In the Know: What is going in near Walmart in North Naples?

TIM ATEN
Many passers-by in the high-traffic area of North Naples have noticed the façade of the new Verizon Wireless store, 5410 Immokalee Road, grow and change in the last few weeks.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

Many passers-by in the high-traffic area of North Naples have noticed the façade of the new Verizon Wireless store, 5410 Immokalee Road, grow and change in the last few weeks.

Built in 2004 as a pharmacy location, this North Naples outparcel near Walmart on Immokalee Road, was vacant for its first few years before Picture Factory occupied the building for a short time. It soon will be a Verizon Wireless store.

File

Built in 2004 as a pharmacy location, this North Naples outparcel near Walmart on Immokalee Road, was vacant for its first few years before Picture Factory occupied the building for a short time. It soon will be a Verizon Wireless store.

Q: Have noticed some activity at the former Picture Factory on Immokalee Road in front of Walmart. Do you have any idea what, if anything, is going in that place?

— Joan Fuggi, Naples

Q: A long vacant building at 5410 Immokalee Road, in front of the Walmart Supercenter at Juliet Boulevard is now showing signs of life. Built originally for CVS, but never occupied, then a short stint as The Picture Factory, is now being renovated. Any idea of what will be occupying the building?

— John Jaffee, North Naples

A: Cellular Sales clearly chose a highly visible spot for the first Naples area location for its Verizon Wireless retail store. At least a dozen readers have written in wondering what was going in after seeing work being done on the new store in the last two weeks.

“It’s a really good location. You can see it from every angle in a busy Walmart parking lot,” said Jason Lema, who manages six stores in the Fort Myers-Cape Coral region for Cellular Sales of Knoxville, an authorized retailer of Verizon Wireless products with more than 500 stores nationwide, including nearly 100 in Florida.

The North Naples store, 5410 Immokalee Road, is expected to open in the first half of April, Lema said.

“We’re shooting for April 1,” he said.

Before the store opens, the company will have a trailer with banners and balloons parked out front beginning in mid-March to advertise and sell Verizon Wireless products, Lema said.

Authorized retail stores are able to offer many of the products and features that corporate stores do, but they are privately run companies. Cellular Sales owes its success to a simple, unrelenting focus on total customer satisfaction.

“At Cellular Sales, we look out for the customer’s wallet before our own. We want to take care of customers,” Lema said. “We want customers to leave the store happy and refer their neighbors and friends to the location.”

The North Naples store won’t be Cellular Sales’ new kid on the block for long. The company plans to open two more stores in the Naples area within the next three to six months, Lema said.

Many passers-by in the high-traffic area of North Naples have noticed the façade of the first location grow and change in the last few weeks. The previously peaked signage areas on the north and west sides of the building have been squared off, and the outside is being painted bolder colors.

Only about the front third of the 13,824-square-foot outparcel will be used as a retail showroom. The larger back section of the building will have space for stock as well as for training, meetings and vendor expositions, Lema said.

Built in 2004 as a pharmacy location, the building was vacant for its first few years before Picture Factory occupied the building for a short time. The space has been vacant again for the last couple of years.

Although it has been commonly referred to as a former CVS location, the structure was built by Eckerd Drug prior to its acquisition by CVS in 2004, but a pharmacy was not opened there, said Mike DeAngelis, director of public relations for CVS/pharmacy.

“We did not open stores in any Eckerd locations that they built but never occupied,” DeAngelis said.

Buddy's Burgers, located next to Waffle House off Collier Boulevard, permanently closed after a fire on Sept. 30, 2011.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

Buddy's Burgers, located next to Waffle House off Collier Boulevard, permanently closed after a fire on Sept. 30, 2011.

Buddy’s Burgers

Q: I just wondered if you have any information about Buddy's Burgers in Naples? I have heard they had a fire, but I have not seen any activity to reopen. Thanks.

— Jim M., Naples

A: Buddy’s Burgers will not be reopening after damage from an extensive fire last fall led to its closing.

“The building is going to used again, definitely. When it reopens, it won’t be Buddy’s Burgers. We just haven’t decided what we are going to do,” said a spokeswoman for Robert and Mario Vocisano, who own the Toll Gate Boulevard property and the adjacent Waffle House site near Collier Boulevard and Beck Boulevard.

The electrical fire started about 7:30 a.m. Sept. 30 before the local restaurant opened for the day, according to the Golden Gate Fire Control & Rescue District.

The 1,786-square-foot building with the double drive-thru had been home to Buddy’s Burgers for only a few years. It previously was the short-lived Mr. V’s Pizza & Wings To Go, and was a Checkers drive-in restaurant before that.

Gyrene Burger, a local fast-food hamburger delivery business dreamed up by Tom Monaghan, the founder of Domino's Pizza and Ave Maria University, opened during the last week of December at 51 U.S. 41 S. in Naples.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

Gyrene Burger, a local fast-food hamburger delivery business dreamed up by Tom Monaghan, the founder of Domino's Pizza and Ave Maria University, opened during the last week of December at 51 U.S. 41 S. in Naples.

Gyrene Burger’s second store is in the works in Naples Park Plaza, 9331 U.S. 41 N.  The former computer store location is near Joe's Diner in the North Naples strip center.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

Gyrene Burger’s second store is in the works in Naples Park Plaza, 9331 U.S. 41 N. The former computer store location is near Joe's Diner in the North Naples strip center.

More local restaurant news

Gyrene Burger, which on Dec. 27 started a local business to deliver cheeseburgers, now offers chips and drinks, too. In addition to its classic or deluxe bacon double cheeseburgers, Gyrene Burger now offers Miss Vickie's kettle-cooked potato chips and half-liter bottles of Coke and Diet Coke, said manager Adrian Martinez.

I can’t help but noticing how much the Gyrene menu now resembles the old “Saturday Night Live” skit about the diner that basically serves cheeseburgers, “cheeps” and Pepsi. Of course, Gyrene Burger has Coke, no Pepsi, as does the Billy Goat Tavern & Grill, the Chicago venue which sparked the popular recurring “SNL” skit in 1978.

Gyrene’s second store is in the works in Naples Park Plaza, 9331 U.S. 41 N. The former computer store location is near Joe's Diner in the North Naples strip center.

Gyrene intends to open its second “better burger” takeout and delivery location at the end of March, but it is still in the permitting process because of a redesign, Martinez said.

“We want to get it open during the season, if possible,” he said.

A third location may be in the Park Shore area to fill the gap left between the 1.5-mile delivery stretches of the first two stores, but that depends on what is learned from the first stores. The plan is to have locations fronting busy U.S. 41, Martinez said.

Saluting “soldiers” in camouflage uniforms scramble to deliver the burgers in 15 minutes or less, but the average delivery time is down to less than 10 minutes, Martinez said.

The comparison to Domino’s early days of promising pizza delivery within 30 minutes or less is not coincidental. Fast delivery is a strategic selling point for Tom Monaghan, the founder of both Domino’s and Gyrene Burger.

Photo with no caption

Artisan Gelato by Norman Love opened mid-month next door to the Norman Love Confections chocolate salon and company headquarters in south Fort Myers. Norman Love began serving gelato at the Naples Chocolate Salon in 2011, but the new store is his first dedicated gelateria. In addition, the gelateria at 11300 Lindbergh Blvd., offers handmade French crepes, Belgium waffles, artisan pastries and many other sweet treats.

Investigators say a March 2011 electrical malfunction sparked an early morning fire at Outback Steakhouse on U.S. 41 in Fort Myers.

Photo by NBC-2.com

Investigators say a March 2011 electrical malfunction sparked an early morning fire at Outback Steakhouse on U.S. 41 in Fort Myers.

Outback Steakhouse will reopen its rebuilt restaurant in Fort Myers on Monday after a March 2011 fire destroyed the building at 12995 S. Cleveland Ave. The new restaurant’s design inside and out focuses on the natural beauty of Australia’s diverse landscape and introduces a number of authentic elements, such as grasses and unfinished wood, to bring the feeling of the Outback indoors, according to a news release from Outback. The reopened steakhouse will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.

___

Have a local question? Email it with your name and city of residence to intheknow@naplesnews.com.

Find a complete archive of "In the Know" columns at naplesnews.com/intheknow.

© 2012 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 19

Naplestango writes:

Pizza delivery
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pizzerias will often incorporate a time guarantee or a promise delivery within a predetermined period of time, perhaps specifying that late deliveries will be free of charge.[2] For example, Domino's Pizza had a commercial campaign in the 1980s and early 1990s which promised "30 minutes or it's free". This was discontinued in 1993 due to the number of lawsuits arising from accidents caused by hurried delivery drivers.[3] Now, pizzerias will commonly state to the customer an approximate time frame for a delivery, without making any guarantees as to the actual delivery time

Stella_Blue (Inactive) writes:

So what is going into the originally Youmay Rest. building in Bonita Springs, Tim?

Henry and Thomas would want to know.

gl1800 writes:

in response to musketfire:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

tasted pretty good to me.

TimAten (staff) writes:

in response to Stella_Blue:

So what is going into the originally Youmay Rest. building in Bonita Springs, Tim?

Henry and Thomas would want to know.

I've heard that the building in question at Old 41 Road and Dean Street, the original location for Dixie Moon Cafe, is going to be a Caribbean restaurant.

itmattershere writes:

Yeah some burger joints, awesome we don't have any of those. It's just what this town needed, about 25-30 part time jobs. That will definitely help with the employment status in town. Also NABOR will sell some more homes with these great incomes. Way to go.

colinkelly2 writes:

To deal with the problem itmattershere speaks of, I'm opening CEO Burgers. I will have hundreds of workers, and every worker will earn $500,000 a year to start. They'll buy lots of nice houses. The burgers will cost $1.50. So eat up; we'll have to sell quite a few.

NeezDutz writes:

in response to itmattershere:

Yeah some burger joints, awesome we don't have any of those. It's just what this town needed, about 25-30 part time jobs. That will definitely help with the employment status in town. Also NABOR will sell some more homes with these great incomes. Way to go.

Let's put some thought here.
Isn't it better to have high school students work those 25-30 part time jobs to help out with the family?

marty99919 writes:

in response to itmattershere:

Yeah some burger joints, awesome we don't have any of those. It's just what this town needed, about 25-30 part time jobs. That will definitely help with the employment status in town. Also NABOR will sell some more homes with these great incomes. Way to go.

And just what was your great contribution to the local economy this year? I suppose you started 2 businesses that sold expensive widgets made in China that pay extraordinary salaries? Sourpuss!

Z07 writes:

in response to Stella_Blue:

So what is going into the originally Youmay Rest. building in Bonita Springs, Tim?

Henry and Thomas would want to know.

stella, most likely something with a Mexican flair. Wouldn't ya think?

NaplesShmaples writes:

NDN should do "In the Know" What exactly is North Naples.

staghorn writes:

that gyrene burger is the stent-stuffer deluxe. luckily after eating a gyrene burger, you can walk across the street and get your coronary artery bypass graft. the gyrene burger is nasty. you would think people would think more of themselves and their own personal health than to eat that garbage. eat right - exercise daily - live long - live healthy.

anotherPOV writes:

"Saluting “soldiers” in camouflage uniforms scramble to deliver the burgers in 15 minutes or less,"

Religious fanatics in uniform delivery dinner. Sounds like a good concept to me.

NaplesShmaples writes:

How is Gyrene any different than Fiveguys? (Besides only 2 menu items)

gotero writes:

in response to NaplesShmaples:

How is Gyrene any different than Fiveguys? (Besides only 2 menu items)

Better tasting burgers and not serving the worst fries in the nation. Now, if served complimentary peanuts?

itmattershere writes:

I've been oversea's fighting for your freedom to print & speak MARTY99919. YOU?

Heraclitus writes:

How about an update on Comcast Channel 25 (Weather Radar Returning Soon). Isn't is almost a year since they took it off the air? Rainy season is approaching.

cozyboy writes:

in response to Heraclitus:

How about an update on Comcast Channel 25 (Weather Radar Returning Soon). Isn't is almost a year since they took it off the air? Rainy season is approaching.

Here's an update ,Comcast likes to tell half truths or complete lies. It ain't coming back or it would have been on by now.

kakman writes:

My Gyrene burger was just gr---ea---t.-- Beep,beep,beep--
(Sent from my room at NCH)

titanbite writes:

A satellite food-stamp office will occupy the building next to Wal-Mart,that way,Wal-Mart can send their low-wage labor over to the food stamp office to sign up and avoid all of the bad publicity surrounding the fact that Wal-Mart looks to the taxpayers to subsidize their low-wage worker's income.

Of course,the billionaire's that make up the Walton family wouldn't want to part with the kind of money it would take to pay their workers a living wage,no way,they prefer that the American taxpayer's pick up the tab to keep their workers from suffering in abject poverty.

The Walton's know how compassionate the American people are and if Americans want to help,well,Americans,the Walton family isn't about to stand in their way!

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