Talk of the bay: Jabil tech trail leads to new Vietnam facility

By Times staff
Published May 10, 2007

St. Petersburg electronics manufacturer Jabil Circuit has begun flexing its muscles in Vietnam. The company said it began building an assembly and testing plant for printed circuit boards, inkjet printers and other high-tech products. The 55, 000-square-foot facility in the Saigon High-Tech Park in Ho Chi Minh City is slated to begin operations next month. The initial sticker was $30-million, Jabil said. But the company isn't stopping there. Jabil expects to pump $100-million into the country in the next few years.

Club short to tune of $1.8M, bank says
The Amphitheater Inc. hasn't been making its mortgage payments, says Wachovia SBA Lending, which is suing the Ybor City nightclub and owner John Santoro for foreclosure. Wachovia says the Amphitheater owes $1.8-million and is delinquent on its taxes. Upcoming events at the club include "lights out night" and "naughty school girl night." It is not related to the Ford Amphitheatre. Santoro could not be reached for comment.

Greater density might help hotels
A measure designed to help stop the decline in hotel rooms in Pinellas County beach communities is moving slowly ahead. Pinellas has lost 5, 000 rooms since 2001. Officials say that's largely because older mom-and-pop hotels were failing and owners couldn't rebuild with significantly more rooms. A draft county ordinance would allow more density on land zoned for hotels. The county's Tourist Development Council, a panel of local elected officials and tourism business leaders, endorsed the measure Wednesday. They emphasized that cities would retain the final say on projects and the ordinance wouldn't result in Miami-style high-rise canyons. Public hearings before the County Commission could be held next month.

International kudos for Publix
The highbrow British magazine The Economist is an unlikely place to see a story on Florida's Publix Super Markets. But there it is in the May 3 issue under the headline "The opposite of Wal-Mart." Most chains shudder at the competitive approach of Wal-Mart in the food business, but Publix never blinked, the magazine says: "It has a competitive edge over Wal-Mart because it is strong in precisely the areas where Wal-Mart is vulnerable, " namely in customer service.