Purple Panda Filipino Food
The owners behind Purple Panda Filipino Food, a mobile eatery that debuted last year in Taney County, expanded their business May 13 with a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Ozark. The 1,100-square-foot restaurant at 502 N. Third St. filled space previously occupied by Big Al’s Crab Shack, which moved to Nixa. Purple Panda, owned by husband and wife Paul and Fatima Sylvester, began in March 2022 in Hollister before moving the following month to a food truck park at 2166 State Highway 248 in Branson. Fatima Sylvester said startup costs in Ozark were $4,000, adding she and her husband signed a two-year lease for an undisclosed rate with landlord Kyle Estes. Sylvester said they want to keep operating the food truck and plan to remain open one or two days a week in Branson. The restaurant sells Filipino cuisine, such as chicken adobo, pork lumpia, butter garlic shrimp and tapsilog, which is sliced beef marinated in soy sauce, lemon, garlic and black pepper. Prices range $7-$15.
Phone carrier T-Mobile made its Ozark debut with the April 7 opening of a retail store at 780 N. 18th St. The shop occupies 1,400 square feet in one of three retail spaces created after a Shoney’s restaurant shuttered, said T-Mobile spokesperson Lyssa Hansen. She declined to disclose lease terms or startup costs for the company-owned store. Hansen said Francisco Aguilar is manager of the eight-employee shop, which carries wireless products, such as smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and accessories, including speakers and phone protective cases. Product brands include Apple, Google, Motorola and Samsung. T-Mobile also offers fixed wireless home internet plans beginning at $50 per month. Hansen said T-Mobile has over 6,000 corporate-owned retail stores nationwide and more than 100 in Missouri.
First Midwest Bank
The first Queen City branch for Poplar Bluff-based First Midwest Bank opened March 1 at 2540 E. Sunshine St. Jamie Phillips of marketing agency Rustmedia said First Midwest invested over $4 million for the purchase and renovation of the 7,716-square-foot Sunshine Street building, formerly occupied by Bank of America and owned by Alliance Capital Investors LLC. First Midwest entered the Springfield market in January 2022, with a loan production office at 1525 E. Republic Road, Ste. A125. That facility closed upon launch of the new branch. Community Bank President Matt Bower, a Springfield native, leads the branch’s seven-employee staff, she added. The bank offers checking, savings and lending products for individuals and businesses, as well as digital banking options. First Midwest, chartered in 1964, has 19 branches in Missouri, Phillips said.
Springfield Business Journal’s 2023 Trusted Advisers event honors 20 businesspeople.