Dustin Edwards and Stefanie Ink-Edwards wanted a new way to raise money for worthy causes, but they wanted to do it in a way that promoted active lifestyles. The answer was simple—start a non-profit mud run, and donate all of the proceeds to charity. They established the South Florida Mud Run, which sends waves of runners sprinting through 5 kilometers of mud and obstacles. Both man-made and natural, the obstacles range from mud crawls and tire walls to plank bridges and water pits. 100% of the proceeds go to benefit the Southwest Florida Children’s Hospital.
Like most success stories, Leader's Casual Furniture didn't start at the top. Founded in a single west Florida show room in 1971, the company now boasts 19 retail show rooms, a 150,000-square-foot distribution center, and an ever-increasing selection of rattan, wicker, and patio furniture. Upon browsing the virtual show room, visitors find rattan dining sets, beds, and entertainment centers as well as wicker tables with stone or glass tops. Custom fabrics and tropical-themed pieces add personal flair to interiors or exteriors, and an online room planner helps customers get a feel for how chosen pieces will fit into their homes.
Casinos and cocktails usually go hand in hand, so National Bartenders and Casino School took the natural next step by creating a place where students could learn about both under the same roof. Aspiring mixologists earn their certifications at professional bartending classes helmed by expert bartenders who combine lectures with hands-on instruction behind their fully equipped bar. They also lead TIPS certification, which teaches students to identify potential alcohol-related problems such as underage drinking and drunk driving. The school’s complimentary post-graduation employment assistance has helped past students land jobs at hotels, casinos, resorts, nightclubs, country clubs, and after-hours teachers' lounges. National Bartenders and Casino School also teaches card sharks the basics of Texas hold'em, stud, omaha, tournament poker, and other styles of gaming during their Poker Dealer program. They prepare students for pre-employment auditions at casinos, and also outfit them with the basic skills needed to run pub poker and charity events.
Outside The Edison Restaurant & Bar, a circular fountain and a thriving, vibrant lawn invite diners to step up to a white-shingled edifice that looks as much like a home as a restaurant. Inside, black brick walls, black-and-white portraiture, and a finished-wood piano bespeak the eatery's elegant yet unpretentious air. Executive chef Stuart Gordon, who has spent time in the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, and Barbados, utilizes years of experience in top restaurants to craft full-flavored dishes. Six dining areas, each with their own ambiance, accommodate private meetings and parties. In the aptly named Chandelier Bar, sports fans can cheer for their team with pints in hand and charbroiled cheeseburger in mouth. And on the terrace bar, patrons can peer across to the Fort Myers Country Club and admire its flourishing palm trees and well-maintained missile defense system.
Oasis Yacht Club and Boat Rentals employs friendly staffers who contribute to their community by getting friends, neighbors, and tourists to explore the local waterways via pontoons, kayaks, and fishing charters. The staff can accommodate almost any request, such as customizing cruises to stop along the beach for some shelling. All their charter vessels boast stereos with CD players, and upon request, the crew can load up the boat with refreshments, sunblock, and whale repellent. Oasis Yacht Club also replaces their boats once every year and a half to ensure their equipment is in top shape. On fishing trips, they rent out rods and reels and teach guests basic fishing and boating skills while dishing out information on secluded fishing spots. At the onsite ship store, boaters can stock up on hats, tackle, and gear to prepare for any tours or voyages.