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Missing cows, cheap Rays gear, new massage competition and other happenings from the retail world

When Harold Seltzer reopens two former Sam Seltzer's Steakhouses in St. Petersburg and Port Richey under his name this week, customers will find the familiar trademark herd of steer statues still standing out front.

But it's a different story in Tampa. All that concrete beef lined up outside the defunct Sam Seltzer's store and onetime corporate headquarters vanished mysteriously after owners not connected to Harold Seltzer abruptly shut down the six-store chain in May.

"We don't know what happened to the cows," said Keith Appleby, an attorney handling the liquidation of the Sam Seltzer's stores.

• • •

Retailers slash prices of licensed Major League Baseball merchandise at season's end. Postseason is no exception.

So even before the World Series, Tampa Bay Rays Team Stores have discounted all their postseason team merchandise at half price until it's gone.

The store at Tropicana Field is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. The Rays Team Store at 400 N Tampa St. in downtown Tampa is open 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturdays.

• • •

Guess how Tampa Bay area McDonald's restaurants prod their employees to scrub their hands for at least 20 seconds.

Hidden cameras and stiff fines? Call violators' parents?

No. They put a sink in a visible spot in the kitchen, then ask workers to hum or sing under their breath two verses of Happy Birthday or Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

• • •

The Florida Marlins will undergo a major brand overhaul when they move into a $515 million retractable roof stadium under construction near downtown Miami.

Once they start playing at the former site of the Orange Bowl in 2012, the baseball team will change its name to the Miami Marlins.

• • •

Massage Envy, a national chain that brought consistent service, facilities and lower prices to massage therapy, has new local competition.'

Hand & Stone, a startup chain from Toms River, N.J., recently opened locations in St. Petersburg and Palm Harbor and plans two more in Tampa.

In addition to $49-an-hour massages, Hand & Stone sets itself apart from Massage Envy, which has 10 local shops, by offering facials, waxing and month-to-month membership.

"Fitness centers don't sell yearlong contracts anymore, and we intend to spread that to our industry," said Rob Beers, Florida developer for Hand & Stone.

• • •

Add Toys "R" Us to the short but growing list of retailers that accept orders online for pickup at a store.

Starting today shoppers can order products online and arrange to pick them up in many markets within two hours.

So far, the service is available only at stand-alone Babies "R" Us stores in the bay area, but the company expects to roll it out to its toy stores in time.

Mark Albright can be reached at albright@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8252.

Missing cows, cheap Rays gear, new massage competition and other happenings from the retail world 10/25/10 [Last modified: Monday, October 25, 2010 7:54pm]
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