EAST NAPLES, Fla - A $6 million donation is jump starting a new business endeavor for an East Naples homeless shelter and soup kitchen.
For years, St. Matthews House has found success with its thrift stores and catering business and now they're expanding into the DeVoe Pontiac Car Dealership, a building that has sat empty along Airport Pulling for four years.
The $6 million donation from the Holecek Family Trust is allowing Saint Matthew's House to buy the empty building and expand their business.
"The family saw the difference we're making in the community and what a great vote of endorsement to have a family step up with really one of the largest gifts in the history of Collier County," says Vann Ellison, President and CEO of St. Matthew's House.
St. Matthew's House is a non-profit that provides housing for the homeless and food for the need a quarter of a mile away from this new building.
Their desire to expand the shelter has not always been welcomed with open arms. "It's been a difficult time in a lot of ways for us as an organization and personally because of the attacks from the outside and I don't know how anyone can't be anything but excited about bringing business to town," say Ellison.
St. Matthews has four other thrift stores in the community which bring in $200,000 a month in revenue, money that goes to their mission.
Ellison is hopeful this expansion will not only help their bottom line, but also bring in more foot traffic for other businesses.
"It's good for all the businesses around here because donors are coming down here to drop off clothing or drop off resources and customers are coming down so there going to be eating and shopping and doing all kinds of things in this neighborhood, what a great thing to vitalize the community," says Ellison.
Ellison says they are looking at having a breakfast and lunch type diner with an outdoor patio.
They will close on the property in the end of May and they hope to be moved in by July 1, 2013.