Friday, June 15, 2018
Business

Westfield Brandon is prepared for holiday rush

BRANDON — It's that time of year again.

The mall is decorated like a winter wonderland, and Santa Claus is posing with tiny tots. Extra employees have been put on the payroll, and Christmas music is pumping through the speaker system.

It's the holiday shopping season.

And that means long lines, traffic and limited parking spaces.

But the staff at Westfield Brandon mall has planned ahead in order to make the experience go as smoothly as possible.

We recently quizzed Dawn Arvidson, marketing director at Westfield Brandon, about what shoppers can expect.

Construction has started on Gornto Lake Road. What kind of traffic can mall visitors expect from that?

All current enter and exits roads will operate as normal throughout the holiday shopping season. We are partnering with the county to temporarily halt construction over the holidays on the Gornto Lake intersection that links to Town Center Drive.

Even without the construction, traffic is going to be inevitable this time of year. What is Westfield Brandon going to do to alleviate some of that?

We work closely with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to maximize efficiency and traffic flow on the access roads, which are on the mall's property. Measures are in place to minimize congestion and provide efficient entry and exit for shoppers during peak shopping times.

How long will the construction be going on? Will there be any road closures or blockages from the construction?

The estimated completion date, provided by the county, is late 2013. The Gornto Lake intersection will remain open; however, early next year there will be slight lane shifts as the intersection is reconfigured.

What advice does the mall have for shoppers coming during this busy time of year, to avoid traffic?

We encourage shoppers to use one of the three additional entrances to the center as an alternative to S.R. 60. Alternate entrances can be accessed from Providence Road, Causeway Boulevard and Gornto Lake Road.

What else can shoppers be on the lookout for during the holiday season?

To help shoppers identify the hottest gifts this holiday season, Westfield has created a "Gifts We Love" gift guide series available on Facebook that will provide daily gifts suggestions at various price points available at our retailers. Plus, Westfield is hosting a national "Love to Gift" sweepstakes, also via Facebook, which will "Cover Christmas" with a $1,000 shopping spree for four lucky shoppers.

Comments
Florida’s unemployment rate drops to 3.8 percent

Florida’s unemployment rate drops to 3.8 percent

Just when it seemed like Florida’s unemployment rate couldn’t get lower, it did. According to the state figures out Friday, Florida’s jobless rate dipped to a near 18-year low of 3.8 percent in May after holding steady at 3.9 percen...
Updated: 8 hours ago
St. Petersburg home becomes finalist in HGTV contest

St. Petersburg home becomes finalist in HGTV contest

ST. PETERSBURG — A house in St. Petersburg’s Old Northeast is a finalist in HGTV’s Ultimate House Hunt contest. Built in 2007 in the Mission Revival style, the 4,000-square-foot home a block from Coffee Pot Bayou is among 12 nationwide in the "curb a...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Florida’s first not-for-profit coding school is opening in St. Petersburg

Florida’s first not-for-profit coding school is opening in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — Filling in a hole that was left by The Iron Yard’s exodus last year, a new computer coding school will open its doors to its first class in downtown St. Petersburg on July 23.The Academy at Suncoast Developers Guild will operate thro...
Published: 06/15/18
Tampa-based Robbins Property Associates pays $43-million for Boynton Beach apartment community

Tampa-based Robbins Property Associates pays $43-million for Boynton Beach apartment community

Tampa-based Robbins Property Associates, has bought Aventine at Boyton Beach, a 216-unit apartment community, for $43 million.Aventine, garden-style apartments that are 95 percent occupied, will be renovated and renamed "Verona at Boynton Beach."It i...
Published: 06/15/18
Florida craft beer guild: Big Beer is pushing us out of Publix

Florida craft beer guild: Big Beer is pushing us out of Publix

The national battle between Big Beer and local craft breweries is playing out on the shelves of your neighborhood Publix — and some favorite Florida brewmakers are losing.The guild that represents Florida brewers says at least 12 small breweries have...
Published: 06/15/18
Accused of racial profiling, Lowe’s ends policy of checking customer receipts as they leave

Accused of racial profiling, Lowe’s ends policy of checking customer receipts as they leave

Memorial Day weekend was supposed to bring three productive days of home improvement for Will Mega, a dean at a North Philadelphia charter school.He’d go to two Lowe’s locations near his home in Philadelphia’s Wynnefield neighborhood for a grill and ...
Published: 06/15/18
McDonald’s to test alternatives to plastic straws in U.S.

McDonald’s to test alternatives to plastic straws in U.S.

NEW YORK — McDonald’s said Friday it will switch to paper straws at all its locations in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and test an alternative to plastic ones in some of its U.S. restaurants later this year.The burger chain and other fast-food comp...
Published: 06/15/18
Extending Albert Whitted’s runway could help Innovation District takeoff

Extending Albert Whitted’s runway could help Innovation District takeoff

ST. PETERSBURG — Albert Whitted Airport wants to extend its main runway. But what would benefit the airport could also benefit the St. Pete Innovation District.Moving the runway would ease building restrictions around the airport, allowing the Univer...
Published: 06/15/18
Strange brew? Tampa Bay group hopes to grow hops and medical marijuana in the same spot

Strange brew? Tampa Bay group hopes to grow hops and medical marijuana in the same spot

ST. PETERSBURG --- Among topics that stir passionate interest, two that rank high are medical marijuana and craft beers.A group of Tampa Bay entrepreneurs has ambitious plans to profit from both.They are leasing a vast warehouse space in St. Petersbu...
Published: 06/15/18
Graham Brink: Suncoast Parkway extension boondoggle wastes finite road building dollars

Graham Brink: Suncoast Parkway extension boondoggle wastes finite road building dollars

I love the Suncoast Parkway, as much as anyone who doesn’t like driving can enjoy a long ribbon of asphalt.The 42-mile highway that takes up where the Veteran’s Expressway leaves off has whisked me north so many times that I know where to expect its ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18