BY SUE ERWIN – Island resident and tennis enthusiast Mike McMillan grew up in Huntsville, Alabama. He went to the University of Alabama Dental School to study dentistry.
Mike moved to Florida in 1983 and opened up his first dental practice in Cape Coral. He soon opened another in Bonita Springs.
“I always enjoyed Florida as a child. As a family, we would vacation in the panhandle and around different areas throughout Florida. My father retired from NASA, so we took some trips to Cape Kennedy, which is now Cape Canaveral, and I really enjoyed that,” Mike said.
Mike said the western and Gulf coast area of Florida really appealed to him, so he focused his property search around southwest Florida.
“I found a place I really liked, relocated, and in 1983 I started my practice in Cape Coral,” Mike said.
Mike met his wife, Staci, in Fort Myers while the two were working out at a gym.
“She was putting herself through nursing school at Edison College at the time,” Mike said.
Mike is an avid tennis player who has played in some USTA tennis leagues. He also has played in tournaments in Fort Myers but says he prefers playing tennis at the Boca Grande Pass Club as much as possible.
Mike said Staci enjoys solo sports like running and yoga.
The couple share their home with their lovable 11-year-old Golden Retriever, O’Reilly.
Mike said he takes O’Reilly out every morning for a run up and down the beach and then for a swim.
“He’s just like his mama and papa. If he doesn’t get his Boca Grande beach fix, after a few days he starts to get a little bit anxious,” Mike said.
The McMillans enjoy living on Boca Grande, and they also have a highrise in Fort Myers. They usually split their time between the two residences. They enjoy dining on fresh meals prepared at home daily. Mike said two years ago, Staci was given the “Customer of the Year” award from Whole Foods in Naples.
“They really do give out an award every year. Staci does almost all of our food shopping there. We really try to focus on eating healthy, which isn’t always easy,” he said.
Mike said that, although they really enjoy spending time at both places and like the convenience of Fort Myers, Boca Grande is his favorite of the two.
Mike said it was the pure beauty of the island that made him become interested in real estate.
“When you’re out here on this island, everything is so beautiful,” Mike said. “And I am a chronic over-improver of property. I have gutted everything I’ve owned since I’ve been in Florida. Most of the good property – especially along the water – is already built on, so you have a structure that’s older. You have to choose to either tear it down or renovate it.”
Mike said that when he purchased the property for his office, he had to have it excavated underneath the building and moved, to provide for adequate parking.
When asked about the small number of properties currently on the market in Boca Grande, Mike said he is not at all surprised.
“When you compare it to other areas – whether it’s in New England, Florida or the Caribbean – properties will sell fast. And the fact that an area is not inundated with traffic lights and four-lane highways makes it very desirable and unique. Who wouldn’t be drawn to real estate in a place like this? It’s absolutely gorgeous. I know I start to feel a little more relaxed the minute I drive over that bridge.”
Mike said he enjoys selling real estate on the island, because the selection of properties is so magnificent.
“I think people are almost overwhelmed by the beauty, all the water access and the quaintness of Boca Grande. It’s really an exciting thing to find somebody a place, because it’s not just the initial excitement when they find a home, but the fact that they stay excited, knowing they are coming to a special place,” Mike said. “And it’s not something manufactured. It’s not like you are driving someone around a development filled with ‘cookie-cutter’ houses.”
Mike is a Realtor with Michael Saunders & Company Real Estate, working out of the Gasparilla Island office.
He said Michael Saunders is an excellent firm to work for, because they have such a wide reach in their marketing.
“Buyers can be local or foreign. It’s really an international network that is key to their marketing campaign,” he said.
Mike handles his professional duties in a balanced way. He works at his dental office three days a week and handles real estate clients in the evenings and on the other days of the week.
“It’s like having a good entree – it’s not hard to eat dessert after a good entree,” he quipped. “It’s very easy for me to show property on the island, because I enjoy living here myself. I feel fortunate to live here, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”
When Mike is not working, he likes to spend his time playing tennis, running, boating and going snow skiing. He and Staci enjoy taking trips to Vail, Colorado. They have been to many of the ski resorts in Colorado, and several in Wyoming, Utah and Canada. Mike and Staci usually take a couple of trips each year.
“Our favorite place is Vail, because there is more terrain there and it’s very kind to intermediate skiers,” Mike said. “My goal is to go, have a good time, enjoy the change in climate and try not to hurt myself so I can still come back and play tennis.”
Mike has a sister and brother-in-law who live in Nokomis, and another sister who lives in Asheville, NC.
Mike said his favorite TV show is House of Cards.
“It will tell you everything that you feared might be going on in Washington D.C.,” Mike said. “You’ll be on the edge of your seat.”