ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Lunch hour is always busy at Toss Salads and Wraps in downtown St. Petersburg since they opened two weeks ago.

What You Need To Know

  • Hundreds of businesses starting up in St. Pete during pandemic

  • Toss Salads & Wraps, Cheezy Twisted Melts among new businesses 

  • CORONAVIRUS LIVE UPDATES: In the Tampa Bay area

Owner Chris Battafarano said he could never have imagined he'd be opening his business during a pandemic.

Getting to this day, though, didn’t come without challenges.

“I actually planned to open in March in the very beginning when it first it, so I decided to wait it out a couple of months. And those two months were pretty nerve-wracking,” said Battafarano.

Toss is one of more than 600 businesses, according to a new business report by the City of St. Petersburg, to register since the pandemic began.

Many of the businesses have been open longer than that, but never applied as a new business until now, so they could qualify for grants and loans.

Fo’ Cheezy Twisted Melts, though, opened the same week many businesses closed.

“We’ve really been embraced, which has been really cool because we weren’t expecting to be that well taken in that quick,” said owner Craig Munroe.

They planned to open their restaurant first, but when the pandemic hit, they decided to start with their food truck instead.

Munroe says the trick was promoting the business like crazy, especially to the social media community.

“We just wanted to give them something that they could get out of the house and look forward to," Munroe said. "And I feel like we’ve done that."



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