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Fisherman hopes restaurant reels in diners

Cory Applefield, longtime local fisherman and culinary school graduate, has opened Cory's Seafood Factory, a rustic restaurant featuring seafood and his own chowders and sauces.

Applefield had been a professional net fisherman and crabber for a dozen years when he quit in 1988.

"I've always liked to cook, so I entered a culinary program," said the 38-year-old St. Petersburg native.

After finishing school, he worked 5{ years as an assistant chef at Tradewinds Resort in St. Pete Beach. When he realized it likely would be some years before he could expect to be a head chef, he decided to open his own business.

"I just felt that I had to go for it," he said. "I have a wife and two kids, and I didn't want to wait around for a better opportunity."

It cost $100,000 to remodel the place at 7661 Starkey Road and open for business, he said. The restaurant has a staff of 12 and seating for 99 people. The only smoking area is the bar.

"The first night we opened we were prepared to serve 100," he said. "We had 225 customers."

Now into his second month, Applefield said he has "ironed out the kinks that go with the first few weeks of a new business."

His said his days are much longer _ 14 to 16 hours _ than when he worked for someone else. "There's a lot of stress, too," he said. "I'm surprised at how much stress you feel when it's yours."

He buys the majority of his seafood from other fishers but uses some stone crab from his nearly 200 traps. "I still try to keep my hands a litle wet," he said.

Cory's is open seven days a week but will be closed Easter Sunday. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with luncheon specials and early bird dinner specials from 3 to 6 p.m.

The menu features a variety of seafood, chowder, gumbo and salads. Customers can make their own salads from a table-side Lazy Susan with nine condiments.

Cleaners has new name

The names of a cleaners at 11242 Park Blvd. in the Park Collection shopping center and a second at 13065 Park Blvd. have changed from Starlight Cleaners to Seminole Cleaners.

"I wanted to give them a more hometown name," said owner Doug Vogt. Below the new names, he said, is now added "Your Neighborhood Cleaners."

Vogt took over the businesses last year from his father, John Vogt, who retired. The family moved here in 1980 from Dansville, N.Y., and Doug Vogt graduated from Pinellas Park High School in 1982.

Donald joins Grant Realty

Ken Donald has joined the sales staff of Century 21 Grant Realty at 6450 Seminole Blvd. A native of Cincinnati, he moved here four years ago. He worked 12 years in restaurant management before getting into real estate. Grant Realty has a sales staff of more than 50 people.

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