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Community spotlight: Dave Gray

Park yourself for the adventures of a parking-lot guy

May 25, 2016
By John Morton ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Q: You are a British chap who found his way to Fort Myers Beach. Tell us about what brought you here.

A: "Pelicans, pretty ladies and palm trees - but not necessarily in that order."

Q: You own and operate Dave's Beach Side Parking, located between the Lani Kai and the Sunoco station. How did you get into the parking-lot business?

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Dave Gray has gotten the parking of cars down to a science.

A: "I rent this property, but I took over operations three years ago. I've been working this lot for over 14 years. I fell into it many years ago. I enjoy taking care of the property trying to make it look nice."

Q: The town has recently outlawed seasonal lots, and you made the transition to a permanent one. Tell us about what you did to facilitate that and why you made that commitment.

A: "It made more sense to be open year round. This island desperately needs parking, as there are more and more people here in the offseason. Various codes were met and I added lots of landscaping."

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Q: You have added a rinse-off shower at your lot. What kind of feedback are you getting?

A: "Absolutely positive. People love the idea of not dragging sand into their vehicles and it's refreshing after a long day on the beach, especially for the kiddies. I also supply beach toys for the kiddies."

Q: Maximizing your car spaces must require some engineering skills, or at least competency with jigsaw puzzles. What is the key to getting everything to fit and to flow?

A: "I've been doing this a long time - I know which cars go where, the size of the car, etc. My wife says my brain is wired for this."

Q: Parking is a huge commodity on Estero Island. How cutthroat is it between those who compete in it?

A: "Obviously it's a huge demand in this town, especially during season. You try and be neighborly. What's good about this lot is that there is someone always watching the vehicles. Safe and secure."

Q: Do you take a lot of heat on what it costs to park?

A: "Not really. Most people are on vacation and just want to have a good time and spend money. Contrary to where I'm from in England, the parking here is pretty cheap."

Q: We're sure you've heard some good parking tales of woe - like why someone shouldn't pay or how they lost their keys or who they know or how they didn't see the attendant. Share a few of your favorites.

A: "Some people don't even look at the signs, just drive in. Some ask if it's free parking. I've seen people lock their keys in the cars, or leave cell phones and wallets on top of their cars as they drive away. But I've met a lot of great people from all over the world. If someone told me when I was young lad from a rural village in England that I'd be in the parking-car-business in south Florida, I would've said 'That's barmy, mate.'"

(Community Spotlight features a resident each week who has an interesting occupation, activity, or story to tell. Please submit subjects you feel are worthy of some recognition to editor John Morton by calling 765-0400, ext. 102, or by email at



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