New ‘castle’ in town: Marco Chamber holds ribbon cutting for Sandcastle Community Management

There’s a new castle on Marco Island. Sandcastle Community Management, a Naples-based property management firm, celebrated their move onto Marco with a Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting on Tuesday afternoon.

The simple ceremony, with its attendant wine, cheese and hors d’oeuvres, was held in the clubhouse of the Pier 81 condominiums on Bald Eagle Drive, which the company is managing. Company principals president Travor Lutz and his wife, vice president Verna Lutz, held the ribbon, but left the ceremonial scissors to Julie Dana, who is the director of the firm’s Marco Island division.

Actually, as is standard for the chamber ribbon cuttings, no ribbons were harmed or cut. The big wooden scissors show up great in a photo, but don’t cut worth beans, and that way Katie O’Hara of the chamber can collect the ribbon, emblazoned with the words “Grand Opening,” and reuse it at the next event.

Sandcastle manages condominiums, working with the homeowner associations’ boards of directors, as well as handling some commercial properties such as marinas, said Travor Lutz. What really sets their company apart, he said, is what they don’t do.

“We only manage the associations,” he said. “We don’t run a handyman company, or a landscaping business or a plumbing company.” The great majority of management companies, Travor said, are tied into particular vendors and tradesmen, which doesn’t allow them to be fully objective and consider only the best interests of their clients.

“We are completely independent, not tied to any one service provider. We have no ties to any other business.”

Sandcastle Community Management has been the recipient of numerous awards from the Community Association Institute, or CAI, including several manager of the year awards. Verna Lutz won the award in 2011, said her husband.

They also won the Naples Daily News Readers Choice Champion award in the most recent competition, as the outstanding community management firm.

Verna Lutz said they picked the sandcastle for their company name and logo because “it’s an enduring emblem,” and sums up how people feel about their Southwest Florida homes. “And no,” she laughed, “we don’t plan on getting washed away any time soon.”

“Sandcastle is a very fun group of people, warm and friendly,” said Julie Dana. “They take the time to hire people who will create that kind of atmosphere.

Groups of Chamber Ambassadors and well-wishers gathered, enjoyed a glass of wine – although the very pretty pastry display, with petit fours and mini-tarts, went mostly untouched – and mingled and caught up with their fellow guests. Three-year-old Mackenzie Marquardt did try the desserts, and had the chocolate on her mouth to prove it.

Sherrie and Bob Pfeffer from the Marriott talked with the chamber’s Donna Niemczyk and her husband Stanley, and Gail Scultz from Senior Bridge chatted with Jason Salmon of the Valleycrest Companies, whose firm does the landscaping for Pier 81.

Sandcastle hopes to grow their business on the island, and add additional staff. They can be reached at 239-596-7200, or online at

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