homepage logo

Business Briefs 1-8-21

By Staff | Jan 7, 2021

McQuagge elected to Uncommon Friends board

Amy McQuagge, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank’s vice president and director of marketing, has been elected to the Uncommon Friends Foundation board of directors.

McQuagge joined the bank in 2018 as the organization’s first in-house marketing director and is responsible for providing direction, guidance and leadership of the bank’s marketing and community outreach efforts. She was previously the senior marketing and event manager for the Lee County Economic Development Office. A lifelong Lee County resident, McQuagge holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Southern College.

Celebrating its 27th anniversary this year, the Uncommon Friends Foundation is dedicated to lifelong character building among today’s youth and business leaders, as it inspires future leaders toward excellence of character, a spirit of innovation, and a sense of purpose. Located at the historic Burroughs Home & Gardens on the waterfront in downtown Fort Myers, it offers a sheltered pavilion and dazzling water views for public and private events and tours year-round. For more information, call 239-337-9503 or visit www.uncommonfriends.org.

Founded in 2003, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank has two locations on Sanibel Island and six more locations throughout Lee County. The bank employs 100 employees, and more than 40% are current shareholders. Sanibel Captiva Community Bank’s team members provide customized individual and business banking services and specialize in residential and commercial lending. To learn more, visit www.SanCapBank.com.


Spiro & Associates hires intern as content production specialist

Spiro & Associates Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations and Brand Architecture has hired Gabriel Miranda-Sousa, following an autumn internship with the agency’s social media department.

As a junior account executive and content production specialist, he will create, develop and execute copy, audio and visuals for in-house and external stakeholders as well as assistant manage workflow.

Miranda-Sousa graduated Boston University with a bachelor of science in communication, focused on advertising. While on campus, he worked as a copywriter and creative director for a student-run advertising agency. Miranda-Sousa ultimately advanced to London where he completed an internship with a full-service ad firm.

Born in Lima, Peru, he speaks fluent Spanish and intermediate French. Miranda-Sousa was raised in Fort Myers and graduated from Fort Myers High School.

 Spiro & Associates is one of Southwest Florida’s largest marketing, advertising, public relations and brand architecture firms. The company serves local, regional and national clients in the fields of land development, construction, retail, residential and commercial real estate, law, marine, business, residential services, and many more. Online: spiroandassociates.com or contact 239-481-5511.

Applebee’s launches 5th annual Above and ‘BEE’yond Teacher Essay Contest

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar this week announced the official launch of its 5th annual Above and “BEE”yond Teacher Essay Contest, which recognizes top teachers — as nominated by their students — by rewarding them with a sponsorship check and end-of-year class party. The contest is being offered at Applebee’s restaurants in Florida and Georgia owned and operated by local franchisee Doherty Enterprises.

Applebee’s will award one deserving teacher from each school district with a $500 sponsorship check to use toward their classroom for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year, along with an end-of-year party for their current class. To nominate a teacher and enter the contest, students must submit an essay in-person at their local Applebee’s explaining why their teacher deserves to be Applebee’s “Teacher of the Year.”

As an additional incentive, students who enter an essay will also receive a free ice cream certificate for later use. Essay submissions are limited to one per student and will be accepted at participating Applebee’s restaurants through Sunday March 7, no later than 10 p.m. Winners will be announced on Monday, April 12, and end-of-year parties will be thrown before Sunday, June 13. If end-of-year parties are not viable, class parties will be replaced with two dinner for four certificates.

Applebee’s Above and “BEE”yond Teacher Essay Contest entries will be accepted at the following Applebee’s locations owned and operated by Doherty Enterprises in Florida: Applebee’s is located in Boynton Beach, Cape Coral, Coral Springs, Cutler Bay, Delray Beach, Florida City, Fort Myers, Fort Pierce, Greenacres, Hialeah, Jacksonville, Margate, Naples, North Port, Okeechobee, Pembroke Pines, Port St. Lucie, Punta Gorda, Royal Palm Beach, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Tamarac, Venice and Vero Beach and in Georgia: Waycross.

One winner will be selected from each school district. Please note, essay submissions from the 2020-2021 school year will also be included in this year’s voting. Prizes are subject to change based on COVID-19 restrictions. If end-of-year parties are not viable, class parties will be replaced with two Dinner for Four certificates.

Established in 1985, Doherty Enter-prises, Inc. owns and operates more than 135 restaurants in New Jersey, New York, Florida and Georgia, including five restaurant concepts: Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar, Panera Bread, Chevys Fresh Mex and its own concepts, The Shannon Rose Irish Pub and Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas.

Doherty Enterprises also opened its first Sola Salon Studios location in Staten Island and has since expanded to Wayne, Cedar Knolls, Holmdel, and Princeton, N.J., with additional locations coming soon. 

Goodwill’s MicroEnterprise Institute accepting applications for small business classes

Individuals who are thinking about starting their own business but need some mentoring are invited to apply to the Goodwill Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise Institute, scheduled for Feb 8 – March 18.

America is currently experiencing what some are calling a “startup boom.” A study from the University of Maryland saw an initial drop in new business applications, but, by the third quarter of 2020, the highest number of applications ever seen was recorded.

The MicroEnterprise Institute is a six-week training program to help emerging entrepreneurs start new ventures and grow small businesses. Graduates complete a comprehensive training course and prepare a solid feasibility plan, working with mentors who are successful businesspeople. Graduates of the program have started over 900 businesses since its inception in 2010.

Virtual classes are scheduled from 6-9 p.m. on Monday and Thursday online.  

To apply, please visit www.good willswfl.org/ microenterprise, or call 239-995-2106, extension 2304 for more information. The class is limited to 16, due to its interactive nature. The class fee is $80, but applicants meeting certain income guidelines are eligible to substitute volunteer hours for the fee.