Many see our paradise as just a little vacation town—a place where folks from the north escape to when the weather becomes intolerable elsewhere. A lot of these people seem to think that when they return to their northern homes, Naples pretty much folds up or disappears like the town in the famous musical, Brigadoon. Well, nothing could be further from the truth.
Naples appears to be going through a serious growth spurt. Not only are real estate sales booming, but more and more businesses are opening to compete with the ones already established. The first example that comes to mind is pharmacies. I am sure you have noticed that across the street from every Walgreens is a CVS, and it seems as if there are a Walgreens and a CVS every four or five blocks along U.S. 41.
Then, have you stopped to think how many furniture stores there are between Bonita Beach Road and Fifth Avenue South? We have Ashley Furniture, City Furniture, Baer’s Furniture, Havertys, Norris Home Furnishings, Matter Brothers Furniture, Alison Craig Home Furnishings, Clive Daniel Home, Rooms To Go and, of course, the big, new Robb & Stucky International showroom. That doesn’t even cover them all. Plus, we have multiple stores dedicated to mattresses: City Mattress, Mattress Firm, CitiSleeper, Naples Mattress and Mattress World, to name a few. Really. Many of the furniture stores sell mattresses too, and all of them seem to be doing well.
Clive Daniel Home is one of many furniture and decor businesses thriving in Naples.
Another phenomenal business explosion in our town is the fitness industry. I cannot begin to name all of them, but some of these are Addicted to Fitness, YouFit Health Clubs, LA Fitness, Planet Fitness, CrossFit Naples, Real Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Naples Family Fitness and Concept 10 10.
Among the firms helping us stay fit: Addicted to Fitness.
These facilities are doing well too. I, for one, never thought the LA Fitness gym in the Pavilion Shopping Center would succeed—mainly because the nearby communities Bay Colony, Pelican Bay and The Dunes have fitness rooms or clubs within their walls. Yet LA Fitness is nonstop busy all day and into the night.
Finally, a truly telling sign that Naples is on the rise is the large explosion of—guess what—banks. We have local banks like Bank of Naples, Shamrock Bank and First National Bank of the Gulf Coast. And then we have the “big boys,” like Bank of America, U.S. Trust, BB&T, SunTrust, Wells Fargo, Regions Bank, BankUnited, Northern Trust and Chase Bank. We even have a few curiously named banks like Synovus, M&I Bank, American Momentum Bank and IberiaBank. Chase mini-branches are popping up all over, and the former Kentucky Fried Chicken on U.S. 41 is being turned into a BankUnited branch.
Naples and Collier County remind me so much of Orange County in Southern California when we were living there some 35 years ago. The area was booming, yet folks who had lived there when it was a sleepy vacation area did not want it to grow. They wanted to keep it a secret from new businesses, developers and new residents. Naples is similarly glorious, and was hidden from the masses for so long, but clearly, the secret is out!