In Estero, he’s known as the mayor of Miromar Outlets.
“Jeff Staner is such a knowledgeable, outstanding individual in the community,” said Meg Judge, chairman and chief executive officer of the Estero Chamber of Commerce. “He’s very well known because he’s always willing to work with the community on so many different things. There are so many charities at Miromar Outlets.”
Staner, who was promoted last month to vice president, had been working as the general manager at Miromar Outlets in Estero since the mall opened in 1998.
“Margaret Antonier, the president and CEO of Miromar Development (Corp.), refers to Jeff as the mayor Miromar Outlets, and that’s about the only mayor we need in the community,” said Judge, who believes the title of sheriff of Miromar Outlets would be more fitting because she believes that he helps protect the area. “He’s on patrol constantly.”
Staner said he was very excited, happy about his recent promotion — which he feels recognizes all the hard work he has contributed to the factory outlet shopping center for more than 11 years.
“Like most mayors, they greet people, they welcome people, and that’s what Jeff does,” Judge said. The factory outlet mall’s vice president position was created especially for Staner, so he did not replace a predecessor.
Staner, 51, started his more than 29-year-long career in the field of property management and has worked for outlet malls in many different states including Pennsylvania, Oregon and Idaho.
“It just so happened that everyone I worked for was a factory outlet developer,” said Staner, who was recruited by Miromar Outlets while he was working at another outlet mall in northern California.
Staner believes he acquired his mayor of Miromar Outlets nickname because of his strong commitment to being involved in and giving back to the surrounding community.
“I think because when I first moved into the area, I always like to become a part of the community as much as possible,” he said. “Part of being the mayor involves trying to pull things together to help Estero and the surrounding community.”
The breadth of Staner’s and other employees at Miromar Outlets’ commitment to giving back to the community can be seen in the number of fun, charitable events that have been hosted at the outlet mall since it opened. The events range from numerous blood drives to giving children in Immokalee clothes, shoes and toys for Christmas to hosting food drives for the Harry Chapin Food Bank.
In addition, Staner and Miromar Outlets were proponents behind bringing the Dancing Classrooms program to public schools in Lee County. The social dance program — which targets students in grades four, five, eight, 11 and 12 — helps build social awareness, confidence and self-esteem in children.
The more than 140-store outlet mall even promotes other local businesses by teaming up with the Estero Chamber of Commerce to host Celebrate Estero, an annual business expo.
“When I went to Jeff to see if he’d be interested in hosting (the expo,) he immediately jumped in and said yes,” Judge said. “We’re always open to innovative and creative ideas, and I think that’s why we’ve had a good partnership with Miromar Outlets. Jeff has been at the head of that.”
Staner’s favorite part about working at Miromar Outlets is walking around the mall and seeing other people enjoying their shopping experience.
“What is pleasant to see is when I walk down through the center, and I see and hear our customers talking about how great of deals they’ve received here shopping at the outlets, they’re carrying lot’s of bags and they’re enjoying the shopping experience that we’re trying to create here in the environment with the Portofino Mediterranean architecture, the beautiful fountains, the lush landscaping,” he said.
Since he started working at Miromar Outlets, five additional phases have been added onto the mall — which will have soon add another 62,000-square-foot phase expansion. Staner claims that one of the biggest accomplishments of his career is that the customer traffic and sales in the outlet mall have increased every year.
Sarah Donovan is a freelance writer for The Banner. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.