Katherine Snow Smith, Times Staff Writer

Katherine Snow Smith

Katherine Snow Smith has been at the Times either fulltime or parttime since 1995. She started as a business reporter then spent a decade writing the Rookie Mom column with stories from her own family and advice from other average moms and the experts. She now covers business in south Pinellas County. Katherine has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina and is married to Times political editor Adam Smith. They have three children, two dogs and still feel like rookie parents much of the time.

Phone: (727) 893-8785

Email: kssmith@tampabay.com

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  1. As St. Petersburg's Beach Drive hops, valet permits stop

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Beach Drive's success has bred traffic jams, parking shortages and the demand for more valet services. • Though these aren't the worst problems to have, Mayor Rick Kriseman and other city officials are talking with business owners to figure out how to address them.

    The Birchwood and Tryst Gastro Lounge welcome the people who flock to the busy half-mile commercial stretch, and want to offer valet parking to make it easier for customers. But the city can't issue the required permits because its valet ordinance allows only one valet service per block....

    Cassis on Beach Drive NE in St. Petersburg is one of several downtown restaurants that offers valet parking for customers. It is the only one directly on Beach. Others are on side streets.
  2. Historic cafeteria sold for $2.7 million, to become German restaurant

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — A deed recently entered into public record shows Times Publishing Co. sold its historic Tramor Cafeteria building for $2.7 million. Chicago-based Second City Properties closed on the building at 123 Fourth St. S in September. The sale includes a small parking lot with 18 spaces.

    Second City plans to convert the 15,000-square-foot building into Hofbrauhaus, a German-style restaurant and beer garden with locations in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Las Vegas....

  3. Vegas Showgirls foreclosure off

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — The foreclosure auction of Vegas Showgirls strip club at 10568 Gandy Blvd. has been canceled, according to its owner and the Pinellas County Clerk of Court's foreclosure calendar.

    Owner James Lowy, a lawyer in Tampa, said he is selling the debt to another entity as well as refinancing other assets to pay down the debt.

    "There is a solution," Lowy said.

  4. Blue Ocean Film Fest mixes Hollywood, marine science in St. Petersburg

    Tourism

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Blue Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit is set to debut Nov. 2 in its new U.S. host city: downtown St. Petersburg.

    Think of it as Comic-Con for underwater educators, filmmakers and scientists.

    There will be Hollywood stars, such as Oscar winner Jeremy Irons, who will screen his ocean pollution documentary Trashed, and star scientists, including legendary oceanographer Sylvia Earle, whose work to save the oceans is the subject of the film Mission Blue....

    In Trashed, actor Jeremy Irons travels around the world to discover the extent and effects of global waste.
  5. In a crowded market, new Publix on Fourth Street stocks up on extras to lure shoppers

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — Now that the new Publix at 3700 Fourth St. N is open, it's doubtful shoppers will still refer to the chain's other store two blocks away as "the good Publix." Many have used that term for the store at 200 37th Ave. N since the Albertsons across the street was converted to a Publix in 2008.

    Making its debut this week, the new store that stands where the Albertsons-turned-Publix once did features plenty of bells and whistles, including a salad bar, hot food bar, a lot of craft beer, a wine expert and a health and beauty adviser. ...

    The 49,000-square-foot store at 3700 Fourth St. N opened Thursday.
  6. Historic downtown St. Petersburg cafeteria to reopen as beer garden

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Tramor Cafeteria, built in 1929 and owned by the Tampa Bay Times since 1981, is under contract to be sold to a Chicago company that plans to open a German restaurant and beer garden.

    Hofbrauhaus also has locations in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas and Munich.

    The 15,000-square-foot space at 123 Fourth St. S has been on the market to sell or lease since 2012. The price was not released. The deal is expected to close Friday. ...

    G.I.’s line up in front of the Tramor Cafeteria in St. Petersburg in 1942. During World War II, St. Petersburg served as a basic training center. As a result, area hotels and cafeterias were taken over by the military.
  7. Strip club on Gandy scheduled for auction block

    Civil

    ST. PETERSBURG — Vegas Showgirls, a strip club dogged by legal problems, is set to go on the auction block next month because of the recent foreclosure by its lender.

    The club, at 10568 Gandy Blvd., allegedly was the site of forced prostitution in two recent trials involving human trafficking. One ringleader pleaded no contest; another man was found not guilty. Neither worked for Vegas Showgirls, and managers there stated at the time that the club was not involved in the activities....

  8. Sundial restaurant scales back; plans for Locale Market on target

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — Celebrated chef Michael Mina's farm-to-table restaurant in Sundial is going to be considerably smaller than first envisioned but will have room to grow.

    The Farmtable will have just 12 seats in an intimate dining room in the northwest corner of the shopping plaza's second floor. It was first announced as Farmtable Kitchen, and renderings show that 48 seats were planned....

    The Farmtable at Sundial will serve from menus created by chefs Michael Mina, left, and Don Pintabona. They are also the forces behind the sprawling Locale Market.
  9. New buyer emerges for old YMCA building

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — A circuit judge has cleared the way for a new buyer to purchase the historic downtown YMCA.

    Nick Ekonomou, a developer and former Florida State University football player, said he plans to convert the 1926 Mediterranean jewel into luxury vacation rentals with a spa, event venue and brewery.

    "I have no idea for a name yet. I know I want to put it back to its grand splendor," Ekonomou said....

    Nick Ekonomou will pay $1.4 million for the building.
  10. SalonCentric to move; Good 'Burgers named; windsurfers to compete

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG

    SalonCentric will move HQ to Gateway

    An 87,000-square-foot office building in Gateway that has sat empty for more than three years will soon have a major tenant. SalonCentric, a distributor of hair and nail salon products to professionals, is readying the former Paychex building for its new headquarters.

    The company, which currently has headquarters in Largo, is a subsidiary of cosmetic giant L'Oreal. It will lease 52,500 square feet for its 180 employees. SalonCentric plans to expand over the next several months, but the number of hires isn't set, according to spokeswoman Rebecca Bray. ...

    Windsurfers like Charlotte Samson, 17, practicing near the Clearwater Community Sailing Center, face an October challenge.
  11. Is Walmart's exit behind subdued mood at Lighthouse Crossings?

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — Now that the shiny new Walmart has opened on Bay Pines Boulevard across from the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center, things are pretty quiet down the road at Lighthouse Crossings.

    The Walmart that anchored that shopping center at Tyrone Boulevard and Park Street for 24 years closed July 15. The new Walmart opened 2 miles away on July 16.

    "It's slow. Normally we'd be busy this time of day for sure," said Lydvina Eckert, who was working at an empty Subway at 11:55 a.m. one recent day. It's at the opposite end of the shopping center from the vacant Walmart but still hosted plenty of its customers. To make matters worse, none of the Walmart employees are eating there anymore....

    The former Walmart store in the Lighthouse Crossings shopping center sits vacant at 3993 Tyrone Blvd N in St. Petersburg.
  12. Blue Ocean Film Festival to draw 20,000 to St. Petersburg

    Tourism

    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not Cannes or Sundance, or even the Bollywood awards.

    But city and business leaders are gearing up for a little-known film festival that is expected to draw 20,000 people to St. Petersburg in November, highlighting the city's tourism and marine science industries.

    That's almost as many as the 24,000 visitors drawn to Tampa in April for the much-ballyhooed International Indian Film Academy Awards show....

  13. Q&A with Dairy Queen CEO John Gainor

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — John Gainor, CEO of Minneapolis-based Dairy Queen, visited All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine on Thursday to publicize the company's Miracle Treat Day, when it gives $1 of every Blizzard sold to a hospital in the Children's Miracle Network. Last year the company, owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, raised $37,500 for All Children's. It has donated a total of $455,000 in 30 years....

    Dairy Queen CEO John Gainor says there is an effort to make the upside-down handoff of Blizzards more consistent at U.S. stores.
  14. Vue 19 nightclub, Vue Sushi & Martini Bar have closed

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — Despite an initial $2 million investment and a location offering views of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, Vue 19 nightclub on the 19th floor of One Progress Plaza has closed. Vue Sushi & Martini Bar, which was started by the same owners on the first floor, has also closed.

    Though the restaurant opened in early 2011, the nightclub has been mired in uncertainty since work began in the former Bank of America building in late 2010. It opened in February 2012, about a year past its estimated debut because of construction delays and code requirements such as a reinforced dance floor....

    The Vue Sushi & Martini Bar on the first floor of One Progress Plaza has now closed.
  15. Sundial announces its lineup of tenants; 90 percent leased

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — The veil of secrecy that has long shrouded Sundial is lifting now that the Edwards Group is announcing its lineup of 18 tenants. Most are planning on opening their doors by the end of September.

    The mix includes 11 national retailers with locations around the country and seven with one or two stores on Florida's west coast. The newest names to surface are the Shave Cave, Tommy Bahama, Jackie Z Style Co., Juxtapose, Florida Jean Co., Swim 'n Sport and a return of Happy Feet. ...

    The courtyard area of the new Sundial, 117 2nd Avenue North, which is scheduled to open in St. Petersburg Friday, May 9. The first shop to open, in addition to the movie theater, will be Diamonds Direct Fine Jewelers, which has been in St. Pete for 30 years.