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Businesses awarded at The Best of North Fort Myers luncheon

June 21, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

The community's "best" businesses, big and small, new and old, came together at Anthony's on the Green last week to celebrate what North Fort Myers has to offer in just about every category, from the obvious to the obscure.

The Best of North Fort Myers luncheon, put on by the North Fort Myers Neighbor, brought together owners, managers and employees from the very best businesses around, as determined by readers of the community newspaper.

More than 2,000 readers cast their votes on everything from best restaurant to best charter school.

Article Photos

Representatives from Nauti Parrot display their Best Of plaques during last week’s luncheon at Anothony’s on the Green at Sabal Springs Golf & Racquet Club.

Valarie Harring

For the honorees, it meant a lot for customers and patrons to take their time to cast a ballot for them.

Jim Konig, general manager and advertising director for the Breeze Newspapers, said The Neighbor is grateful for the support it receives from community and, in turn, is dedicated to supporting the businesses who have continued to serve North Fort Myers through good economic times and bad.

"They're always there for the resident to provide them with the services and products and we recognize that," Konig said. "This is our small attempt to show our appreciation to those business owners."

Business reps in attendance all expressed appreciation for the support of their customers.

Some of the winners were places everyone is familiar with, such as the Shell Factory & Nature Park, which won for best gift shop and best shell store.

"It's great to be part of the community and be recognized. There are a lot of good businesses in North Fort Myers and we're looking forward to seeing the area grow and this helps," said Rick Tupper, marketing director and CFO of the Shell Factory.

Publix, the supermarket chain that has established a hometown feel, took home three awards for best grocery, best bakery and best pharmacy. Jon Peralto, manager, said it shows how they represent their communities.

"We try to provide to our communities the services they require. This means a lot to us and our team," Peralto said.

Other businesses, with lower profiles despite being here for decades, were also among the winners.

Joyce Walker, owner of Walker Farms on Slater Road, won for best honey farm.

"I love seeing the honey industry being represented. It's nice to see honey put out to the front," said Walker, who has been in business since 1970. "It's a good start."

Some businesses have been recognized as being the best for years. Optometrist Terry Tucker won for the 13th time, an honor that never gets old, according to Ruby Woods, assistant manager, who represented Tucker.

"He is very knowledgeable and very friendly. He's an all-around great person to be around. People want to come to get their eyes checked," Woods said. "He's more than an eye doctor, he's a friend."

The Nauti Parrot, which has been in business only a couple years, took home three awards for best restaurant, best waterfront restaurant and best bar, in large part for what it does for others beside serving up the items on its menu.

"It's an honor. We like to serve the local community through charity and benefits," said Tyler Geib, who runs the business with his family. "We like to keep the live entertainment and we have the right people."

Then there's Greg Grier, owner of Dead & Gone pest control who, like several others, won for the first time. He credits being named best exterminator on an emphasis on customer service.

"I'm kind of proud. It surprised me. One thing we try to do is give good service to our customers. It pays off," Grier said. "There's no difference between us or our competitors except for that."

Conch Electric was also a first-time winner, for best electrician, notable since they have only been in business for a year.

"This is a community I've wanted to work in and I appreciated the loyalty they've shown to me," owner Court Evans said.



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