the Rouse Brothers wrote their hit tune “Orange Blossom Special”,
about the famous Seaboard Air Line train that brought frozen northeasterners
to the magically sunny wintertime Florida. The eastern, main route
of the OBS began in New York and ended in Miami . The western route,
which has been preserved and can still be seen on its original site
at the northeast corner of 10 th Street and Fifth Avenue South,
ended at the Naples Depot. In the middle of the Great Depression,
that train and the winter visitors that it brought to the Haldemans'
grand Naples Hotel were very important to this little fishing village.
Back then, fewer than 150 people lived year-round in Naples. Across
Fifth Avenue from the Depot, the Frank brothers (Goodlette- Frank
Road) owned and operated Naples' only auto repair garage, and the
town's only school for grades 1 through 12 had just been built on
Third Avenue South (now Gulfview Middle School).
Collier County founder Barron Gift Collier was still living at the
time, and Everglades City was the county seat and real center of
Bay View Inn and Grocery
This is where it started almost 60 years ago.
Of little note at the time, but of
great importance to us, Peter Parley Wynn moved to Naples that same
year from Lakeland Florida and purchased the small Bayview Inn.
Located in what is now the Crayton Cove business district at the
base of the Naples City Docks, Peter and his wife, Vida, also operated
a grocery store and restaurant in half of the Bayview building while
they left their previous grocery store back Lakeland under the control
of their 22 year old son, Don.
With the start of World War II, young Don Wynn entered the military,
and the Lakeland store was sold.
After the war, Don intended to return
to central Florida, but he came to Naples to help his parents for
a while, and, as sometimes happens, “for a while” became
forever as Don met and married Annie Merle Echols, and the two raised
five children, all still living in Naples.
' first modern grocery store – Don Wynn's Sunshine Super
Market (later to be Wynn's Sunshine Hardware and finally Kepp's
men's clothing store, where Yabba's restaurant now operates
in the Wynn Building).
1948 – What a difference 10 years
can make. By this time, Naples had a permanent population of almost
600, and there were some 200 individual telephones in the town.
Thanks to John Pulling, there was a
Naples Board of Realtors. Henry B. Watkins, Sr. had recently arrived
and would soon be adding the “Hotel” part to the already
established Naples Beach Club golf course. Annie and Don Wynn now
had a one year old son, Larry, and Don figured it was time to move
“up town”. So, the Wynn's built Naples ' first modern
grocery store on the northeast corner of 7 th Street and Fifth Avenue
South (where the Wynn Building with Yabba's restaurant is today).
It was a rather bold move at the time. That part of Fifth Avenue
had just been zoned for commercial use, and when Wynn's Sunshine
Super Market opened, the only building on the half mile of Fifth
Avenue South between the market and the beach was the small, 15
room Gulf Hotel at 4th Street.
began to grow, so did the Wynn family business. Sunshine Suprex
was opened in 1953 next door on 5th Avenue.
Just 5 years later, in 1953, the Wynn's built a
new store, twice as large and just to the east of their first Fifth
Avenue super market. The grocery business was moved to the new building,
and the original building became the birthplace of the other well
known Wynn Family enterprise, Sunshine Hardware.
That original super market and then hardware building
(eventually Kepp's men's clothing store) stood at the corner of
7th Street and Fifth Avenue South until 1999, when it was raised
to make way for the new Wynn Building and the Plaza that leads to
the Naples Players' Theater. The later, 1953 building was home to
Wynn's Family Market on Fifth for nearly 50 years and, happily,
has been preserved within the new Wynn Building, which runs from
Yabba's Grill, at the west end. Please call our office at 239-947-0458 for available retail space in the building.
DEL SOL and Kilwin's Chocolates are
actually in the Old Wynn's Family Market Structure.
In 1964, Don Wynn brought even more convenient shopping
to Naples with the construction of a large building on the entire
block between 1 st Ave and 2 nd Ave, fronting on the west side of
US 41. From the picture below, you can see Don's interesting concept
of operating the market and hardware as one store. Today, the stores
are separated by an interior wall and have different operating hours,
but there's still a Wynn's Market and Sunshine Hardware at that
single address of 141 9th Street (US 41) North.
the Big, Modern Sunshine Foodway & Hardware is built on
As the years went by, the Wynn's expanded their
businesses to include grocery and hardware stores in Naples , Bonita
Springs, and Golden Gate. Currently Michael Wynn runs the hardware stores in Naples, Golden
Gate, Bonita Springs, San Carlos, East Naples, and Marco Island.
In 1985, Don Wynn sold several of the
grocery stores to the Kroger company and shifted more of his time
and attention to golf and fishing. His youngest son, Tim, then 26,
took over direction of the Fifth Avenue store, and the Wynn's became
landlords to the Kroger market (Florida Choice) at the US 41 location,
next to Sunshine Hardware. Eventually, the Kroger lease ended on
the US 41 space, and today Tim runs that store, as well as the Wynn's
On Fifth Deli and Wynn's Catering. Tim's brother, Jerry, runs the
hardware stores in Naples , Golden Gate , Bonita Springs , and Estero.
From the beginning, Tim realized that his success
as an independent grocery store operator would depend upon offering
his customers greater personal service and unique items unavailable
in the large chain stores. With that in mind, he added Wynn's Market
home delivery service, expanded the store's gourmet foods line (now
one of the best in the area), and created our “from scratch”
fine bakery department featuring a product line that combines international
delicacies, American classics, and Wynn Family favorites from his
mom, Annie Wynn's own recipes. Wine and spirits expert Ted Janowitz
was brought on board to develop one of the most distinctive wine
departments in southwest Florida . Then, in 1992, as a complement
to the market, Tim started Wynn's Catering, now one of the largest
and most prestigious catering firms in Collier County .
In his nearly two decades at the helm of the Wynn
food operations, Tim has introduced many changes and advancements
(including this web site), but, just as importantly, he has preserved
the core attitudes and principles that his father and grandfather
started with, foremost among which is that Customer Service has
always been the primary key to Wynn Family success.
standing next to the first refrigerated meat case in Naples
Turner, Don Wynn, and a young Tim Wynn at the opening of Sunshine
over the helm of Wynn's Market and through the years kept
his Father's philosophy of providing the best product and
service at a fair price.
|More Photo's (Wynns