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Two familiar Gulfport businesses have some big changes in store for 2019.
Stella’s, a Beach Boulevard-based restaurant, will be moving up the street to a larger location sometime in 2019.
Suncoast Food Store, which was largely destroyed in a 2016 fire, finally reopened in late October of 2018.
Same Stella’s, New Location
The quirky nun art, miscellaneous mugs hanging on the walls and black-and-white checkered floors are all part of Stella’s atmosphere.
Within the next year, this will all be transplanted a few blocks north, from 3119 Beach Blvd. S. to 2914 Beach Boulevard South, previously the home of Yummy’s.
“I have a brand here,” said Stella’s owner Barbara Banno. “I call the lime green paint ‘Stella Green.’ The new place will be, of course, Stella Green, and I want the floors black and white.”
Moving locations has been long in the works for Banno.
The relatively small, indoor and outdoor seating areas have long outgrown the crowds who frequent the establishment.
“When we opened nine years ago. We were based on being a small mom-and-pop shop,” Banno said. “The place we are moving to is a lot larger and will make it easier to function.”
While the exact date of the relocation is to be determined, Banno ensures that the staff, hours and menu will remain the same.
In fact, while the menu will still feature the same items, some new featured dishes may appear once the new Stella’s lands.
“I call Stella’s a ‘fine diner’ because it’s very upscale diner food,” Banno said. “Our chef is doing a great job creating new items.”
Suncoast is Back
On April 26, 2016, a Gulfport shopping center at 58th Street and 15th Avenue South was transformed into a charred disaster after an accidental fire started in Sunrise Laundromat.
“We had to build everything brand new,” said the owner of Suncoast Food Store, Gazi Rahman, whose store was largely destroyed by the blaze. “You know it was closed for three years.”
Over three months ago, the store reopened with a few surprises.
“We have a brand new cooler with a beer cave and this is the coldest beer in the city now,” said Rahman. “And we added a deli.”
Other shops in the strip, Fazio’s Pizza and Sunrise Laundromat, were both destroyed by the fire. Gulfport Florist managed to stay open, with only smoke damage.
The final construction only took about two months, according to Rahman. Issues with a contractor complicated the reopening.
“The first contractor only did the roof and a little bit of the interior,” Rahman said. “I lost about $250,000 because of him and I have a lawsuit planned.”
Dunkin’ Donuts One Step Closer
Proposed back in 2016, a new Dunkin’ Donuts with drive-through service, will be added to Gulfport’s community this year.
The shop will be located at a lot in the southwest corner of 56th Street South and Gulfport Boulevard South.
According to property manager, Derek Obershall, construction is underway and is expected to be finished by the end of May.