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Aubuchon Homes, Florida Skin Center, in running for the Business Citizenship Award

By Staff | Aug 17, 2017

A couple of businesses with ties to Cape Coral have been named as finalists for the 2017 Industry Appreciation Awards.

Hosted by the Horizon Council and the Lee County Economic Development Office, the program recognizes local companies within five categories: Business Citizenship Award, Nonprofit of the Year Award, Diversity in Business Award, Start Up of the Year Award and Business of the Year Award.

A panel of business and community leaders serve as judges for the awards.

The ceremony will take place Oct. 12 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Estero.

Cape Coral-based Aubuchon Homes and the Florida Skin Center, which has a Cape location, are two finalists for the Business Citizenship Award. Neither have won or previously been a finalist for it.

According to officials, the Business Citizenship Award is given to a company whose financial, volunteer and active involvement in community organizations and programs creates a better quality of business and civic life in Lee. The awards are given in two categories, based on staffing levels.

“We are honored to be a finalist and to be named with other outstanding companies in Southwest Florida,” Gary Aubuchon, owner of Aubuchon Homes, said. “Our team is thrilled for being recognized for the good works that we have done for many years.”

For Aubuchon Homes, giving back to the community is one of its core values.

“We do an annual event called Helping Hands for the Holidays, where we open our building and offer the community to come in and partake in the holiday season,” he said.

Marking its 19th year, it also serves as a fundraiser to benefit three Southwest Florida charities.

“Last year, we constructed a home for a Purple Heart veteran who had lost two limbs and the fingers on his right hand,” Aubuchon said. “We built a home so that he would be able to live independently the rest of his life and raise a family.”

Aubuchon Homes partnered with a company out of New York for the project.

“This past year, Aubuchon Homes did a Builders Blitz for Habitat for Humanity. The first one ever done in Lee County,” he said, explaining that they built a new home in the Cape in one week.

According to Aubuchon, the company earned the Hall of Fame award in 2011 through the Industry Appreciation Awards. It also won as a finalist in a different category in the 2002 awards program.

“This is our first time being a finalist for the Business Citizenship Award,” he said.

The Florida Skin Center has locations in the Cape, Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres. Dr. Anais Badia founded the company in 2001 as a full-service facility, with state-of-the-art treatments and amenities.

“We were definitely very excited and honored,” she said of being an award finalist. “There’s a lot of great companies in the community, so it was definitely an honor to be named as a finalist among them.”

Badia explained that the community has been great to the center.

“So, we love to give back to the community,” she said.

For the past several years, the center has provided free skin checks to children in recognition of Children’s Day. Most recently, it completed more than 100 skin checks for the community’s youth.

“Last year, we started a 5K race to raise awareness for skin cancer and melanoma,” Badia said.

The event raised $25,000 for the Melanoma Research Foundation. Next month, the center will host a similar race to again help raise awareness. The proceeds will benefit The Skin Cancer Foundation.

Last year, the center commemorated its 15th anniversary by giving away $15,000 to Trafalgar Elementary School, the PACE Center for Girls in Fort Myers and the VFW Post 4174 in Lehigh.

She noted that it also sponsors a $1,000 college scholarship every year.

According to Badia, the company has never been a finalist or won in any of the categories.

“We know that Lee County is a great place to work and it’s an honor to be recognized,” she said.

The other finalists are Pushing the Envelope and the Sanibel Captiva Community Bank.

Wilrock LLC, doing business as Jason’s Deli, is a finalist for the Business of the Year Award.

According to officials, the award is given to a company in business six or more years in Lee County, under the same corporate name and ownership, that has been successful in offering high-quality products and services, providing superior customer service and demonstrating strong ethical standards.

It goes to a company that is community-minded, actively supports employee development, exhibits exemplary leadership and contributes to the economic growth and free enterprise of the county.

Scott and Diana Willis are the owners of Jason’s Deli of Southwest Florida. They have a total of six locations, including one in the Cape, Naples, Port Charlotte and Sarasota and two in Fort Myers.

“The Industry Appreciation Business of the Year Award is an honor to be thought of in our community,” Diana Willis said. “Our company strives to be the best in the restaurant business. When our peers think highly of us to nominate us, we are humbly grateful.”

“We thrive on our work with the best in our community,” she added.

Willis pointed to the need for consistency in business to achieve a nomination.

“Not only have we grown our business in Lee County and beyond, we continue to invest in our community to make it the best place to live and continue to do business in,” she said. “We also invest in the development of our people to provide growth opportunities for future success.”

According to Willis, the company has never been nominated before.

“We are immensely proud to be considered this year,” she said. “While it’s nice to be recognized, we will continue to strive to be the best.”

The other finalists for the award are Norman Love Confections and Spiro & Associates.

According to officials, the Nonprofit of the Year Award is given to a non-profit organization that has recognized a business or civic need within the community and, through community responsibility, innovation, growth, sound business practices and community partnerships, serves the community with vision and integrity. The awards are given in two categories, based on the organization’s revenue.

The finalists are Child Care of Southwest Florida, the Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation, the Lee Health Foundation, the PACE Center for Girls, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and Valerie’s House.

The Diversity in Business Award goes to a business that has implemented programs in the workplace to create and to promote diversity by employing initiatives within the organization and the community.

The finalists for the award are Conric PR & Marketing and Forum Chiropractic.

The Start Up of the Year Award goes to a company founded in Lee in the last three to five years that has demonstrated continued growth financially and in staffing, while leading and overcoming challenges.

The finalists are Apex Property Restoration, East and Greenwell Insurance, and iPartnerMedia.

For more information, visit online at: leecountybusiness.com/iaw/.

Aubuchon Homes is at 4707 S.E. Ninth Place.

The Florida Skin Center is at 4037 Del Prado Blvd. S.

Wilrock LLC is at 6360 Corporate Park Circle, Suite 4, Fort Myers.