Volume 109 | MAY 2019
Economic Development News & Updates
IN THIS ISSUE OF OUR QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER:
Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats Opens New Production Headquarters
New Nissan on the Rise
Sweet! Cape Coral Goes to Hollywood
Phelan Family Serves Up House-Smoked Barbecue
SBDC Distinguished Entrepreneurs Announced
SCORE High Achievers Honored
Cape Coral Company Honored as Top Entrepreneur
Cape Coral Top Rankings
New Businesses in Q1 2019
Save the Date: May BizChat
Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats
Opens New Production Headquarters
Nor-Tech Boat
Nor-Tech 340 Sport is powered by a Triple Mercury 400R Verados.
Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats celebrated the grand opening of its new manufacturing headquarters in Cape Coral during its 3rd Annual Dealer Meeting at the Westin Resort in late April.

Nor-Tech’s Cape Coral expansion doubles the company’s total 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Lee County, which includes 45,000 square feet in North Fort Myers. The custom boat builder expects to increase production by 30 percent with the $2 million, 55,000-square-foot facility. “This high-end boat builder is an ideal fit for Cape Coral, along with other light manufacturing, distribution and corporate headquarters,” says Cape Coral Economic Development Manager Ricardo Noguera. “Our office has worked closely with Nor-Tech to facilitate the process and we are delighted to see the new headquarters here.”

Nor-Tech Hi Performance Boats established its roots in Cape Coral in 1991, co-founded by Norwegians Trond Schou and Nils Johnsen. It chose Cape Coral for its most recent expansion to take advantage of city incentives, ample space for its facilities and the city’s available workforce. Nor-Tech has partnered with Cape Coral Technical College to train skilled staff, and has already hired 40 new employees. It expects to hire upwards of 150 as manufacturing expands. Learn more: 2520 NE 9th Ave. Nor-Tech

We produced a brief (1:44) Video Snapshot about Nor-Tech. Enjoy!
Sweet! Cape Coral Goes to Hollywood
Noela Chocolate Reaches for the Stars
This box was personalized for Carrie Underwood, and it features her children’s names, Isaiah and Jacob. The flowing, maternal design was created by Shane Grant.
Hollywood celebrities will have a taste of Southwest Florida when they receive luxurious Mother’s Day gift baskets that include a box of artisanal chocolates from Cape Coral-based Noela Chocolate & Confections.

The gift baskets are going to be hand-delivered to the homes of 26 select actresses, musicians and influencers who are pregnant or have young children. The “A List” includes Kylie Jenner, Khloe Kardashian, Kelli Giddish, Carrie Underwood, Julia Stiles, Rachel Platten, Amy Schumer, Jessica Simpson and Gabrielle Union for this annual ritual.

Shane and Ande Grant—the husband-and-wife team who opened Noela in the Cape seven years ago following a long career in event planning—are thrilled about the exposure this will bring to their local manufacturing and retail operation. Shane designed the personalized boxes featuring the famous mothers’ names and the names of their newborns and toddlers. While products vie for placement, the gift organizers reached out to Noela Chocolate, which expedited a delivery. “They loved the chocolate,” she said. The organizers “were blown away” after the Grants agreed to personalize each box. “There are so many chocolatiers all over the country and all are excellent,” Ande said. “They noticed us and we’re honored to be among the ones considered and to be chosen.”

Noela Chocolate will be the only chocolate assortment represented in the largesse, valued at $40,000. “It gets hand-delivered to them, not to an office or to their assistant, so we know they are going to see it,” Ande said.

The Grants are eager to find out what type of exposure the sweets get in high-traffic media, and are already in talks with the organizers of the Oscars gift baskets. They are hoping the celebs will tout their treats on their social media streams. The Grants included a $600 voucher in each box that each recipient can redeem for a private event or charity fundraiser—further expanding Noela’s reach. Learn more: 1309 SE 47th Terrace * Noela Chocolate & Confections
New Nissan on the Rise
Sutherlin Nissan of Cape Coral plans to open its doors on Pine Island Road by year’s end. “I’m hoping we’re selling cars by Thanksgiving,” says Michael Spinazze, partner and general manager. Until then, construction continues on the 43,000-square-foot building that will house the service department, showroom, car wash and administrative offices.

The dealership is owned by Sutherlin Automotive Group, which includes five dealerships in Florida and two in Georgia. Spinazze also is a partner and the general manager of Sutherlin Nissan of Fort Myers. He says many of his existing customers live in Cape Coral, so this new location will service Cape residents. “It will be very convenient,” he says. It will feature a new lot with 500 to 600 new Nissan models and another lot for a variety of 150 used cars.

Sutherlin Nissan will initially hire 100 employees for all facets of the operations. Spinazze is already fielding calls from interested candidates and will transfer existing employees who live in the Cape. “We have a well-known name in Fort Myers. I think it will be one of the easiest stores we’ve staffed,” he notes. Job recruitment will be in full swing as the date for opening draws closer. Learn more: 2201 NE Pine Island Road * NissanSales.com
Phelan Family Serves Up House-Smoked Barbecue
Texas Tony's
Cape Coral continues to establish its reputation as a foodie capital with the recent opening of Texas Tony’s Rib & Brewhouse, created by the forces behind Pinchers at Tarpon Point.

For eight years, Texas Tony’s has gained a wide following at its first location in Naples for its savory barbecue based on family recipes influenced by the regional flavors of Austin, Texas. It was created by the Phelan Family Brands, the family-owned company behind Pinchers, Deep Lagoon Seafood and Bone Hook Brewing Company―all in Southwest Florida. It also owns Island Crab Company on Pine Island to supply the restaurants with fresh seafood.

When company owner Grant Phelan was en route to Pine Island for a pickup, he noticed a shuttered barbecue restaurant and got busy transforming it into Texas Tony’s. “We started January 8th and were open by March 14th. Everyone from the City of Cape Coral was fantastic to work with and the process was smooth,” he says. “I can’t explain enough how important it was to catch the tail end of season.”

About 70 employees were hired, and Phelan is planning to increase sales through catering and take-out. “We have the most fantastic team members that we get to work with every day,” Phelan says.

In addition to a menu featuring house-smoked barbecue brisket, baby back ribs, St. Louis ribs, chopped pork and chicken, diners are fond of the selection of craft beers made at Bone Hook Brewing in Naples. And Phelan is fond of the new location on Southwest Pine Island Road. “The North Cape has just exploded ― it’s incredible,” he says. Learn more: 738 SW Pine Island Road * texastonys.com

Interested in seeing a time-lapse video of the restaurant renovation prior to opening?  Check this out from their Facebook page.   
Distinguished Entrepreneurs Announced
USE THIS ONE 2019
The Florida Small Business Development Center at Florida Gulf Coast University crowned its Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year, Business Advocate of the Year and Distinguished Innovator of the Year at its annual awards event April 30 at Bonita Bay Club.

There were 18 finalists chosen for the top award, now in its eighth year, including Cape Coral’s Timothy Hoffman of Hospitality Group Holdings and Jordi Tejero of CRS Technology Consultants. Finalists were chosen from 66 nominees in the five-county area of Southwest Florida.

Also honored were: Tyrone Belford (4 Corner’s Creative), Reema Bhatia (Stickboy Creative), Ryan Carter (Scotlynn USA Division), Brian Chapman (Chapman Insurance Group), Rafael J. Feliciano (Food Idea Group), Catina Fletcher (Diamonds Haircare), Rochelle Graham-Campbell (Black Onyx World/Alikay Naturals), Teri Hansen (Priority Marketing), Samuel Lewis (Wear The Fund), Martin Ndungu (Medicab Transportation), Michael Peterman (VeraData), Key Powell (Key Security Services), Brian Rist (Storm Smart), Marilyn Santiago (Creative Architectural Resin Products - CARP), Samantha Scott (Pushing the Envelope) and Caryn Smith (Driven by Design).

The honors come just in advance of National Small Business Week, May 5-11.
High Achievers Honored
SCORE logo wide
Technology entrepreneur, angel investor and startup mentor Michael O’Donnell was the keynote speaker at SCORE Southwest Florida’s Annual Awards Luncheon in March at Gateway Golf & Country Club in Fort Myers.

Jeff Becker, a Lee County public school teacher who created the motivational program Can Do U in 2017, was named Entrepreneur of the Year. He was mentored by Trevor Pedler.

Charles Gilbert’s C.W. Gilbert Construction Company was named Veteran Owned Business of the Year. Gilbert created the business in Fort Myers in 2018 after 17 years working in construction. He was mentored by Frank Costello.

Stacey Kroll and Stephanie Steffens won Business of the Year for their Sisters for Seniors LLC. The in-home companion care and homemaker service launched in 2014 and operates in Charlotte and Sarasota counties. They were mentored by Pat Loftus.

Bill Boehmer was named Volunteer of the Year. Dave Hamblett was named Mentor of the Year. Bryan Hays and Boehmer received 10-year Volunteer Service Awards; Hamblett for five years. Learn more about finding mentors or small business workshops to hone your business skills:  SW FL SCORE
Cape Coral Company Nominated as Top Entrepreneur
Cape Coral-based Architectural Metal Flashings will be among the nominees at Business Observer’s Top Entrepreneur Awards Luncheon, Thursday, May 23, in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. The company, based in North Cape Industrial Park, was nominated for its continued growth and commitment to giving back to the community. Owners Jeff and Darla Bonk grew up in Southwest Florida. The company offered hurricane assistance locally and in Puerto Rico. It has been expanding its staff to keep up with steady demand at the innovative Babcock Ranch community in Charlotte County and beyond. View Press Release to see all of the nominees.   
Cape Coral Top Rankings
Commercial land sign
Real estate tech marketing firm SetSchedule listed Cape Coral among the Top 10 cities in the nation in its “Top Markets to Target” in 2019, ranked as good commercial real estate investments due to their popularity, growth, stability and neighborhood factors. Cape Coral’s growth was highlighted by an April U.S. Census Bureau report. The Cape Coral-Fort Myers area ranked 7 th nationally in population growth from 2010 to 2018. It grew 22 percent, adding more 130,000 people to reach 754,610. 
New Businesses in Q1 2019
423 new businesses registered for Cape Coral Business Tax Receipts
Save the Date: May BizChat
BizChat Logo
Join the Economic Development Office and FGCU’s SBDC for a chance to share your story, gain insights on running a successful business and enjoy a free light lunch. The monthly event is held on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Join us on May 22 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Kiwanis Hall, 360 Santa Barbara Blvd. Learn more: 239-574-0444 or ecodev@capecoral.net .
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CAPE CORAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OFFICE
Ricardo Noguera • Terri Hall • Karen Ramos • Nita Whaley

239.574.0444 • ecodev@capecoral.net bizcapecoral.com

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