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Brick & Mortar owners prepare to open new concept

Husband and wife duo Hope Montgomery and Jason Ruhe, owners of downtown St. Petersburg’s Brick & Mortar restaurant, have announced a June opening date for a new concept in the city’s Grand Central District. Pulpo Kitchen + Lounge will bring Latin-inspired food, live music and two bars to 2147 Central Ave. Pulpo will seat roughly 150 people between its indoor and outdoor dining areas. 

Jabil fires CEO following investigation

Jabil’s board of directors has terminated former CEO Kenny Wilson following an investigation into potential corporate policy violations that began in mid-April. The St. Petersburg-based global electronics manufacturer’s board announced Monday that interim CEO and chief financial officer Michael Dastoor will now assume the permanent role. Gregory Hebard, senior vice president and treasurer, will succeed Dastoor as chief financial officer. 

CASA receives $175,000 housing grant

Community Action Stops Abuse (CASA) of Pinellas County recently received a $175,000 “Housing for Everyone” grant from the TD Charitable Foundation. The money will help provide emergency shelter, rapid rehousing, transitional housing and permanent supportive housing for domestic violence survivors. Domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness among mothers and their children.

Tampa Bay among best places to launch a career

WalletHub compared the market strength and overall livability of 180 cities across 26 metrics, including job availability, average starting salary and housing affordability, to determine the best places to start a career. The personal finance platform ranked Tampa 4th and St. Petersburg 42nd nationally. Tampa’s professional opportunities score significantly outpaced the Sunshine City.   

Water system maintenance begins Monday

Pinellas County Utilities will use chlorine rather than chloramine to disinfect drinking water from May 20 through June 8, potentially causing a slight difference in taste and smell. Officials say the semiannual temporary change improves water quality and mitigates opportunities for future problems. The change applies to all county utility customers and those in the Cities of Clearwater, Pinellas Park and Safety Harbor. 

Summer reading program returns to St. Pete

The St. Petersburg Library system welcomes readers of all ages to explore the Adventure Begins at Your Library program this summer. Programming includes take-home crafts, reading challenges and prizes, curated book bundles, the Reading with the Rays initiative, adult lectures and lunches for children at participating locations. The free initiative begins June 1 and concludes Aug. 4. For more information, visit the website here. 

New Jersey-based senior living operator acquires local facility

Distinctive Living, a New Jersey-based senior living management firm and developer, recently acquired Ivy Ridge, a St. Petersburg facility dedicated to elderly residents with memory-related issues. Ivy Ridge is part of Florida-based Validus Senior Living Management’s portfolio, which Distinctive purchased for an undisclosed amount. The new ownership group will assess opportunities for changes or improvements over the coming months. 

St. Pete opens nominations for City Beautification Awards

St. Petersburg residents and business owners can now submit their votes for the City Beautification Awards, which celebrate excellence in landscaping and building design throughout the community. City officials will accept nominations through August 1. The awards recognize “outstanding achievements” in residential and commercial curb appeal, landscaping design, yard maintenance and enhancing a neighborhood’s character. For more information, visit the website here

Mayor honors Lakewood HS team at ceremony

Lakewood High School's girls basketball team was honored at a ceremony attended by St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch, who declared May 15, 2024 as Necole Tunsil Day to recognize the team's head coach. The team won this season's district and regional championships as the sole Class 4A public school to reach the Final Four, with one senior player signing to play at Santa Fe College and multiple juniors achieving 1,000 career points.

Raymond James hires former Wells Fargo advisement team

Officials at St. Petersburg-based Raymond James Associates - the firm’s employee advisor channel - announced several significant new hires Thursday. Emmanuel Lelekis, Sharon Ellis-Champagne, Brian Kilczewski and Chadd Eaton managed over $900 million in client assets at Wells Fargo Advisors before leaving the firm for Raymond James. The team will operate from the company’s corporate headquarters in the Carillon area of north St. Petersburg.  

USF’s business school appoints new dean

David Blackwell, currently the associate dean for professional graduate programs at the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics, will now oversee the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business. Blackwell will succeed Interim Dean Gert-Jan de Vreede, who replaced Moez Limayem in March 2022, starting July 1. The Muma College of Business serves about 8,400 across USF’s three campuses. 

St. Pete-Clearwater International has a North Dakota connection

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) now has a nonstop flight to Bismarck, North Dakota. Allegiant Air launched the twice-weekly flight Wednesday. Las Vegas-based Allegiant has operated from PIE since 2006 and now offers nonstop flights to 66 cities from the local airport. 

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