Tuesday, June 19, 2018


Sara DiNatale

Sara DiNatale

Sara DiNatale is the retail and tourism reporter on the business desk. She has been with the Tampa Bay Times since 2015. She is from Buffalo, New York, where she graduated with a degree in English from the University at Buffalo. Her work has previously appeared in the Boston Globe, the Oregonian and the Buffalo News.

Rent-A-Center has been purchased by Orlando private equity firm Vitange Capital. (Courtesy of Rent-A-Center)

Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

An Orlando private equity firm has purchased lease-to-own business Rent-A-Center in a deal valued at more than $1 billion.Vintage Capital Management put a bid in for the company on Friday: $15 per share, $1 per share above its previous offer.
Updated: 6 hours ago
Some craft beers from small Florida breweries are being replaced by national craft brands, several of which are owned by one of the industry's biggest players, Anheuser-Busch InBev.
[Photo illustration by Ron Borresen, Times]

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...
Published: 06/15/18
Winn Dixie remodeled their Hyde Park store and gave it a cleaner, more modern look.  The brighter Winn Dixie seems bigger thanks to higher ceilings and pops of color contrasted by white accents. JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times

Winn-Dixie unveils Apollo Beach remodel

APOLLO BEACH — One of Winn-Dixie’s latest remodeled stores is reopening to the public on Thursday.The store at 252 Harbor Village Lane has scheduled a 7:45 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony. The renovations come after the store’s parent company...
Published: 06/13/18
The Tarpon Inn is accused of price-gouging during Hurricane Irma and under-paying former employees. (Hannah Denham | Times)

Tarpon Inn accused of price gouging, under paying housekeepers

TARPON SPRINGS — The dated two-story orange hotel near the Sponge Docks has been home to drug busts and nuisance complaints in the past — but now the Tarpon Inn is tangled in a different kind of legal mess.It’s not the guests accused of...
Published: 06/12/18
A new division of Impact, Impact RTO Holdings, has amassed the single-largest chunk of franchised Rent-A-Centers: 76 stores. Shirin Kanji, inset, is its president. [Photos courtesy Rent-A-Center, Shirin Kanji]

Rent-A-Center is new to franchising — and this Tampa company is benefiting

TAMPA — Shirin Kanji’s family business history was in hotels. But in 2008, amid a lag in hotel stays because of the recession, Kanji decided his family’s portfolio at Impact Properties needed to diversify beyond hospitality.He landed on...
Published: 06/07/18
Updated: 06/08/18
David King, left, and Kenneth James enjoy alcoholic drinks at sunset near Caddy's on the Beach on Treasure Island.  (LARA CERRI   |   Times)

Visit Florida reports record-breaking visits during first quarter

The state of Florida reported an all-time high for visitors in the first quarter of 2018 at 33.2 million people.That’s a 7.2 percent hike over the same period last year, according to Gov. Rick Scott. "Since December 2010, Florida has...
Published: 06/06/18
The meat and seafood department at Lucky's Market in St. Petersburg. The Market's grand opening is Wednesday. [EVE EDELHEIT  |  Times]

Lucky’s Market: 8 things to know before you go shopping

ST. PETERSBURG — The first Lucky’s Market in Tampa Bay officially opens at 7 a.m. this morning — though its formal "bacon-cutting" ceremony won’t be until 10 a.m. Before you head out to Tyrone Square Mall to fill your reuseable...
Published: 06/06/18
Lucky's Market in St. Petersburg will open on Wednesday, June 6.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]

Lucky’s Market opens in St. Petersburg, lures shoppers with low-priced organic produce (w/video)

ST. PETERSBURG — The latest grocery store in town is vying for your dollars with the promise shoppers will not only find organic produce and meats at low prices, but also have a good time doing it.Lucky’s Market, inside part of...
Published: 06/05/18
Oldsmar-based Cryo-Cell International has acquired a public cord blood bank company based in Orlando. This file photo shows blood samples at stored at Cryo-Cell.
[Times file, 2001]

Oldsmar’s Cryo-Cell buys Orlando cord blood bank for $14 million

OLDSMAR — Cryo-Cell International, the local company that was the first private cord bank to separate and store stem cells, has acquired a public cord blood bank company based in Orlando for $14 million.Cryo-Cell announced the acquisition of...
Published: 06/04/18
Sears is closing another 72 stores after reporting a first-quarter losses and plunging sales. The struggling retailer said Thursday, May 31, 2018 that it has identified about 100 stores that are no longer turning profits, and 72 of those locations will be shuttered soon. [Associated Press]

Two Tampa locations among dozens of stores being closed by Sears

After more than six years of shrinking sales, the parent company of Sears and Kmart announced Thursday it would shutter another 63 stores.Two more regional stores under Sears Holdings, both of them in Tampa, are in the latest round. Kmart on...
Published: 05/31/18
Updated: 06/06/18