The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce has announced Commissioner Brian Hamman as the organization’s new president and CEO.
In this role, Hamman will direct all business, programs, projects and events of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and its Foundation to promote the growth of businesses and the community.
He will continue to serve as Lee County Commissioner for District 4.
“Our board of directors has been continually impressed by Brian’s leadership in business and within our community, and his expertise will be an invaluable asset to the growth and continued impact of the Chamber,” said Michele Hoover, chair of the board of directors for the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce. “This is an exciting new chapter for the Chamber, and we are confident in having Brian at the helm to lead in our mission of connecting, empowering and unifying our members and community across the region.”
Hamman is a proud Lee County native and has served as Lee County Commissioner for District 4 for nearly nine years with a passion for making Lee County a great place to live, work and raise a family. In the private sector, he spent 10 years in television working his way up from the “camera guy” to a news anchor on the nightly news. In addition, he worked as a financial advisor for Edward Jones and oversaw market development for CenturyLink.
He is a graduate of Cape Coral High School, earned an associate degree from Florida Southwestern State College (formerly Edison State College) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Gulf Coast University. He is also active in the community, serving on various boards and volunteering at his church, Crosspoint Christian.
Dianna Ryan served as interim president and CEO during this time of transition following the departure of the Chamber’s former president and CEO. Ryan will continue to serve the Chamber as director of operations.
Jason’s Deli of Southwest Florida, a leading family-owned deli restaurant, is hosting its 13th annual ‘Kids Eat Free’ event from Friday, Aug. 5 through Sunday, Aug. 7, offering complimentary meals to children aged 12 and under at four Southwest Florida restaurant locations.
According to a recent survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $864 on school items, approximately $15 more than last year. Back-to-school spending has increased dramatically since the onset of the pandemic, as families adjusted to changes from virtual and hybrid learning. Compared to 2019, back-to-school shoppers are expected to spend $168 more on average, and total spending is up $11 billion.
“As inflation continues to rise and back-to-school shopping begins, we are happy to provide a reprieve for active families as they prepare for the school year ahead,” said Diana Willis, owner-operator of Jason’s Deli of Southwest Florida. “Coinciding with the State of Florida Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, in our thirteenth year of providing free kids meals with an adult entrée, we are pleased to offer parents and kids healthier meal options and savings on costs incurred at this time of year. As a bonus, our ice cream is free!”
From Friday, Aug. 5 through Sunday, Aug. 7, diners will receive up to two complimentary kid’s meals with each adult entree and drink purchase. Children must be present, and the ‘Kids Eat Free’ special may not be combined with other offers. The offer is valid for dine-in, to-go and curbside pickup, and not valid for deliveries.
In Southwest Florida, participating Jason’s Deli locations include Fort Myers: 13550 Reflections Parkway at Cypress Lake Drive and 16441 Corporate Commerce Way at Alico Road; Naples: 2700 Immokalee Road at Airport Pulling Road; and Cape Coral: 2311 Santa Barbara Blvd. near Veterans Parkway.
Have you seen the tiki boat cruising around St. James City and Cape Coral waterways yet?
Nick and Stacey, SW Florida locals, brought the first Cruisin’ Tikis to Pine Island. They founded this fantastic family-owned business to highlight Pine Island, Cape Coral, and all of its beauty! Hop aboard Cruisin’ Tiki with a few friends along with a U.S. Coast Guard trained and certified Captain!
Partying on local sandbars got more festive when Cruisin’ Tikis set sail in mid-December of 2021.
Captain Nick Becker and his wife, Captain Stacy Becker, purchased franchise rights to the new business after taking a ride on a tiki boat on a family vacation. The couple said their floating tikis would be an innovative, memorable boating experience for various occasions like weddings, reunions, birthday parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and even corporate functions.
“Brunch mimosas, bar-hopping adventures, and real estate showings are also very popular,” said Nick Becker. He said they are about putting smiles on faces, one cruise at a time.
Cruisin’ Tiki in St. James City offers a few different cruises throughout the week! With a cruising speed of around 4-6mph, this cruise is the perfect amount of time to enjoy SW Florida from the water! Choose from:
90 Minute Tiki Cruise – 1.5 hours between 10 am-730pm is available seven days a week!
Take a daycation! Whether you’re day drinkin’, planning a “family fun day” or simply making a memory.
It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere – a 2-hour tiki bar cruise between 10 am -7 pm – available every day of the week.
Tiki Fun Tours for all occasions Sunset Tours, sand bar tours, bar crawls, Anniversary Cruises, Sightseeing, Birthday, Bachelor & Bachelorette Parties., open waters, and soaking up the fun… Tiki Style!
Sunset Cruise – from 7 pm-9 pm – available every day of the week
Every sunset is exceptional, and we believe it should be celebrated through our picturesque waterways. Even a pirate couldn’t break this summer vibe. Simply a must-do for all!
A max of 6 individuals is allowed on board along with the captain. You can go about your cruise in a few different ways, making it enjoyable for everyone! Cruises depart rain or shine, but if it’s raining, you’ll have that thatched roof for shelter! Why go bar hopping when you can drift on a bar? Although alcoholic beverages are allowed (with each individual bringing their own I.D. along), you can also have a non-booze cruise that provides a fun, family-friendly voyage!
For the past ten years in a row, Cape Coral has been one of the fastest-growing cities in America, but the supply of new apartments has not kept pace. Luckily, a Chicago developer will soon be completing Aspire, a brand-new Class “A” apartment community with five apartment buildings totaling 319 units.
All of the apartment buildings will be situated around a beautiful lake with spectacular views. Triton Capital LLC and Avoda Group LLC (based out of Chicago) have combined forces to develop Aspire Luxury Living. The developers were so confident in the future of Cape Coral that they acquired the land, secured the financing, and started construction in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team has acquired more land in Fort Myers to develop additional multi-family housing projects, which are expected to commence in Q4 2022.
“We evaluated the apartment market in South Florida several years ago and identified a significant apartment deficit in Cape Coral, so we responded accordingly,” said John Bucheleres, Managing Partner, Triton Capital LLC. “There is a meaningful lack of supply of Class “A” apartment units, so we wanted to satisfy that demand by adding new apartments to the market. We are big believers in the future of Cape Coral, and we are extremely pleased to bring Aspire to the community.
According to the City of Cape Coral, apartment occupancy is at least 95% leaving apartments in high demand.
“More apartments mean more options for people looking to move to the Cape,” said Cape Coral City Manager Rob Hernandez. “That’s why we want developers to build apartments with amenities. Private investors are stepping up to the plate, and they are investing heavily in this great city.”
The luxury living community of Aspire is now available for preleasing with amenities larger in scale and quantity than any other complex. Featuring a 3-acre lake at its center, this 20-acre, amenity-rich complex is in the most affluent area of Southwest Cape Coral with shopping and entertainment destinations nearby and the design aesthetics and finish levels are beyond existing competition. For outdoor enthusiasts, Aspire features a winding trail surrounding the picturesque lake, pickleball court, basketball court, an outdoor gaming area, and a yoga lawn.
The private, gated community is located at 3514 Chiquita Boulevard South, with popular shopping destinations and numerous restaurants in downtown Cape Coral. Rumrunners at Cape Harbour, The Shops at Surfside, and Tarpon Point Marina are just minutes away. Gulf Elementary School, Gulf Middle School, and Ida S. Baker High School are steps away from the Aspire community, all “A” rated for top academic performance.
In the heart of the community are both the Clubhouse and the Pavilion. The 11,000 square-foot Clubhouse (9,000 square feet under air) offers a large clubroom, a speakeasy with hidden access, a yoga room, fitness center, veranda, co-working space for collaboration, a conference center with individual offices for lease, an entertainment bar, and plenty of space to unwind with your neighbors.
The clubhouse overlooks an oversized resort-style pool with lap lanes, an expansive sundeck with an entertainment lounge, private cabanas, two hammocks, and three grill stations. The 2,400 square foot open-air Pavilion will include a 12-person bar, numerous seating areas with comfortable furnishings, three big-screen TVs, restrooms, outdoor games including cornhole and bocce ball, and grilling stations. Right outside of the Pavilion is another fire pit overlooking the lake. The Pavilion is sure to be one of the most popular and well-used areas of Aspire. Lush landscaping, swaying palm trees, and walking paths create a serene resort lifestyle.
All of the floor plans offer high-end features including 9-foot ceilings, wood-finish flooring, large walk-in closets, luxury kitchens, quartz countertops, custom color painted cabinets, and under-counter beverage centers. Most units feature a built-in desk with file drawers and power outlets to provide a “work from home” area in the apartment, and most two-bedroom apartments feature dual master suites. The developers realized that post-covid these would be especially attractive features in new apartments. All units also include private patios or balconies.
Within the 4-story, elevator-accessible buildings are beautifully designed one, two, and three-bedroom apartment homes with seven floorplan options, ranging from 718 to 1,354 square feet and one to two baths. Occupancy is set for July 2022.
“The development team was incredible. We hired a best-in-class team that was amazing to work with to produce an exceptional product. The team included Ft. Myers-based General Contractor Brooks & Freund, Avalon Engineering from Cape Coral, Forum Architecture and Interior Design out of Altamonte Springs, FL, and Landesco, who did all of the fantastic landscape architecture. Additionally, our senior lender is Hancock Whitney Bank, based in New Orleans with a local office in Tampa, and Red Starr Investments from White Plains, NY, who was our preferred equity partner. ZRS Management has been hired to lease and manage the property. It was great to work with a group of such talented individuals,” said John Bucheleres.
Fort Myers Brewing Company has earned international acclaim with a gold medal at the 2022 World Beer Cup, a global beer competition recognizing the most outstanding brewers and their beers.
The brewery was awarded gold in the Chocolate Beer category for its popular Chocolate Stout, an imperial stout that’s chock-full of sweetness and decadent layers of rich chocolate seamlessly melding with subtle wisps of roasted barley and espresso.
“For our Chocolate Stout to be named the best in the world in this prestigious competition is an incredible honor,” said Rob Whyte, who co-founded Fort Myers Brewing in 2013 with his wife, Jen.
“Our brewing team is passionate about our work to perfect and fine-tune unique, flavorful craft brews for fellow beer-lovers to enjoy, so it means a lot for our stout to be selected by judges around the world for this top recognition.”
Regarded as “the Olympics of beer,” the World Beer Cup is the most prestigious beer competition in the world, presented biennially by the Brewers Association in conjunction with the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America, which was held this year on May 5 in Minnesota.
The 2022 competition attracted 10,542 entries across 103 categories from breweries in 57 countries, and winners were selected by an international panel of 226 judges.