A Famous Plane Ride

Dated: February 3 2021

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Leonard Rosen was not a developer when he took the famous plane ride over Cape Coral.   Born and raised in Baltimore, Rosen and his brother, Jack operated an appliance store and an advertising agency.  The brothers learned the importance of promotion when they started to purchase large blocks of air time on late night television.  Eventually they invested in a cosmetic company which made a product for baldness.  Formula 9 was aggressively promoted by television advertising mail in coupons. These marketing techniques quickly made their company a household name.  In the fall of 1956, the brothers sold the company for two million dollars.

That same year, while on vacation in Punta Gorda, Leonard Rosen met Mitt Mendelson, the developer of Harbour Heights, a development on the Peace River.  A year later, Rosen and Mendelson hired Ed Wilson of Fort Myers Airways to fly over the area.  During this flight, Rosen notice that there was a beautiful parcel of land directly on the river that stretched for miles.  Immediately, Rosen knew that he was going to purchase this property for his retirement.

In 1957,  Jack and Leonard Rosen closed on a 103-square mile parcel of land for $678,000.  The area was called Redfish point at that time, but the brothers renamed the area Cape Coral for no other reason than “It sounded good.” Rosen formed Gulf American Land Corporation to develop his new purchase.

Two years later, the Rosens added another 15,000 acres to their property and their marketing campaign swung into high gear.  The Rosens were experts at marketing and they quickly developed a campaign to sell their “Waterfront Wonderland” to people from across the country.

The brothers sent out millions of brochures hawking the new development as well as advertisements on the radio, on television, and in print.  Since the new community had none of the amenities that people needed to survive (such as jobs, schools, shopping centers, seawalls) the advertising was quite vague.

The aggressive marketing continued until ground was officially broken in 1957.

More about the creative marketing used to lure customers to the development in the next blog posting.

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Ellie and Bob Bunting

Ellie has returned to real estate sales after spending the last 40 years teaching English at Florida SouthWestern State College in Fort Myers She has teamed up with her husband, Bob, who has been a....

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