City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Men We Admire

Article by Sue G. Collins

Photography by Samantha Bloom, Mammoth Studio

Originally published in Naples City Lifestyle

Rocky Patel

Back in1999, Rocky Patel chose Naples as his business home because he saw the potential for a city that would offer a safe haven for his employees (then, just two), a supportive market for his new cigar company (now upwards of 3,500 employees worldwide) and a burgeoning cultural landscape promising the good life. “My family immigrated to this country in 1974,” says Patel, who opened  BURN and four other  cigar-forward bars, with five others on the horizon, in addition to his thriving cigar business. ”I am so fortunate to have achieved the great American dream. I graduated from University of Wisconsin and went to law school in California where I smoked my first cigar on set with celebrity clients and decided to invest in a cigar company just for fun.” After immersing himself by working on central American tobacco farms and learning the business from the ground-up, decades later his eponymous brand is among the world’s finest and he still calls Naples, home. “It took the food scene here a good 10-15 years to develop and now we have amazing restaurants, a thriving cultural scene with a world-class Philharmonic,” says Rocky. “People are moving here from New York and the east coast to find a perfectly manicured Naples where traffic is lighter and crime is low.” On any give Saturday, night you’ll find Rocky cooking for a group of friends at home, out on the water boating and fishing or on the golf course. “I’m a chef -  I love to cook, so we entertain a lot. that’s my R&R.”

David Hoffman

David Hoffmann describes his company as “RE-developers” in Naples. “We take what’s there - which is good - like the Hertz Arena and the Fifth Avenue South and Third Street districts and make it better,” says Hoffmann, who relocated here in 2015 with his wife Jerri, since donating more than two dozen sculptures to the downtown Naples area. “Our mission is to RE-beautify, upgrade and raise the standards for our community.” He now owns 42 commercial properties in Naples, making him the largest private commercial real estate owner in the city.

Hoffmann started in Naples with four employees and, with a mission to create new jobs and investing back into the community they love, he and his team have added some 2,600 employees to The Hoffmann Family of Companies in Florida and 8,000 worldwide.

Philanthropy is a priority, with millions donated to the Naples Zoo and the Naples Children & Education Foundation, and hundreds of thousands to other charities such as the Golisano Children’s Museum, the Immokalee Foundation, and are the main sponsors of the Everglades Foundation annual event.  Recently, the Hoffmanns made a  $250,000 donation and held a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the launch of the Hoffmann Family of Companies Wine Laboratory at Florida Gulf Coast University, strengthening his team’s commitment to the local hospitality industry.

Hoffmann spends free time on the golf course, playing tennis or with his 12 grandchildren. The morning we spoke with him, he had already been to the gym and deep sea fishing with a crew of grandkids, where they caught a 3-foot kingfish, the highlight of his day!

John Schnatter

John Schnatter founded Papa John's in a closet in his dad's restaurant, growing it into one of the largest pizza companies on the planet on the principle that Americans deserve a delicious pizza made with the highest-quality ingredients. He truly embodies the motto “better ingredients,” believing it’s important to be conscious of what we put into our bodies. 

He is currently in the best shape of his life, thanks to his unique diet and active lifestyle, including a passion for cycling. In 2020, Schnatter organized a 100-mile ride up the Florida coast with a group of local Naples cyclists, donating $1,000 to local charities for each mile. “There’s nothing like giving back to the community and setting goals on the way,'' says Schnatter. 

Schnatter knows health and fitness are keys to a happy and long life. That’s why “better ingredients” compelled him to launch Papa Farms, where he can grow organic vegetables without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides on his property in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Art DeGaetano

When Art DeGaetano addressed his team at Bramshill Investments’ new Naples office a year ago, he made it clear they didn’t come to drink mai tais on a Tuesday. “I told them we came to Naples to build our business, grow our assets and continue to manage our multi-billion investment strategies,” recalls Art who has nothing but accolades for the thriving business climate here. “Florida is a very business-friendly state and Naples is full of very sharp business people.” An added bonus for Art is having family nearby. His 95-year grandmother and a host of aunts and uncles gather on any given Sunday for family dinner. “We were brought up to take care of the older generation as well as guide and nourish the younger generation. And, we were taught to treat others as we wish to be treated. I think people in Naples live this out everyday.” Art recently picked up a tennis racket again (he was a competitive division one player in college) and enjoys staying active with his daughter and two college-aged sons.