03/23/17 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — Floridians are one step closer to being able to buy whiskey, rum or vodka in a grocery store.
Legislators passed the "whiskey to Wheaties" bill in the Florida Senate Thursday which will allow grocery stores like Publix or Walmart to sell hard liquor on the shelves next to beer and wine instead of in a separate liquor store with its own entrance.
Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, who sponsored the bill in the Senate (SB106), said that the current Prohibition-era law is "archaic" and called for passing legislation that is more relevant and convenient for consumers in Florida. ...
03/21/17 Economic Development
TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Chamber of Commerce predicts that the rising streak of job creation in the state is behind us.
Jerry Parrish, the Florida Chamber of Commerce's chief economist, forecasts that Florida will create 190,000 new jobs in 2017, down from the 244,400 jobs created last year.
Parrish told a group during the chamber's Capitol Days event in Tallahassee Tuesday that job creation in Florida peaked in April 2016. But uncertainty in the Florida Legislature — including the shaky fate of the state's economic development organization Enterprise Florida — is tipping the scales....
ST. PETERSBURG — HSN is ending its business relationship with Bajalia International Group, an Orlando jewelry company accused of cheating female artisans it works with in developing countries.
A spokesman at HSN told the Tampa Bay Times late Thursday that the television retailer had completed a three-month-long internal investigation into Bajalia International this week. The review was prompted by questions from a Times reporter. HSN declined to comment on details of the internal review. ...
Maybe you've already seen the Shell billboards that have popped up along major interstates in Central Florida which say the popular Winn-Dixie Fuel Perks program is on its way out.
By the end of April, shoppers' Winn-Dixie loyalty cards and the points they've earned from shopping at Winn-Dixie stores won't get them a discount at Shell gas stations anymore.
Winn-Dixie is announcing today that it's replacing its Fuel Perks program with a partnership through Plenti, a company that allows users to collect points as they shop, which can be redeemed through a network of major retailers, from Macy's to Exxon Mobil. Southeastern Grocers, Winn-Dixie's parent company, is the first supermarket company to use its program....
Consumers can expect some relief at the pump soon, AAA experts say, as they are predicting prices could drop up to 10 cents in the coming weeks.
Gas prices have hovered around $2.15 a gallon in the Tampa Bay area for the past week or so, but an unlikely downward trend in prices is expected to continue through the busy spring break travel season, according to a press release.
The drop in prices is attributed to the falling price of oil, which had remained steady all year up until last week....
Delta Airlines is launching a new nonstop daily flight from Tampa International Airport to Salt Lake City starting Dec. 21.
Salt Lake City has been a coveted route that Tampa airport officials have been trying to bring back to the market for years. Four months ago, airport officials listed Salt Lake City as one of nine top markets they planned to target for new service. Service to Salt Lake City from Tampa was eliminated years ago when Delta downsized its hub operations in Utah....
TAMPA — When the Blind Tiger Cafe opens its newest coffee shop on S. Howard Avenue in South Tampa this summer, it'll be less than a mile away from a busy Starbucks right up the street.
Just a few blocks in the other direction is a Buddy Brew Coffee in Hyde Park Village and there's another not far on Kennedy Boulevard.
But Roberto Torres, owner of the Blind Tiger Cafe, isn't worried about his business. Coffee, like craft beer and the many other local foodie trends that have helped reshape the restaurant and retail landscape of Tampa Bay in recent years, is only just getting started....
Ed Miyagishima, the vice president of communications and external affairs at Port Tampa Bay, is leaving the port to take a leading role with the 2019 Medal of Honor Convention.
Miyagishima, who has served as a senior adviser to port CEO Paul Anderson, shared the news Wednesday evening on Facebook.
"I'd like to thank Paul Anderson, and the entire staff at Port Tampa Bay for their friendship and leadership during my time at the Port for the last four years," Miyagishima wrote. "I'm humbled and excited for this new chapter, which will allow me to represent and showcase the American heroes and military community I love and honor, in the city I'm proud to call home."...
TAMPA — The Surterra Therapeutics storefront on Fowler Avenue doesn't look like the kind of place where people can buy pot.
There's no green marijuana leaves lit in neon lights nor blacked-out windows. No security guard is checking IDs at the front door. Visitors don't have to be escorted into another room to see the product.
And that's on purpose.
As one of seven select companies licensed to grow, manufacture, distribute and sell marijuana in Florida, Surterra Holdings Inc. executives are used to explaining that they're not in business to be another smoke shop. But that's tough to do when even the bank lenders, real estate brokers, landlords and insurance agents are wary of doing business with them....
TAMPA — After spending more than 30 years working at SeaWorld Entertainment parks across the country, Busch Gardens' newest park president, Stewart Clark, still wasn't prepared for the backlash he and his family faced after the release of the documentary, Blackfish.
Clark's wife, Kelly Flaherty Clark, a longtime animal trainer and spokeswoman at SeaWorld, was prominently featured defending SeaWorld in the documentary from 2013, which explored the controversy over captive killer whales and the death of a SeaWorld trainer....
TAMPA — The first thing I noticed when I walked into the Sprouts Farmers Market in the Carrollwood Commons shopping plaza in Tampa Tuesday was the produce section.
Avocados. Dozens of colorful kinds of peppers. Limes, oranges and lemons. I've toured many grocery stores during my tenure as a retail reporter: Earth Fare when it opened in Seminole, Lucky's Market in Naples, Whole Foods 365 in Seattle, just to name a recent few. But the produce department in Sprouts is hard to miss. Located right in the middle of the store, it's one of the biggest I've seen. ...
ST. PETERSBURG —The age of Amazon and online shopping has left a litany of retail casualties in its wake.
Bookstores in particular have been hit hard by online marketplaces where shoppers can virtually find any book they want and have it shipped to their home with just a few clicks of the mouse.
But that doesn't deter Tim Russell and Bobby Hauske, who are about to open a used bookstore in Tyrone Square Mall next month....
Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of Winn-Dixie, is rolling out a new and revamped line of private label products in its latest bid to stand out in a sea of grocery shopping options.
So Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo, Fresco Y Mas and Harvey's shoppers can expect to see and taste thousands of new and updated private label products in nearly all store departments, from household goods to canned vegetables. Some stores already have a few of these new items on the shelves. ...
TAMPA — Carnival is the latest cruise line to offer cruises to Cuba from Port Tampa Bay.
The Carnival Paradise ship will begin offering voyages from Tampa to Cuba beginning June 29, the cruise line announced Tuesday.
The overnight visits to Havana will be featured on 12 different four- and five-day cruises from Tampa.
Four-day cruises will depart June 29, July 13, Aug. 24, Sept. 7 and 21, and Oct. 5 and 19, as well as May 3, 2018, and include a daytime and overnight visit to Havana. Five-day voyages will depart Aug. 14 and 28, Sept. 25 and Oct. 9, and include a daytime and overnight visit to Havana as well as a stop in either Cozumel or Key West....
02/14/17 Real Estate
The condominium tower under construction at the former site of the Colonnade restaurant on Bayshore Boulevard has a name: Virage Bayshore.
The Virage Bayshore will be a 24-story, 71-unit tower with views of Hillsborough Bay and the downtown Tampa skyline. The site at 3401 Bayshore Blvd. is considered the last unclaimed parcel on Bayshore Boulevard zoned to be a high-rise tower, according to a press release. ...