Naples continues to be recognized as a “foodie” destination which continues to fuel the growth of unique, high-quality restaurants; in particular more of the chef-driven, neighborhood centered ones, rather than the larger chains. Combined sales in Collier and Lee counties rose 10.2 percent over the year in fiscal 2015, according to a report by Naples-based Investment Properties Corp. “That’s a pretty hefty increase, averaging more than 10 percent between the two markets. We’re certainly outpacing general inflation,” said Craig Timmins, a commercial broker and principal with Investment Properties. His report shows the last time combined sales in the two counties increased by more than 10 percent year-over-year was in 2004, when they rose 12 percent. The report reflects restaurant sales made in the state’s fiscal year ending in June. In Collier, restaurant sales reached $902 million in 2015, up 9.5 percent over the year. In Lee, they were even hotter, growing 10.7 percent year over year to more than $1.37 billion. Last year, restaurant sales grew to more than $37.6 billion statewide, up from nearly $35 billion in 2014. More restaurants opened than closed in Florida last year — and Lee and Collier counties mirrored that trend. Collier added 15 restaurants to its menu of offerings, the same number as it did in 2014. Lee saw even stronger growth, with a net gain of 50 restaurants, up from 36 a year ago.
The growth in sales also reflects that as people become more educated about food and eating healthier, locally harvested foods, they are usually willing to pay more for items provided by artisans. It is also part of the continually growing trend to support the local farmers, fisherman and the like. Some of the local restaurants have also been quoted as saying that their success is coming from the local, quality and creative fare that they offer.
On Fifth Avenue South alone there are now 34 restaurants, with two more coming soon, including the Lansdowne Street Pub. The Boston-style pub and restaurant already has a location in Bonita Springs and hopes to open the one in Naples by the end of the year. The executive director of the Naples-based Fifth Avenue South Business Improvement District has said there are more restaurants wanting to open on Fifth Avenue but she doesn’t have a location to move them into.
The economic recovery has made a huge impact on the growth of Naples. Real Estate Sales have been much stronger in the past few years. With international visitors and more people discovering that Naples is one of the best places in the world to live in, there is no doubt that we will be lucky enough to have a continual source of new restaurants.
Source: 2015 Journal Media Group.