Southwest Florida Roundup
Tampa entrepreneur creates “sleep pod” to combat employee burnout
Scott Chester extols the benefits of a stress break
By his early 40s, Scott Chester was well into a successful career in IT, having worked for organizations including the U.S. Air Force, Raymond James, Publix and L3 Communications. But Chester found that no matter where he worked, there was always an abundance of energy-sapping stress to deal with, sometimes so much stress that all he really wanted to do was take a nap and recharge.
Which gave him an idea for a business.
Last year, Chester founded Nap Pod in downtown Tampa, where a 20-minute nap runs $16 in a private “sleep pod.” Employers can also rent a sleeping pod, either to set up at their own business location or for employees to use the facilities at Nap Pod. Chair massages and vitamin IV therapy are also available.
“We are essentially trying to disrupt the working hours and make employees and employers aware that there is a glaring need on both sides,” Chester says. “Employees need more time to take care of themselves and not be burned out. Employers can help take care of their talent by ensuring that they have a place they can go to help manage stress.”
- Duke Energy Florida has completed construction of a 74.9-megawatt solar plant in Hardee County. Built on 500 acres of one-time mining land, the plant features 265,000 solar panels generating enough electricity at peak production to serve 23,000 homes.
- The Novare Group, an Atlanta-based developer, spent $3.2 million to buy a 31-acre site east of I-75 in Punta Gorda, where it plans to build a 270-unit housing development.
- Lakeland’s City Commission rejected a proposed 211-unit apartment complex near the Lake Miriam Square shopping center after nearby residents raised concerns that the project would cause traffic congestion on Lake Miriam Drive.
- Pete Peterson is the new president of Integrated Supply Network’s U.S. division. The Lakeland-based distributor of automotive tools and garage equipment employs 600 and has 13 distribution centers in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.
- Larissa Baia, most recently president of Lakes Region Community College in New Hampshire, is the new president of Hillsborough Community College’s Ybor City campus. She succeeds Ginger Clark, who retired in 2021, and Dustin Lemke, who had been interim president.
- First Citrus Bank of Tampa has merged with DFCU Financial, a Michigan credit union. First Citrus Bank’s six locations in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties will be branches of DFCU Financial. Jack Barrett, First Citrus Bank’s president and CEO, will become president of DFCU’s Florida market.
- Pinellas County-based Achieva Credit Union has started offering cryptocurrency services, enabling its members to trade in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
- Sarasota County committed $20 million in tourist tax revenue toward building a boathouse and a 100,000-sq.-ft. event center at Nathan Benderson Park, a 600-acre park and rowing venue that has hosted national and international rowing events including the 2017 World Rowing Championships.
- Sarasota Memorial Hospital is planning a seven-story building as part of an expansion of the Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute. Construction on the $220-million, 200,000-sq.-ft. facility is expected to start this year and will include a breast-health center, outpatient surgery suites and facilities for radiation oncology, infusion services and diagnostic imaging.
- Sarasota Memorial Hospital- Venice is planning a $113-million expansion that will include 68 private rooms.
- Publix Super Markets ended its free prescription program, saying that many of the drugs it had provided for free were covered by most health insurance plans.
- Tampa General Hospital and Kindred Rehabilitation Services have opened the 80-bed TGH Rehabilitation Hospital. The 80,000-sq.-ft. building, located near the University of Tampa, cost $35 million.
- St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg opened a $152-million addition that includes 90 private rooms.
- The state’s 2022 budget includes $3 million to build a hangar and classroom space at the Punta Gorda Airport for the Charlotte Technical College’s Aviation Maintenance Technician School. The facility will train students to become aircraft mechanics. Finnair, the national airline of Finland, has started five-times-a-week service between Frankfurt, Germany, and Tampa International Airport.
- A poll conducted by Tampa-based AAA Auto Club Group found that 25% of Floridians would stay in their homes despite a hurricane evacuation warning. The most common reason cited: Nearly one-third said they would ignore the warning over concerns about being able to evacuate with their pets.
- The United Way Suncoast, which covers Pinellas, Hillsborough, Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties, announced an $18-million initiative to focus funding on education and finance programs that serve low-income families. The funding will be distributed to local non-profits over three years and won’t require the agencies to reapply for the funding each year as is typically the case with the United Way.
- David Hoffmann, the 69-year-old founder and CEO of the Naples-based Hoffmann Family of Companies, has stepped down, and his sons — Geoff Hoffmann and Greg Hoffmann — were appointed co- CEOs. The company’s portfolio includes more than 85 companies and 200 real estate holdings around the world, including more than 35 businesses and holdings in Florida, from Hoffmann Commercial Real Estate to the Florida Everblades minor league hockey team and the 7,181- seat Hertz Arena, where the Everblades play.