U-HAUL NEIGHBORHOOD DEALER OPENS: Diamond Body Shop, 1704 Land O'Lakes Blvd., Lutz, has signed on as a U-Haul neighborhood dealer. The business will offer U-Haul trucks, towing equipment, support rental items and in-store pickup for boxes. Hours of operation for rentals are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. For information, call (813) 949-8909.
PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCED: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Florida Hospital Center Ice in Wesley Chapel have entered into a multi-year agreement for Busch Gardens to be the exclusive sponsor of the main hockey rink at the new facility under construction in Wesley Chapel. When finished in the coming months, Florida Hospital Center Ice will be the largest ice sports facility in the southeastern United States. As part of the sponsorship agreement, Busch Gardens will have a significant presence at the ice center. In addition to the center ice logo, it will be branded on all four rink dasher boards and have digital advertising signage throughout the facility, including the main video walls.
TOP SCHOOL RECOGNITION: For the fourth consecutive year, Saint Leo University has earned recognition from Military Advanced Education & Transition magazine as the leader in the nation for providing education to those who are serving or who have served in the military. Saint Leo earned the designation in the magazine's 2017 Guide to Colleges and Universities, measuring best practices in military and veteran education.
JOINT VENTURE WILL IMPACT GROWTH: People Places and Jose Cardenas recently announced a new joint venture, 5800 Main, and its purchase of the former Cameo Antique Mall in downtown New Port Richey. The roughly 9,500-square-foot building, which will be renamed 5800 Main, is one of the largest buildings downtown and presents a significant opportunity to revitalize downtown retail. "Our goal is to get more people walking downtown with interesting merchants, inviting storefront design and things like seating and merchandise displays on the sidewalk," said People Places founder Frank Starkey. No tenants have been announced. Interested prospective tenants should contact Cardenas, the acting leasing agent, at (281) 827-0223.
SECOND PHASE OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Housing Trust Group, a multi-family housing developer in Florida, recently closed on financing to begin construction of an additional 110 units at Park at Wellington, a $37.9 million, 220-unit affordable housing community under construction in Holiday. HTG broke ground on Phase 1 of the project in July. The new community, which is scheduled to be finished in November 2017, will offer reduced rents to those with qualifying incomes, as well as on-site services. Funding for the second phase included the use of a tax-exempt loan provided by the Florida Housing Finance Corp., 4 percent low-income housing tax credit equity from City Real Estate Advisors and a construction loan from Key Bank. Development of the community will create approximately 100 construction jobs and 10 permanent jobs.
TOP REALTORS: Coldwell Banker F.I. Grey & Son Residential, 6330 U.S. 19, New Port Richey, has announced its top Realtors for November. Jon Bogdanowitz received the awards for Top Listing Agent by Units and the Top Selling Agent by Units and Volume. Sean Riordan was honored with the Top Listing Agent by Volume award. Carolyn Hill received the Top Producing Agent by Units award, and Tricia Shade was named Top Producing Agent by Volume.
POLAREX SANTA IS OPEN: Children are invited to visit with Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves at no charge from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from now until Christmas at Polarex Santa, 8601 Ridge Road, New Port Richey. Parents are welcome to take their own photos or purchase a 5-by-7 print for $12 (two for $20). For information, call (727) 494-6024.
SANTA AT GULF VIEW SQUARE: Kids can have their photos taken with Santa in center court at Gulf View Square mall, 9409 U.S. 19, Port Richey, until Dec. 24. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 16 and 17 and 19-23; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 18, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 24. For information and costs, call (727) 848-3600 or visit shopgulfviewsquare.com.
GET READY TO LAUNCH YOUR BUSINESS: SMARTstart Pasco Business Incubator and the Greater Pasco Chamber of Commerce will co-host the next 10-week SMARTstart CO.STARTERS session from 6 to 9 p.m. every Thursday, beginning Jan. 19, at the chamber office, 16540 Pointe Village Dr., Suite 105, Lutz. The deadline to register is 4 p.m. Jan. 13. Led by a trained coach in a small, supportive group setting, attendees will gain insights, relationships and tools needed to turn business ideas into action. The event is ideal for established business owners wanting to take their company to the next level or aspiring entrepreneurs looking to launch their first business. The cost is $295 and includes 10 weeks of instruction and materials. To register, visit smartstartpasco.com.
BUSINESS AND HEALTH EXPO: The West Pasco Chamber of Commerce and the Gulf View Square mall will present Business and Health Expo 2017, to kick off Business Development Week, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 21 at the mall, 9409 US 19, Port Richey. Health fair vendors will be at the north end of the mall, and other vendors will be clustered in the center of the mall. The event will include business presentations, entertainment, drawings and sidewalk sales. The event is free and open to the public.
PIGZ IN Z'HILLS BBQ & BLUES FESTIVAL: The sixth annual PigZ in Z'Hills BBQ and Blues Festival will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 21 at its new location, 5200 Airport Road, Zephyrhills. The event, sponsored by the Greater Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce, includes a barbecue competition, live blues music, a kids fun zone, a business expo, a car show, an aviation display and show, and a military history museum. Free admission; parking is $10. The event benefits local youth and education programs. No coolers or pets allowed. Bring a lawn chair. For information, call (813) 782-1913 or visit zephyrhillschamber.org.
If you have business announcements you would like to share, mail the details to Jean Hamilton, Business Digest, Pasco Times, 11321 U.S. 19, Port Richey, FL 34668. You may also email items to [email protected] or fax them to (352) 754-6133. Submitted items may be edited for length and clarity. Photos are published as space permits; they will not be returned.