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Business Observer Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 15 years ago

Regional Roundup

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This week's items: ADULT ENTERTAINMENT RDMC CORP. GETS CONTRAC SBA HONORS OUTBACK NETWOLVES SECURES $5.5 MILLION EARNINGS INCREASE NEW HOTEL ARTS DONATIONS CABLE COMPETITION

CHARLOTTE

ADULT ENTERTAINMENT - The Charlotte County Commission opposes an adult entertainment district being proposed by the North Port City Commission. The proposal would create a district, north of Veterans Boulevard by Orlando and Hillsborough boulevards, near the county line.

COLLIER

RDMC CORP. GETS CONTRACT - MDG Capital Corp. awarded the infrastructure construction contract for work at Arrowhead Reserve at Lake Trafford in Immokalee to Bonita Springs-based RDMC Corp. RDMC will construct all roads, underground utilities systems and structures for water, sewer and drainage. It will also excavate 18 lakes. Arrowhead Reserve at Lake Trafford is a 307-acre Planned Unit Development currently planned for 1,245 residences.

HILLSBOROUGH

SBA HONORS OUTBACK - The U.S. Small Business Administration, celebrating its 50th Anniversary, inducted 23 once-small businesses into its Golden Anniversary Hall of Fame on Sept. 19 at the National Entrepreneurial Conference and Expo in Washington D.C. Among the inductees was Outback Steakhouse Inc., into which an SBA-licensed small business investment company invested $150,972 in 1990 to get the company started. Other inductees include Callaway Golf Co., FedEx Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel Corp., and Staples Inc.

COMPANY RECOGNIZED - Tampa's Z-Tel Technologies Inc.'s Personal Voice Assistant product was named "Best New Technology" at the RetailVision Fall 2003 event, which showcased the hottest technologies to hundreds of key decision-makers in the retail industry. Frontline Specialists, a technology-focused retail strategy consulting firm, partnered with Z-Tel to introduce and unveil PVA to the event's retail attendees. Winners were chosen by U.S. retailers such as CompUSA, Circuit City, HSN, Staples, Best Buy, Radio Shack, Costco, Buy.com, OfficeMax.com, AOL, Office Depot and Amazon.com.

NETWOLVES SECURES $5.5 MILLION - Tampa's NetWolves Corp. has secured approximately $5.5 million in equity financing to fund immediate expansion of its sales and sales support organization. NetWolves is enjoying record growth due in large part to the adoption of its Managed Services Offering.

LEE

EARNINGS INCREASE - Bonita Springs-based Source Interlink Cos. announced a 168% increase in second quarter net income, with revenue for the quarter at $2.9 million, compared to $1.1 million for the same period last year. Year-to-date gross income is $166.2 million, or 18% more than the first six months of 2002 at $140.6 million.

NEW HOTEL - The first Embassy Suites hotel in Southwest Florida is planned for the northwest corner of Corkscrew Road and Interstate 75 in Estero. The seven-story hotel will be near Florida Gulf Coast University, Southwest Florida International Airport and TECO Arena. The closest previous Embassy Suites were in Tampa and Fort Lauderdale.

ARTS DONATIONS - A group of arts supporters, including Lee County Alliance for the Arts President Will Prather, have convinced the Lee Tourism Development Council to change a long-standing requirement for funding events and attractions with co-op marketing dollars from tourist tax collections. TDC agreed to put $100,000 into an annual arts and attraction fund.

MANATEE

CABLE COMPETITION - The Manatee County Commission voted 4-2 to have the county's negotiating team encourage the region's cable television operators to expand their service areas. Commissioners want greater competition to drive down costs and improve service.

CENTER CLOSURE - Boca Raton-based ADT Security Services Inc., a provider of electronic security monitoring, plans to close its Lakewood Ranch monitoring center and layoff about 400 people in November. The two-story, $15 million, 101,000-square-foot building, at 9000 Town Center Parkway, was the smallest of six monitoring centers maintained by ADT.

TANKS TAX - Manatee Judge Charles Williams decided that Bradenton-based Tropicana Products Inc. must reclassify its eight juice storage-tanks as real property instead of tangible personal property. This means the juice manufacturer must pay more taxes to the county. Bradenton's Central Community Redevelopment District could reap hundred of thousands of dollars in additional tax money.

POWER PLANT PLAN DEAD - Energy Transfer Co. of Dallas abandoned plans to build an electrical generating plant northeast of State Road 70 and Lorraine Road. The plant would have provided enough energy to run about 2,000 homes. The energy company ran into trouble finding customers for off-peak electricity.

SARASOTA

HOSPITAL PREDICTS BIG LOSS - Sarasota Memorial Hospital predicts that it will end fiscal 2002-2003 on Sept. 30 with a $19.67 million loss. The hospital had predicted a $17.6 million profit for the year. The hospital attributes the losses to lower patient volume and underpayments by insurers.

SINOFRESH GOES PUBLIC - Englewood-based Sinofresh Corp., maker of nasal and sinus spray, started trading shares publicly on the OTC Bulletin Board on Sept. 9 under the symbol "SFRS." That first day, 135,000 shares traded at between $3.50 and $13.25 per share.

PGT HONORED FOR DIVERSITY - On Sept. 18, Venice-based PGT Industries received the Governor's Business Diversification Award in Innovation in Tallahassee. PGT is one of only 13 companies in Florida honored at the event; more than 120 companies were nominated. The award, presented by Gov. Jeb Bush and Enterprise Florida, is given to companies that significantly contribute to diversifying and growing Florida's economy by creating high-value jobs, making capital investments and contributing to their communities.

PLUG MOVES UP - Plug Inc., a Sarasota-based commercial designer and installer of sound, audio, visual and closed circuit systems, equipment and acoustic materials, is moving its management operations to new, larger headquarters. The 10-year-old company is making the move due to continued growth. The new headquarters are on Goodrich Avenue in Sarasota.

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