Lehigh Acres businesses feted at ‘Best of’
Businesses gathered at El Tarasco Mexican Restaurant last Tuesday to be honored at the annual “Best of Lehigh Acres” luncheon hosted by the Lehigh Acres Citizen.
Stu Johnson, account executive for the Breeze Newspapers, said the event is a culmination of the annual readers poll, where Citizen readers get to vote on their favorite businesses in Lehigh.
“We have a lot of repeat winners as well as some newcomers. There are a wide variety of businesses that take care of the whole city,” Johnson said. “It’s a great community event.”
The luncheon featured an appearance from Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann, who talked about how far the area has come in the decade since the Great Recession decimated the country, with Lehigh Acres one of the most heavily impacted.
“This is an exciting time for Lehigh Acres. We are making strides and getting national attention for our growth. Six years ago, you couldn’t find a get together like this,” Mann said. “Lehigh was in desperate straits and everyone was just trying to hang on.”
Also honored was Dr. Michael Tucker, who was named Humanitarian of the Year to go along with being named the best family physician.
As has been the case the last few years, it was Emjays that took the most awards, with six (burgers, chicken wings, bar, sports bar, live entertainment, Happy Hour) after winning five last year.
Chef Mat Meale said he was thrilled his restaurant continues to collect the hardware.
“It’s really nice to know the people accept us in the community and they keep coming back and recommending us,” Meale said about the five-year-old eatery. “We like to set a standard that we follow consistently and put passion into what we do.”
Robert Bowers won four awards for accountant, accounting firm, tax preparation and financial services. He said he was astounded.
“I had no idea. I guess I’m popular. I had no idea people were voting,” Bowers said. “I think the key is people trust us. We don’t go for fraud and people know that and that’s what people are looking for.”
Gary Bell, CEO of Lehigh Regional Medical Center, picked up the two awards it won. He said the event is a show of support for all that is happening.
“It shows the diversity of all the things the community is doing. I’m so busy at the hospital, it shows me what else is happening,” Bell said. “It’s better to do business here than spend it in Fort Myers.”
For many businesses, this has become routine. Livingston Air won Best A/C and Heating for the 19th straight year, while Homestead Liquors won for the 13th straight time and Your Neighborhood Shipping Store earned its 11th straight.
Landex International won for best Association Property Management. Robyn Rocco said they have been named the best since 2012 and it never gets old.
“This is a nice event and we appreciate our clients and the local businesses. We’re the biggest in Southwest Florida and the majority of our accounts are in Lehigh,” Rocco said. “We believe a handshake means a lasting friendship.”
As for El Tarasco, which hosted the event for the third straight year (and won best Mexican restaurant), it was another opportunity to bring together the community’s best.
“I’m glad we got to congratulate all the winners. It was amazing,” said owner Francisco Solis. “For me, it’s a chance to meet other business owners in the area. These successful people make this a better community.”
“Best of Lehigh Acres” winners:
Daycare – Open Doors Preschool
Preschool – Open Doors Preschool
Community Organization – Kiwanis
Thrift Store – Kiwanis
New Business – Las Gorditas
Family Entertainment – Pelican’s Snowballs
New Orleans Shaved Ice – Pelican’s Snowballs
Golf Course – Majestic Country Club
Cardiologist – Dr. Harris Turalic
Burger – Emjays
Chicken Wings – Emjays
Best Bar – Emjays
Sports Bar – Emjays
Live Entertainment – Emjays
Happy Hour – Emjays
Mexican Restaurant – El Tarasco
Seafood – Deb’s Seafood
Buffet – Asian Buffet
Chinese Restaurant – China Star
Italian Food – Marco’s
Pizza – Marco’s
BBQ – Woody’s BBQ
New Restaurant – Woody’s BBQ
Neighborhood Bar – Homestead Sports Bar
Beach Bar – Homestead Sports Bar
Grocery Store – Publix
Bakery – Publix
Health System – Lehigh Regional Medical Center
Hospital – Lehigh Regional Medical Center
Emergency Care – Med Express
Independent Living – Fountain Crest
Retirement Living – Fountain Crest
Outpatient Radiology Facility – Radiology Regional Center
Woman’s Imaging Center – Radiology Regional Center
Pharmacy – Medicine Shoppe
Medicare Agent – Kelly Johnson Insurance for Seniors
Technical School – Donna Beasley Charter-Technical School
Pool Service – Pool Scouts
Car Wash – LA?Car Wash
Dermatology Center – Florida Skin Center
Family Physician – Dr. Michael Tucker M.D.
Humanitarian of the Year – Dr. Michael Tucker M.D.
Medical Group – Millennium Physician Group
Fitness Center – World Gym
Sports Medicine & Rehab – Sports Specialty & Rehab
Personal Trainer – Sam Trawick
Dental Office – Riverdale Dental
Pet Grooming – A Plus Pet Grooming
Veterinary Practice – Animal Medical Center
Barber Shop – Cutting Edge Barber Shop
Hair Salon – At the Top Salon
Nail Salon – At the Top Salon
Shipping Store – Neighborhood Shipping
Fence Company – All Fences
Plumbing – Cam Plumbing
Roofing Company – Nastar Roofing
Auto Repair – Frogs Auto Repair
Auto Service – Frogs Auto Repair
Oil Change – Frogs Auto Repair
Tire Service – Tire Kingdom
Charter School – Palm Acres Charter School
Veterans Organization – American Legion Post 323
Association Property Management – Landex International
Building Lot Sales – American Heritage Realty
Commercial Real Estate Broker – Rick Anglickis
Real Estate Agency – Sonia Rios
Commercial Real Estate Team – Sonia Rios
Mortgage Company – AAA South Florida
Real Estate Team – Lehigh Realty
Residential Real Estate Broker – Diane Turrill, Lehigh Realty
Real Estate Rental & Property Management – Lehigh Realty
Title Company – Homestead Title
Construction Company – Dastani Homes
Home Builder – Dastani Homes
Kitchen/Bath Remodeler – Turn Key Kitchen & Bath
Florist – Westminster Florist
Dentist – Dr. Loven Litchmore DDS
Insurance Agency – Goodlad Swank
Accountant – Robert Bowers
Accounting Firm – Bowers Accounting
Tax Preparation – Bowers Accounting
Financial Servces – Bowers Accounting
Air Conditioning Service – Livingston Air
Air Conditioning Sales – Livingston Air
Insurance Agent – Tania Vega