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Medication company gets dose of growth

Published Sep. 13, 2005

Those store-brand, over-the-counter cold, cough and allergy tablets at Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Eckerd and other local stores are packaged and distributed right here in the Seminole area.

Granutec Inc., a division of Novopharm Ltd. of Toronto, has been manufacturing, packaging and distributing generic and private label medications for more than 25 years.

The company has two locations _ a packaging and distributing plant here and a manufacturing plant in Wilson, N.C. Locally, some 220 people work in Granutec's 70,000-square-foot packaging and distribution plant and offices at 8601 Somerset Drive.

Granutec is in the process of expanding and moving its distribution operation to a 43,000-square-foot building in the new Bryan Dairy East business complex. The move a couple of miles away comes with a price tag of a half-million dollars, said plant manager Tim Wojdan.

"This has been about three years in the making," said Wojdan. "Distribution is the biggest part of our operation _ we've expanded into the largest retailers in the country."

In addition to cold and allergy capsules and tablets, the local operation also packages analgesics and laxatives, Wojdan said. From $400,000 to $500,00 worth of medicines are shipped out daily, he said.

Granutec was acquired five years ago by Novopharm, which specializes in pharmaceutical manufacturing, research and development, said Wojdan, 36, who has worked 14 years for the company. The business has been at the Somerset Drive location since 1981 and plans are in the works, he said, to move the entire operation to new quarters in three to five years.

Computer business grows

George's Computers, owned by Lynn Brooks of Seminole, has expanded and moved to a 10,000-square-foot building at 7821 Seminole Blvd.

The computer company was in a 3,000-square-foot storefront at the Park Collection shopping center on Park Boulevard for a little more than a year and had outgrown its space, said George Brooks, company vice president and husband of the owner.

In its new location the business, which has 20 employees, has 5,000 square feet, Brooks said. A law firm occupies the other half of the building. The cost of the move, he said, was $25,000.

Brooks, 46 and a 30-year Pinellas County resident, said the business started six years ago as a home operation and has been growing at a fast pace. "Last year, our total gross sales was $3.5-million," he said.

George's Computers handles custom-designed systems for businesses ranging from a small office to a company with 250 employees. Other services include custom computer upgrades, trade-ins, cables and accessories, on-site repair, networks and maintenance contracts. It also has a full-service repair department. The business Web site is

Real estate news

Two local real estate agencies recently received awards for exceptional customer service work.

George Chiarenza and Z Kougl, broker-owners of ERA Professional Realtors at 8970 Seminole Blvd., received a national award from ERA Franchise Systems during a banquet in Las Vegas. The award was based on surveys of buyers and sellers who worked with the business.

Ruth Cabella, broker-owner of Century 21 Real Estate Champions at 4350 Duhme Road, received the Centurion award for her office's superior customer service, as well as outstanding sales performance. The award is achieved by less than 10 percent of the approximately 7,000 sales offices in the Century 21 system.

_ Know of a new or unique business in the greater Seminole area? If so, tell us about it. Send items to Seminole Business, Seminole Times, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756 or fax it to 445-4119. We also are interested in promotions, expansions and major new contracts. Photos can be sent, but not all will be used and they cannot be returned.