The Breeze: A city ‘landmark’
Although the city of Cape Coral is only 50 years old, it has a number of landmarks — locations that stand out in people’s minds as having been here as historical markers.
The Cape Coral Yacht Club, the Iwo Jima statue, Big John and the Cape Coral Shopping Plaza it towers over, City Hall, Cape Elementary School and the memorial spire on Cape Coral Parkway are just a few that quickly come to mind.
One other city “landmark” is celebrating a special anniversary this year: the Cape Coral Breeze.
Although The Breeze has been published in Cape Coral since 1961, 2021 marks the newspaper’s 46th year in its current location at 2510 Del Prado Blvd., just south of the Veterans Memorial overpass.
In August 1975, the new Breeze building — constructed well before the overpass in a sparsely populated area surrounded by vacant property — featured offices for the editorial staff, sales associates and management personnel, plus a production department to produce advertisements for print and paginate the publication, as well as a printing press.
Prior to the opening of the building in 1975, the Breeze had several previous “homes.” The first Breeze office was in the Graf Building downtown (the first issue of the Breeze was published Dec. 14, 1961) and then the company moved into an office at 163 S.E. 47th Terrace in January 1968. Ground was broken on the current building at 2510 Del Prado Blvd., in January 1975. An open house for the building was held in August of that year. A number of local residents turned out for the tour, led by Breeze staff and managers.
The Breeze started as a weekly publication, from its first printing until June 1974 when it was published twice weekly. The Breeze began daily (Monday-Friday) publication in November 1975.
Privately owned until 1974 when it was purchased by Ogden Newspapers, the Breeze has had seven publishers in the past 60 years: Fred Cull, 1974 to May 1987, who oversaw the opening of the Del Prado office; Dave Frame from May 1987 to March 1991; Joel Jenkins from March 1991 to September 1995; Harry Pappas from September 1995 to May 1999; Jack Glarrow from May 1999 to August 2011; Scott Blonde from August 2011 to May 2019 and Ray Eckenrode from July 2019 to present.
Before Ogden Newspapers took over, the owner/publishers included Richard and Sally Crawford, 1961-62; Thompson Cassel, 1962-67; and Bob Finkernagel, 1967-74.
From the beginning, The Breeze has strived to be Cape Coral’s “community newspaper,” providing a wide range of news, “everything involving the Cape,” including local club/organization notices; wedding and engagement announcements; city and county government reports; school board meeting coverage; civic organizations items; sporting event stories; and health and education updates.
While the building has undergone some physical changes in recent years — most notably expansion of the office space after the press was moved to a separate plant near the Southwest Regional Airport in south Lee County — The Breeze’s goal has remained the same, providing the news and advertising that residents want and need to be informed about their “home,” Cape Coral.
And while The Breeze is a Cape Coral business, Breeze Newspapers actually has much of Lee County covered. The company also publishes a number of sister weeklies — the Fort Myers Beach Observer and Beach Bulletin, the Sanibel-Captiva Islander and Island Reporter, the Lehigh Acres Citizen and the Pine Island Eagle as well as a monthly news magazine, North Fort Myers Neighbor Living. All of these papers also have news websites that are updated as news happens.
In addition, the company also publishes a number of magazines and speciality publications throughout the year.