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Around the bay: Business news from around Tampa Bay

By Times Staff
Published March 26, 2007


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Wesley Chapel

Medical spa freshens up doctor'sfamily practice business

Dr. Joseph Cozzolino sees 40 patients a day, such as Sandra Grove, above, in his family medical practice, which is affiliated with Florida Medical Clinic. He treats people from "cradle to grave," he said. But Cozzolino is now treating something new: Self-esteem. Cozzolino recently opened a medical spa next to his family practice. It's called ReNew Institute MedicalSpa on County Road 54, west of Interstate 75, and it offers nonsurgical cosmetic treatments - such as Botox, Vibradermabrasion, laser hair reduction, mesotherapy and others - as well as weight loss and smoking cessation programs. Cozzolino said he gets the most enjoyment out of helping his weight loss patients, like Joanne Cicero. "The temptation to have a hamburger isn't there anymore," she said, as she bought a chocolate protein shake mix.

St. Petersburg

Eckerd College interns takinginventory of businesses

Student interns from Eckerd College recently started an inventory of all the businesses in Childs Park. For years, students at Eckerd have been working with the St. Petersburg Business Assistance Center to help small businesses throughout Midtown. The inventory will help the Business Assistance Center map out all the existing and potential places of business in the neighborhood. The information will be used to provide the same type of assistance to the Childs Park neighborhood that the BAC and the interns from Eckerd's Midtown Project have been providing in Midtown. The work began as part of an initiative Mayor Rick Baker announced in September that will use a model similar to the Midtown Initiative to help Childs Park neighborhoods flourish. Deputy Mayor Goliath Davis, who is overseeing the initiative, said work has begun in the Childs Park neighborhood, based on feedback that the city received from focus groups. "We got input from the community, and they talked again about basic services," said Shrimatee Ojah-Maharaj, assistant director at the BAC. These include everything from help with basic organizational skills, such as inventory, to providing a fresh coat of paint when needed. Interns also help with marketing and expanding the businesses into new markets throughout the area.

Seminole

Cell phone magnate turns to afforable housing

Ron Pownall, having outgrown the phone business, is focusing his attention on another hot trend: affordable housing. The creator of the Beepers 'n Phones chain has sold that business and is converting a notorious Seminole apartment complex into affordable condominiums. Pownall entered the phone business just as it was taking off 10 years ago and is hoping to do the same with affordable housing. "The profit margin is minimal, so you have to have a lot of volume to make it," said Pownall, 29, a Seminole native. "But nothing else is moving right now." Pownall's latest project is the former Caribbean Towers at 11000 62nd Ave. N, technically just outside city limits, but part of the fabric of greater Seminole for better or worse, said Mayor Jimmy Johnson, who is executive director of the Seminole Chamber of Commerce. "It was terrible, a real eyesore," Johnson said of the 72-unit complex he said was known as a haven of crime. Pownall bought the complex last year for $5.375-million, he said, and has remodeled two units for display. The renovations should be completed in July. Pownall got his business start right out of Seminole High School when he started Beepers 'n Phones from a cart in Tyrone Square Mall. He built the business to 52 stores throughout Florida before consolidating and then selling to Wireless Toyz.

Clearwater

'Jersey' Jim not calling it quits at 90 years

After more than 50 years of business in Clearwater, "Jersey" Jim Towers celebrated his 90th birthday this month. But his birthday wishes didn't include dropping his golf game or retiring from the shop he founded in 1956. "I hate being at home. I can't wait to get to come to work in the morning, and I can't wait to play golf," said Towers, founder of Jersey Jim Towers TV Appliances Electronics & Air Conditioning. "I don't intend to retire." Each workday, Towers still builds TV stands and entertainment centers. He also makes some air-conditioning repairs and does other odd jobs around the 22,000-square-foot building at 17722 U.S. 19 N. His son Jim Jr. now runs the business, but no one else builds the home theater furniture. Jersey Jim won't let them. Two workbenches sit outside his office for the jobs. "I build them all myself," he said. "The hardest ones are the ones with the glass." And he still takes pride in the business he built, now housed in a colonial-style building. He fixed the blue shutters that flank the 30 windows outside the two-story building twice, he said. He also put up the white rail that lines the sidewalk in front of the building.

[Last modified March 23, 2007, 20:54:10]


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