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North Pinellas business briefs for March 9

Business briefs

Xena Vallone Realty, a Sarasota-based residential and commercial real estate firm, has opened a Pinellas County office at 13575 58th St. N, Suite 200, Clearwater.

"Buyers who cannot find what they are looking for in Sarasota and Bradenton will often expand their search to areas north or south of us," said Xena Vallone, broker-owner.

The opening of the new office seeks to fill that void, she said.

"Pinellas and Hillsborough counties offer a larger stretch of beach and waterfront than the Sarasota area and therefore have more inventory to choose from at an affordable price range," said David Vallone, vice president.

Xena Vallone Realty opened three years ago in Sarasota as a boutique firm offering personalized service to buyers.

Vallone said she plans to keep the Clearwater office small, in accordance with the boutique approach.

"We can expand to accommodate as many agents as possible, but we are not trying to turn it into a large brokerage," she said.

• • •

Clearwater's Cleveland Street District will celebrate the opening of the Eye Shop, a prescription eye wear boutique, 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at 432 Cleveland St. Grand opening events include appearances by Mayor George Cretekos and Bob Clifford, president of Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce; a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5 p.m.; and giveaways, promotions, and food and drink from local eateries.

The Eye Shop was the first recipient of the Downtown Development Board's matching Retail and Restaurant Recruitment Grant and is associated with Rowan Eye Center.

Owner Pam Rowan and her husband, ophthalmologist Dr. Carey Rowan, will be available to answer questions and frame representatives will be on hand to discuss the collection of eye wear available at the store.

Specialty items include lenses for activities, including fishing, cycling, golfing and computer reading.

• • •

As part of a nationwide effort to help veterans find meaningful employment, More Space Place, a national leader in space-saving furniture, has launched its Veteran's Transition Plan. The program provides a $15,000 discount toward opening a retail franchise to honorably discharged veterans.

"These individuals have risked their lives to defend our country and many soldiers, after returning to civilian life, are coming home to a tough employment outlook and very limited career opportunities," said Marty Juarez, chief operating officer of More Space Place.

Since 2010, More Space Place has assisted franchise owners with everything from site selection and showroom design to accounting and ongoing product knowledge help to get a store off the ground. Currently, veterans make up 30 percent of More Space Place owners.

To boost employment, More Space Place also offers a $10,000 initial store discount for qualified, displaced managers who would like to own and operate a retail store.

Based in Clearwater, More Space Place is the largest retailer of wall bed systems in the United States.

Mail business news to Nova Beall at 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756, fax to (727) 445-4119 or e-mail

North Pinellas business briefs for March 9 03/08/12 [Last modified: Thursday, March 8, 2012 7:48pm]
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