Aldi, the Germany-based grocery store chain, has resumed construction on another new Cape Coral store. 

This one will be located at Santa Barbara Boulevard and Veterans Parkway in what had been slated to be a Lucky’s Market. Lucky’s pulled out of Southwest Florida even before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Aldi, meanwhile, just keeps growing. 

“We’re proud to be one of the fastest-growing retailers in the country,” said Chris Hewitt, Royal Palm Beach division vice president for Aldi. “In 2017, we announced an accelerated growth plan with a more than $5 million capital investment in new and remodeled stores.” 

Aldi has more than 2,100 stores across 37 states, Hewitt said. 

“We’re on pace to become the third-largest U.S. grocery retailer by store count by the end of 2022,” Hewitt said. 

Five years ago, there were two Aldi stores in all of Southwest Florida. Now, there are 16. Lee County leads with 10. Collier County has four, and Charlotte County has two. There are three existing Aldi stores in Cape Coral, including one at the Coralwood Mall. That spot had been slated to become a Fresh Market until that chain dropped its plans to expand, opening the door for Aldi. 

The Veterans/Santa Barbara Aldi, which will be Cape Coral’s fourth store, is scheduled to open sometime in 2022. 



The Cape Coral Animal Shelter (CCAS) has partnered with Hope Hospice to take current services one step further for hospice patients.

In animal rescue, one of the most heartbreaking owner surrender requests is when a person is terminally ill and must give up their beloved pet.  Once surrendered, the person ultimately loses touch with their pet after it is adopted, spending their last days wondering about and missing their companion. 

Finding a home for pets can also be a burden for family members when a loved one enters hospice unexpectedly and they scramble frantically to find a home for the pet.

Hope Hospice created the Hope for Pets program to alleviate that worry and give people in their care some peace of mind that their pets will have veterinary visits, exercise, and, when needed, a new, loving home. To ensure no pet is left behind, Hope for Pets has partnered with various shelters to help coordinate pet adoptions and veterinary care.

Now, CCAS is offering enhanced services to keep the connection between Hope’s pet owners and their loyal companions strong for as long as possible.

Our program will facilitate the surrender of a pet by a hospice patient. However, that pet will stay in the home of the patient until he/she is no longer able to care for the pet.  During that time, CCAS will handle medical care of the pet, transport to and from the patient’s home for vet visits, and supply food/supplies if needed. 

Further, if the Hope Hospice patient enters a hospice facility, CCAS will put the pet into a foster home until the patient passes away.  These fosters will be specifically chosen and trained to be compassionate and understanding of the situation.  They will provide updates, pictures, phone calls, and (if possible) visits to the patient in a hospice facility.  Once the patient passes, CCAS will find a loving, forever home for the pet. 

“We have a network of fantastic foster parents who are specially educated about end-of-life care. They keep in touch with the owner and help them stay connected to their pet with updates, phone calls and visits,” said McCauley.

“We are creating a continuity in transitioning a pet from owner to foster family, while forging a faster pathway to adoption.”

Oftentimes, pet adoptions are delayed due to an absence of medical information or lapsed treatments. Now, veterinary services are brought up to date and pets are given the care they need to stay happy and healthy well before they join their new adopted home, giving the hospice patient and their families great relief during a most difficult time.

Please see the attached link to the office article posted by Hope Hospice for their insight:



Best Buddies International is excited to announce a generous grant from the Golisano Foundation of $50,000 to expand its work in Southwest Florida to serve more individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

“Best Buddies Southwest Florida is honored to have been selected for a $50,000 grant from the Golisano Foundation. With a goal of creating awareness and inclusion throughout Southwest Florida, Best Buddies will use this grant to help forward our mission of providing more opportunities in area schools for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” says Melanie Musick, Best Buddies Area Director.

With the Golisano Foundation’s support, Best Buddies was launched in Southwest Florida in October 2017. Initial funding supported organizing the local office, providing for space and operations. 

The Southwest Florida office, located at 5237 Summerlin Commons Blvd. in Fort Myers, is staffed with two full-time employees, Area Director Melanie Musick and Program Manager Molly Morrina, who is the school liaison.

Currently, Southwest Florida has Best Buddies chapters at 26 schools throughout the local community. Each chapter is supported by a Faculty Advisor/Special Education Advisor plus a Chapter President, in addition to the Program Manager.

School administrators, teachers and/or parents wanting Best Buddies offered at a specific school location in Lee, Collier, Charlotte or Sarasota counties are welcome to contact Melanie Musick at or 239-275-2510.

Best Buddies is a nonprofit founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver to establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Lee County celebrates the Power of Travel

Lee County celebrates the Power of Travel

Lee County celebrates National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) May 2-8, as it spotlights the critical role travel plays in driving economic recovery efforts and building the path forward through the theme Power of Travel.

The annual celebration of the contributions of the U.S. travel industry, NTTW was created by Congress in 1983 to elevate the economic power of domestic travel. The weeklong celebration arrives at an opportune moment to recognize the importance to the U.S. economy of initiating a post-pandemic travel recovery.

In place of the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau’s (VCB) annual in-person Travel Rally, a virtual celebration will feature engaging videos about the people and places that make Southwest Florida special to its visitors and to the community. The VCB will showcase appreciation for the local tourism and hospitality industries, and share the importance these businesses have played in bolstering the local economy.

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“NTTW takes on a special significance this year as our industry continues to rebound quickly from the pandemic and accelerate recovery efforts,” said Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman, chairman of the Tourist Development Council.  

“We all recognize the past year was incredibly challenging, but we saw the full power of our destination on display in the way we united and supported one another through this crisis.”

As the tourism industry moves forward with optimism about the future, it’s important to recognize that visitor spending in calendar year 2020 generated an economic impact of $4,274,184,500.

The destination attracted 3,391,700 visitors and tourism supported 49,006 jobs.


The upcoming NTTW schedule includes:

Sunsational Sunday, May 2, kicks off NTTW as we celebrate the importance of the tourism industry and show appreciation for its workforce and the impact within the community, along with educating the public on the Power of Travel.

Magical Managers Monday, May 3, 
highlights three special leaders that make a difference in Lee County’s tourism community. They are exemplary role models and mentors to our frontline staff.

Be Kind Tuesday, May 4, profiles and recognizes employees whose acts of kindness have helped guide us through the pandemic and demonstrate what it means to be kind.

Wanderlust Wednesday, May 5, creates an urge to get out and explore some of the hidden gems Lee County has to offer. Learn about the cultural experiences within the destination and how to plan a vacation in your own backyard.

Throwback Thursday, May 6, is a reminder of how far we have come in Lee County tourism. With Lee County attracting 5 million visitors a year, tourism is a tool for enhancing what we love about our region – from its ecological wonders to its history and culture.

Fantastic Friday, May 7, showcases the Power of Travel and how it has positively impacted our community through economic spending, local workforce and our tourism ambassador program at Southwest Florida International Airport. Join us for fun facts and trivia as we celebrate the visitors who choose Lee County as their vacation destination. 

Small Business Saturday, May 7, recognizes the resilient business owners who have had an impact in our local tourism community as we continue our recovery. Their support with the launch of the VCB’s cost-saving Sun Saver Passport is helping keep our community thriving with discounted experiences as we continue in our recovery phase.  



Cape Coral Pet Vet, a privately owned, two-doctor veterinary clinic, has relocated to their new facility at 120 Del Prado Blvd. S.

This modernized, 4,000 sq. ft facility more than doubles their previous space.

With a continued emphasis on wellness and preventative medicine, the new location offers 7 comfortable exam rooms, a state-of-the-art treatment and laboratory area, a large surgical suite, and a fully stocked pharmacy.

“We are so excited to be in our new home. It’s been a difficult past year making this facility a reality, but we are so thankful to our wonderful clients, our staff, the community, our vendors, and our construction team, E.G. Contracting, that made our new home a reality,” said Dr. Cecilia Fisher, owner of Cape Coral Pet Vet said.

“As clients will see, this new facility allows us to provide even better service to our patients, while maintaining our small, family friendly feel.”

A first of its kind in Cape Coral, the new facility has separate cat and dog entrances leading into their own exam rooms. The building is equipped with pet-friendly features such as LED lighting that can change colors and in room music to help soothe pets, cat rooms with cat furniture and a large virtual fish tank. For pet parents, the clinic offers exam rooms equipped with computers and displays to show x-rays and ultrasounds, indoor and outdoor waiting areas, and a dedicated peaceful room for end-of-life services.

“Our new facility has helped us continue our goal of providing high quality medicine, with a calm fear free experience for pets and people alike,” stated Fisher.

Cape Coral Pet Vet is a full-service veterinary hospital, offering comprehensive medical care. Doctors Cecilia Fisher and Sharon Lomnicki, along with their amazing team, believe your pet is part of their family!

Pet Vet prides itself on its strong community presence, supporting causes such as “Shop With a Cop” and Cape Coral Youth Soccer, as well as hosting events such as “Black Ties and Tails Masquerade Ball” in support of the Cape Coral Animal Shelter. Follow Cape Coral Pet Vet on Facebook for updates.



Millennial Brewing Co. Co-owner Amber Cebull has launched a brand new non-alcoholic beverage company.

Gather Beverage Co. is specializing in herbal, CBD and therapeutic beverages. The debut CBD beverage, called Chill Out, seeks to elevate the standards for CBD beverages in the industry by offering a higher quality product with better ingredients that maximize the bioavailability of the CBD.

The idea for the drink was brought about amidst pandemic shutdowns. The microbrewery was unable to sell alcohol, so they got their CBD license and began selling CBD beverages instead.

“What we experienced during the Pandemic was an emerging market of people that are looking for healthy, non-alcoholic and therapeutic beverages and it really snowballed from there,” Cebull said.

The beverage is unique in that it replaces the standard CBD seltzer waters with organic juices. The CBD product in it is both broad spectrum and nano-amplified, which increases the absorption and bioavailability as well as the effects through the multiple cannabinoids in the beverage.

Direct to consumer subscription deliveries are now available and multiple wholesale partners have begun to carry the product.

It is expected to be available in many locations throughout the state by mid-April. 

“This is the definition of turning adversity on its head. Sky’s the limit from here,“ said Cebull. “Who knew that the biggest challenge our brewery has faced since inception would turn into a catalyst for creating a therapeutic non-alcoholic beverage that will literally change lives. It’s a movement and we’re happy to be part of it.” 

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