The last time I went into a RadioShack store, I bought a small Grundig radio. It was on a whim. And it was 10 years ago.
Therein lies RadioShack's problem. The chain is no longer essential. It failed to evolve into a must-visit destination retailer like Trader Joe's are for foodies or Bass Pro Shops are for the outdoor crowd.
It's the reason why the struggling chain announced this week that it plans to close as many as 1,100 stories....
ST. PETERSBURG — Catalina, a business based here that helps grocery chains and consumer brands inspire customer loyalty, said Boston investment firm Berkshire Partners LLC will acquire majority control of the company from Hellman & Friedman LLC.
The proposed transaction confirms a report in last week's Tampa Bay Times that Berkshire was considering a deal for the 1,350-employee Catalina. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but earlier press reports suggest the seller was seeking close to $2.5 billion....
03/03/14 Personal Finance
Billionaires are blossoming around the globe even though the world economy can't seem to get out of second gear.
The just released 2014 Forbes list found a record 1,645 billionaires worldwide worth a combined $6.4 trillion. That includes 492 U.S. billionaires, 33 of whom call Florida their home.
Behind the United States come China with 152 billionaires and Russia with 111....
Today, let's skip most of the ho-hum quarterly financial numbers recently unveiled by some of the biggest companies operating in the Tampa Bay area. Instead, let's peek at the in-house strategies, serious challenges, ownership changes and legal disputes simmering behind bland balance sheets. What we find might inspire their own reality shows.
Scrapping for lean wallets: Liz Smith is pretty upbeat for a restaurant executive who sees many of her casual dining customers struggling with diminished disposable income. The CEO of Tampa's on-the-upswing Bloomin' Brands was feeling her oats this past week touting the March rollout of a new menu — with "enhanced variety, lightness and affordability," as she describes it — and advertising campaign for the company's Carrabba's Italian Grill chain. She says Bloomin' will miss Carrabba's president of 13 years, Steve Shlemon, who recently left to become CEO of the Japanese steak house chain Benihana. While Outback Steakhouse may be Bloomin' Brands' biggest chain, the company's domestic priority is Bonefish Grill, a smaller seafood chain that just entered the California market and the one Smith sees as the key domestic growth engine for now. Look for a new Bonefish menu by midyear and more weekend lunches....
Not all jobs are created equal. And not all outlooks on this state's economy are the same.
That's why it's too bad that Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Tallahassee's leadership choose to view the progress of Florida's economic health through rose-colored glasses and with mutual congratulatory pats on the back.
It once made a clever sound bite to say that any job is a good job in a state economy still clawing out of a bad recession. Now that pitch has grown stale. Just because the unemployment rate is falling faster here than in many other states is no guarantee the Sunshine State is building the critical base of 21st century jobs based on higher skills and better pay....
The short film Pushing Luck was created to denounce ongoing efforts to bring Las Vegas-style casino gambling to Florida.
It premiered Wednesday evening in Tampa's Hyde Park after first being shown last month in Tallahassee to select political leaders. Now Pushing Luck is part of a statewide campaign this week by the No Casinos antigambling group to rally against the latest lobbying efforts to expand casino gambling in Florida....
02/24/14 Personal Finance
The country seems to be coming out of wrenching financial times. Our savings habits are not.
A series of recent surveys point to an abysmal lack of savings by many U.S. households despite an official end to the recession and dramatic declines in unemployment rates. Especially in Florida.
If more people have jobs, it's not reflected in the ability of many to save much — if any — money....
02/21/14 Personal Finance
This is not a formula for success for Floridians.
While all 50 states experienced widening income inequality in recent decades, the growing disparity in Florida is especially troubling.
From 1979 to 2011 in the Sunshine State, the top 1 percent enjoyed a hefty 116 percent gain in average income to $1.14 million. Over the same 32-year period, the rest of Florida — the "bottom 99 percent" — saw their average income drop 8 percent to $35,393....
Can regional momentum raise the bar for entrepreneurs? Sure feels that way given the uptick in plans to stimulate startups.
"I think it's because the economy is better and people are more optimistic and excited about technology," says Heather Kenyon, CEO of the Tampa Bay Technology Forum. "We're still working on getting the word out about Tampa Bay's growing entrepreneurial activity and the increase in the diversity of events certainly helps."...
02/14/14 Economic Development
Never, ever let it be said that Tampa is not trying hard to become Panama's best buddy.
"If you do not go and get the business, it will not come to you," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said at Thursday's briefing on his latest business development mission to Panama. "People want to do business with people they know."
Panama smacks of opportunity on four distinct fronts — all of them potential winners for this metro area. They are:...
In 1912, the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates dismissed a sales pitch to train here by Al Lang, the man who would become mayor of St. Petersburg.
But in 1914 — 100 years ago — Lang struck gold when he persuaded manager Branch Rickey to bring the St. Louis Browns here with an offer of free lodging. The first game was played in Coffee Pot Park, writes Nevin D. Sitler in his book Warm Wishes from Sunny St. Pete. The Cubs traveled across the bay by boat from Tampa and won 3-2....
The CEOs of Duke Energy Florida and TECO Energy, the two big power companies providing electricity to most of the Tampa Bay area, share a common gripe.
It's getting tougher to find qualified young people to become linemen or fill similar good-paying jobs that are critical to running electric utilities but may not require college degrees.
In recent conversations, CEOs Alex Glenn of Duke Energy Florida and John Ramil of TECO both lament that too few job candidates are able to handle the basic math and science deemed fundamental to these jobs....
Despite a steady rise of influential businesswomen in the Tampa Bay economy, they remain poorly represented on the boards of directors of far too many public companies.
A Tampa Bay Times check of the board makeup of 10 larger publicly traded corporations based here found only 17 women among 95 directors. And even those results are skewed. Seven of the 17 women directors serve on the boards of just two companies: St. Petersburg-based HSN and Tampa's Bloomin' Brands....
A meltdown is under way in the nation's nuclear power industry that has nothing to do with radioactive fuel rods or core reactors.
It's a PR meltdown. And it's endangering nuclear's future in the United States.
While insisting it is a key player in the fight against global warming and an important provider of future electricity in this country, the insular industry keeps sticking its public relations foot in its mouth....
It's a bold marketing move, and maybe much more than that.
The 13th-largest U.S. business on the Fortune 500, CVS Caremark, said Wednesday that it will halt all cigarette and tobacco product sales nationwide by October.
To its credit, CVS finally acknowledged a blatant conflict: selling prescription drugs to control diabetes or high blood pressure while profiting from cigarettes that aggravate those diseases and a host of others....