Naples’ David Hoffmann continues to grow business reach in SWFL, beyond

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David Hoffmann speaks on successes

Video of entrepreneur, David Hoffmann, in the Hoffmann Family of Companies’ office room on Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 in Naples, Fla.

Caitlyn Jordan, Naples Daily News

It seems there’s no stopping David Hoffmann.

Even in a global pandemic. 

While the pandemic threw the serial entrepreneur a few curveballs, Hoffmann has continued to acquire, grow and start businesses in Southwest Florida — and elsewhere, where opportunity knocks.

“COVID has not had that much effect on what we do,” he said. “We continue to invest heavily in Southwest Florida.” 

That investment comes through his Naples-based family enterprise, better known as the Hoffmann Family of Cos., which includes his wife Jerri.

In 2020, the Hoffmanns purchased 10 companies, most of them local, and started two new businesses, including a sanitizing service spawned by the pandemic.

In case you missed it: Naples’ Hoffmann Companies buys Old Corkscrew Golf Club, names national golf president

And: The Old Collier Golf Club in Naples has changed hands after 20 years

In 2020: Still growing: Hoffmann family expects a busy year for acquisitions in Naples

Hoffmann Sanitizing Services, formed to protect the family’s own employees and customers from the spread of COVID early on in the pandemic, later expanded to serve outside companies from Naples to Fort Myers, with its electrostatic, surface-cleaning fogging machines.

In 2021, the Hoffmanns have been even busier buying up more than a dozen businesses, while establishing half a dozen others. The family has spent more than a half-billion dollars on business and real estate acquisitions this year, Hoffmann said.

“That’s the most we’ve done in a single year,” he said.

Locally, his most recent acquisitions include:

Both clubs include championship courses.

“The plan is to have as many as 12 to 20 golf courses, as we continue to grow that business,” Hoffmann said. “One of them will probably be outside of the United States in Scotland.”

Growing local presence

The Hoffmann family’s portfolio now consists of more than 35 businesses in Florida, most of which are headquartered in Southwest Florida. Locally, their businesses include everything from the Hertz Arena and the Florida Everblades hockey team to Naples Transportation & Tours and the Naples Princess and Miss Naples boating operations.

Related: David Hoffmann enthused with Everblades’ first half, response to Hertz Arena renovations

More: Hoffmann family plans 150-room hotel, conference center near Hertz Arena in Estero

By the end of the year, Hoffmann expects to close on a few more deals, including the purchase of a large flower farm in North Naples.

He also has his eyes on a major boat company.

“We’re still rocking and rolling and things are really good,” Hoffmann said. “This year was the best year we’ve ever had, in terms of acquisitions and profits in our businesses. I think we are definitely benefitting from the strong demand that has been created in the state of Florida with its growth.” 

Florida has seen a wave of migration since the pandemic hit, with new residents flooding in from more heavily populated and expensive areas around the country.

The state has also experienced a strong recovery in its tourism industry, which has benefitted the Hoffmanns, as many of their businesses are hospitality-related.

Additionally, strong, business-friendly political leadership, starting with Gov. Ron DeSantis on down, has helped the family’s myriad companies not only survive, but thrive in the pandemic, Hoffmann said. 

“Our businesses are doing quite well and it’s given us opportunities for expansion,” he said.

Once-small local businesses have become bigger companies under the Hoffmann umbrella, gaining what he describes as “tentacles throughout the United States.” The Naples Princess is a good example of Hoffmann’s growth strategy. 

Looking beyond Naples

Naples Princess started with one marina, boat rentals and its namesake sightseeing vessel. Six months after the Hoffmanns acquired the business, it added five other boat operations around the country, as well as bringing in and refurbishing a 48-foot catamaran, now known as Miss Naples, to expand its local offerings for cruising, sightseeing and shelling.

Since COVID hit, the boating business has absorbed two more companies and just launched another one in Missouri, bringing it under local management, said Jenny Gezella, president of the operations.

“Our business has grown exponentially,” she said. “In total, we own 15 boats and operate in eight states around the United States, with another purchase on the horizon that would add an additional six boats.”

The business quickly adjusted to the pandemic, adding numerous safety measures to its policies, including electrostatic spraying and employee mask requirements, Gezella said. 

COVID has actually brought in more customers, as tourists and residents alike have sought out safer recreational and entertainment activities in the great outdoors, she said.

Without the backing of the Hoffmanns, she said, the company could have never achieved so much. 

“The Hoffmanns think big and love to grow businesses, Gezella said. “They have the captain behind them to continue to help businesses like ours grow and be successful.”

Catch up: Once-controversial One Naples quietly comes together, with construction to start late next year

A visionary with many interests

Asked why David Hoffmann has seen so much success, Gezella said: “He has a vision like I have never seen.” 

His vision is multifaceted. 

For example, he recently announced his plans to purchase the Iberia Bank building for an undisclosed price to offer more executive suites in downtown Naples. The deal is expected to close on Dec. 28.

“We were the highest bidder for that property,” Hoffmann said. 

The bank building — at 428 Ninth Street S. — is near Fifth Avenue South, where Hoffmann’s executive suites are bursting at the seams. The suites offer shared and virtual office space that’s ideal for smaller companies.

The virtual option gives businesses a more prominent address, with the ability to use board rooms or offices as needed at a lower cost. 

Hoffmann Executive Suites currently operates in five locations. Four of those locations are Fifth Avenue South, while the other is in Avon, Colorado, going under the name Basecamp. 

Madelene Columbus, president of the operations, said the suites are at “100% capacity, with a waitlist.”

“We currently provide offices for 135 clients in our existing locations, in addition to over 115 virtual clients,” she said. “There is a growing demand for executive offices in the downtown Naples area and we are excited to be adding the new location.”

The bank building will be remodeled and converted to offer 16 or more luxury executive suites, with a capacity to serve another 25 to 50 clients virtually.

The Hoffmann suites are fully furnished, varying in size. Besides conference and meeting rooms, they offer reception services, private parking, high-speed internet and kitchens, with daily housekeeping.

The Iberia Bank building will mark the Hoffmann’s 36th purchase of commercial real estate in Southwest Florida. The family made its first investment back in 2015.

From 2019: With big investments in Southwest Florida, Hoffmanns hope to create a ‘Disneyland for adults’

Big player in real estate

Hoffmann Commercial Real Estate has become the largest privately-held commercial real estate company in Naples.

While Hoffmann clearly has an affinity for Naples — and Southwest Florida — where he now lives, he’s also grown the family’s footprint elsewhere in the country over the past two years, despite the disruptions of COVID.

The Hoffmanns have made big investments in their native state of Missouri, which have included the purchase of multiple vineyards, wineries and nurseries.

They made headlines about a year ago when they announced a $100 million plan to put Augusta, Missouri, on the map as a worldwide wine destination, comparable to Napa Valley California or Bordeaux in the southwest of France. 

Plans included the construction of a new five-star luxury hotel and a 12-hole golf course, as well as the launch of a 250 passenger yacht for cruising and tours, which has already happened.

The Hoffmanns expect to initially create 500 jobs in the area over a few years, growing that number to more than 1,000 with future acquisitions yet to be announced.

In the Augusta area, the Hoffmanns have acquired five vineyards, four wineries, a smattering of local businesses including a bike store, a bar, a medical bed manufacturing company and several nurseries.

The family has amassed about 50 buildings and structures, including barns that have been restored. On top of that, they’ve started complementary businesses, offering everything from vineyard and cellar tours to gas and apparel.

As Hoffmann has continued to execute on his growth plan, Gezella said it’s been interesting to watch everything unfold.

“For example, what he has done in Missouri, taking this beautiful little town and transforming it into a world-class destination, and bringing in all his businesses to help support it, has been an incredible thing to witness,” she said.

Big investments

Here are the businesses the Hoffmann Family of Co.’s acquired in 2020, many of them in Southwest Florida: 

  • Stan’s Coffee
  • 5 Star Valet
  • Tier Electric
  • Java Butler
  • Mitch’s Cookies
  • Global Jetcare
  • Texas Bragg Trailers
  • World Wide Farms
  • Volunteer Princess
  • Regency Watersports

The family also established: Hoffmann Sanitizing Services and OspreyME.

The Hoffmanns have been even busier in 2021, making these acquisitions, many of them in Augusta, Missouri: 

  • Balducci Vineyards
  • Knoroeschild Vineyards
  • Augusta Winery
  • Montelle Winery
  • Mount Pleasant Estates
  • Mid American Coaches
  • NOA Medical
  • Kickstand Augusta
  • Ferche Millworks
  • Town and Country Nursery
  • Ferguson Valley Nursery
  • Kickstand Katy Trail
  • The Old Collier Golf Club
  • The Old Corkscrew Golf Club
  • The Augusta White House

The family has also established these companies this year: The Augusta Guest Collection, The Augusta Clothing Company, the Augusta Vineyard & Cellar Tours, Hoffmann Gas, Miss Augusta, and the Augusta Emporium.

Meanwhile, the Hoffmann Lodge & Spa is under construction and the Chateau Hoffmann is under renovation.

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