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Tampa cigar company closes

Thompson Cigar, America’s oldest mail order cigar company, is closing its Tampa site and integrating operations into a facility in Bethlehem, Pa.. The closure comes about a year after the company was bought by Scandinavian Tobacco Group for $62 million. In a WARN notice filed with the state, the company said it would lay off all of its 112 local employees, starting June 29 and continuing through the end of  2019.

Tampa blockchain firm wins innovation award

iPaladin was recognized at the Family Wealth Report Awards ceremony on March 21 for technology innovation. iPaladin, founded by CEO Jill Creager and based in Tampa, is a knowledge blockchain designed for use by family offices, or wealth managers for ultra-high-net worth investors. The Family Wealth Report is published by ClearView Financial Media.

WeWork signs second Tampa lease

WeWork, the largest co-working company in the U.S., will occupy about 60,000 square feet on three floors of the building at 501 E. Kennedy Blvd. in downtown Tampa. The building will be renamed WeWork Place. The new space will accommodate more than 1,000 desks. It's the second Tampa site for WeWork, which signed a lease in January for 50,000 square feet at The Heights.

Florida adds jobs in February

Florida payrolls picked up last month with the addition of 25,200 new jobs, with the healthcare sector leading hiring gains. The unemployment rate statewide also edged up to 3.5 percent but is still below the national average.  February’s strong result underscores how resilient the Florida economy is today, a report from Wells Fargo Securities said.

Lazydays slips into the red for 2018

Lazydays Holdings  (Nasdaq: LAZY), a recreational vehicle dealer based in Seffner, reported a net loss of $284,00 on revenue of $608.2 million for 2018. Lazydays went public just over one year ago. The predecessor company reported net income of $8.3 million on revenue of $614.8 million for 2017. RV unit sales dropped 1.2 percent last year, according to a news release.

Tampa pharma firm advances equity offering

Oragenics Inc. expects to receive $12.5 million in gross proceeds in a new equity offering. The company will sell stock and warrants to buy stock at 75 cents a share. Oragenics (NYSE American: OGEN), based in Tampa, is developing antibiotics and treatments for oral mucositis.

Kriseman named to Climate 100

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman was named to the Climate 100, Apolitical’s list of the world’s most influential people in climate policy. “Under his leadership,  St Petersburg has embarked on an innovative plan to reduce air pollution, implement a community solar program and increase renewable energy financing,” the publication said.

St. Pete software firm grows earnings

Community Brands said it topped 100,000 customers in 2018. The company added between 800 and 1,000 customers each month, on average, and grew earnings by more than 20 percent year over year, a news release said. The company provides cloud-based software and payment solutions for associations, nonprofits, schools and faith-based organizations.

Raymond James CFO sets retirement date

Jeff Julien plans to step down as chief financial officer of Raymond James Financial (NSYE: RJF) on Dec. 31. Julian has been CFO at Raymond James since 1987. Paul Shoukry will become CFO effective Jan. 1, 2020. Shoukry currently is the firm’s treasurer and senior vice president of finance and investor relations.

Grossman leaves Bloomin’ board

Mindy Grossman, former CEO of HSN and current CEO of Weight Watchers International, resigned from the board of directors of Bloomin’ Brands on Monday. Grossman had served since September 2012 on the board of Bloomin’ (Nasdaq: BLMN), the parent company of Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill, Carrabba’s and Fleming’s. There will be seven directors until David Deno, newly named CEO, joins the board on April 1.

WellCare launches mobile app

WellCare Health Plans’ pharmacy benefit management operation has launched Atlas Compass. The portal and mobile app provides members of MeridianRx  with direct access to their own healthcare information. Key features include a drug search, cost estimator and prescription history. WellCare (NYSE: WCG) is a Tampa-based managed healthcare provider.

Actsoft celebrates milestone

Actsoft, a Tampa software development company, says it has met qualifications to be compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Becoming HIPAA compliant allows the company to offer customers more secured solutions, a news release said. Actsoft partnered with Abacode, a Tampa cybersecurity firm, on the initiative.

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