• A weekly roundup of business news.
• While the biggest cheers at RE/MAX Results Realty's annual awards breakfast normally go to high-flying producers, this year was different.
The honors this time around went to Jose Ayala, a young employee in the Enterprise Construction arm of the company.
His award, Rookie of the Year, was read in both English and Spanish, and about 150 agents raised the roof of the Marco Island Yacht Club as he stepped forward to receive an engraved plaque.
At the breakfast, which indeed acknowledged agents' performances, CEO Dan Dufault announced some company innovations, including a partnership with Ohio-based National City Mortgage. Another is an in-house, share-based offer for agents to partner with another company arm, Marco Title Services.
Dufault's son Dan Jr. gave an overview of Enterprise Construction, saying one of its priorities has become mixed-use construction in addition to remaining the largest residential builder on the island.
He said that despite some problems in 2005 relating to material shortages, contractors defecting to production builders, and one shutter company dropping new construction to concentrate on retail sales after Hurricane Wilma, 2006 is destined to be solid for Enterprise Construction.
"We spent more than $15 million in 2005, and this year it will be more than $30 million," the younger Dufault said.
His father said the company also will open a North Naples office and expand its downtown Naples office.
"We have big plans for North Naples," Dufault said. "It's our new frontier. We have penetrated the downtown Naples real estate market. We're a force down there. The other major players know we're there."
Without elaborating, Dufault also announced plans for an innovative commercial mixed-use project on Marco Island that he said would "set the standards for the rest coming on line."
• She studied interpersonal relationships in college with the intent of becoming a TV presenter in her native Cleveland.
But, as fate would have it, Lori Nielsen Forester ended up 1,260 miles away on Marco Island.
To her parents' disdain, Forester first worked as a cocktail waitress at the Marco Island Marriott Resort, but there was method to her apparent madness.
She made good money, enough to live on as well as build a nest egg.
"It was always my plan to start my own business," said Forester, who this year celebrates 10 years in business with her Tan Today salon in Marco's Post Plaza, opposite the post office on Elkcam Circle.
The idea for the business arose during her stint at the Marriott.
It was a rainy day, and some customers asked her whether there was a tanning salon on the island.
That set a notion in motion for Forester, who said friends initially tried to talk her out of the idea.
"They said we live in sunny Southwest Florida, where tans are free," Forester said, "but one friend said to hesitate is not to succeed."
So, Forester took the plunge in early 1996, just one day after inquiring about some advertised space in Post Plaza.
Clients are both men and women who like a bit of color in their complexions, she said.
They're often businesspeople who like to come in during their lunch breaks.
"Twenty minutes on a bed is equivalent to about 45 minutes in the sun," said Forester, who preaches moderation.
She added that dermatologists sometimes refer psoriasis patients for sunbed doses.
Another claimed benefit is lower risk for prostate and colon cancers, she said.
While she conceded that the whole tanning debate is "touchy," Forester said some schools of thought insist that predisposition to skin cancers is caused by overexposure to the sun while young.
Forester plans an expansion to her business in the form of a Migun massage bed.
The beds utilize the Asian theory of trigger points in the body, Forester said, and are becoming increasingly popular in the United States.
They apply heat and pressure to those points in a technique similar to acupuncture, Forester said.
Forester said her most popular contract at Tan Today is $54 for a monthlong membership with unlimited access to the tanning beds. Reservations, however, are necessary.
• Olde Marco Island Inn & Suites owners Pat and Marcy Kruchten recently had the tables turned on them in the most complimentary of ways.
The couple, who hosted an event at their hotel honoring the work of Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 95 after Hurricane Wilma, were surprised when they found themselves on the receiving end of an award.
It was for sheltering displaced residents, many of them with special needs, after Wilma struck. Some were on oxygen support; others were diabetics needing nursing care.
The inn was solicited for help because it had full electricity after the hurricane.
County Emergency Management Coordinator Jim von Rinteln presented the award to the Kruchtens, saying his department was grateful for their help.
The plaque was signed by Collier County Commission Chairman Frank Halas, County Manager Jim Mudd and Emergency Services Bureau Director Dan Summers.
Pat Kruchten was modest about his and his wife's recognition, saying simply that he was happy to help.
Marcy Kruchten said she accepted the award on behalf of her staff.