Recently I found some fascinating information in Ohio Amish Country that I’d like to pass along to people who want to bring new development and restaurants to our area.
While here in Berlin, Ohio, I went into a place called Keim Lumber in Charm, Ohio. No wonder you haven’t heard of it – it’s a tiny village with 150 people living here. But the amazing information is that Keim Lumber began their business many years ago as a lumber yard, and it has continued to grow and grow and add products until they serve the whole country! I brought a friend of mine in to see the place and an Amish gentleman came over to give us basic information about the business and where things were located. We saw everything to build a house from the bottom up and all the plumbing, electricity, the finest unique wood (some you can’t find in other places, said my friend) you could want and much more. There was one huge floor of everything you need for your home, including outdoor equipment and furniture. My friend asked this fella how many people lived in that village and he answered about 150! My friend asked how many people worked at this company and he answered 450! Now we all know that a shopping center or even a restaurant won’t build until “there are enough roof tops to support a business.” How could this be? The fella answered that their products were so superior that people will travel from all over to shop there or even call in from nearby homes and have things delivered. He said one guy came there from Hawaii and purchased absolutely everything he needed to have his home built over there, and they shipped it to him! They even have a restaurant upstairs for the laborers to enjoy while they pick up their supplies.
I liken it to another business, a restaurant built in a tiny village (REALLY TINY) called Baltic, Ohio. See if you can find it on a map… well heck, you can hardly find it in your CAR! Anyway, this restaurant just opened a couple months ago with no advertising at all, but when we went in, every seat was filled and there were people waiting! How could that be when it was in an isolated place six miles off the regular road? My guess is, just like Keim Lumber, their product was so superior that people will travel to eat there, again and again. Ah, word of mouth is the greatest advertising you can get!
That brings us on home. We have some of those great, yet unique businesses right here at home. I think of 360 Market, a restaurant on Bayshore. That tiny little place is only open for breakfast and lunch and closed three days a week in the summer, but people still flock there because it’s fun, clean, and has great food. Many come all the way from Pelican Bay and some even from Bonita! It’s one of those places you can’t find anywhere else in Collier County. And speaking of great places, Bistro Bagatelle (on U.S. 41E across from The Glades, located in the space that housed Mr. Mom’s for so long) is doing a great business, even in the summer. We thought they would move back to their original building on 12th Street in the City of Naples, but instead they are staying here and enjoying their success. People travel from the city to eat there all the time because it’s worth it.
◼ We have something new coming to the East Naples area: Three, yes three, hotels are planning on making an entrance soon. The one I can mention is the Staybridge Hotel on County Rd 951 (Collier Boulevard) bordering Lely Resort. We’ve needed a hotel for a long time and here it comes. There are two others, but I don’t think I am allowed to name them at this time. Right now we have the marvelous GreenLinks Golf Villas at Lely Resort with two and three bedroom villas (what a nice place THAT is!) but no hotels. One of the other hotels that will soon be announcing their entrance will also include a very nice restaurant, which is good to hear. Maybe, just maybe, with this new activity the Naples Outlet Center Mall can begin to attract some new shops for all of us to enjoy. More people from Marco Island keep asking about that place, and wishing they had something new and different to enjoy, and recently they added an oriental restaurant that people tell me is great!
◼ I’ve been reading a lot about red tide and also green algae lately. One of the most interesting things the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission has stated is that the naturally occurring red tide has been in the Gulf of Mexico long before people lived in Florida and has no direct link to agricultural runoff as the prime cause for the bloom, and dates back in history long before fertilizers were invented. But, once the red tide makes it to the local beaches, growth can be influenced by agricultural and urban runoff, according to Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota. Once waves break open the cells of red tide, toxins are released into the air causing respiratory issues. These toxins can also accumulate in oysters and clams, leading to Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning in humans. Mote Marine considers swimming in red tide to be safe, though people with respiratory illnesses could develop respiratory irritation. Red tide is apt to attack the central nervous system of aquatic life. These toxins are known to cause death in marine life, as we see right now!
Now when it comes to blue-green algae blooms, they have a direct relation to agricultural and urban runoff. Nutrient pollution encourages the growth of “cyanobacterial” or blue-green algae. Blue-green algae blooms contain a variety of toxins directly affecting humans. Ingesting cyanobacteria in water can lead to vomiting and even acute liver failure. Microcystins in the algae can also cause skin irritations from exposure.
So there you have it, directly from the marine scientists!