Southwest Florida wins big with Norman Love and Mark Loren’s EGGStraordinary Giveaways

Norman and Jo Champion

Chocolatier Norman Love Confections and jeweler Mark Loren Designs recently partnered to hide 36 “EGGStraordinary” prizes throughout Lee and Collier counties between March 19-27. In addition to the special giveaway, prize winners who posted their discoveries on social media sites using the hashtag #LoveLorenEggHunt were entered into a grand prize drawing, and Norman Love Confections and Mark Loren Designs have announced Jo Champion as the grand prize winner.

Champion discovered one of Mark Loren Designs’ prize bags at the Mercato in Collier County on her birthday, and as the grand prize winner of the EGGStraordinary Giveaway, her birthday celebration continues. She will receive a Norman Love Confections All Our Love Gift Tower, valued at $385, and a $400 gift certificate to Mark Loren Designs.

“I found the Easter egg from Mark Loren Designs on my birthday, so that was a nice surprise,” said Champion. “Then to learn that I was the grand prize winner and will receive two very special prizes from both companies, well, it feels like a never-ending birthday celebration!”

Prize bags from Norman Love Confections and Mark Loren Designs were placed throughout Lee and Collier counties at businesses, events and other high-traffic areas. Norman Love Confections and Mark Loren Designs took to social media, revealing special daily clues to help followers determine the whereabouts of the day’s prize. Both Southwest Florida residents and visitors were winners throughout the giveaway, and while many prizes were discovered unexpectedly, many people challenged themselves to be the first to interpret the daily clues in order claim the special prize. Prizes were discovered in wide variety of locations throughout Lee and Collier counties, some of which included Hammond Stadium, Matanzas on the Bay and Health Park in Lee County, and Artis, Waterside Shops and aboard a Pure Florida cruise in Collier County.

Inside eggs in the Norman Love Confections gift bag, winners found a prize voucher for Love’s internationally recognized chocolates or other offerings from Norman Love Confections. Inside eggs in the Mark Loren Design gift bag, winners discovered a gemstone, along with a gift certificate to have the stone set into a custom-designed piece from the award-winning jeweler. Love and Loren added something “EGGStra” to some of their prize bags: golden eggs with a high-valued prize for the winners. Two golden egg prizes from both Love and Loren were hidden in both Lee and Collier Counties, and were discovered at Edison National Bank and Citygate Ministries in Lee County and FineMark Bank and North Naples United Methodist Church in Collier County.

Loren is nationally known for offering unique and rare gemstones, innovative diamond rings, exceptional engagement and wedding bands and expert jewelry design and repair; all services are done on-site at the Fort Myers and Naples gallery locations. From celebrities to clients who appreciate wearing exclusive jewelry designs, Mark Loren Designs assures the finest one-of-a-kind sentimental jewelry pieces for lasting enjoyment. For more information, visit www.marklorendesigns.com.

Founded in 2001 by Norman and Mary Love, Norman Love Confections creates and distributes handcrafted artisanal chocolates from its corporate headquarters at 11380 Lindbergh Blvd. in Fort Myers.  The award-winning Fort Myers-based chocolatier has been lauded more than a dozen times by a leading consumer ratings magazine, including recognition six times for producing the best ultra-premium chocolates in the nation. Forbes.com included Norman Love Confections BLACK line on its list of the nation’s top 10 truffles; The Huffington Post listed it among the six best U.S. destinations in its Chocolate Lover’s Travel Guide; and USA Today named Love as one of its top 10 entrepreneurs for 2014. Love has recently been named as the inaugural inductee of Dessert Professional Magazine’s Chocolatier Hall of Fame, partnered with local chefs to present a six-course meal at the James Beard House in New York and Norman Love Confections was ranked among the top 10 shops in the world for chocolate lovers by U.K. media outlet Daily Telegraph.

Norman Love Confections has Chocolate Salons in Fort Myers, Estero and Naples, and Artisan Gelato by Norman Love is next door to the Fort Myers salon, off Daniels Parkway east of I-75. Chocolates, gift baskets, sipping chocolate and Love’s book, “Artistry in Chocolate, A Story of Love,” also can be ordered online at www.normanloveconfections.com. In addition, Norman Love Confections chocolates and desserts are offered on 18 Princess Cruises’ ships through the “Chocolate Journeys” partnership and at independent retail locations throughout the U.S. For more information visit www.normanloveconfections.com or call 239-561-7215.

2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest raises more than $2.8 million and counting to benefit pediatric health care

Photo 7

Photo 1SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc.’s 2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest has raised more than $2.8 million and counting, with 100 percent of the proceeds directly benefitting pediatric health care in Southwest Florida. Made possible by title sponsor Pitbladdo Holdings, LLC, the two-day signature fundraising event featured Chef Vintner Dinners on Feb. 26 and The Grand Tasting & Live Auction on Feb. 27, where more than 300 came together at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club to raise money for SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc.’s beneficiaries, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, and pediatric programs and scholarships at Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida SouthWestern State College. Following The Grand Tasting & Live Auction, festivities concluded with a Relax & Re-Wine After Party at SS Hookers Waterfront Restaurant, hosted by the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest co-chairs Sandy Stilwell and Andie Vogt, which featured a live performance from award-winning country music entertainer and singer songwriter Billy Dean & Steel Horses.

Photo 6

The highlight of the event was the Live Auction, which featured a selection of more than 40 exclusive domestic and international getaways, delectable wine and culinary offerings, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences to be auctioned off to the highest bidders, with 100 percent of the proceeds to benefit SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc.’s beneficiaries.

Photo 9

“We are blown away by the generosity and kindness of the many guests, donors, sponsors, vintners, chefs and volunteers that participated in the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, and we are so grateful for all who came together to show their support of SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc., our beneficiaries and the countless children that will be impacted by the funds raised during this event,” said Sandy Stilwell, co-chair of the 2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest. “The success of this year’s event is all thanks to the wonderful supporters who have shared their time and resources to support this cause, and simple words cannot express our gratitude for the many amazing individuals within our Southwest Florida community,” added event co-chair Andie Vogt.

Photo 11

The most anticipated item up for bid during the Live Auction was the Cliff Williams and Mark Loren auction lot, featuring a signed bass guitar played by Cliff Williams, AC/DC bassist and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, and a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry of an AC/DC guitar pick pendant adorned with diamonds and gems, suspended from an original Williams’ bass guitar string, created by international award-winning custom jewelry designer, Mark Loren. This highly coveted lot went for a total of $140,000 at the Wine & Food Fest, the highest single bid of the afternoon.

The once-in-a-lifetime package that received the most attention from auction-goers was an exclusive four-night trip for four people to the Bahamas, where the winning bidder will have the opportunity to enjoy a round of golf and day of fishing with Justin Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open Champion and current #7 world-ranked professional golfer. After an intense competition amongst bidders, the auction closed with a winning bid of $100,000. Multiple international travel packages were also among the most popular auction lots. A classic African safari featuring 13 days in Kenya and Tanzania went for $55,000.

Photo 4

The Southwest Florida recreation of the James Beard House-style gourmet dining experience was a popular item amongst auction-goers, raising $100,000. With bids of $5,000 per couple, 20 couples reserved their seats at Sea Salt Restaurant in Naples on Oct. 30, 2016, where they will enjoy an exclusive evening of culinary distinction, hosted by Southwest Florida’s award-winning chefs, Chef Fabrizio Aielli of Sea Salt, Chef Harold Balink of Harold’s, Chef Todd Johnson of Rumrunners and Chef Norman Love of Norman Love Confections.

Photo 3

Generous vintner donors doubled their original donations to the Live Auction, allowing additional bidders to compete for an exclusive experience. A trip to Napa Valley for a five-night stay for eight at Gamble Family Vineyards was donated a second time, bringing in a total of $80,000 between the two bids. Honored Signature Vintner, Williams Selyem Winery, also donated another trip for guests to become winemakers for a day, with a three-night trip for four to Williams Selyem Winery, which raised a total of $40,000. In addition, Carter Cellars doubled their donation of a three-night wine country journey in Napa Valley and Humboldt County for four people including dinners, tours and tastings at Hotel Carter in Eurkea and Envy Wines, as well as original artwork by Sherri Carter. Sold twice, the Carter Cellars “Art of Wine” package went for a total of $40,000.

Photo 8

In addition to the fun and excitement of the afternoon, the Live Auction also featured heartfelt examples of the event’s impact on children in Southwest Florida. As a young patient of Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, 2016 Child Artist Avery McCaskill’s touching story brought the room to tears, as her mother shared their unique experience with Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida and SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc.’s child artist program. Young Avery’s one-of-a-kind painting of an owl raised $150,000 for Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. Her work of art will be put on display at the hospital for patients and visitors to enjoy.

Photo 5

Dozens of enthusiastic attendees also raised their paddles to show their support for the new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida through SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc.’s “Fund-a-Cause” initiative, “A Million Reasons to Give.”  To date, a record-setting total of more than $800,000 has been raised to help Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida provide the special surgical instruments and communication and monitoring technology that a state-of-the-art children’s hospital needs to effectively serve its patients. Donations of $100 and more continue to be accepted online, at swflwinefest.org/give-to-give/.

Dr. Amy Stanfill, pediatric surgeon at Golisano Children’s Hospital, shared her appreciation for the support of SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. and the local community:

Photo 10

“I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, and I am honored to represent Golisano Children’s Hospital at such an inspirational event,” Dr. Stanfill said. “As a mother and a pediatric surgeon, I’m grateful to the many passionate and generous bidders. Thanks to the continued support of our community, we are better able to perform lifesaving surgeries on children in our community. This generously donated equipment can provide invaluable care and service to future generations for years to come.”

The afternoon concluded with the Pass the Hat portion of the Live Auction, where auction-goers generously added a variety of donations to the top hat, including cash, jewelry and college scholarships to FSW and FGCU, donated by the foundations of both institutions. The unique auction lot brought in a total of $60,000 at the 2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest.

For more information about SWFL Children’s Charities Inc. or its annual signature fundraiser, the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, visit www.swflwinefest.org.

Photo 2

The SWFL Children’s Charities Inc.’s annual signature fundraiser, the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, has raised $15.6 million over the past seven years, making it the most successful fundraising event in Lee County and one of the top-grossing wine fests in the country. The nonprofit, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. donates 100 percent of the event proceeds to three local beneficiaries. Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is the primary beneficiary of the event, and the money raised helps to fund the building of the new family-centered children’s hospital that will provide new and expanded medical services and subspecialty services to children from Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. In addition to providing funds for the new state-of-the-art Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. supports pediatric health care programs and provides scholarships for students at Florida SouthWestern State College and Florida Gulf Coast University. For more information, visit www.swflwinefest.org.

AC/DC’s Cliff Williams’ bass guitar and Mark Loren custom jewelry up for bid at 2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest

SAMSUNG CSC

A piece of rock legend history is up for bid in Southwest Florida: a signed bass guitar played by Cliff Williams, AC/DC bassist and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. The Music Man Stingray Bass signed bass guitar is one of Cliff’s preferred basses, he has used this very instrument (serial number BOO8629) for both recording and touring since 1977. It is one of only five basses that he has played on tour and in the recording studio, and the only to be donated. Adding to tPhoto 1 - Cliff Williamshis rock star lot, international award-winning custom jewelry designer, Mark Loren, will also include a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry of an AC/DC guitar pick pendant adorned with diamonds and gems, suspended from an origina
l Williams’ bass guitar string. In addition, the auction lot is paired with two Janzen Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Napa Valley 2012 1.5 L bottles, donated by Dave and Cheryl Copham, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. trustees. This exclusive auction lot package will be available for bid during the SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc.’s 2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, an annual signature fundraising event that benefits organizations dedicated to the health of Southwest Florida children.

“Cliff and Georgeanne Williams are long-time supporters of SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc., and this donation represents their passion and commitment to addressing the needs of children’s health care in Southwest Florida,” said Dave Photo 3 - Mark Loren Designs - BackCopham. “This is once-in-a-lifetime chance to own one of Cliff’s favorite basses that he has played on tours throughout the world. Cliff tells me that he might even ask to borrow it from time to time, making this piece of rock history even more valuable for the top bidder.”

The two-day 2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest event includes private Chef Vintner Dinners on Friday, Feb. 26 and The Grand Tasting and Live Auction on Saturday, Feb. 27 at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club. During the Live Auction, bidders will compete for the winning bid on a selection of 40 auction lots including exclusive getaways, delectable wine and culinary offerings and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, with all proceeds to benefit SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc.’s beneficiaries, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, Florida SouthWestern State College and FloridPhoto 2 - Mark Loren Designs - Fronta Gulf Coast University.

If you are interested in attending or bidding on the Cliff Williams auction lot, please call 239-433-4260 or email info@swflwinefest.org.  For a glimpse into the selection of other lots that will be available for bid at the 2016 Live Auction, visit www.swflwinefest.org.

The SWFL Children’s Charities Inc.’s annual signature fundraiser, the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, SAMSUNG CSChas raised and donated $12.8 million over the past seven years, making it the most successful fundraising event in Lee County and one of the top-grossing wine fests in the country. The nonprofit, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. donates 100 percent of the event proceeds to three local beneficiaries. Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is the primary beneficiary of the event, and the money raised helps to fund the building of the new family-centered children’s hospital that will provide new and expanded medical services and subspecialty services to children from Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. In addition to providing funds for the new state-of-the-art Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. supports pediatric health care programs at Florida SouthWestern State College and Florida Gulf Coast University. For more information, visit www.swflwinefest.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tickets and sponsorships still available for Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida Business Hall of Fame, Lee County dinner and awards ceremony

Mark Loren

Norman LoveTickets and sponsorship opportunities for the Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida 2014 Business Hall of Fame, Lee County to be held April 17 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa. Tickets are available at www.jaswfl.org. During the dinner and awards ceremony, Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida will induct laureates Norman Love of Norman Love Confections and Mark Loren of Mark Loren Designs. The prestigious award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who serve as role models for youth through their professional accomplishments and commitment to the community.

Business sponsorships are still available and include tickets to the event with Platinum level sponsorships available for $7,500 and Gold level sponsorships for $5,000. Tables of 10, which include two reserved seats for students, are available for $1,800 (silver sponsor level). Tables of four are available for $900 (bronze sponsor level) and include a reserved seat for one student. Individual seats are also available for $250 each. Tables and tickets to the event can be purchased online at www.JASWFL.org or by calling the local Junior Achievement office at 239-225-2590.

Sponsors also are needed to support student admission, which is $125 per ticket. Junior Achievement students who attend the event have an opportunity to interact with local professionals and practice their etiquette skills. To reserve tables, purchase individual tickets or to become a sponsor, call the Junior Achievement office at 239-225-2590. Proceeds benefit local Junior Achievement programs.

The Title Sponsors are BB&T Bank and BB&T-Oswald Trippe and Company. The 15th Anniversary Sponsor is Comcast. Gold Sponsors areAudi Fort Myers, CenturyLink, Chico’s FAS, Edison National Bank, LeeSar and GATES. As sponsors, these local businesses help ensure that Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida can continue to provide programs for students in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties that focus on the principles of work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.

About Junior Achievement:
Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida Inc. provides in-school and after-school programs for more than 12,000 students in Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties that focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Today, JA reaches 4.4 million students per year in 117 markets across the United States, with an additional 5.8 million students served by operations in 121 other countries worldwide. For more information about Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida visit www.JASWFL.org or contact Anne Frazier at 239-225-2590 or info@jaswfl.org.

Tickets and sponsorships available for Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida Business Hall of Fame, Lee County

Mark Loren

Norman LoveLocal businesses, educators and community volunteers are invited to join Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida in honoring laureates Norman Love of Norman Love Confections and Mark Loren of Mark Loren Designs. Love and Loren will be inducted into the 2014 Business of Hall of Fame, Lee County, at a dinner and awards ceremony on April 17 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa. Tickets and sponsorships for the event are now available by calling 239-225-2590 or visiting www.JASWFL.org.

BB&T – Oswald Trippe and Company is this year’s title sponsor. Comcast is the 15th Anniversary event sponsor. In addition, CenturyLink, Chico’s FAS and LeeSar are gold sponsors for the event.

Sponsorships are still available and include tickets to the event. Tables of 10, which include two reserved seats for students, are available for $1,800 (silver sponsor level). Tables of four are available for $900 (bronze sponsor level) and include a reserved seat for one student. Individual seats are available for $250 each.

In addition, business leaders can sponsor a student for $125 per ticket to give students the opportunity to attend the event, interact with local professionals and practice their professional networking skills. Additionally, full- and half-page advertisements are available in the event program book for $1,000 and $500 respectively. To reserve tables or individual tickets or to become a sponsor, call the Junior Achievement office at 239-225-2590 or register online at www.JASWFL.org. Proceeds benefit local Junior Achievement programs.

The prestigious award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who serve as role models for youth through their professional accomplishments and commitment to the community. Love and Loren will join a distinguished group of individuals who have been inducted into the Business Hall of Fame since it was founded in 1999.

Norman Love is a world-renowned chocolatier who founded the Fort Myers-based Norman Love Confections in 2001. His adventurous flair, love of the avant-garde and penchant for perfection are basic ingredients in the ultra-premium chocolates that are revered as representatives of the industry’s finest gourmet sweets. A decade later, Love opened a second Chocolate Salon in Naples, Fla. and in 2012, Artisan Gelato by Norman Love opened next to the Fort Myers Chocolate Salon. He also ensures that Norman Love Confections shares its sweet success by giving back to the community. Annually, the company supports more than 250 charitable causes.

Mark Loren, a Chicago-born four-time winner of the International Spectrum Design Awards, opened his jewelry design gallery in Fort Myers in 1985. Since his initial national recognition, Loren and his design staff have gone on to win six Spectrum awards, two National Design manufacturing honors, four International Platinum Guild Design Awards and one International Pearl Design Award. Featured in many jewelry industry publications, Loren’s innovative jewelry designs are also worn by celebrities. In 2012, Loren opened a second gallery at the Mercato in Naples. Loren is an active board member of many community associations and is currently creating and initiating two new charitable events, soon to be announced.

Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida to induct Norman Love, Mark Loren into 2014 Business Hall of Fame, Lee County

Mark LorenNorman Love
Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida will induct world-renowned chocolatier Norman Love and award-winning jewelry designer Mark Loren into the 2014 Business of Hall of Fame, Lee County, at a dinner and awards ceremony on April 17 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa.

The prestigious award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who serve as role models for youth through their professional accomplishments and commitment to the community. Love and Loren will join a distinguished group of individuals who have been inducted into the Business Hall of Fame since it was founded in 1999. For more information including sponsorship opportunities and individual tickets, visit www.jaswfl.org.

The universal love for chocolate first inspired Norman Love to become a chocolatier. After learning the craft of pastry-making in France, Love served as executive pastry chef for many luxury resorts including The Beverly Hills Hotel and The Ritz-Carlton. During his career with The Ritz-Carlton he was appointed to the position of corporate executive pastry chef where he oversaw global pastry and baking operations. In 13 years, he opened 30 hotel and resort pastry kitchens in international and domestic locales such as Boston, Dubai and Bali.

International acclaim also followed Love. Chocolatier and Pastry Art and Design magazine named him one of the country’s top 10 pastry chefs in 1996 and 1997. In 1999, he led the U.S. team to a bronze medal in the biennial Coup du Monde de la Patisserie (World Cup of Pastry) competition in Lyons, France, which featured the top pastry chefs from 18 nations. He was among 18 chefs chosen to make a birthday cake at the 150th Smithsonian Anniversary Celebration in Washington, D.C., and one of only 26 selected to appear on the 39-part series “Baking with Julia,” which aired on public television. Love has made numerous appearances on the Discovery Channel’s “Great Chefs” series, and his desserts have graced the covers of Art Culinaire, Pastry & Baking and other prominent culinary publications. He is also a contributing author to four books including Baking with Julia.

In 2009, Love received the honor of one of the “Top 10 Chocolatiers in North America” by Dessert Magazine. He is also co-founder of the National Pastry Team Championship and is a regular guest judge on the Food Network Challenge series.
Recent accolades include Gulfshore Business’ “one of 40 people of influence in Southwest Florida;” National Geographic The 10 Best of Everything’s “one of the 10 Best Chocolatiers in the world;” Florida Retailer of the Year for Leadership from the Florida Retail Federation; and the Cordon d’Or Gold Ribbon International Cookbooks & Culinary Arts Culinary Academy “Great Tastes” Florida Product Award.

In 2001, the culinary virtuoso left the corporate world and entered into private enterprise, and founded Norman Love Confections. His adventurous flair, love of the avant-garde and penchant for perfection are basic ingredients in the ultra-premium chocolates that are revered as representatives of the industry’s finest gourmet sweets.

A decade later, Love opened a second Chocolate Salon in Naples, Fla. And in 2012, Artisan Gelato by Norman Love opened next to the Fort Myers Chocolate Salon. In addition to annual new and limited edition holiday flavors, Love launched Norman Love Confections BLACK, an ultra-premium line of intensely dark chocolates featuring rich single-origin chocolates from five of finest growing regions in the world. He also unveiled the first Norman Love Confections BLACK extension product—Norman Love Confections BLACK Sipping Chocolate—inspired by the European tradition.

Since founding Norman Love Confections, Love has received tremendous national and international recognition. A highly respected consumer rating publication recognized the company 12 times, including six times as the best ultra-premium chocolates in the nation. Love and his chocolates have been featured by USA Today, The Today Show, Robb Report, InStyle, Martha Stewart Living, Forbes and O, The Oprah Magazine.

Love has instilled a corporate culture of relentless pursuit of innovation, excellence and quality. Known for creating chocolate flavors recognizable with American consumers, Norman Love Confections is also recognized for its artistic and aesthetic presentation of the chocolates.

He also ensures that Norman Love Confections shares its sweet success by giving back to the community. Annually, the company supports more than 250 charitable causes including 3 Wishes to benefit Make-A-Wish of Southern Florida, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Florida and Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida; Rumrunners Celebrity Chef Night to benefit Barbara’s Friends for Golisano Children’s Hospital; Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, Edison State College Pediatric Nursing Program and Florida Gulf Coast University Bower School of Music; Heights Foundation; Harry Chapin Food Bank; Partners for Breast Cancer Care and Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida. Love lives in Fort Myers with his wife and co-owner, Mary, and their two children.

Born and raised in Chicago, Mark Loren attended Gem City College in Quincy, IL for advanced jewelry design, watch making and jewelry repair. After a brief stint repairing watches for the Bulova Watch Co., Loren realized watchmaking was not the creative outlet he sought, and he began a jewelry apprenticeship with Frederick Prete Goldsmiths in Highland Park, IL. The Chicago area provided a fertile “proving-ground” for Loren’s design skills and many fine jewelry stores showcased his work until the Southwest Florida sunshine beckoned in 1982.

Loren started his own jewelry trade shop in Fort Myers, and was successful providing jewelry repair and design for many stores in the Southwest Florida community. He opened his retail design gallery, Mark Loren Designs, in 1985 and won his first of four International Spectrum Design Awards in 1991. The American Gem Trade Association’s Spectrum Awards have been called the “Oscars of the jewelry design industry”.

Since his initial national recognition, Loren and his design staff have gone on to win six Spectrum awards, two National Design manufacturing honors, four International Platinum Guild Design Awards and one International Pearl Design Award.
Mark Loren Designs was recently featured in an issue of the jewelry industry magazine INSTORE for being a national finalist in their annual competition “Coolest Jewelry Stores in America”.

Mark Loren Designs was just voted “Best Jeweler” by Gulfshore Business magazine for 2013 and “Best Place to Rock Her World” in 2013 by Florida Weekly. Loren is also a regular guest speaker at industry trade events and for local media.
The clientele of the gallery has expanded to include local as well as national celebrities and clients who appreciate wearing unique, innovative jewelry designs. The design team at the studio shines the brightest when working on custom creations for private commissions. In 2012, Loren opened a second gallery at the Mercato in Naples.

The work studio at Mark Loren Designs has played host to visitors from the industry to observe their unique production capabilities and use of cutting-edge technologies. The talents of the studio are often utilized to create and donate pieces to many local charities including the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, Southwest Florida Symphony, Alliance for the Arts, Children’s Advocacy Agency, Rotary, the American Heart Association, Florida Gulf Coast University, Special Equestrians, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools, ALS Foundation, the American Cancer Society, The University of Florida Library, Art of The Olympians, Dr. Emad Salman Pediatric Oncology practice, Lee County Chamber of Commerce and many more.

Loren has served on the Local Board of Directors of The American Cancer Society as a past President as well as the State Board of Directors for the Florida Division of the ACS. He is an honorary Lifetime Member of the Lee County Board as well as a Lifetime, National Excalibur level donor. He has also served on the Southwest Florida Symphony Board of Directors, and was a Lee County appointed Ambassador to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Fla. Loren currently serves on the Board of The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools and the Children’s Advocacy Center for Lee County. He also is a board member of Art Fest in Lee County and is on the Advisory Council for the Heights Foundation. Loren is currently creating and initiating two new charitable events, soon to be announced.

Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida Inc. provides in-school and after-school programs for students in Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties that focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Today, 129 individual area operations reach more than 4 million students in the U.S., with an additional 5.7 million students served by operations in 122 other countries worldwide. For more information about Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida visit www.JASWFL.org or contact Anne Frazier at 239-225-2590 or info@jaswfl.org.