TAMPA — By the end of the 2026, Joe Lopano wants Tampa International Airport to function as its own little city.
By then, airport officials would have spent more than $2 billion on improvements and new amenities in the terminals and around the airport property as part of a master plan overhaul. The airport would become the landlord not only of nearby International Plaza, which sits on airport-owned land, but also to a host of hotels and office buildings, retailers and restaurants even closer to the terminals. ...
First it was Play-Doh. Then Gak. There have been dozens of variations for sale of the oozy, gooey, squishable, stretchable kids' toy through the generations.
Kids these days call it slime. Butter slime. Fluffy slime. Avalanche slime. Glitter slime. And they don't buy it prepackaged at a store in the mall. They make it at home, share their colorful, sticky creations through videos on Instagram and sell it on Etsy.com....
Three beaches in Florida made it on a highly coveted list of the top 10 in America this year, ranked by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, a.k.a. "Dr. Beach."
Siesta Beach in Sarasota took the No. 1 spot while Caladesi Island State Park in Pinellas County landed at No. 7. Grayton Beach State Park in the Panhandle came in at No 4.
Siesta Beach, won the top spot for the second time for its "finest, whitest sand in the world," and its "clear, clean waters along this gently-sloping beach-face" which make it ideal for swimming, according to a press release. ...
Kahwa Coffee will open its 12th location and fourth with a drive-thru in a former "farm store" in St. Petersburg.
The new St. Petersburg location will open by late July at 5820 9th Avenue N., in a 410-square-foot, T-shaped building built in 1962. The building was used as a farm store, which sold fresh produce and other goods until the mid-1980s, according to a press release. Kahwa plans to restore the building in a way that will pay homage to the building's original purpose. ...
TAMPA — Grand's, a department store chain from Puerto Rico, will open inside the former Dillard's space at University Mall in September.
Grand's has 25 locations in Puerto Rico and one in Orlando. The chain sells a variety of items, from household goods to clothes to perfume and other items.
Dillard's announced in April that it would move into the former Macy's space at University Mall to take advantage of its better visibility along Fowler Avenue. Macy's shuttered the department store earlier this year as part of a slew of nationwide closures. ...
Tampa International Airport had the busiest spring break travel season in its history during the months of March and April, surpassing its previous record from 2007 by more than 50,000 passengers.
In March, the Tampa airport served 1.9 million passengers, making it the busiest month at the airport, according to a press release. In April, the airport served 1.7 million passengers, bringing the two-month total to nearly 3.8 million total travelers. ...
First it was grocery delivery with Instacart. Next it was adding Starbucks kiosks inside some stores. Now Publix Supermarkets is piloting a new meal kit program, similar to what consumers see from popular online companies like Blue Apron and HelloFresh, with individualized portions for meals.
Publix has been testing the kits at the store at Shoppes at Citrus Park in Tampa, located at 7835 Gunn Highway, and another in Orlando since March. The meal kits, which are offered at three different price points and require varying levels of cooking, are an extension of the Lakeland-based grocer's long standing Aprons Simple Meals program. Each day employees create fresh dinner options which can serve a family of four. There are six different meals to choose from, two for each pricing tier. The kits are billed as dinner for a family in six steps or less. Prices vary from $9.99 for a bratwurst meal with sauerkraut, potato salad and baked beans, to $19.99 for a pork dish with mushrooms and a Brie sauce over mashed potatoes. The middle tier costs $11.99. ...
While Florida politicians have butted heads over how to regulate the growing medical marijuana industry this year, Tom Murphy and Michael Welch have been busy working behind the scenes to try to ensure their company gets a piece of it.
Murphy, 71, and Welch, 79, are two of the founders of Gulf Coast Canna Meds, a burgeoning medical marijuana company in St. Petersburg that wants to distribute cannabis products to patients in Florida. They're just one of many groups in Florida eager to be part of this growing new medical industry. But that's easier said than done....
PALM HARBOR — The Walmart Supercenter in Palm Harbor is the latest in the chain to get a new look.
Walmart has remodeled three supercenters in the Tampa Bay area so far this year and plans to renovate a total of 10 neighborhood markets and supercenters in the area and 42 across Florida by the end of the year, a spokeswoman said. These multi-million dollar renovations — which range from new, interactive electronics departments to redesigned baby sections and expanded produce coolers — are meant to update aging stores in the region. ...
TAMPA — The Florida Aquarium has hired Roger Germann to be the organization's next president and chief executive officer.
Germann, 48, was previously the executive vice president of the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago for 16 years and also served as an advisory board member to the U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office. He most recently worked as a principal at a Chicago consulting firm, Four Lions Strategies. He will begin the new job in Tampa on June 5. ...
ST. PETERSBURG — Every year during National Tourism Week, hospitality industry professionals gather to recognize the success stories and stand-out leaders of their local hotel and attraction community.
But this year — after a tumultuous battle with the Florida Legislature over the future of the state's tourism marketing program — the local travel industry folks from Pinellas County just weren't in the mood. ...
Some Tampa Bay area residents were forced to abandon their homes or avoid stretches of highways Saturday as several wildfires raged in Pasco and Hillsborough counties.
Residents in Lutz and New Port Richey evacuated their homes for a few hours as a wind-whipped 1,000-acre wildfire burned across the Starkey Wilderness Preserve in Pasco County. Three separate wildfires in Hills-borough County closed Interstate 75 to motorists for hours near Fletcher Avenue and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. The recent fires are due at least in part to a statewide dry spell that has led to more than 100 wildfires in Florida and burn bans in several counties, including Pasco, Hernando and Hillsborough....
Tampa International Airport's cargo business is growing, thanks in large part to the online retailer, Amazon.
Seattle-based Amazon has opened two enormous distribution centers in the greater Tampa Bay area. To supply those warehouses with merchandise, Amazon is shipping goods to Tampa International Airport daily aboard a Boeing 767 cargo freighter plane.
It's a lucrative arrangement for Tampa's airport, which has seen a spike of more than 20 percent in cargo activity over the last year. The Amazon deal alone has generated more than $275,500 in revenue for the airport through fees and building rental payments, which continues to go up....
ST. PETERSBURG — Already home to the largest gay pride event in the state, St. Petersburg this week is hosting the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association's Annual Global Convention for the first time.
Nearly 400 tour operators, travel agents, travel journalists and airline and cruise ship representatives that cater to the LGBTQ tourism community will be at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club through Sunday....
TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority voted Thursday morning to move forward with the first steps of phase two of the airport's massive master plan.
Aviation authority board members voted in favor of a $132.4 million amendment to the authority's 2017 fiscal year budget, which would set funds aside to begin the demolition of the red side parking garage and start development of a retail and office space area near the airport's new rental car facility, which is currently under construction....