SWFL businesses make tough decisions to close down amid economic toll of pandemic

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

There are businesses shutting down for good in Southwest Florida because of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s after holding onto hope business owners are making the tough decision to close their doors in the communities they cherish.

A local brewery has made the decision to close its doors, but the space won’t be empty for long when a neighboring brewery takes over to keep the spot alive for locals. And a consignment boutique has also reached its limit, the owner having already dipped into her savings to stay afloat for half a year during the pandemic.

We spoke to co-owner Joseph Termini of Big Blue Brewery in Cape Coral Thursday, who says he and company will be closing down the business in south Cape Coral for good.

Breweries and bars have taken huge hits in Florida since the onset of the pandemic. First, the state shut them down. Now, only some are allowed to open and with limited capacity.

The owners of Big Blue thought about selling before the pandemic. Now, that day has come.

The brewery has anchored a prime location in Cape Coral’s entertainment district for four years. But Termini told us the brewery won’t make it to a fifth.

The pandemic has been rough and not just on his business.

“We lost my mom, my dad and my grandma, and we also lost an employee,” Termini said. “So it’s been a lot of passings, a lot of sorrow in the last couple of months.”

Termini and his loved ones decided enough is enough, and they’re going to close Big Blue Brewery.

“It just makes you think of everything more and focusing more on life and family instead of go, go, go all the time,” Termini said.

The owners of Big Storm Brewery in Cape Coral, right down the road, have suffered through the same kind of business pain.

“Our location in Cape Coral is shut down because we don’t have any food, so we have bottles to go and beers to go,” co-owner Leo Govoni said. “That’s it.”

But Big Storm has decided to roll the dice and expand, and it will take over Big Blue’s building.

“So this allows us to open back up once we get all of our licensing with a full-service kitchen right away like we have in Pasco and Pinellas county,” Govoni said. “So we actually see a lot more upside than a downside.”

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