IT'S YOUR BUSINESS: Business news releases Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fort Myers-Naples area Taco Bells donate $25,000 for teens

Participating Taco Bell restaurants in the Fort Myers-Naples area and across the country will donate 15 percent of their gross sales on April 23 to the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens (the “Foundation”)—the company’s nonprofit organization dedicated to helping teens graduate from high school and be prepared for college, careers and life. This nationwide campaign aims to double the Foundation’s annual giving goal. At the same time, the Foundation is providing consumers a chance to win one of four $25,000 scholarships as an added bonus.

The one-day fundraiser is part of a $5 million annual giving goal that will directly fund teen programs at Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. Taco Bell Foundation for Teens is the largest donor to Boys & Girls Clubs of America, giving over $23 million for teen programming since 1995.

“One million teens drop out of high school each year—thousands right here in Florida alone” said Carlos Silva, President of the Association of the Fort Myers-Naples area Taco Bell Restaurants. “We hope our customers will join us on April 23rd and make their meals count toward ending the high school graduation crisis.”

The Foundation is underscoring the importance of education with a sweepstakes that will award four lucky customers a $25,000 college scholarship. The sweepstakes, held in conjunction with the fundraiser, invites consumers visiting participating Taco Bell® restaurants in the Fort Myers-Naples area on April 23 to receive a special code that must be entered on www.tacobellgraduation.com for a chance to win. The contest ends April 30. Four winners will each be awarded a $25,000 scholarship to be used for tuition at an accredited college or vocational school. Winners may elect to transfer the scholarship to a current or potential student should they choose not to use it themselves.

The contest is open to legal residents of the 50 United States (excluding the District of Columbia and Hawaii), ages 13 years and older. For Official Rules, alternate method of entry, prize descriptions and odds disclosure, visit http://www.tacobellgraduation.com.

In addition to the campaign, the Foundation is helping raise awareness of America’s high school dropout crisis and the national fundraiser through PSAs (public service announcements), restaurant merchandising and a multiplatform presence on the web. This includes an interactive Facebook application where people can show support for the cause by uploading their photo onto the World’s Largest Yearbook. The Foundation’s goal is to build a Facebook Yearbook with one million “friends,” representing the current number of teens who drop out of high school each year.

- Contributed by Taco Bell Foundation for Teens

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Naples Chamber launches podcast series

The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce has launched a series of informative best business practices video podcasts. Each video addresses a potential issue a business owner may need to address, especially in these tough economic times.

“We are working to provide more resources for our members and area business owners,” stated CJ Hueston, chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. “Many professionals are facing issues in their working lives they have not experienced prior to this economic downturn. We are striving to provide for them the tools need to survive and thrive.”

Several chamber member businesses contributed their time and talent to the project including (in alphabetical order: ABG World Video and Audio Productions; Alpha Media Productions; Brown and Brown Benefits; E.D.A. Human Resources; Fifth Gear Productions; ISOOSI Communications; Markham, Norton, Mosteller, Wright & Co., PA; and Primo Pixels.

“The beauty of the podcast series is its accessibility,” added Michael Reagen, President and CEO of the Chamber. “Professionals are now, more than ever, crunched for time. This is a resource they can utilize at their leisure. The videos are available to them at any time of day. They can even view them from the comfort of their own home.”

The podcasts can be accessed directly from the chamber’s webpage at www.napleschamber.org and clicking on the Best Business Practices Educational Videos link in the Business section.

A direct link is: http://tiny.cc/chambervid

A key part of the project was the use of new technology to reach out to the business community. To celebrate this advancement, the Chamber partnered with InfiNetwork to offer an online auction for a Hurricane Season Network Risk Assessment. The service includes an electrical and physical risk assessment, verification of network server back and implementation of a disaster recovery plan. The assessment has a retail value of $550. The auction can be accessed on the video page or directly at: http://tiny.cc/hbbdK.

If you would like to bid, but are having trouble, contact Marci Seamples at marci@napleschamber.org or 298-7935.

- Contributed by the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce

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Stock Development releases first quarter sales report

Stock Development strengthened its position as Southwest Florida’s leading residential developer with a strong first quarter sales report. From Jan. 1 through March 31, Stock Development posted 100 new home sales at its communities of Lely Resort, Paseo and Vivante.

According to Brian Stock, CEO of Stock Development, the company’s sales volume totaled $35.5 million, boosted by a surge in March sales totaling more than $20 million. Lely Resort led the way with 58 new home sales.

“The first quarter of 2009 continued the sales momentum we had built in 2008 when we registered nearly 400 sales,” said Stock. “Our average sale price remained a steady $355,000 as standing inventory home numbers have dropped dramatically. We have new construction under way in Lely Resort and new buildings in permitting at Paseo.”

Stock Development is building homes in three Southwest Florida communities.

“We had record numbers of visitors to our sales centers with nearly 5,000 people touring our three communities,” said Stock. “One of the strengths has been the number of returning visitors. That trend is continuing in the first days of April and we already have a large number of contracts negotiated and pending so we expect to have strong sales continuing into the summer.”

At Lely Resort, a total of 13 neighborhoods are offered with prices beginning from the $180,000s. Residents have access to The Players Club & Spa at Lely Resort, which gives residents a complete lifestyle with a separate non-golf clubhouse providing a more casual, tropical atmosphere. There are also three championship golf courses, two spectacular golf clubhouses and a Village Center in the Olé neighborhood. The Lely Resort Sales Center is at 8020 Grand Lely Drive, on U.S. 41 and Collier Boulevard. For more information, visit www.lely-resort.com.

Paseo offers flats and town homes in 14 designs, as well as six casita floor plans. These award-winning homes range from 1,200 to more than 2,000 square feet under air. Two neighborhoods of single-story, two-story and courtyard-style single-family homes are also available. Floor plans range from 1,649 to just over 3,000 square feet under air plus attached two-car garages.

The Village Center amenities include a full-service concierge, a bistro, an ice cream parlor, a pub, an Internet café, a coffee shop, a 4,000-square-foot fitness center, a business center and library, as well as spa services and a 90-seat theatre with a projection room and comfortable elevated seating. The free-form pool includes elaborate waterfalls and rockscapes, as well as a poolside gazebo serving refreshments. Prices at Paseo begin in the $170,000s.

The Paseo Sales Center is in South Fort Myers at 11940 Palba Way Fort Myers. Call (239) 425-6777 or visit the community on the Web at www.paseo-ftmyers.com for more information.

Vivante offers two- and three-bedroom condominiums with 1,485 square feet to 2,500 square feet of living space and prices ranging from $149,990 to $499,990. Harborfront units are priced from just $299,990.

Vivante’s 12,000 square foot clubhouse includes a grand terrace for al fresco entertainment, a resort-style infinity edge pool, wireless business center and a fully-equipped spa and fitness center. The Vivante Sales Center 2950 West Marion Avenue in Punta Gorda. For more information, visit www.vivante-fl.com.

- Contributed by Stock Development

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Bennigan’s reopened under new ownership

Bennigan’s in the Promenade at Bonita Bay reopened as of Dec. 31 under new ownership and management. The new owner is Denis Nazarith, who owns several Bennigan’s throughout Southwest Florida and Texas.

‘Bennigan’s knows that in these times customer loyalty is extremely important and our goal is to be your first choice,” Nazarith said. “We strive to do that by offering daily food specials like Kids Eat Free all day everyday, and seniors receive 20 percent off of their entire bill, $5.99 Monte Cristos, and $4.99 burgers. Also for a limited time, buy one entree get one entree free. We also have a new chef offering nightly specials.”

In addition, drink specials all day every day start with two for one well drinks and house wines, $1 domestic drafts and $1.75 domestic bottles from 4 to 9 p.m. Entertainment five nights a week includes karaoke Monday, the island guitarist on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, a live DJ on Friday, and poker night Saturday.

- Bennigan’s in the Promenade at Bonita Bay

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After all, it’s your business.

So we are adding a new feature to naplesnews.com called It’s Your Business.

Have news about your business to share with Southwest Florida? Send it to business@naplesnews.com and to our Business and Government Content Editor Dave Osborn at djosborn@naplesnews.com. We’ll post these on the Business page at naplesnews.com every day and will publish these as space allows in Business Monday in the Naples Daily News. Start watching online daily for these postings!

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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