Since Quarles & Brady opened its Naples office in 1982, the local business environment has significantly evolved, from mainly agriculture and tourism to sophisticated financial service firms, public and private colleges and universities, and a growing mix of complex technology-based industries such as health care, health & life sciences, software development, and specialized precision manufacturing — and our attorneys have developed their practices to mirror this change.
Life in Naples
Five million years ago, the southern half of the Florida peninsula was entirely underwater. During the Great Ice Age, the sea froze into dark salty sheets and receded into deeper ocean waters. This dropped the sea level around southwestern Florida, leaving behind the pristine layers of sand and shells upon which Naples is built today. The Calusa Indians were the first to appreciate the beauty and spirituality of the area, nearly 10,000 years ago. They built shell mounds for mysterious religious ceremonies, and their artisans created the famous “Marco Cat,” a part-man, part-panther wooden sculpture that is now a national treasure on display at The Smithsonian Institution.
Today, Neapolitans continue a tradition of appreciation for natural beauty and artistic expression. The number of local art galleries in the area is surpassed only by the number of local white sand beaches along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico. And the locals still build shell mounds for still-mysterious reasons. The lush, natural beauty of the beaches, strewn with sea shells and sand dollars, perfectly complements the warm blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Area beaches are world renowned and have been named among the “Best Beaches in Florida” by the Travel Channel.
As the local population approaches the 300,000 mark, the demographics are shifting toward a more diverse racial and ethnic composition. Currently, more than half of all Collier County residents are between the ages of 1 and 44, and the median age continues to drop every year.
Naples is a boater’s paradise, and all water sports are enjoyed year-round. Fishing is a local passion, whether deep- or back-water, and includes such highly sought-after game fish as snook, tarpon, and spotted sea trout.
It has been said that the Naples area has more golf holes per capita than any other place in the country. Believe it. Each course offers a fresh challenge, many of them designed by top names in the field — Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, Arthur Hills, Tom Fazio, Robert Trent Jones, and Greg Norman — for both serious and recreational (and seriously recreational) golfers. The annual Shark Shootout, hosted by its founders Greg and Laura Norman, brings together the best in the sport to raise money for the CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation.
Sports fans who love Major League Baseball can enjoy the spring training action of the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins, just 30 minutes from downtown Naples. In addition, Germain Arena is home to the crazy hockey antics of the Florida Everblades.
If tennis is your game, the Oliver Group Champions Cup is held every year in Naples. John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, Johann Kriek, and other top senior professionals regularly play in this event. For serious amateurs, the local YMCA is the site of the largest amateur tournament in Southwest Florida, the North Naples Clay Court Championships, with over 700 entrants.
Arts & Entertainment
The Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts, the Sugden Theater, and Germain Arena offer a wide selection of world-class entertainment options. The choices are dizzying, from opera to Broadway, comics to experimental theater, rock & roll to country western, ballet to symphony, folk dancers to dueling pianos.
It’s impossible to count the number of outdoor arts and crafts festivals held every year, including world-class juried events. Numerous local galleries host celebrity artists, including Jane Seymour, Tony Curtis, and Dale Chihuly, as well as local gems such as Clyde Butcher.
If museums are your favorite pastime, you will enjoy the ever-changing programs at the Naples Museum of Art, the local history preserved at the Palm Cottage Museum, the whimsy of the Teddy Bear Museum, or the Naples Depot and Lionel Museum Train Display. The Naples Art Association, founded in 1954 and located in the heart of the city, with its architecturally stunning Von Liebig Arts Center, continues the Neapolitan tradition of promoting and advancing education, interest, and participation in the contemporary visual arts.
The Naples area is proud to offer exciting opportunities for degree programs and adult education at the Florida Gulf Coast University, with cutting-edge facilities and a fresh menu of alternate degree options. In addition, the first Catholic college built in the last 50 years, Ave Maria University, is blossoming into a thriving community of its own, just outside the Naples city limits.
It’s easy to see why Naples is one of the country’s most desirable places to live. The quality of life and lifestyle options are unique to this city, born of the sea and resting on pure white sand. The people are as diverse as the shells scattered on the beach and just as charming. And the opportunities are as colorful and expansive as a tropical sunset.