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Residents get a ‘taste’ of what area has to offer

By Staff | Aug 24, 2009

Cape residents experienced the wide palette of restaurants their city has to offer Saturday as BJ’s Wholesale Club held its second annual “Taste of the Town” event.
The event, held at 1929 N.E. Pine Island Road, offered free samples of food and drink from various restaurants as well as face painting and arts and crafts activities for families. The same event, at the same time, took place at the BJ’s Wholesale Club in Fort Myers.
The Cape Coral store’s general manager, Cindy Newmaster, estimated over 5,000 attended the event throughout the late morning and early afternoon Saturday. That number far exceeds the estimate of last year’s event, which saw about 1,500 attendees.
“We had a fantastic turnout for all of the people in Cape Coral,” Newmaster said. “We were able to promote over 27 area businesses for Cape Coral so that the people that were coming in today could taste their food and then potentially become patrons of theirs, which will actually help the economy of Cape Coral also, and to keep people in the Cape. That’s really what we were looking for today.”
Newmaster said not only could people enjoy free food and learn of the restaurants in the area, but some have become members of the store as a result of the event.
“We get a lot of people that have never been to BJ’s before, that now get the opportunity to come into the store, go through the club and see some of the things that they would like to purchase,” she said.
Ed Stathas, who owns Simply Sweets Treats with his wife, Marilyn, offered patrons various types of candies to sample from the North Fort Myers candy and ice cream shop.
Stathas’ store is located in the Merchant’s Crossing shopping plaza at the northwest corner of Pine Island Road and U.S. 41, and offers 160 bins of various candies.
“The event helps our business because we’re local, and it looks like it helps all the other surrounding area merchants that are here, too,” Stathas said. “We’re finding out a lot of new customers have been to the shopping center but didn’t even know we existed until today. It’s great exposure.”
More information about the shop can be found online at www.simplysweettreatsswfl.com.
A new local cafe, Ooo-la-latte Cafe, featured unsweetened ice coffee, homemade carrot cake and chocolate cake with cream cheese icing during Saturday’s event.
The cafe, located at 1408 N.E. Pine Island Road, Unit 1E, offers a different flavored unsweetened coffee each day, along with a variety of other healthy foods and drinks such as salads, wraps, paninis, juices and smoothies.
Coffee is brewed in Cape Coral and a variety of the other items available at the cafe are made locally.
“We’re all about supporting local people,” said Dianna Scarano, who is part owner of Ooo-la-latte with Kevin Bisner.
Scarano, also owner of Scaranos Dat’s Italian restaurant, said the event gave residents an opportunity to try new things they might have otherwise never known existed.
“It gets people to actually taste things that they probably are afraid to taste, to go out and try new places,” she said. “Especially now with the economy being the way it is, people are afraid to go out and try something new. This gives us an opportunity to show the public what we have.”