 

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation has received a $200,000 grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. for adopting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a frame for organizational strategy over the next two years. Adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 SDGs, which are an urgent call for action by all countries in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and addressing social challenges must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests, a news release states. Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, said visioning, operations, investing, and communications, as well as programs, will be driven by and aligned with the SDGs. With the $200,000 from Mott and another $197,000 matched by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the Foundation will focus on engaging donors and funders as well as grantmaking and community impact.


ROOF Receives grant from Wells Fargo 

Residential Options of Florida (ROOF) has received a $7,000 grant from Wells Fargo. The grant will provide support for operations and relief from the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will support ROOF’s mission to empower individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to successfully obtain and maintain affordable and inclusive housing of their choice. Grant funds will allow ROOF to continue to provide supported-living homes at an affordable rate despite the extremely low-income status of residents. Many of ROOF’s residents rely solely on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is $783 per month. ROOF provides rental assistance so that adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities can afford to live independently. For more information, visit


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