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On the move

After just 3 months of island residency, Beach Brew and Bakery opens another location

May 6, 2016
By John Morton ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Now that was one fast expansion.

Only three months removed from opening a start-up business in the mid-island Sea Grape Plaza, Beach Brew and Bakery today opened a second location today at 401 Old San Carlos Blvd. just one week after closing on the deal.

"I didn't get into this just to get by and relax," said co-owner Gregg Gillman after taking a deep breath. "I don't think we could survive without a second location."

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Beach Brew and Bakery's second location is at 401 Old San Carlos Blvd. near Times Square.

That's because after a hot start during the tourist-heavy months of February and March, the business that specializes in baked goods and coffee is beginning to see a dip.

"We were delayed getting started here, so we missed a good portion of the season and that loss of business chewed up a great deal of our capital," Gillman said. "And now, we're down 60 to 70 percent this past month from where we were before, now that season has ended. Then the (road) construction reached us, right out in front."

They even went a week without water because of work on Estero Boulevard's water mains.

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"It's kind of hard to make coffee without water," said Kim Gillman, Gregg's wife and co-owner.

The downtown area is where they first looked, but nothing was available and rents were too high for a start-up effort, they said. But when a third party mentioned that Cupcakes in Paradise was closing up shop at its high-traffic location, "We jumped on the opportunity," Gregg Gillman said. "Within an hour, we were talking about things in great detail."

And now, they are operating the two businesses simultaneously. Things will be slightly different at the new locale - they are offering cupcakes, considering people are accustomed to getting them there, and an ice cream machine is also in the mix. Furthermore, the Gillmans are committing to the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. At the other location, they close at 1:30 p.m.

Fact Box

What: Beach Brew and Bakery

Where: 401 Old San Carlos Blvd.

When: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day

Specialties: Hot and cold coffees, imported Italian espresso, smoothies, loose-leaf teas, donuts, bakery items and ice cream.

Contact: Call 233-8920 or visit

"We're going for it," Gregg Gillman said. "We know there's pedestrian traffic there all hours of the day."

The seating is outdoor only in the form of 16 seats at four tables. As for the building's exterior, some paint will soon be in order.

"Yes, the polka dots will be going away," Gregg Gillman said.

Meanwhile, back at the original Sea Grape spot, they are just now starting to see some south-end customers arriving for the first time.

"Before, they weren't willing to drive here," Gregg Gillman said. "But what we have here is the parking, so we're covered. We get the cars here and the people on foot downtown."

Beach Brew and Bakery also perfectly timed its arrival on Old San Carlos Boulevard with the May 1 Taste of the Beach event on the same street.

"We had a booth and sold hundreds of items, so that was great exposure," Kim Gillman said. "People saw our new sign on the building, then met us, and were able to put two and two together."

Bud Nocera, president of the Fort Myers Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, feels Beach Brew and Bakery will be a good fit in its new neighborhood.

"The Gillman family has a great product," he said. "I would bet their coffee and baked goods will be very well received by both visitors and residents in and near Old San Carlos Boulevard."



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