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BUSINESS DIGEST

BANKING

Thomas Stokes has joined Life Savings Bank at 21649 U.S. 19 N in Clearwater as a consumer loan manager. He previously worked for Sun Bank in Orlando and First National Bank of Chicago.

CONSTRUCTION

Brandon Construction Co. at 557 Alt. U.S. 19 in Palm Harbor has started construction on a new Payless Shoe Source at 6201 Dr. M.

L. King (Ninth) St. N in St. Petersburg.

EXPANSION

After three years as Frame World at 111 N Missouri Ave., Largo, the business has changed its name to Steven Mitchell Gallery, made some interior changes and expanded its products. The gallery now will offer smaller edition sizes and, in conjunction with North Beach Fine Arts, will feature original serigraphs, original art work and fine art prints. New and well-known Florida artists will be featured in the gallery.

HONORS

Dr. James P. Gills, founder of St. Luke's Cataract and Laser Institute at 43309 U.S. 19 N in Tarpon Springs, received the 1994 Ephraim McDowell Award from the Christian Medical Foundation at the foundation's annual conference earlier this month at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort. The award has been presented annually since 1975.

INSURANCE

Ann Hometchko, manager of First American Title Insurance Co. at 14100 Walsingham Road in Largo, and Janelle Morris, manager of the company's office at 1527 Highland Ave. S in Clearwater, have received the Certified Land Closer and Certified Land Searcher designations. To qualify, the women were required to have at least five years experience with an abstract company, title insurance company or agent with membership in the Florida Land Title Association.

NEW BUSINESSES

Batteries Plus has opened a store at 28460 U.S. 19 N in Clearwater. It's the 28th store nationwide and the third in Florida. Other Florida stores are in Fort Myers and Altamonte Springs. Store owner is Bob Stowers, and the manager is Gary Carleton.

The store offers "thousands of batteries for thousands of items" and provides testing and installation. Some of the items batteries are available for are camcorders, cellular and cordless phones, boats, cars, trucks, motorcycles, toys, specialty packs, computers, cordless tools and emergency lighting.

The store also offers battery recycling services, as well as a technical area for custom building and assembly of batteries and battery packs. Batteries Plus has headquarters in Hartland, Wis.

Donald and Kelly Holcomb have opened Seagull Specialties, a custom imprint business, at 1914 Seagull Drive, Clearwater. The Holcombs take their business to their customers' homes and offices. "We don't expect customers to come to us, we go to them," Holcomb said.

Hundreds of items are available and range from coffee mugs to yard sticks. Customers can make selections from a color catalog and samples. The company also provides custom silk-screening and embroidery on a selection of clothing.

The Holcombs moved here 10 years ago from their native Atlanta. He was a Largo police sergeant for nine years and retired this year after a job-related injury.

REAL ESTATE

Andy Burwell, Jan Buchebner and Victor Suhweil, sales professionals with the Prudential Florida Realty at 19353 U.S. 19 N, Suite 100, Clearwater, have received the company's international marketing specialist designation. To qualify, they had to complete educational requirements that included a training course with programs on international law, taxation and cultural awareness.

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