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Cott sells coffee and tea business

Cott Corp. has agreed to sell its S&D Coffee and Tea business to Westrock Coffee Company  for $405 million. The  S&D sale, along with the announcement of Cott's acquisition of Primo Water Corp. , positions Cott to be a pure-play water solutions provider, Tom Harrington, CEO of Cott, said in a news release. The S&D sale is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020. Cott (NYSE: COT), is a Tampa-based water and filtration service company that plans to change its name to Primo.

Shriners Hospital partnership focuses on genetics research

Shriners Hospitals for Children in Tampa and The Jackson Laboratory agreed to collaborate on research aimed at understanding the specific and individual genetic causes of orthopaedic conditions and disabilities. Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution in Bar Harbor, Maine. The research affiliation agreement calls for  Shriners investigators to perform next-generation sequencing of DNA samples from its patient population. Investigators at Jackson will provide expertise on genomic data analysis tools, specialized knowledge bases and algorithms, and create mouse models to validate new discoveries and potential treatments for the targeted conditions, a news release said.

HCI CEO confident in prospects for what was going to be a Lucky’s in Clearwater

The CEO of the company that owns the Clearwater property slated to become a Lucky's Market before the grocery chain went bankrupt is confident in his prospects for the site. The property, at 2170 Gulf to Bay, has one of the highest traffic counts in Pinellas County. "Something else will come along," Paresh Patel, chairman and CEO of HCI Group Inc. (NYSE: HCI) told the St. Pete Catalyst.  HCI subsidiary Greenleaf Capital owns the property, which was being developed as a Lucky's Market before Lucky's said last week it would close 32 of its 39 stores in 10 states, including a store at Tyrone Square in St. Petersburg. Lucky's has asset purchase agreements for 11 Florida stores with Aldi's and Publix Super Markets. The Clearwater property likely won't become a Publix, because there's already a Publix across the street, Patel said.

St. Petersburg, SPC named ‘best workplaces for commuters’

The city of St. Petersburg and St. Petersburg College are among the 330 employers named "Best Workplaces for Commuters." The 2020 list was released today by Best Workplaces for Commuters, a program managed by the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida with support from the Florida Department of Transportation. The list is made up of employers who meet the program's National Standard of Excellence by providing comprehensive commuter benefits. The complete list is here.

goPuff creates jobs as it launches in St. Pete

goPuff, a digital convenience delivery service headquartered in Philadelphia, said it would hire about a dozen operations employees and engage up to 50 driver partners as it launches in St. Petersburg. The St. Pete launch, effective Jan. 23,  followed the 2019 launches of service in Tampa, New Port Richey and other Florida communities. goPuff stocks more than 2,500 products in centrally located facilities in each market in which it operates to bring products directly to the customer. In St. Pete, service is available from 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 a.m., seven days a week. Orders are accessible through the goPuff mobile app and can be delivered for a flat $1.95 delivery fee.

Tampa General margin shrinks in Q1

Tampa General Hospital reported $8.66 million in operating income for the three months ended Dec. 31. That was nearly 23 percent less than the $11.2 million in operating income the hospital reported in the same period a year ago, according to documents filed for bondholders. Operating revenue was $369.6 million for the just-ended first quarter of fiscal year 2020, up 7.6 percent compared to a year ago, but expenses jumped by 8.6 percent. The hospital's excess margin, typically used by hospitals cover investments in new technology and equipment, shrunk to 4.4 percent for Q1 2020, compared to 5.1 percent a year ago. Tampa General's parent company, Florida Health Sciences Center Inc., reported a 2.6 percent margin for Q1 2020, compared to 3.4 percent in Q1 2019.

PSTA gets grant to fight human trafficking

he Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority was awarded $43,630 in federal grants to combat human trafficking. The funds, from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Authority, will be used to further train PSTA bus operators to better recognize indicators of passengers being trafficked and how to help them, a program PSTA began last year.  The program, called "The Eyes of the City," consists of training such as looking for signs of a person being disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse. To date, 117 bus operators have been trained, a news release from PSTA said. The program is a partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Truckers Against Human Trafficking and the Department of Homeland Security.


SPC focuses on African American men, youth with new funding

Verizon is providing a $100,000 grant to support St. Petersburg College’s African American Male Initiative, a program to help close the achievement gap for African American males.  The initiative will help to build strategic programming focused on tutoring, mentoring, digital literacy and technology workforce development to prepare students for meaningful careers in our digitized workforce, a news release said. The City of St. Petersburg separately awarded SPC a $329,325 grant to provide focused educational and entrepreneurial training opportunities to African American male youth. The three-year city grant will support SPC’s PITCH program, which provides tuition assistance and mentoring for African American male youth to help them obtain workforce certificates and/or enroll in post-secondary programs, a news release said.

Tampa General gets naming rights to Lightning training facility

Tampa General Hospital is the new naming rights partner for the official training facility for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The facility, formerly called  the Ice Sports Forum, is now the TGH Ice Plex. It's part of a multi-year partnership extension between the Lightning and Tampa General Hospital, a news release said. The partnership also includes in-ice logo placement at Amalie Arena. Financial terms were not disclosed. TGH Ice Plex, owned by Tom Bradley, is a privately funded, 18,000-square-foot, $6 million facility completed in 2018.

Humana Foundation invests in Feeding Tampa Bay

Feeding Tampa Bay will receive $640,500 from the Humana Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Humana Inc. With the funding, Feeding Tampa Bay, in partnership with Community Health Centers of Pinellas, will create an onsite food pharmacy at the health centers’ clinic to increase access to healthy foods in nearby neighborhoods, a news release said. Feeding Tampa Bay is one of eight community groups in the southeast United States to receive funding from the Humana Foundation, which is investing a total of $7.6 million to address social determinants of health on a local level and help more people achieve health equity.  

Tampa’s Jaco Display sells to Georgia firm

Video Display Corp. (OTC: VIDE) acquired the assets and business operations of Jaco Display Solutions LLC. Jaco, based in Tampa, provides LCD displays and similar products. The purchase price was not disclosed. Jaco will be integrated with he operations of Video Display Corp. of Cocoa, Florida for financial reporting purposes, with the intent of also consolidating manufacturing at a future unspecified date for economies of scale, a news release said.  Video Display Corp. (OTC: VIDE), based in Tucker, Georgia, supplies medical, defense and industrial display solutions.

First Citrus doubles business banking staff

First Citrus Bancorporation (OTC: FCIT), the parent company of First Citrus Bank, posted net income of $3.96 million, or $1.95 a share, for 2019. Net earnings grew 2 percent and earnings per share grew 1 percent compared to 2018, the bank said in a news release. Total assets were up 4 percent year-over-year to $419 million, loans grew 6 percent to $332 million and deposits increased 7 percent to $348 million, the news release said. “In 2019, we doubled our business banking corps, opened a new office in downtown St. Petersburg, and continued to expand our branch banking team. We will build on that momentum in 2020,” John Barrett, president and CEO of First Citrus Bank, said in the release.

The St. Pete Catalyst

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