June 2018

Cape Coral Ranks Among Safest Cities
EDO Logo to use 2018

Cape Coral was ranked as No. 17 on SafeWise's "20 Safest Cities in Florida" List for 2018. The rankings are based on population and 2016 FBI crime statistic reports. SafeWise is an independent security review site. Cape Coral is the only city with a population of more than 100,000 to make the list.

Lee County: Where People are Moving
U.S. News & World Report ranks Lee County second nationwide on its list of "The Best 25 Places People Are Moving to in 2018." The county's population spiked more than 14 percent from 2012 to 2016.
Florida ranks as 'Best State for Military Retirees'
Florida ranks No. 1 as "Best State for Military Retirees" based on 27 key indicators, including tax-friendliness, job opportunities, veterans per capita and VA facilities, according to WalletHub.

BizChat: New Location

4th Wednesday BizChat

June 27
11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Kiwanis Club of Cape Coral
360 Santa Barbara Blvd .

In partnership with the Florida Small Business Development Center, informative BizChats are held each month from January through October and include a free light lunch with networking opportunities. This popular event has moved to the Kiwanis Hall of Cape Coral beginning this month because attendance outgrew the former location. In May, the event drew a record-breaking crowd of 106. Come early to get a seat at this popular event!

Food for Thought

Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce
July 5
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Cape Coral Technical College
360 Santa Barbara Blvd. N.

Network with other chamber members and learn from a guest speaker. The luncheon is for current and prospective members, in partnership with the Southwest SCORE Chapter, FSBDC, and the Cape Coral EDO. The cost is $15 for members; $20 for non-members.  


New Holistic Chamber Kicks Off

The new Holistic Chamber of Commerce Fort Myers - Cape Coral Chapter represents holistic professionals, practitioners, and businesses. This organization encourages and promotes healthy living, and supports the professionals and businesses that makes this possible.  T he Holistic Chamber will work to become the go-to resource for those seeking "to grow, uplift and expand."   

MicroEnterprise Course Begins in July

MicoEnterprise banner   
Goodwill's MicroEnterprise program begins in Cape Coral on Monday, July 23 and runs through Aug. 30. This series of 10-12 evening courses provide aspiring small business owners with the skills they need to succeed as entrepreneurs and become more independent. Participants will work with an instructor and a small business mentor who guides you through planning your business and shares their personal experiences. After completion of the class, participants may be eligible to apply for a small loan.

Classes will be held at the Cape Coral Public Works Building in the Community Room on Nicholas Parkway.

For more information: 239-995-2106 ext. 2215 or jilleden@goodwillswfl.org .  

Florida Companies to Watch Award Deadline is July 9

Florida Companies to Watch celebrates growing second-stage companies headquartered in Florida. Companies to Watch was developed by the Edward Lowe Foundation as a unique way to recognize and honor second-stage companies that demonstrate high performance in the marketplace with innovative strategies and processes, making them "worth watching." Presented by GrowFL, in association with Edward Lowe Foundation, CLICK HERE to find out more about Florida Companies to Watch.
Apply for the 2018 Florida Companies to Watch Award  by 5 p.m. on July 9.

Monthly BizWalk Brings Resources to Your Business Location

FSBDC @ FGCU Business Consultant Dorothy Browning, East West Veterinary Care Center Practice Manager Amy Casanota, Cape Coral EDO Business Recruitment/Retention Specialist Nita Whaley and SCORE Business Specialist Sonia Bartels met at the Veterinary Center on Del Prado Blvd. to discuss ways to help this business to expand.

Participate in the FutureMakers Workforce Employers Survey

The Cape Coral EDO is a partner in the FutureMakers Coalition , a regional initiative working to improve the workforce by increasing the number of high-quality certificate and degree holders in Southwest Florida in order to better meet employer demand. The FutureMakers Coalition is committed to connecting with local businesses and employers to align the needs of employers, educational institutions and learners to meet our shared goals.
We value your experience and knowledge. Please share your insights with us through the 2018 FutureMakers Workforce Employers Survey, which can be accessed here . The information collected informs the work of Regional Action Teams and provides data for annual impact reports that gauge the progress toward shared goals. The Coalition also produces a report based on the survey that helps to provide a regional perspective from employers. The 2016 and 2017 reports can be found on the FutureMakers Coalition website .
The survey takes about 20 minutes. We thank you for completing it by June 30.

New Cape Coral Businesses
Business Card top  
165  new businesses registered for Cape Coral Business Tax Receipts
in May 2018.
Click here to view new Cape Coral business reports. 
Cape Coral Police Department is Hiring

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The Cape Coral Police Department is in a hiring mode this summer, looking for new recruits for police officers and for telecommunications personnel. The officer positions will help staff public schools with school resource officers when the new academic school year begins. 

Keep your eye on the city's billboards in early July for more details or visit Cape Cops Careers .

Wild About Popcorn Opens

Owner Julie Caracappa is hard at work crafting gourmet batches of popcorn.

Are you wild about popcorn? If so, you're in luck.
Locally owned Wild About Popcorn recently held a ribbon-cutting grand opening at its new shop at 1311 Del Prado Blvd. S. Owner Julie Caracappa is thrilled about sharing her menu featuring handmade, small-batch gourmet popcorn in more than 35 flavors.
Caracappa graduated from the Goodwill SWFL MicroEnterprise Institute program for budding entrepreneurs before opening her shop. "We focus on quality and taste," she says. "By keeping our batches small, we consistently deliver a fresh, delicious product."

1311 Del Prado Blvd. S. * 239-829-0527* Wild About Popcorn website 
Dana Brunett Named New Community Foundation Board Chair

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Our very own Dana Brunett has been named board chair of the Cape Coral Community Foundation.
"His insight and passion for community development is a good match for our new strategic plan and entrepreneurially driven philanthropy model. Dana's leadership will help the Foundation and the board maintain strong momentum as we move forward together," says Community Foundation President & CEO Michael Chatman.
Dana Brunett takes over the two-year role on July 1. Congratulations, Dana!

Cape Coral Youth Council Recognized for Community Service

The Cape Coral Youth Council was named among the state's best in a statewide community service contest.
The 2018 Municipal Youth Council Community Service Contest, sponsored by the Florida League of Cities, showcased community service projects performed by municipal youth councils that address specific needs in their local communities.
The Cape Coral Youth Council placed third with its commitment to "Blessings in a Backpack," a national initiative that provides food on the weekends for elementary schoolchildren who might otherwise go hungry. The youth council has been raising funds for this program by selling concessions and raffle tickets during the Parks & Rec's movie nights. The group has raised $2,400 with the goal of raising $5,000 by the end of the year.
The Cape Coral Youth Council is composed of high school students within the city that serve as an advisory board to the city council.  This youth council has only been in existence for two years but is already making its mark.

Get in on the Ground Floor of New Dealership

Cape Coral Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram is planning to open in September at its new N.E. Pine Island Road location. This dealership operates 9 stores in South Florida, and this is its first stand-alone location in Southwest Florida. They are not affiliated with other dealerships. 

Email for employment opportunities at


Message From Your EDO Manager
What a Location!
City of Cape Coral EDO Director Dana Brunett

I moved here six and a half years ago. Like many of you, I was drawn here by the lovely weather and the potential that Cape Coral presented as a growing city. Another positive aspect of life in Cape Coral is the access to so many things to do and places to visit. This is great for us as we don't have to worry about the dreaded winter season with snow and cold any longer. Jetting off to someplace warm is not a concern anymore, either. Another thing to love about Cape Coral is all the staycation options!
We don't have to go far to enjoy the wonderful amenities in our own back yard, like canals to cruise, access to the Gulf, beaches, golf, microbreweries and more. You can easily match your mood. We can also strike out for three or four hours to visit South Beach, Siesta Key, Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens, professional sports stadiums in Tampa and Miami, Sebring Raceway and many more locations for entertainment and relaxation.
My wife and I are going with friends just 90 minutes away for a week this summer. It's a vacation with access to beaches and fun, and we don't have to break the bank to do it. We all work hard and it's nice to know that we live in a community that has access to many iconic and natural amenities. Check out Cape Coral Parks and Recreation and the Lee County Visitors and Convention Bureau to find ideas for local events and getaways. 

Summertime is when we get to take paradise back for ourselves, so take advantage of all that Cape Coral and Florida have to offer.

Dana Brunett
City of Cape Coral
Economic Development Manager

WooBamboo! Inspires Ecological Consciousness - One Mouth at a Time

WooBamboo! Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Steve Hyde kicks back with the company's mascot.

What began as a novel idea - creating eco-friendly bamboo toothbrushes has grown into an oral care line that's spread to 30 countries and is sold in 14,000 stores.
Since WooBamboo! launched its headquarters in Cape Coral in 2013, its natural-products line has grown to include children's and pet toothbrushes, toothpaste, and biodegradable silk dental floss. A mouthwash is currently in development.
But WooBamboo! has long insisted it's not a toothbrush company. Its slogan is "Innovate. Inspire. Change the World" with a belief that "many small efforts lead to big change." And that begins with a daily, commonplace task. The toothbrushes are created from sustainably harvested, organic bamboo (a variety that pandas don't eat). The handles are biodegradable, unlike the standard plastic ones that need to be replaced several times each year, and bamboo is naturally antimicrobial.
" I've always been ecologically conscious. I saw a huge hole in the market," says WooBamboo! Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Steve Hyde. "We want to be able to inspire people to be healthy, more eco-friendly."
Hyde, 55, is a former restaurant owner. He partnered with his friends, Christopher Fous, 37, chief executive officer and creative director, and Thomas Burt, 37, chief financial officer, to create the company with their own funds. Hyde, originally from Australia, says his brother is an expert woodworker who had been floating the idea of building a bamboo-frame bicycle when the idea of an uncomplicated toothbrush emerged.
The co-founders initially hoped to target the dental industry, but shifted to retail. They had a lot to learn about manufacturing, distribution, importing and exporting, and working with retail buyers. The toothbrushes are hand-made in China, the floss is made in Milan, Italy, and the toothpaste is manufactured in New York. They are shipped to WooBamboo's Cape Coral warehouse, and distributed via UPS.
The toothbrushes were first sold in local stores and Hyde and Fous began gaining significant traction after attending national product and distribution shows. Their products are carried today in regional and national chains such as Target, CVS, Kroger's, Albertson's and at intervals in Costco. Sprouts Farmers Market recently signed on for 250 stores, about the same time Hyde received a new order for 450 stores in Australia.  A WooBamboo! toothbrush made a cameo appearance during the Super Bowl this year on a Stella Artois commercial.
Last year, WooBamboo! saw retail growth of more than 500 percent and the company has grown to seven employees. "It keeps growing and growing on an almost daily, if not weekly, basis. It's a non-stop party. All we do is celebrate," jokes Hyde. "It's an exciting time for us. We're humbled by it. We've learned a lot."
Hyde hasn't let success steer the company from its original mission after seeing people's excited reactions to their toothbrush in the earliest stages. "We realized we had something that could be an inspiration to be more eco-friendly-that became our message."
3106 Del Prado Boulevard South, #308, Cape Coral * 239-217-3500 * WooBamboo! website

Business Canvas Model Workshop Simplifies Planning

FSBDC @ FGCU Representatives LaShaun Collier, Darcy Anderson, Dorothy Browning and Russ Winstead

Four Florida Small Business Development Center at FGCU (SBDC) representatives were on hand for a special Business Canvas workshop in Cape Coral geared to help business owners to think through their business plan in a few short steps using a "Lean Canvas."
SBDC consultant Dorothy Browning led business owners through a critical thinking process, asking owners to consider the following:
  • Problem-Review the ''must-have problems' your business solves from the customer's perspective
  • Customer Segments-Focus on who will likely be "early adopters" of your product or service
  • Unique Value Proposition-State what your business offers and why your business is different
  • Solution-Define the minimum feature set needed to solve your customer's top 1 to 3 problems
  • Channels-Determine how you plan to reach your customers effectively
  • Revenue Streams-Identify how you will make money
  • Cost Structure-List your fixed costs and variable costs
  • Key Metrics-What are the key numbers that tell you how your business is doing in real time?
  • Unfair Advantage-Identify your barrier to entry against competition
"This process of putting thoughts to paper in a logical, sequential order around a business idea can bring clarity and focus to a business strategy," says Browning. "For existing business owners, it is a structured opportunity to step back and analyze their current plan for strengths, weaknesses and opportunities."
All of the SBDC representatives helped owners as they ran into questions or needed suggestions. By the end of the workshop, participants had a strong start on filling in their canvas with a host of sticky notes and enthusiasm.

Learn more about upcoming workshops.

Cape Coral Manufacturer Honored with Statewide Recognition

Architectural Metal Flashings in Cape Coral was named a 2018 Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence finalist, a prestigious distinction presented June 1 at the Governor's Sterling Awards Banquet in Orlando.
"We were pretty overwhelmed with the magnitude of the event and all that goes into the governor's program," says Darla Bonk, vice president of sales and operations of Architectural Metal Flashings, which she runs with her husband, Jeff Bonk.
The Florida Sterling Council and FloridaMakes collaborate on the statewide awards. Companies were judged on leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, workforce and operations, among other metrics.
The Cape Coral company fabricates and services custom, architectural and standard metal flashings, metal panels, accessories, and ductwork for the roofing and construction industries. Bonk says the selection process began in December, and included audits of operations and processes, and an onsite inspection. "The biggest thing we're interested in as a small business is having outside eyes come in to analyze our company and recommend opportunities for growth. When you're close to it, you may overlook something that can help your growth," she says.
There were 12 awards bestowed from 27 finalists chosen from 120 nominated manufacturers. Architectural Metal Flashings earned runner-up in the manufacturing category for companies with fewer than 30 employees.
The couple participated in a CEO roundtable on the final day of the long weekend event. The Bonks were invited to lead topical webinars and share best practices with other manufacturers across the state. "It's good to know we're on the right track as small business owners and be able to know we're doing the right things," Bonk says. "If there are opportunities where we can help others along the way, that's great. Others helped us along the way as well."
Find out more:
Governor's Sterling Award: Established in 1992, the Florida Sterling Council is a public/private not-for-profit corporation supported by the Executive Office of the Governor. Florida Sterling Program
FloridaMakes: FloridaMakes is an industry-led public-private partnership established in 2015 to improve the performance of Florida manufacturers and strengthen the state's high-wage manufacturing economy.  FloridaMakes

Zotter Chocolates Earns 11 Academy of Chocolates Awards

zotter chocolate Zotter Chocolates-a chocolate brand based in Austria with subsidiaries in Shanghai, China, and Cape Coral-earned 11 awards during the 2018 Academy of Chocolate Awards competition held in May.
In total, Zotter received one gold, four silver and six bronze awards in the competition. A record-breaking 1,200 submissions from 45 countries were submitted to this year's Academy of Chocolate Awards held at Westminster Kingsway College in London.
Zotter Chocolates was honored with a gold award in the Flavored Drinking Chocolate category for its "Bitter Classic." It also scored silvers and bronzes in the Bean to Bar (under 80% cocoa solids), Flavored Dark Chocolate Bar, Flavored Milk Chocolate Bar and Flavored White Chocolate Bar categories.
Internationally, Zotter is considered one of the most innovative chocolate makers and trendsetters in the industry. The company stands for quality, variety, creativity and sustainability. The chocolates are made with 100-percent organic, fair-trade and bean-to-bar ingredients.
Zotter Chocolates US's local store and warehouse is located at 1020 N.E. Pine Island Road, #302, Cape Coral. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon, and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The company's administrative office is at 611 S.E. 11th St., Ste. B, Cape Coral.
1020 N.E. Pine Island Road, #302 * 239-214-7883 * Zotter Chocolates
HD PR Group Column header
What Goes into an Authentic Business Brand?

By MerriBeth Farnham
In the work I do, I get the opportunity to peek behind the curtain, so to speak, of a wide range of businesses to see how they tick and to check whether their brand message is a true reflection of their firm or organization.
I have come across businesses that are doing everything right. They have a clear mission and message, and the owners and employees convey this consistently. They take steps to keep the message on point. Even their clothing and promotional items reflect the business.
On the other end of the spectrum, I've seen new businesses without a clear mission or consistent message, and they are left wondering why new customers aren't walking in. Existing businesses sometimes evolve or change course without refreshing their message to reflect the new direction. We have all seen large corporations with separate divisions that have their own logo and tagline, as if they were a different company entirely. This can be confusing to consumers.
Summer is an ideal time to reflect on, and fine-tune, your business, so I want to offer a few considerations for making brand identity more conscious and focused.
More often than not, when I sit down with a business owner to talk about their brand, the very first thing that comes to mind is a logo-a symbol that reflects the business. We think of big names like Apple or Target with their simple, iconic symbols.

That's part of it, but branding is about more than a logo and tagline or company slogan. Business owners need to do the footwork to figure out what Russ Winstead of the FSBDC calls "the DNA of who you are"-in terms of your business or the organization you represent.

So how do you figure out what you want your brand identity to say? Consider these five questions:
  1. What value do you bring to the market that your competitors can't touch? (How are you different?)
  2. Who is your ideal customer or prospect? (Are they looking for cost savings or highest quality, deep relationships or convenience? What problem are you solving problem for them?)
  3. What is your organization's personality? And, as part of this, how do you want to make your members or customers to feel? Are you daring or peaceful? Optimistic or funny? Do you want your customers to feel inspired or relieved? (What pain points are you solving?)
  4. How are you establishing trust that will keep customers coming back? Ask your customers what they think! They can be your greatest resource.
  5. Surely you are familiar with the idea of a 30-second elevator speech that can explain your business, product or service in the span of a short elevator ride. Now take the 10-word challenge: Write down a 10-word core message that captures your organization that you can use in networking situations in which you may get just 10 seconds, or about 10 words, to explain the heart of your business.
Once you've answered these questions, you should be well on your way to establishing or fine-tuning your brand. From there, all of the other elements fall into place-logo, tagline, website URL, business cards, promotional items and advertising approach.
Always remember: Whether you are the top dog or an entry-level employee, you are a reflection of the company brand. Everything you do-whether large or small, such as the type of name badge we wear-says something about who we are.

So, find a quiet space and let your creative juices flow. You may be inspired by what you discover and reignited with a new energy that will take your business to the next level.

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