Mobile-based Youngblood Real Estate announced two grand openings last week in the Pinebrook Shopping Center, 3964 Airport Blvd. at the corner of Airport and McGregor Avenue. The two businesses are Hawaii-themed eatery Poke Luau and fitness chain F45 Training. A ribbon-cutting event was held last week with Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson.

Poke Luau, co-owned by the husband-and-wife team of Jason and Alison Nguyen, features Hawaiian cuisine with blends of fish, beef and vegetables combined with spices. This locally owned, 1,700-square-foot business offers customers a choice of bowls or burrito fare.

Established in 2014, F45 Training is an Australia-based franchise chain with upward of 800 fitness sites spanning 26 countries. Local owners of the new Mobile location are Jon Paul Bobo and Robert Ervin IV; it will be managed by Andrew Vickers. The facility encompasses some 3,200 square feet.

F45 Training reportedly merges three separate fitness training styles into one group training program for participants, combining elements of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), circuit training and functional training.

Brittain Youngblood with Youngblood Real Estate managed the transaction for Poke Luau within Pinebrook Shopping Center. Pratt Thomas with Merrill P. Thomas Co. Inc. represented F45 Training on its lease.

• Lewis Pest Control, headquartered in Thomasville, has purchased a 6,000-square-foot office warehouse on 1.1 acres at 1224 Hutson Drive in Mobile for $175,000. The company will relocate its Mobile County office from 3263 Demetropolis Road to the new site. Pratt Thomas with Merrill P. Thomas Co. Inc. managed the transaction.

Lewis recently acquired Mobile-based businesses B & W Pest Control, Pest Master Exterminators and Bugs on the Bayou and plans to hire an 10 new employees after the acquisitions are completed.

Lewis operates nine offices in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. The company specializes in residential and commercial pest control, termite control and wildlife control.

• Winn-Dixie officially reopened another store in West Mobile, at 9948 Airport Blvd., following a significant facelift. The event included a ribbon-cutting ceremony and speeches from Winn-Dixie Southeastern Grocer President and CEO Anthony Hucker and Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl.

This is the second local Winn-Dixie store to be upgraded in Mobile. To date, the Jacksonville-based grocery chain has nine locations in the Mobile and Baldwin county markets.

Winn-Dixie won the 2018 Nappie Award for “Best Grocery Chain.”

• The University of Alabama recently announced it will lease space at the GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico, located at 155 S. Water St. in Mobile, effective the beginning of September. The new office will serve as a local site for research and program initiatives focusing on lower Alabama, primarily in the area of transportation.

“The University of Alabama has a long history in Mobile and along the Gulf Coast, including the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. With a large and growing number of research projects and collaborations in the area, the GulfQuest facility will give us a centrally located physical space to expand our research capacity,” Dr. John Higginbotham, UA interim vice president for research and economic development, said.

• Marshall Blake, Scott Jefferies and Perrin Elebash, financial advisers at LPL Financial, have leased 2,917 square feet of ground-floor office space in the Regions Bank Building at 891 Hillcrest Road in Mobile.

Nathan Handmacher and Jill Meeks, leasing executives with Stirling Properties, represented the property owner in the transaction. Jeremy Milling with Milling Commercial Realty worked for the tenants.

• Happy Sushi is leasing 1,800 square feet of restaurant space inside the Yester Oaks Shopping Center, located at 3662-B Airport Blvd. in Mobile. This will be the second location for Happy Sushi in the area; it currently operates a restaurant kiosk in The Shoppes at Bel Air.

Amanda Goldman, leasing executive with Stirling Properties, represented the tenant in the transaction. Terry McKinney with Springdale Stores Inc. worked for the landlord.

Minority business accelerator program announces winner

The Melton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of South Alabama, in collaboration with the University of Mobile, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Development Center, recently wrapped up an entrepreneur accelerator program that selected five minority entrepreneurs in the local area.

The goal of the program was to assist contestants in scaling up their businesses by participating in the 2018 Minority Business Accelerator Program sponsored by PNC Bank.

As part of the program, participants were provided an intensive, customized business acceleration curriculum that provided cash stipends to fund specific business milestones identified in the training. Efforts culminated in the winner of the graduation pitch competition receiving a $10,000 award. Troy Ephriam, owner of Ephriam & Associates Consulting, LLC, won the pitch contest.

Other local-area program participants included Tim Burnett, owner of Quality Sprinkler System; Jabaria Dent, owner of Dent Enterprises Inc; Ernest Hughes, owner of Hughes 360 Services, LLC; and Enoch Smith, owner of Easy Heating and Cooling Inc.

“The Minority Business Accelerator Program couldn’t have come along at a better time for me and my company,” said program winner Ephriam. “The program pushed me beyond my comfort zone. We had to reinvent our business model. I think the MBA program supports minority businesses best by showing how to become innovators within our startups, which was a real game changer. We are eager to be mentors for next year’s program,” he said

The program’s teaching team was led by Dr. Todd Greer, dean of the School of Business at the University of Mobile, and Dr. Don C. Mosley Jr. and Dr. Thomas Nelson of the Melton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in USA’s Mitchell College of Business.