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. 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....

  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Lil' Divas and Dudes: small clients, big business model

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — No more sitting on stacks of phone books at dad's barber. No more boring grownup gossip at mom's nail salon. The children of St. Petersburg now have their own place to get coiffed and pampered.

    Lil' Divas and Dudes Salon & Day Spa just opened at 4200 Fourth St. N, offering haircuts and styling, manicures, pedicures and facials. At their own salon, kids sit in a miniature airplane or pink classic convertible, gripping the steering wheel and watching Anastasia while they get their locks trimmed. ...

    Robin Williams, center, smiles as her daughter Sadie, 6, (not shown) shows off her new hairdo at Lil’ Divas and Dudes Salon & Day Spa at 4200 Fourth Street N in St. Petersburg on July 22. From left is customer service and party manager Meghan Niezbecki, Williams, stylist Lisa Merriweather, and owner Matt Taneja, far right. Lil’ Divas and Dudes Salon is a hair salon and spa for kids that opened July 1. In addition to hair, manicures, pedicures and facials, the spa offers various Spa Parties including the Princess Party, Diva Party and Rock Star Party. 
  6. Sundial announces its lineup of tenants; 90 percent leased

    Retail

    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. ...

    Most tenants at Sundial, at Second Street and Second Avenue N in St. Petersburg, are expected to open by late September.
  7. Downtown St. Petersburg building back on the market

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG—The vacant Universal Health Care building in the heart of downtown will remain empty longer than expected. Kevin Hirsch, the surgeon and developer who bid $10.5 million to buy the offices of the bankrupt insurance company, has backed out.

    He initially envisioned filling the two-story office building, which has six floors of parking above, with retail. Whole Foods considered the site for about three weeks before deciding against it, Hirsch said. Then he started planning to add six more stories to the building and give it a dramatic new look....

  8. Madeira Beach has two chambers but no favorite

    Business

    MADEIRA BEACH — The Treasure Island & Madeira Beach Chamber of Commerce has existed for a year, but Madeira Beach's recent endorsement of the fledgling organization has taken some by surprise and added to confusion over the group's role.

    When the Treasure Island Chamber added Madeira Beach in July of last year, the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber got a letter from Madeira Beach stating that the beaches chamber was still that city's chamber of commerce. The bigger organization represents businesses from 11 Tampa Bay beach cities....

    Bill Edwards put two adjoining cities under one umbrella.
  9. Construction delays push St. Petersburg Trader Joe's opening to 2015

    Retail

    Don't count on celebrating the holidays with a bottle of Two Buck Chuck from the new Trader Joe's on Fourth Street N in St. Petersburg. The much-anticipated 12,000-square-foot store under construction between 28th and 27th avenues N won't open until next year. "Due to construction delays we are opening in 2015," said company spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki. She declined to specify what month the opening would occur. The developer of the project said in April that the store was expected to open by the end of this year. A 3,000-square-foot freestanding Vitamin Shoppe will join Trader Joe's on the property. — Katherine Snow Smith, Times staff writer...

    Construction continues Tuesday morning on the new Trader Joe’s on Fourth Street N at 28th Avenue in St. Petersburg.
  10. Another holiday, another trash problem on St. Pete Beach

    Tourism

    ST. PETE BEACH — Masses of people came to the beach for the July 4 weekend, and with them came their trash.

    The city of St. Pete Beach placed eight Dumpsters along the beach to handle the extra garbage. But by sunset Saturday, the blue bin in front of the Postcard Inn at 6300 Gulf Blvd. was overflowing, as were additional trash cans the resort had added.

    Scattered across the beach were other pieces of trash, including plastic cups bearing the resort's logo, beer cans, broken coolers and straws....

    This Dumpster near the beach entrance to the Postcard Inn was overflowing Saturday.
  11. Bill Edwards sold Tropicana block for $5 million more than he paid for it

    Business

    A developer that recently bought the Tropicana block in downtown St. Petersburg paid $17.2 million, about $5 million more than local businessman Bill Edwards paid for it just two months earlier.

    The escalation in price illustrates growing demand for large tracts of undeveloped land downtown. The transaction recently showed up in public records.

    Kolter Group, a Palm Beach County investment firm, plans to build a hotel and condos in two towers on the property. The project would include ground-floor retail. It's expected to break ground in the early 2015 and be done by the end of 2017....

  12. Creative investor seeking ideas to perk up his swath of Central Avenue

    K12

    ST. PETERSBURG — A New York investor could change the face of Central Avenue's EDGE District with construction of a retail incubator, loft apartments and a large garden.

    Jonathan Daou, who owns four retail spaces in New York's SoHo area, recently paid $1.7 million for about 1.5 acres west of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St., at 930 Central Ave. Other than a parking lot during Tampa Bay Rays games, the long-vacant land has been an eyesore and deterrent to pedestrian traffic. ...

    Lynn Camacho, of Designers’ Consignor at 1033 Central Ave., suggests an ice cream or frozen yogurt shop.
  13. Lease worth millions keeps downtown St. Petersburg block trapped in time

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG

    The Pheil Hotel at 424 Central Ave. was once the place to go for the finest steak in town. An elegant meal, 95 cents for filet mignon or 85 cents for a whole Florida lobster, could be followed by a movie at the hotel's Pheil Theater. From their debut in 1924 they were hot spots on the city's busiest block for about three decades.

    Now the former hotel and an adjacent building that was St. Petersburg's first bank sit vacant at the southwest corner of Fourth Street and Central Avenue, shrouded in metallic mesh. The giant cheese grater effect was added in the 1960s....

    Shrouded in metallic mesh, the building at the southwest corner of Fourth Street and Central Avenue in St. Petersburg has been vacant since First Union bank moved out in 2006. Cars park in a lot and a garage, but the rest of the block is stagnant.
  14. Second buyer eager to buy, renovate historic St. Petersburg YMCA

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — A second buyer is waiting in the wings to purchase the historic YMCA building at 116 Fifth St. S, with renovation plans that include a spa, restaurant, youth recreation area, and apartments or hotel rooms.

    Nick Ekonomou, a former Florida State University football player who has redeveloped several apartment projects and single-family homes in Miami-Dade County, said he hopes to also have his own residence in the building. "I am prepared to close and I have the money," he said. "I love this building and this is a long-term goal for me."...

    The YMCA, at 116 Fifth St. S, has been empty for years.
  15. Beach renourishment set; Jannus makes changes; a dog park opens

    Human Interest

    Beaches to get infusion of sand

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is scheduled to start putting fresh sand on Pinellas County's eroded beaches at the beginning of July, but the beaches will remain open throughout the work, corps officials said.

    The work will begin at Sunshine Beach, at the northern tip of Treasure Island. It will be followed by Sunset Beach in Treasure Island and Upham Beach and Pass-a-Grille in St. Pete Beach....

    Starting early next month, these beaches will be renourished, in this order: Sunshine Beach and Sunset Beach in Treasure Island, and Upham Beach and Pass-a-Grille in St. Pete Beach.