In the Know: Another Naples cafe closes; owners blame high rent, Gulf oil spill

TIM ATEN
Gemi's Cafe in Davis Village on Davis Boulevard in East Naples permanently closed in mid-October.

Photo by TIM ATEN

Gemi's Cafe in Davis Village on Davis Boulevard in East Naples permanently closed in mid-October.

Q: Can you tell us what happened to Gemi's restaurant, which was located in the strip mall near the corner of Shadowlawn and Davis. We were told they were redecorating, and two weeks later the place was cleaned out. Thanks.

— Bob and Karen Eitel, Naples

Q: My friends and I loved to go to Gemi's restaurant on Davis Boulevard. We are very disappointed that it has closed. Have they moved? We stopped to see if there was a notice as to where they might be, but there was no information. Do you have information? We will go to the new location if someone can help us. Thank you in advance for your help.

— Frances Gamble, Naples

Gemi's Café

2800 Davis Boulevard, Naples, FL

A: After an unusually slow summer season depleted their savings, Gemi's Cafe owners Gent and Genta Konica permanently closed their restaurant in mid-October in East Naples' Davis Village, 2800 Davis Blvd.

"From what we went through this last six months, we don't plan to reopen," Genta Konica said. "Not anytime soon. Maybe in the future."

The restaurant's revenue this May through September was $69,000 less than the same period last year, Konica said. August especially drained their budget.

"I couldn't afford to advertise this summer," she said. "It came to a time when I couldn't afford the rent in August. It came to a point when I said I can't do this anymore."

In addition to having to pay what they said was high rent for their restaurant's double-suite condominium, the Konicas said the Gulf oil spill at the end of April kept away tourists, especially European tourists.

"We saw a big, big drop. It hurt a lot," Mrs. Konica said. "I couldn't afford it, especially the last six months with the oil spill and everything."

Operating since Feb. 1, 2008, Gemi's was a breakfast and lunch cafe built from scratch by the Konicas, who immigrated from Albania to Naples 15 years ago.

"We came straight to Naples — paradise," Genta said.

As for their cafe, it will be missed by more than its patrons.

"I loved what I was doing. Both of us, we loved it," Genta said.

Mercato in North Naples displays a banner on a streetside pole along Strada Place announcing that Chipotle Mexican Grill is coming soon.

Photo by TIM ATEN

Mercato in North Naples displays a banner on a streetside pole along Strada Place announcing that Chipotle Mexican Grill is coming soon.

Chipotle Mexican Grill to open in December

Q: I was wondering if you have any more recent news on the exact opening date for the new Chipotle at Mercato. Thanks in advance!

— Kyle Cebull, Fort Myers

A: I couldn't pin down an exact date, but Chipotle Mexican Grill is expected to open in Mercato before the end of the year, most likely in mid-December, said Dougall McCorkle, senior vice president at The Lutgert Companies, which owns Mercato.

Chipotle's will open in the first storefront on the righthand corner of 9100 Strada Place when entering Mercato off U.S. 41. This North Naples location will be the chain's first in Southwest Florida.

Golfsmith Xtreme superstore opens Friday in North Naples at 6428 Hollywood Blvd. in the Promenade at Naples Centre.

Golfsmith Xtreme superstore opens Friday in North Naples at 6428 Hollywood Blvd. in the Promenade at Naples Centre.

Golf Galaxy, 6295 Naples Blvd., closed in October in North Naples.

Photo by TIM ATEN

Golf Galaxy, 6295 Naples Blvd., closed in October in North Naples.

Golfsmith Xtreme opens this week

Golfsmith Xtreme opens Friday in North Naples at 6428 Hollywood Blvd. in the Promenade at Naples Centre. This will be a soft opening for the golf superstore, which has a grand opening scheduled for Dec. 3.

Although Texas-based Golfsmith International Inc. operates about 75 stores, Naples will be only the fifth location for the company's Xtreme superstore concept. The new 35,355-square-foot store has an indoor driving range and many other interactive features.

Meanwhile, Golf Galaxy, formerly located nearby at 6295 Naples Blvd., closed last month after operating its 18,000-square-foot store for only two years. Golf Galaxy stores are owned and operated by Dick's Sporting Goods Inc.

Have a question? E-mail it with your name and city of residence to intheknow@naplesnews.com.

Find a complete archive of "In the Know" at naplesnews.com/intheknow.

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