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  • | 10:00 a.m. March 13, 2015
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Gold Coast Eagle, Pepin Distributing bringing Rochester Mills beers to Gulf Coast
Rochester Mills Production Brewery has begun distributing some of its beer lines in Florida through a partnership with two Gulf Coast alcohol distributors. Gold Coast Eagle Distributing Co. will represent and distribute the beers in the Sarasota market, while Pepin Distributing will bring them into the Tampa market.

“We were pleasantly surprised to discover the number of fans we already had here,” Mike Plesz, founder of Rochester Mills Beer Co. and Production Brewery, says in a press release. “But it makes sense. Countless Michiganders have migrated, vacation, retire and seasonally commute as snowbirds to the Sunshine State, and now they, along with everyone else here, can enjoy our quality, craft beer from the Great Lake State.”

Pepin Distributing and Gold Coast Eagle Distributing will supply several Rochester Mills' brands, including Milkshake Stout, Rochester Red Ale and Pine Knob Pilsner packaged in 16-ounce cans and kegs.

Rochester Mills expects to announce additional partnerships in the Florida market later this year. The Michigan craft beer brewer produces eight lines of beer.

PikMyKid receives funding, partnership with access to 30,000 schools
PikMyKid, a Tampa-based company focused on software for schools to handle student dismissal process, has closed a partial round of funding that it says will help with product development and allow the company to build a support team to roll the product out to multiple schools.

“Typically, the first investor is the most difficult to find, and now that we have that investment, we have received verbal commitments from several angel investors and several large VCs to subscribe to the balance of the round and to Series A funding down the road,” Saravana Pat Bhava, PikMyKid founder and CEO, says in a press release.

The firm says the current investment comes from a local technology investor who is also a charter member of TiE Tampa Bay, a network of investors.

Since receiving the initial funding, Bhava has signed a partnership with, a service that provides schools with access to a wide range of applications for students and teachers. This relationship is expected to expose PikMyKid to more than 30,000 schools in the second quarter of the year.

The company is a client at Tampa Bay Innovation Center's TEC Garage.

Motorworks Brewing designing beer line around the Donut Experiment
Manatee and Sarasota counties' largest production craft brewery, Motorworks Brewing, will be brewing a series of collaboration beers with a family-owned and operated doughnut shop on Anna Maria Island, The Donut Experiment (formerly Anna Maria Donuts).

Shawn and Cecilia Wampole, started the doughnut business on Pine Avenue on Anna Maria Island in 2012.

The first doughnut-inspired craft beer from Motorworks Brewing will feature key lime puree, minced key lime, crushed graham cracker and a Hefeweizen yeast strain. MB Donut Experiment Brews will be released periodically over the upcoming years.

SBA looking for business owners for Tampa's first Emerging Leaders Initiative
The U.S. Small Business Administration's South Florida District is seeking 17 Tampa area small-business executives for the city's first SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative. Chosen business leaders will receive a three-year, tailored strategic growth plan to help bring their business to the next level.

While the executive-level course is free for businesses accepted into the program, executives must commit to 100 hours of classroom and out-of-classroom work. The first class meets April 13 and will meet on alternating Monday nights through October at the University of South Florida's Small Business Development Center at 1101 Channelside Drive, Tampa.

Executives interested in the program should be the owner or principal in a small business that has annual revenues of at least $400,000; have been in business for at least three years; and have at least one employee other than an owner.

Davis & Associates merging with Howard F. Crossman CPA
Bonita Spring-based Davis & Associates Certified Public Accountants has opened a new location at 400 Fifth Ave. S., Suite 301, Naples. The new office was created through the firm's merger with Howard F. Crossman CPA. Crossman will continue to serve as that office's manager, but the joint firm will be known as Davis & Associates.

“Davis & Associates is thrilled to announce the opening of the Naples' office — our fifth location in five years,” John Davis, founding partner of Davis & Associates, says in a press release. “This merger with Howard F. Crossman CPA will allow us to build on an already reputable business, while introducing our professional and responsive approach to tax preparation, planning and consulting services to an even larger audience of individuals and businesses in Naples.”

i9 Sports league signs agreements adding two franchise markets

Riverview-based youth sports league company i9 Sports has signed two new franchise agreements for locations in Philadelphia and Madison, Wis.

Rachel and Michael DuPont will bring i9 Sports to Madison, marking the brand's first location in Wisconsin.

Reagan Li purchased the i9 Sports territory in the western suburbs of Philadelphia and will launch the program in the falll. With previous experience as a financial, business intelligence and revenue analyst, this is Li's first franchise venture.


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