Now that Southwest Florida is about to become the new headquarters for the Hertz car rental company, people with commercial interests here on Marco Island might be assuming that the economic benefits Hertz brings will never make it all the way down the trail to us.
In some ways, that’s true, for now, but some knowledgeable people we talked to about this say Marco business interests should not just shrug their shoulders. Indirectly, Hertz may help our area’s economy too.
Perhaps the best source around here on this subject is Jack Wert, executive director of the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“Overall the Hertz headquarters move will be beneficial for the entire region of Southwest Florida. We see a potential for all of Collier as new families begin to move into the area.
“Naples will most likely see some potential in home sales to Hertz executives. The distance to Marco from Estero might discourage Marco home sales, but for visitor activities and tie-ins to area events on weekends, we anticipate a great potential.”
Jack told us that when the Hertz relocation center in Virginia opens, it will be flooded with information about Southwest Florida, including videos, area maps and other materials for Hertz people and their families who might relocate to our area.
He is working with area Chambers of Commerce on that.
“Jack knows we’re interested and he’s putting something together,” says Sandi Riedemann, executive director of the Marco Chamber. “We also have a contact on the island who is best friends with the CEO of Hertz, so we’ll be working on that.”
We asked Rick Medwedeff, general manager of our Marriott Hotel here, whether Marco will realize any benefit from the Hertz move.
“Absolutely, yes. We believe this is a win for our entire community and yes, we will try not only to get these new employees to experience Marco Island for a “stay-cation” but seek to book a convention here.”
Mac Chaudhry, also a fierce supporter of the Marco community, has similar plans in his role as general manager of the Hilton Hotel on Marco Beach.
“We are thinking to do a special flyer to entice the staff for “Stay-cation,” since we are only in driving range. Hopefully that will help our island’s other businesses such as restaurants and retail stores.”
The efforts of all these professionals can lead the way to our town sharing in the positive economic impact of all those Hertz people coming down here. As Mac Chaudhry mentioned, the distance from the Jolley Bridge to Estero is, by “Mapquest” reckoning, only 39 miles. Suggested driving time is 47 minutes. Well, that may be a stretch in season.
Still, how many people from the high-density New York, New Jersey area battle their way through the tunnels and across the bridges to get to work every day?
After that day-and-nightmare existence, a pleasant drive from Marco to Estero should be a relative romp.
Ah, those were the good old days
One day we were driving up the trail to Naples when saw a great sign at a furniture store, Lenny’s. We couldn’t stop because of traffic, but we made a point to pull into the store’s parking lot on the way back to Marco.
Yep, the billboard sign outside Lenny’s did read what we thought it read:
“Lenny’s Furnitue: Massive Sale Last Week.”
Darn, sorry we missed last week’s big sale (see photo).
Chris Curle and Don Farmer have been writing for the Marco Eagle and other area newspapers for more than 30 years. They have a combined total of 99 years experience in major news media in the U.S. and abroad, including ABC News, NBC News, CNN, the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers and magazines. Their novel, “Deadly News,” is set partly in Marco Island.