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Chamber cuts ribbon on Tommy’s

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Apr 14, 2021

Pic of Pam Cronin cutting the ribbon on Tommy’s Tiki Bar on Thursday.

news@breezenewspapers.com

The North Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce on Thursday got to do something it hasn’t done in well over a year, while the Shell Factory’s newest venue got what you could call its official grand opening.

For the first time since February 2020, the Chamber held a Business After Hours networking event. It was held at Tommy’s Tiki Bar at the Shell Factory, where the chamber also cut a ribbon in front of a large crowd.

Wendy Murray, executive director for the Chamber, said the return engagement was a huge success, with more than 50 people attending.

“We’re excited about the turnout. We had another breakfast this week and we’ll return to our luncheons next month,” Murray said. “It’s taken a while, but we’re getting up to where we need to be.”

Murray said there was no more perfect location to hold After Hours than Tommy’s, named after the late owner of the Shell Factory. The new venue has received a lot of community support since its delayed opening in late January due to the pandemic and other issues.

“Here it is, after Easter, and look around. There are about 300 people here. At night, it’s crazy to see how well they’ve done. Tommy would be so proud of this,” Murray said.

Pam Cronin, owner of the Shell Factory, said it made sense to hold a ribbon cutting, since the Chamber offices are located there.

“The Chamber is very dear to our hearts and they asked if they could make a special presentation and do a cocktail hour here,” Cronin said. “We have not announced Tommy’s yet, even though we have been open. We haven’t done a friends-and-family or a big opening, but this is our first honorary movement.”

Cronin said that the Shell Factory is a hometown entity that she and Tom bought 24 years ago and promptly saved from a likely demise to make it one of Southwest Florida’s popular family destinations.

Tommy’s, along with the new Southern Grill and the Players Circle Theater, have made that area of the Shell Factory the go-to place.

Murray said it was the vision of Tom Cronin and the work Pam has done following his death that helped make the Shell Factory what it is today.

“He was an unbelievable mentor to so many people and did so much for North Fort Myers. He is looking down today and saying what a great job Pam has done,” Murray said.