May 2018

Stock up on Hurricane Supplies

The 2018 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins Friday, June 1 and runs through Thursday, June 7. Floridians will be able to purchase items to prepare for a hurricane, such as flashlights, batteries, weather radios, tarps, generators under $750 and other essential items. The six-month hurricane season begins June 1.
In announcing the sales tax holiday, Gov. Rick Scott said: "Everyone should have a family disaster kit with supplies and medications, be prepared to evacuate if advised to do so by emergency management officials, know your evacuation route and where you can take your pets if you have to shelter, and have all of your important documents and cash together to take with you."

Find out more: Tax-Free Hurricane Details
National Small Business Week Celebrated
Florida Small Business Development Center Director Lois Knox, Mayor Joe Coviello, Cape Coral EDO Manager Dana Brunett and Lee County EDO Director Pamela Johnson collaborated in celebration of National Small Business Week earlier this month.
Distinguished Entrepreneur of Southwest Florida Awardees Announced

The Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) announced the winners of the 2018 Distinguished Entrepreneur of Southwest Florida Awards at the annual awards dinner on May 3.
The FSBDC awards are held annually during National Small Business Week to recognize three Southwest Florida small businesses for their innovation, advocacy and business growth. This year's awardees are: Distinguished Entrepreneur of Southwest Florida, Scott Fischer, owner of Scott Fischer Enterprises; Innovator of the Year, Jeff Poirier of AXI International; and Advocate of the Year, Amanda Jaron, owner of A.JARON Fine Jewelry. An additional award presentation included the William O. Webb Award, which was presented to Melody Augustin of The Makeup Mansion.
Cape Coral a Top Vacation Destination

TripAdvisor has released rankings of the "20 Best Places to Vacation in Florida," with Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Sanibel Island, Naples and Marco Island leading major cities like Orlando and Miami. Each was selected based on specific highlights and Cape Coral was named for its proximity to Lee County beaches, Sun Splash Family Waterpark, Coral Oaks Golf Course and waterfront activities. The 20 destinations featured are among the highest-rated cities in Florida based on TripAdvisor rental reviews. Find out more TripAdvisor Report
Florida Ranks No. 2 in Chief Executive Magazine's 'Best & Worst States for Business'

For the sixth consecutive year, Texas and Florida are the top two "Best States for Business" in Chief Executive magazine's 14th annual ranking. Low taxes, light regulatory burdens, high-quality workforces and healthy lifestyles continue to attract business investment and jobs to these states. The survey was based on the perceptions of 300 CEOs across industries on a range of important issues.
Full results and additional information can be found in the May/June issue of Chief Executive magazine or Chief Executive

Amazon Ranks Florida No. 7 of "Most Entrepreneurial States"

Amazon has named the Top 10 Most Entrepreneurial States with the most small and medium-sized businesses per capita selling on Amazon. Florida came in number 7 on the list. Millions of small and medium-sized businesses worldwide sell their products through Amazon to reach new global customers. Half of the items sold on Amazon are from small and medium-sized businesses.

BizChat: New Location

4th Wednesday BizChat

May 23
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. Come early to get a seat at this popular event!


Food for Thought

Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce
June 7
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.  

Industry Appreciation Awards Nominations Open Through June 29

The Horizon Council and Lee County Economic Development Office are seeking applications for the 2018 Industry Appreciation Awards, which celebrate the Lee County business community and recognize outstanding local businesses that have positively influenced Southwest Florida. Businesses will be honored in five categories: Business Citizenship, Nonprofit of the Year, Diversity in Business, Startup of the Year and Business of the Year. The honorees and finalists will be recognized during the Industry Appreciation luncheon on Oct. 4 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Estero. Applications must be received no later than June 29. For applications and information: Industry Award Nomination Form or (239) 533-6800.
Businesses or individuals are invited to nominate their company or another Lee County company at:

New Cape Coral Businesses
Business Card top  
131  new businesses registered for Cape Coral Business Tax Receipts
in April 2018.
Click here to view new Cape Coral business reports. 
Did You Know...

...approximately 800 people move to Florida each day, with an average of 14 coming to Cape Coral? That's about 5,000 new residents each year!

SBA Hurricane Economic Injury Deadline Approaches
SBA Logo
The deadline to apply for U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) economic injury/physical damage loans due to Hurricane Irma is June 11.
Your business did not have to receive physical damage from Hurricane Irma to be considered for a low-interest disaster loan through the SBA. Some local businesses have had success in obtaining loans for "Economic Injury" related to work stoppage associated with the storm and its aftermath. If your business received physical damage, it is possible to receive loans in both categories. For more information:  SBA Disaster Loans

10th Anniversary Fashion Show & Auction

Join the party to support the Cape Coral Parks and Recreation Special Populations program on Saturday, June 2, 11 a.m., at La Venezia Ballroom. There will be a buffet luncheon, live and silent auctions, 50/50 drawings, cash bar and fashions modeled by Special Pops participants.

Advance tickets are $30 per person and are available by calling (239) 574-0574 or visiting the Freida B. Smith Special Populations Center, 410 Santa Barbara Blvd. Donate at  Special Populations .


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Message From Your EDO Manager
Now is the Time: Prepare for Hurricane Season
City of Cape Coral EDO Director Dana Brunett
It may seem like Irma only recently left us, but it is that time of year again. Business owners should be prepar­ing for the upcoming hurricane sea­son. If last year taught us anything, it's that if you properly prepare, you can recover more quickly. We suggest that you have a plan in place to address the downtime after a storm as it relates to your business. It's also good to have a plan in place so that your staff understands what they need to do in the event of a major storm.
Keep in mind that your employees will be concerned about their homes and families, so you'll want to have a plan in place that can be executed quickly and efficiently to allow them to take care of their con­cerns. Below are some suggestions for business owners to consider as we move into the Atlan­tic hurricane season (June 1 - Nov. 30). It is sup­posed to be a busy year again and we want to be prepared for the worst.
Considerations for Preparation:
- Review and communicate operational plans with your staff
- Have a plan to remove items that can become airborne out­side
- Backup computer data and store drives/servers in a safe location
- Gas up company vehicles prior to any major storm
The following links are provided to give business owners and leaders a sample of the types of contingency plans and items that need to be con­sidered to be properly prepared in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster. Re­view these links and consider what steps might be wise for preventing any loss of business and/or problems related to a hurricane or other natural disaster.

Small Business Hurricane Survival Guide
Stay safe! Be prepared.

Dana Brunett
City of Cape Coral
Economic Development Manager

KC Sheet Metal, Under New Ownership, Grows by Tailoring Work for Projects of All Sizes
Emilian and Angela Schwerin

Emilian and Angela Schwerin ran a successful sheet metal fabrication operation in Germany for 30 years. Then they discovered Cape Coral. After visiting here five times in five years, the couple decided to start looking at businesses in the Cape.
"We visited New York and Miami, but in Cape Coral, we feel like we are home," says Emilian. He spotted a 'For Sale By Owner' sign on a local metal shop and thought, "It's meant to be." The couple learned that the business had been established in 1988 with an owner who was ready to retire.
In January, the Schwerins officially took ownership and began transforming KC Sheet Metal to match their own unique business style, which includes handcrafting high-quality, custom products with a quick turnaround. "We can get some projects done in the same day (the order is received)," says Angela.
Local, regional and national business has increased since the move from Germany. Workers create and ship products to more than 1,000 global customers. Whether it's aluminum, steel or another metal depends on the particular project. Sheet metals are used to make parts and components for nearly every industry. While the work is tailored, their client list is not. "We do work for builders, roofers, electricians, marinas, individuals," says Emilian. "Right now, we are making 30-foot-tall security camera stands for a company in Fort Myers and a very large rain gutter for a commercial building."
Now that the Schwerins are starting to set down roots in Cape Coral, their goal is to not only grow the business, but to find ways to give back to the community. Emilian says, "We are happy and proud to be here. The city has been helpful to work with."
907 SE 13th Place, Unit B * (239) 772-5506 * KC Sheet Metal Website
Plan Strategically for Success
Russ Winstead, Florida Small Business Development Center

America's SBDC Recently, I was at a meeting and heard Brian Rist, CEO and president of Storm Smart, speak to the audience about growing his business over the years, recruiting, and hiring amazing people.
Rist founded the company in 1996, and today it is the largest manufacturer and installer of hurricane-protection products in the state. Storm Smart is the largest subsidiary of the Storm Smart Companies, which also includes Storm Smart Building Systems, Storm Catcher and GoEnergySmart. The enterprises employ more than 150 people.
He told the crowd that he hires "smarter people" than himself and has established a company culture that provides an environment for people to grow, excel and support the company's mission to provide great products and excellent customer satisfaction.
Today, as the economy continues moving in a positive direction, many businesses are scrambling to hire employees to fill new positions because of growth and new opportunity. Smart business owners develop a company infrastructure and culture before adding more employees. If you don't plan ahead and just keep adding people, your main job will turn from successfully running your business into "herding cats"- constantly trying to put out fires or to address situations.
The investment of your time in pre-planning, business planning, creating a mission statement, and curating your company culture will pay you back, day after day and year after year. Take the time now, in the hour of growth, to do it right.
Rist is smart and accomplished-so obviously his philosophy on hiring people who are "smarter than he is" and encouraging his employees to grow has been one of the keys to his success.
Do you have growing pains? Are you facing questions or issues surrounding your growth? At the FSBDC, we can help you answer some of these questions and more. No matter how you do it, keep learning and seeking new knowledge to keep your business thriving.
If you would like consultation or guidance, contact me directly or attend our free Fourth Wednesday BizChats at the Kiwanis Club of Cape Coral at 11:30 a.m.

Florida SBDC at FGCU
1020 Cultural Park Blvd., #3
(239) 573-2737

Ribbon-Cutting Celebration for Pro Med Instruments

On May 8, a crowd of community leaders including Mayor Joe Coviello, Councilmember John Gunter and representatives from the EDO joined representatives from pro med instruments, Inc. to celebrate the company's growth.
German-based Pro Med Instruments Celebrates Continued Growth in Cape Coral
From the outside, pro med instruments, Inc. (PMI) looks like a typical professional firm in Cape Coral. Inside, this German-based medical device company sells, distributes and provides training in the use of highly specialized head fixation and brain retraction systems for use in neurosurgery.
Cape Coral is the company's only U.S. subsidiary. That's why Roman Maier, managing director of PMI Gmbh, visited from Germany recently to participate in a special Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce ceremony to celebrate 30 percent growth in the last three years-in an industry that's growing at a general rate of five to six percent.
"I think we are in a very good market, so there's still potential to grow," says Maier. "As we expand locally and our place is expanded in the field, we need more people to manage it here for customer service, technical support, quality management, packing and shipping, and for managing the territories."
The celebration also served as an introduction of Urs Brunner, the new vice president and general manager who will oversee operations in the U.S. and Canada. Brunner has 17 years of experience in the medical technology field. "PMI is a leader and innovator in surgical solutions," says Brunner. "The goals for North America are to expand our leadership in image-guided cranial surgery, and then to become the leader in the overall head stabilization market."
A crowd of community leaders joined in the celebration as the city's Economic Development Office and other agencies look for ways to work with PMI in key areas, such as talent attraction and training.
Sandra McDonald, who previously served in Brunner's position, will stay on during a transition period as vice president of corporate planning in Cape Coral until her retirement in November. Maier credits McDonald for the company's North American growth during the past 12 years.
PMI provides medical equipment to local and regional medical facilities, in addition to neurosurgeons, hospitals and patients in approximately 140 countries.
4529 S.E. 16th Place, Ste. 101 * (239) 369-2310 * PMI Website
Gulf Coast Village Cape Coral
Keiser Recognizes Gulf Coast Village as "Best Fieldwork Site"

Keiser University has recognized Gulf Coast Village as the top local site for its occupational therapy students during the 2017-2018 academic year. Gulf Coast Village earned the university's "Best Fieldwork Site" award after developing a program in which Keiser occupational therapy students complete their clinical internships at the continuing care retirement community.
New Senior Living Community Coming to Cape Coral

Fortress Ventures is developing Thrive at Four Mile Cove, a 140-unit senior housing community in Cape Coral. The community will offer 60 independent living, 48 assisted living and 32 memory care units and is expected to be complete by spring 2019. Studio+ is providing architecture and interior design services for the project. The design firm has offices in Fort Myers, Tampa and Irvine, California, with expertise in acute, outpatient and behavioral health care, hospice and senior living facilities. Thrive at Four Mile Cove will be located on 11 acres off Four Mile Cove Parkway and Del Prado Boulevard, with development costs reportedly estimated at $31 million. Fortress Ventures has a portfolio of senior-care communities in Florida. It developed Thrive at Beachwalk in Fort Myers and Thrive at Naples is currently under construction. It will be operated by Atlanta-based Thrive Senior Living.
Leadership Cape Coral Celebrates 25 Years
By Donna S. Germain, President/CEO , Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral 
In 1993, a small group of members of the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral led by Realtor Joe Saber created what we now know as Leadership Cape Coral. This year marks the 25th anniversary of this life-changing program and we would like to invite all of you to celebrate with us.
Leadership Cape Coral is a 13-week program that educates participants about key civic components that make up Cape Coral. The various program days include team building, public safety, education, government, cultural opportunities, infrastructure, corrections, public services, healthcare, real estate, construction and tourism. Each program day is organized and chaired by knowledgeable program graduates.
The program was built on the core values of integrity, service, humility, purpose, responsibility, cooperation, team work and community betterment. Volunteer leaders for 2018 include chairs Dusty Shelton of It's IT and Aaron Egler of LCEC, and co-chairs Kevin Smith of Priority Business Solutions and Tracy Perkins of C.A.R.E.S.
Effective leadership is a critical element for any successful community. Continually developing and encouraging the participation of new leaders is essential for generating fresh ideas and perspectives while ensuring a continuity with future leaders.
There have been more than 600 graduates of the program since it began. Today, our leadership graduates are contributing to vital areas of the community, such as leadership roles in government ranging from the city to state level and in community organizations, and in some of the region's largest employers. It is not uncommon for our leadership graduates to participate in Junior Leadership Cape Coral. Without a doubt, the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral has one of the most comprehensive leadership programs in Florida.
It is simple to participate. For more information and to receive an application, please contact me at (239) 549-6900, ext. 107 or .
Cape Coral Historical Society & Museum Celebrates Reopening

The Rosen Building at the Cape Coral Historical Society & Museum recently reopened to happy anticipation following a major facelift. It is home again to administration operations and the gift shop and library. A grand reopening reception with a Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the reopening since its closing in July 2016. Last year, the city celebrated the 60th anniversary since Jack and Leonard Rosen began developing the community that evolved into the City of Cape Coral. The Rosen Building originally served as a temporary golf course clubhouse in the early days - one of many amenities to entice homebuyers.
Cape Coral Historical Society & Museum. 544 Cultural Park Blvd. * (239) 772-7037 * CC Historical Museum