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How the Sunseeker Resort could impact local businesses in Punta Gorda

Celtic Ray
Posted at 7:27 AM, Dec 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-15 10:55:06-05

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — The Sunseeker Resort will have guests walking through the lobby doors on Friday, likely bringing in an influx of people to Charlotte County.

Across the Charlotte Harbor are local businesses, hoping to capitalize on the amount of people coming.

"The more business we have here, the better everybody does," said Kevin Doyle, co-owner of Celtic Ray.

They have a very large space in the heart of downtown Punta Gorda. Much of the outdoor space was built during COVID.

"We'll finally get to utilize all the space, hopefully," said Max Doyle, co-owner of Celtic Ray.

Though the Sunseeker has more than 20 different dining options, there are still many places to visit in Charlotte County.

"People are eventually going to want to venture out of the resort, check out downtown Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte," Max said. "See what else is out there."

In Punta Gorda, you will find a lot of small businesses thriving on tourism, which helps the economy.

"I don't think the texture of the area is going to get destroyed," Kevin said. "I think it's going to be enhanced and we support them."

With more potential business, the Doyles say they will likely hire more workers than they normally do during season.

"We have 47 employees right now and we only have cooks and bartenders," Kevin said.

The impact the Sunseeker Resort is going to have on the county goes well beyond what's on the tap.

"They are doing their corporate parties over here, so we're already partnering together with some of their vendors staying here as well as some of these large parties that are just a win for both," said Kelly Williamson, sales director at the Four Points by Sheraton in Punta Gorda.

Williamson is also on the county's tourism council.

"They're [Sunseeker] going to be able to get in a lot of people into this area, which means a lot more bed tax and a lot more dollars," she explained.

A portion of the bed tax dollars, which is added on to your hotel bill, goes to the tourism council. She says they plan on using the money to target bigger conferences and enticing them to come to Charlotte County.

"We needed this to go to the next level to bring in these types of groups, to bring in the huge room blocks," Williamson said. "Sunseeker is just going to take that growth off the charts."

With more people coming, she believes everyone will benefit from the resort.

"It's definitely going to be life changing for a lot of businesses," Williamson said.

Businesses, like the Celtic Ray.

"As a business owner, it's going to do nothing but good for the area," Max said.