FORT MYERS, Fla. — In downtown Fort Myers, music and popcorn aren’t the only things to be popping off.
But so too is local business, which is bouncing back through Covid-19. ‘Wild About Popcorn’ is just the latest to make such a venture. On Friday, they held a special ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the opening of their second location. It also just so happened to fall on the night of May Music Walk.
“We decided to hold it on the night of the Music Walk here in downtown Fort Myers and we’re really excited to bring a whole bunch of people together to see what it is that we do here," said Ed Caracappa, business development and co-owner of 'Wild About Popcorn.'
It's a move that almost didn’t happen because of the pandemic. After opening in June, the following months through October were slow.
“We expected that, we were prepared for it," says Caracappa. "Come November- as our seasonal visitors started to arrive- the business started to pick up; December was gangbusters, it was crazy here. Very fortunately, things have remained at a very high level because many of the normal snowbirds are staying longer and we love it. God bless them all.”
“We were worried about the effects of the pandemic last year but we came through that really well," says Mayor Kevin Anderson for the City of Fort Myers. "We’re starting to see the benefits of the good decisions that we made, that businesses are starting to bounce back and it won’t be long until the city is on fire once again.”
Just in April, WalletHub named Fort Myers the 8th Best Small City for starting a business. Roughly 90% of businesses in the city have ten or less employees, showing just how valuable small business is to the city.
“You walk inside and he’s got a couple three or four people he employs," said Anderson. "Any time we’re opening businesses and putting people to work, that’s good for the entire community. Every time we have an event like this, it sends a message to the rest of the country- Fort Myers is open for business.”
While the timing is ideal for those looking to start their own business, it does come at a price. Just not the one you might be thinking.
“Be prepared," Caracappa said. "This is 24 hours a day, it’s seven days a week. The action is non stop. When my wife and I aren’t here we’re at home scheduling, payroll, managing the business and all of the aspects that go on outside of what happens just outside the store. If you’re prepared to take that on, go for it. Now is a great time because I think we’re going to see some very exciting times in the next few years."
Caracappa said he and his wife are looking at expanding again- to maybe a third or even fourth location. He told Fox 4 they have enough going on with their two locations, however, for the time being. You can find more information about the store online here.