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

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

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:

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.”

The Pink Petunia Consignment Boutique in south Fort Myers is another Southwest Florida business that will be closing for good due to the economic impact the coronavirus pandemic had on it.

Pink Petunia owner Tara Golub is closing the business for good. A month after Golub opened up, a car went crashing through her business. Then, was hurricane and now a pandemic.

“During Irma, I went eight weeks without an income,” Golub said. “COVID, I’ve been almost six months without income, so it’s been tough.”

Golub poured through her saving to stay in business, never quite making ends meet.

“It doesn’t even cover the overhead because I have to split everything that comes in here with the consignors,” Golub said. “And that’s why I just decided, you know, I don’t know when this is going to come back.”

Now, Golub knows it’s the business is not going to bounce back, and it’s not something she takes lightly.

“My customers are my family, so my containers are my family,” Golub said. “And I’m losing them all.”

“It’s very hard,” she said.

At Big Blue, Termini is glad his loyal friends and customers will still have the spot as a local place for families to go to when Big Storm takes over. Another big deal is their employees will still have a place to work. Big Storm expects to move into the space between October and November.

“It’s bittersweet, definitely is,” Termini said. “So kind of feels like a dream a little bit. We put a lot of blood sweat and tears in this.”