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New International Plaza restaurant could be hot spot

After a four-year hunt, International Plaza finally lined up a signature 300-seat restaurant to fill a gaping hole left by the departure of Kahunaville and its ill-fated successor Headliners.

The flashy creation of an Ocala couple, Posh27 opens in November with the hope of matching the Tampa mall's big late-night draw, Blue Martini.

With meals priced at $35 to $55, Posh27 will be distinguished by a striking decor sparked by thin pillars of fire encased in clear glass candelabra and flames billowing from a waterfall. At 10 p.m. nightly, a big curtain opens to lure diners to an adjacent room with a dance floor and a DJ spinning pop rock.

Other changes this fall at IP: Adrenalina, a surf/skate and extreme-sports store arrives equipped with an artificial wave machine; Coach doubles in size by replacing Lladro; and a former Sigrid Olsen shop becomes Kate Spade, home for the work of a handbag, shoe and accessories designer who likely has a bigger following than her brother, comic David Spade.

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The rapid growth of mini-clinics — those low-cost health care alternatives staffed by nurse practitioners in retail pharmacies — stalled this year. Weak profits caused the number of clinics to slip by 12 to 961 as eight nascent chains cut back or gave up, says Merchant Medicine, a Shoreview, Minn., firm that tracks the industry.

Prescription-rich Florida has 117 of them, more than any other state. The Tampa Bay area has 31. But CheckUps USA closed all its clinics in local Wal-Mart Supercenters. Nationally, Wal-Mart lost 51 of 136 mini-clinics operating in its stores this year.

Who's left? Big players like CVS' Minute Clinic with 514 locations, Walgreens' Take Care Clinic with 187, and the Little Clinic, which runs 63 clinics in grocery stores, including nine in bay area Publix Super Markets.

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

New International Plaza restaurant could be hot spot 07/28/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 1:55pm]
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