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Service with 30-year plus smiles

01 Mar
Service with 30-year plus smiles

By Marco Eagle/March, 1st 2007

Long-serving island businesses sought for Chamber gala recognition between them, they have more than 100 years of serving customers on Marco Island. And, that's just three businesses known to have operated under the same ownership for more than 30 years on the island. The Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce knows there are many more, and wants to hear from them ASAP. The reason is simple, but sincere. The Chamber wants to recognize long-serving island businesses at an April 1 gala function celebrating its own 30th anniversary.

"I think it's a great idea," said Sue Heine, who has run Island Drug at the Town Center mall since 1969 with her husband Larry. "It's wonderful to acknowledge these people." The Heine couple originally migrated from Fargo, North Dakota, where they'd met while Larry Heine was a drug store pharmacist. Sue Heine, a business major, was also employed at the store. They moved to the area in 1967, where Larry Heine continued to work as a pharmacist, while his wife taught at a school in Naples. "Jack Moore (head of commercial development for Deltona, the original island developers) knew Larry was a pharmacist, and told him that space would be available in the (Town Center) mall," Sue Heine said. "It hadn't been built yet."

When the first phase was completed, a Winn-Dixie store, Island Drug and seven other businesses that no longer exist opened. Publix now occupies the spot where Winn-Dixie stood. Island Drug is a few doors down Sue Heine feels the intended development of Marco Island remains on track to this day. If it feels a little crowded in season, she said, you head out for dinner at 9 p.m. instead of earlier, and you know which roads to take or avoid.
"There's always going to be change," she said, "so you learn to acclimate."

Condee Cooling is another instant qualifier for the 30 years of service recognition. A family business, it was formed by Don Condee Sr., and now in the hands of Don Condee II and Don Condee III (who goes by Erik). The business, Erik said, was founded in 1969, primarily specializing in air-conditioning. Today it also has electrical, refrigeration, pool heating and marine service divisions. Erik Condee said the Chamber's recognition initiative was welcome. "With turnover in business, it's rare for them to have the same ownership for so long," he said. "If you look at a phone book that's only 10 years old, you'll be surprised at how many companies have gone away."

Steve Trafton used his construction and remodeling experience to form Marco Ace Hardware more than 30 years ago. Down the years, he's expanded the business from about 3,000 square feet to around 12,000 square feet. He acknowledged plenty of change on the island in that time, but said essentially Marco is still the same small town. "That's what drew us here," he said. "Everybody knew everybody." Trafton said the Chamber recognition is welcome, and that he is pleased to be part of what amounts to a core group of people who helped build the community to what it is today.

The Chamber has notified all member businesses of its intent. Further information is available by calling 394-7549.

25 Front St., Marco Island, Fl 34145 239 394 5121 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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