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Snowbird Station opens, ready for the season

By Staff | Oct 21, 2015

Chuck Ballaro The new relocation center is expected to have 10 tenants, with everyone from mortgage and reverse mortgage companies and realty agencies to the Cremation Society. It already has a deli, which opened this week, and will have fresh soups and sandwiches daily. Newcomers and visitors are invited to come in and ask questions.

Have you just retired and want to make Southwest Florida your winter home or permanent residence?

Before deciding on a place to live, or a doctor or lawyer, you may want to visit Snowbird Station, which recently opened in a long-empty building at 1001 Palm St. on the corner of Hancock Bridge Parkway.

Dawn Smith, owner of Snowbird Station, said she wants to make her place a one-stop relocation outlet and give newbies instant gratification.

“You come in and see if people are busy, and if they are you can sit and wait or talk to someone else,” Smith said. “It’s supposed to be a friendly place to come and get information and recommendations you need.”

Making a move is a big decision, and there are other considerations, such as finding a doctor, dentist, insurance company and other needs.

While there are a few companies moved in and they are in business, Smith said she won’t have a grand opening until all the tenants have arrived.

Smith said the building draws you in, as it looks like an old time restaurant (it was the Hancock Bridge Market Place restaurant) only without the parking. She said she didn’t want just one tenant or to make it into a restaurant.

“I had to think of something that will have multiple tenants. Since this state is a snowbird haven, I figured the numbers are right and we’re here to help them,” Smith said.

Those numbers are that there are 350,000 people in Lee County in the summer and rises to 750,000 in the winter, of which 10 to 20 percent relocate.

Smith will have 10 tenants, with everyone from mortgage and reverse mortgage companies and realty agencies to the Cremation Society. It already has a deli, which opened this week, and will have fresh soups and sandwiches daily.

“We’ve been around for a few years. We have a main office off Pine Island Road and we have three associates,” said Felicia Hernandez-Fortunato of Hamilton Franklin Realty, who is also an EMT. “We also have an insurance company and everyone is good at what they do.”

Rather than having to open several doors in a strip mall, people only to have to open one.

“Opening a door is a big commitment. If you walk in here, you can look around and look up the houses on the market on the computer. You can browse around. We want to be fun and informative,” Smith said.

Smith will also soon have a website, snowbird-station.com, that will allow people to put their names in and people review them like an Angie’s List.

For more information on Snowbird Station, contact Smith at 808-221-2540 or e-mail to SnowbirdStation@gmail.com.