October 21, 2004
WO M E N  I N  B U S I N E S S
As if naming a
seafood establishment
a "cafe" were not
enough of a step
above, Cafe de Marco
owner Sandy
has plenty more to set
her apart.
Owner and opera-
tor of the well-known
and equally as loved
establishment, Scheeler-Franchino feels
it is her determination and drive to stay
focused on what she does best that sets her
and her restaurant apart from others in
the field.
"I stay focused...and never giving up
or getting too big to where quality and
consistency often suffers," she said.
Scheeler-Franchino has kept her focus
on her customers for more than 21 years,
and feels it is her background in educa-
tion that has provided the foundation. A
graduate of Rutgers University, Scheeler-
Franchino majored in elementary and
special education, and minored in busi-
"I have been involved in the world
of restaurants since my college days,
starting out as a part-time waitress to
help pay for college," Scheeler-Franchino
said. "I also managed a restaurant while
teaching, just after college. My educa-
tional background provided me a foundation
for operating my own business, but it has
been my 21+ years of experience in the
restaurant field which has taught me the
most about succeeding over a period of
Since its opening on April 1, 1983,
Cafe de Marco has maintained the persona
of a top quality establishment. The secret?
According to Scheeler-Franchino it is
staying up with current trends, while
maintaining signature items to keep long-
time customers happy.
Another of Scheeler-Franchino's
secrets to success? Get involved in the
community and make an impact on those
around you. "I'd like to think that I, along
with many of my restaurant associates, have
made a positive impact over the years,"
Scheeler-Franchino said.
Apart from Scheeler-Franchino's keen
attention to detail and philosophy in the
industry, she depends on more than one
great woman to back her and Cafe de
Marco. Scheeler-Franchino attributes a great
deal of her business success to long stand-
ing loyal employees and family.
"Many of my employees have been
with me for as long as 19, 17 and ten
years. Our newest employee is already
starting his second year," she mentioned.
One of the women who has con-
tributed long and loyal service to Cafe
de Marco and Scheeler-Franchino is Paula
Erjavec. Erjavec is the General Manager
and has been an employee since Decem-
ber of 1986. "Paula has risen through the
ranks, said Scheeler-Franchino. Her loy-
alty and concern for the restaurant is
rarely found in an employee, it is more that
of an owner. Throughout the years, her efforts
have never dwindled. She is my right-
hand woman."
"In the years of managing the restau-
rant full-time, I tirelessly put in 17-hour
days, six days a week; which, for those who
know, is the restaurant business," Erjavec
said. Friendship is what has kept me at
the Cafe de Marco all these years," she added.
Behind every great manager, there
must stand a great staff. The head of that
staff for Erjavec and Cafe de Marco is
Wendy Roach.
"Wendy has been with me since
October of 1987," Scheeler-Franchino
said. "Now, 17 years later, she is another
trusted friend and employee. Her dedi-
cation to the Cafe has been outstand-
ing...she is for the house first."
Also standing behind Scheeler-
Franchino are her mother, Carmela Lanni,
and her daughter, Samantha. Carmela
has been working with her daughter at
Cafe de Marco for seven years, since
moving from New Jersey.
"My mom does a great job here,"
Scheeler-Franchino said, "she does var-
ious things that are vital to keeping the busi-
ness running, such as records and pay-
"As for my daughter, she has liter-
ally learned how to walk in this restaurant.
She has worked with me since she was about
seven or eight as a bus girl and hostess,"
Scheeler-Franchino said.
And still Scheeler-Franchino has more
girl power behind her. This in the form of
her bookkeeper of over 18 years, Jill
With so many great women and its
outstanding reputation (Cafe de Marco
has won the Naples Daily News' Plat-
inum Plate Award seven years running),
Cafe de Marco is a sure hit for Island
dining, whether it be the first or 50th
Cafe de Marco, located at 244 Palm
Street, Marco Island, serves dinner nightly
from 5 p.m. Reservations are requested,
call (239) 394-6262.
Cafe de Marco
celebrates over 21 years
of women in business
Sandy Scheeler-Franchino, center, with her daughter Samantha Scheeler on her
left and mother Mel Lanni. In front are waitress Wendy Roach, left, and General
Manager Paula Erjavec.