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Hoffmann Family of Cos. CEO in Naples issues public memo

Geoff Hoffmann, Co-CEO, Hoffmann Family of Cos.
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A high-profile company in Naples is using its voice to take a stand on gun violence. 

In a memo sent to employees, then shared publicly on July 11 as a statement, the Hoffmann Family of Cos. denounced gun violence in America, vowing to take action.

“Our companies will not be servicing any retailer, distributor or manufacturer of any semi-automatic or fully-automatic weaponry, or any of their components or related products, to the American public,” wrote Geoff Hoffmann, a co-CEO of the family-owned business that has seen exponential growth in Southwest Florida.

Offering more insight into the ban, he said: “To be clear this is not a call to eliminate the legal usage of shotguns and rifles used in recreational and sporting activities. Rather, this is a plea to eliminate high-capacity magazines and the weapons that fire them.”

In case you missed it:David Hoffmann steps down as CEO of family business

Forbes list of the world’s richest people: Who is David Hoffmann?

The company has also pledged not to back or champion “any politician with views that support the unbridled sale and usage” of the powerful guns that are landing in the wrong hands and “destroying the composition and fundamental rights of our country.” 

In sharing his thoughts publicly, Hoffmann urged everyone to call on their elected leaders to “institute much more restrictive gun laws that ban this type of weaponry from all corners of the country.”

“This includes the implementation of a mental health evaluation, in addition to more restrictive red flag laws that would ensure guns are in the hands of mentally stable, law abiding citizens,” he wrote.

The family shared the memo through the company’s website and social media channels, and via emails to corporate contacts.

As a result, they saw a 258% increase in traffic on their website.

World’s richest people: Hoffmann joins list of billionaires in Southwest Florida

Hopes of making an impact

In a phone interview, Geoff Hoffmann said he decided to share his memo with a wider audience in hopes of spurring others to take action, following recent mass shootings, which include one at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, that left seven dead. 

“There will certainly be some impact as a result of our position,” he said. “But I’m really focused on the impact we can make across our communities, if we are able to institute some changes, to end this nonsensical gun violence and make our communities safe. That is the primary driver, and primary focus, from a business standpoint.”

The Hoffmann Family of Cos. owns the Hertz Arena.

The family’s enterprises include everything from executive search and transportation to real estate and hospitality. The decision to restrict dealings with companies tied to the firearms industry won’t impact all of the Hoffmanns’ businesses

“It will affect some more than others, but we want to make sure we can live up to our promises,” Hoffmann said.

He declined to disclose any of the companies the family will no longer do business with as a result of its socially driven operational changes.

“Because of our private nature we are unable to describe specific situations as it would be perceived as a breach of confidence from clients and customers we continue to service,” Hoffmann said.

The memo, he said, has generated a lot of positive feedback from employees, clients and others.

“I think it just goes to show the sentiment of many people wanting to see changes made,” Hoffmann said.

He’s happy about the new gun legislation President Joe Biden recently signed into law, but believes more must be done to stem the tide of mass shootings, with more than 300 across America this year alone.

“I’m not suggesting the changes I’m discussing or had discussed in the memo will blanketly change the situation overnight,” Hoffmann said. “I’m just hopeful it’s a step in the right direction and that we concentrate on this issue and put an end to it once and for all, whether it’s a year from now, or two years from now, or three years from now. Hopefully, it’s the former.” 

While he penned the memo, he said it came with the support of his family, including his brother Greg, who shares the role of CEO, and his father David, who founded the company and recently handed over the reins to his sons.

The transition took effect May 1, with little fanfare.

Entrepreneur, David Hoffmann, smiles in the Hoffmann Family of Companies' office on Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 in Naples, Fla.

Taking an unusual political stand

Asked about his son’s public statement, David said he’s proud of his decision to use the voice of the company — and family — to take a stand. 

“He had to be brave and bold and he was,” he said of Geoff. “Normally, we don’t like to get involved in political issues, but this is just so important.”

Although he didn’t have a hand in the statement, the elder Hoffmann said he received many emails in support, thanking the family for it.

The Hoffmanns aren’t alone.

As a group, CEOs have been collectively criticized in the past for their silence on gun control. But that’s changing.

In June, many made their voices heard. Following a series of high-profile mass shootings, the CEOs of more than 250 companies co-signed a letter urging the U.S. Senate to take bold, immediate action to address what they described as an “epidemic.”

The signers included chief executives of some well-known American companies, such as Levi Strauss & Co. and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

In their letter, the business leaders pointed out that gun violence has a human toll and an economic one, costing American taxpayers, employers and communities $280 billion a year, based on estimates by Everytown, a New York-based nonprofit that advocates for gun control and against gun violence.

“Employers lose $1.4 million every day in productivity and revenue, and costs associated with victims of gun violence,” they wrote. “Communities that experience gun violence struggle to attract investment, create jobs, and see economic growth.”

The Hoffmanns weren’t involved in the letter, but expressed the same sentiment.

Some CEOs started taking action of their own a few years ago.

After the Parkland shootings in Florida, for example, Ed Stack, the former CEO of Dick’s, pulled military-style semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines from store shelves and tightened up on sales policies, raising the purchasing age from 18 to 21.

While the company lost employees, customers and sales over his controversial decisions, Stack told Bloomberg they were worth it a year later. The sports retailer reported $150 million in lost sales in 2018 because of the policy changes.

Dick’s has continued to pull guns off its shelves, while seeing sales increase elsewhere, including shoes and clothes. Now, only about 13% of its stores sell firearms, according to an article by

Other companies in Florida — and locally — have taken controversial stands on sensitive social and political topics in recent years.

After facing criticism over its silence, the Walt Disney Company came out against Florida’s Parental Rights In Education, or what critics called the “Don’t Say Gay,” bill, in March, sparking a feud with Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The bill, signed into law by the governor, limits classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

Closer to home, Alfie Oakes, a farmer and major food retailer and distributor in Naples, has generated local — and even national — publicity over his strong political views and statements. That includes describing both the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement hoaxes in a Facebook post a few years ago.

Oakes is also a big — and very vocal — supporter of former Pres. Donald Trump. He believes votes were stolen from Trump in Florida in the 2020 election.

Some have flocked to Oakes’s businesses because of his beliefs and stances, while others have avoided doing business with him altogether. No matter the negative impacts, he continues to grow his footprint, recently opening a second Food & Thought organic restaurant off Airport-Pulling Road in Naples.

As for Hoffmann, he said he’s well aware he won’t have “total consensus” for the measures he outlined in his memo, but he’s heard more positives than negatives about it, thus far.

“This is a polarizing topic that has been debated back and forth for years,” he said. “However, I can tell you that the overwhelming majority of responses and calls have been in support of the strategies I outlined, not only from the perspective of concerned Americans, but also as an issue critical to business.”

The Hoffmann Family of Cos. now includes more than 85 businesses and brands, with 200 locations across the globe. 

One of the company’s most recent acquisitions is Florida Media Group LLC, a publisher of nine newspapers, with more than 220,000 weekly readers combined. Those newspapers include a handful of Florida Weeklys, from Punta Gorda to Key West.

After relocating to Naples in 2015, David Hoffmann and his wife Jerry took a keen interest in Southwest Florida, buying up local real estate and businesses as part of a larger growth strategy.

Locally, the family’s portfolio of companies includes 37 businesses, with more than 2,000 employees. 

In Southwest Florida, company holdings include the Hertz Arena and the Everblades hockey team, as well as several private golf clubs and a slew of small local businesses, such as Stan’s Coffee and Mitch’s Cookies.

Written By

Avi Adkins is a seasoned journalist with a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for detail. With years of experience in the field, Adkins has established himself as a respected figure in journalism.

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