Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Business

Businesses throughout Tampa Bay shut down early as Hurricane Irma nears

As Hurricane Irma continues to barrel toward Florida, many Tampa Bay area businesses are packing up and closing up shop. There are a few outliers — retailers from Publix to Walmart will stay open as long as possible to continue selling supplies to residents who won't evacuate. (Publix is closing stores in South Florida, however.)

"We are working with our suppliers to help stay in stock, and will remain open as long as conditions remain safe for our customers and associates," said Ragan Dickens, a spokesman for Walmart.

Then there are fast food chains like McDonald's and Waffle House, which in some cases — like in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston — will try to stay open to the bitter end.

LIVE BLOG: Hurricane Irma threatens Florida as dangerous Category 5 storm

COMPLETE COVERAGE:Find all our coverage about Hurricane Irma here

Here's a sampling of some businesses closing around the region:

Beach Drive area restaurants in St. Petersburg

Parkshore Grill and 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House plan to remain open at least through lunch on Saturday. Two sister restaurants, the Gala Cafe at the Dali Museum and the Hangar and Flight Lounge at Albert Whitted Airport, will be closed as of Friday.

Bella Brava will close Friday until Tuesday.

Stillwaters Tavern will close Friday until a later date.

Cassis will "most likely'' be open for lunch Friday, then plans are indefinite, executive chef Jeremy Duclot said.

Birch & Vine will be open until further notice.

The Moon Under Water will close Friday, Saturday and Sunday, unsure about Monday

Ulele Restaurant and Brewery

Ulele, located at 1810 N. Highland Ave., currently plans on being open for the remainder of Thursday and Friday.

Florida Aquarium

The aquarium will be open during regular business hours through Saturday and will close to the public on Sunday, according to a spokesperson. Beginning Friday at 2 p.m., the outdoor plaza area, which includes the Splash Pad, will be closed until further notice. As of late afternoon on Thursday, aquarium officials are unsure if it will be open Monday.

HSN

Formerly known as the Home Shopping Network, television retailer HSN will continue to broadcast live online and on TV from their studios in Nashville, and will run pre-recorded content if needed, according to a company spokeswoman. The company's St. Petersburg headquarters will close late Saturday through early Monday.

Glazer Children's Museum

The museum will be closed from Friday through Monday ahead of Hurricane Irma, according to a Thursday afternoon tweet.

Lowry Park Zoo

The zoo will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It will likely be closed on Sunday, said spokesperson Christina Lasso in an email, and it will "assess whether we will open Monday in the next coming days."

Jabil

The St. Petersburg-based Fortune 500 electronics manufacturer is heeding the Zone A evacuation. Jabil spokeswoman Beth Walters said Jabil is closing all corporate headquarters and manufacturing operations in Pinellas County "as of midnight tonight (Thursday)."

"We're continuing to prepare for the potential impact of Hurricane Irma with a crisis team comprised of HR, IT, Communications, Security and others meeting twice daily to develop plans and take additional necessary precautions to safeguard our employees and offices" Walters said. "We will maintain employee communications via a Jabil emergency weather hotline and employees will return to work once the campus is declared operational." — Beth Walters, Jabil spokeswoman

Raymond James Financial

The St. Petersburg investment firm said via Twitter that on Friday it is shifting its primary operations to its Detroit and Memphis locations "to manage volume for its business critical functions." The company, based in the Carillon office park area of north St. Petersburg, said "key personnel are temporarily relocating out of the anticipated storm path."

Times staff writers Justine Griffin, Susan Taylor Martin, Malena Carollo and Robert Trigaux contributed to this report.

Comments
State Vacuum and ‘Bernie Apestein’ may be waving goodbye to longtime location

State Vacuum and ‘Bernie Apestein’ may be waving goodbye to longtime location

For nearly 40 years, while wearing an eclectic mix of fashion, a mechanical gorilla has stood outside State Vacuum of Tampa, waving hello to Kennedy Boulevard motorists.His name is Bernie Apestein. "That gorilla has been a mainstay" said David Epstei...
Updated: 7 hours ago
MagneGas reports 200 percent hike in revenue for second quarter

MagneGas reports 200 percent hike in revenue for second quarter

MagneGas Corp., a Pinellas Park firm that makes a gas product used in metal working, reported a 201 percent spike in quarterly revenues on Tuesday. Its net loss increased from $2.2 million in the year-ago quarter to $3.5 million. Magnegas had $2.9 mi...
Updated: 7 hours ago
State launches investigation, assesses $800,000 in damages against SunPass contractor

State launches investigation, assesses $800,000 in damages against SunPass contractor

After months of inaction, Florida Department of Transportation officials announced today that they are assessing nearly $800,000 in damages against the SunPass contractor responsible for the state’s tolling chaos.At Gov. Rick Scott’s direction, the d...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Zillow analysis shows more than six million homes missing from U.S. market

It’s no secret that it’s hard to find housing market. But why?Real estate analytics company Zillow said it’s because of the lack of construction after the housing market crashed.Between 1985 and 2000, there were 3.9 permits issued for single-family h...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Florida Hospital to change its name to AdventHealth

Florida Hospital to change its name to AdventHealth

Beginning next year, the Florida Hospital brand will be known as AdventHealth.The Central Florida-based health care chain, which has nearly 50 hospital campuses and more than 80,000 employees, including seven hospitals around Tampa Bay, announced the...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Tampa General ranked Florida’s second-best hospital in U.S. News study

Tampa General ranked Florida’s second-best hospital in U.S. News study

Tampa General Hospital was ranked as Florida’s second best hospital in the U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 Hospital Rankings released Tuesday, while Moffitt Cancer Center was named the country’s eighth-best cancer hospital.The rankings, which analy...
Published: 08/14/18
Want to feel wealthy? It will take $2.4 million.

Want to feel wealthy? It will take $2.4 million.

What would make you feel wealthy?A lot of people struggle with that question. It’s hard to know how you would feel about something you’ve never had, like say a robust stock account or a mortgage-free house.To help, Charles Schwab has come out with a ...
Published: 08/14/18
Amalie Arena tries to lure millenials to its Firestick Grill

Amalie Arena tries to lure millenials to its Firestick Grill

TAMPA — How to attract the cool kids? This is the mantra for so many restaurants these days: That huge generation of millennials eats differently, thinks differently and spends differently than their parents. So how do you reel them in and make them ...
Published: 08/14/18
Echelman Pier sculpture raises bird safety concerns

Echelman Pier sculpture raises bird safety concerns

ST. PETERSBURG — From the beginning, the city’s plans for an aerial net sculpture on the downtown waterfront provoked alarm from those concerned about birds."I do not think that it is appropriate to place a moving, lighted net in an important flyway ...
Published: 08/14/18
Anti-straw movement picks up steam on beaches

Anti-straw movement picks up steam on beaches

Efforts to persuade restaurants and bars to discontinue the use of plastic straws are having a rippling effect in beach communities as well as some inland in Pinellas County.Former Treasure Island Mayor Bob Minning is spearheading efforts for the Tre...
Published: 08/14/18