by Sean Roth | Real Estate Editor
Amscot hits 150 stores, CEO plans to continue to grow
Amscot Financial, a Tampa financial services company, has opened its 149th and 150th branch locations.
Amscot has been on a major growth surge for the past three years, opening a new retail location on average every 12 days. After successfully developing the Tampa market, Amscot in 2005 launched an expansion into the greater Orlando market and has since opened more than 45 stores. Today, Amscot operates in 13 Florida counties, including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Manatee, Sarasota, Polk, Highland, Hardee, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake and Volusia. Later this year, Amscot will add locations in Brevard County as well.
The company's newest locations are at U.S. Highway 17-92 and State Road 434 in Longwood and at Dakota Avenue and 13th Street in St. Cloud.
Ian MacKechnie, president and CEO of Amscot Financial, attributed the company's success to a combination of high-traffic locations and offering financial services people want.
"When people need access to money, they want it on their terms," MacKechnie said in a press release. "They want the services we offer to be close to their home and they want us to be open at times convenient to their busy lives."
He also expects the growth to continue for the near future.
"We have put the infrastructure in place from a technical standpoint and from a talent standpoint," MacKechnie said. "We've hired some of the best people we can find and they have joined us to help seek out future growth opportunities."
Michigan's Wireless Toyz buys Beepers 'N Phones
In a move designed to expand its national reach, Farmington Hills, Mich.-based wireless retailer Wireless Toyz acquired Tampa-based Beeper 'N Phones of America Inc. Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Later this year, 33 Beepers 'N Phones locations in south and central Florida will convert to Wireless Toyz locations: 20 in Tampa, 11 in Orlando and two in West Palm Beach will be added to the current 18 locations Wireless Toys has in Florida. This deal will bring Wireless Toyz's nationwide store count to more than 200 stores in 21 states. Wireless Toyz stores are designed as a one-stop shop for mobile phones, satellite TV equipment and other wireless products and service plans.
Wireless Toyz was named one of the fastest-growing franchises of 2007 by Entrepreneur magazine. The company ranked 352 in the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 and earned the number 63 spot in the magazine's list of the year's fastest-growing franchises, up from number 79 the previous year.
General Dynamics Ordnance gets contract for target practice ammo
The U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command at Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., awarded St. Petersburg-based General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems a $21.8 million contract to produce 25mm Bushmaster M793 Target Practice-Traced, 25mm M910 Target Practice Discarding Sabot-Traced and 30mm M788 Target Practice ammunition.
The award represents the majority share of the first year of a five-year contract.
The M793 simulates the firing of the high explosive round and is used by the Marines and Army for gunnery training for Light Armored Vehicle and Bradley fighting vehicles. The Army also trains with the M910 to simulate firing of the M919 armor piercing round for the BFV.
The 30mm M788 is used for gunnery training for the Army's Apache attack helicopters. The M788 is also compatible with the AV-30 (M230) Chain Gun turret integrated on a variety of ground combat vehicles such as the Pandur, the M113 and the Piranha.
Contract management and load, assembly and pack operations will be handled at General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems' Marion, Ill., facility with some component manufacturing being conducted at the company's Red Lion, Pa., and St. Marks Powder, facilities.
General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE:GD), is a leader in the manufacture of large, medium- and small-caliber direct and indirect-fire munitions, mortar weapons and systems, artillery projectiles, bomb bodies and Ball Powder(R) Propellant. The company also manufactures precision metal components; provides explosive load, assembly and pack services for a variety of munitions, tactical missile and rocket programs; and designs and produces shaped charge and penetrator warheads.
Taylor Woodrow merges Towers, starts new acquisitions strategy
Taylor Woodrow has merged two of its largest Florida divisions and launched a more aggressive strategy to acquire new development sites in Florida.
Mike Moser, formerly president of the Tower Division in St. Petersburg, has been appointed president of the new Southeast Florida and Tower Division.
"We are aggressively seeking opportunities to develop new communities and build within existing communities throughout the southeast region, with a principal focus on Martin, St. Lucie, and Palm Beach Counties," Moser said in a press release.
Currently, the Southeast Florida and Tower division is developing luxury home communities such as Mirasol Country Club and Martin Preserve as well as luxury condominiums such as Mirasol Beach Residences, Indigo Beach Residences, The Diplomat, Magnolia Bay Club and Miraqua.
Taylor Woodrow Plc is an international developer of new homes operating across the United Kingdom and in in North America, Spain, and Gibraltar.
Bank of Florida Corp. closer to Old Florida acquisition
Naples-based Bank of Florida Corp. has received the final orders of approval from the Florida Office of Financial Regulation and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to acquire Old Florida Bankshares, Inc. and Old Florida Bank.
With these approvals, Bank of Florida Corp. made its filing with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta for the final required regulatory consent for the acquisition. Bank of Florida officials are now expecting to conclude the deal in the second quarter.
"This represents another important milestone for our company and an exceptional opportunity for continued growth in the Southwest Florida market," Michael McMullan, CEO and president of Bank of Florida Corp. said in a press release.
"There are few community banks in the state of Florida that have successfully built a strong foundation centered around credit quality and the customer experience," McMullan said. "The management team at Old Florida built their bank with these key tenets in mind, and this merger represents not only a match in business model and location but a cultural fit in focusing on the client, employee satisfaction and return for the shareholder."
Old Florida Bank operates four full-service banking centers with locations in Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Naples. Total company assets equal $287 million with $245 million in deposits as of Dec. 31, 2006. With the close of this transaction, Bank of Florida will be the 4th largest publicly traded bank holding company headquartered in Florida reaching nearly $1.2 billion in assets, with more than $700 million in assets in our charter institution, Bank of Florida-Southwest.
Pilger made Mathews CFO
Michele Pilger has joined Mathews Construction as chief financial officer. For the past 20 years, Pilger had been with Tampa Tank & Welding as its treasurer and CFO. Mathews Construction is one of Florida's oldest, privately owned contracting firms and has offices in Tampa and Punta Gorda.
Nicholas Financial bumps credit line $10 million
Clearwater-based Nicholas Financial Inc. increased the size of its credit line from $100 million to $110 million.
"The credit line increase will allow us to continue our planned growth during the next year and the company is pleased to continue its lending relationship with Bank of America which began in March of 1993 and also includes Capital One, First Tennessee Bank, and Bank of Scotland as participating banks," Peter Vosotas, CEO and president of Nicholas Financial said in a press release. Founded in 1985, with assets of $165.95 million as of Dec. 31, 2006, Nicholas Financial Inc. is one of the largest publicly traded specialty consumer finance companies based in the Southeast. The company presently operates out of 47 branch locations.