05/29/15 Working Life
ST. PETERSBURG — Like any group of spirited salesmen, this crew swaps stories about the big scores, those times when people couldn't wait to buy what they were selling.
"We were out in service on Sept. 11," remembers power-suited Jonathan Burns, his colleagues nodding. "People were inviting us in, giving us updates, showing us the TV. It's now very rare to get invited in."
Sharon Graham, 80, can match that bad-world, good-business tale: "When we were living in Detroit and the riots came, people were actually coming over to our house, coming to us. We didn't even have to go out!"...
Winn-Dixie, the venerable Florida-based grocery chain, may not be able to keep up with the fancy foodie movement being embraced by such Tampa Bay competitors as Publix and Whole Foods Market. But that doesn't mean the 90-year-old Sunshine State institution isn't trying to keep up with the times.
Behold, the new My Winn-Dixie mobile app — which is not unlike Grandpa getting an iPhone....
Office supplies retailer Staples will begin shutting down a Tampa warehouse facility in June, a move that will eventually leave 47 people without jobs.
Staples notified the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity that the shutdown will begin on June 26, with completion done by late October. Most of the employees scheduled to be terminated are in delivery services.
If Staples' pending $6.3 billion bid to buy chief rival Office Depot is approved this year, there could be even more shakeups in the office supply chain world, with several locations in Tampa Bay affected....
Sean and Michelle are back this week to talk Sunday night's episode of Mad Men, the fourth in this final seven-episode run, which means we're just three hours away from this show ending for good. Episodes like "Time and Life," a gorgeously shot, richly acted escapade, makes us realize just how much we're going to miss it.
Michelle: Ah, thank goodness, after a couple weeks of morose subtleties and new characters, we get a shenanigans episode that's all about our main men and women. And, man, this ep was a whole lot of fun, albeit one that's dripping with deja vu. That's intentional, as Season 7, Part 2 seems to be all about how the same old tricks that worked before - particularly for Don, but really for all of our characters - don't work now. I couldn't help but think of that second-time-around syndrome during this episode, in which the partners at SC&P connive to keep their business afloat after McCann-Erickson decides to dissolve it (it's the classic NYC problem: their rent's too high!). The partners' plan feels way too convenient from the start, down to the easy laughter at Pete's Secor Laxatives joke set-up. Heck, at one point, Roger even tells Ken, "We've done this before." ...
Consider Hooters, if you will: A worldwide brand so resistant to change over its 32-year run, the Clearwater-born chain spent a long time debating, then cautiously altering, a certain aspect of its iconic servers' vavoomish outfits. No, they didn't swap out those snug white tops, the traffic-cone orange shorts or even that ridiculous scuba-suit hosiery.
"We gave the girls shorter socks," says Mark Whittle, senior vice president of global development. "There's a lot of brand equity at Hooters, a lot of pride."...
ST. PETERSBURG — Baseball may be our cozy national pastime, but the future is now at Tropicana Field.
Major League Baseball and your Tampa Bay Rays are offering a smartphone app — available free through Apple's App Store and on Google Play — that gives Trop guests an expanded, info-dense "digital wallet" with perks.
For instance, an "upgrades" button allows users the chance to purchase a used game ball or get to hold the flag at the end of the Pepsi Bottle Run....
In hopes that the Great White North will warm up to the Sunshine State even more, Florida has embarked on a new promotional campaign in Canada — already the state's largest export partner — touting the deliciousness of our fruit.
More than 1,800 stores spread out over three Canadian provinces are getting a "Fresh From Florida" hype job, which entails not just on-sale produce — including tomatoes, sweet corn, grapefruit, strawberries, blueberries and orange juice — but recipes and related educational information....
The Albertsons grocery store in Clearwater will close at the end of May, leaving 86 people out of a job and many more looking for a new place to shop.
According to a state worker adjustment notice, the layoff date at the store at 2170 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd. is scheduled for May 28.
As "foodie" culture and boutique markets have taken over Tampa Bay — with even Publix spiffing up stores to compete with the onslaught of Fresh Market, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's — Albertsons, an Idaho-based grocer that also owns the Safeway chain, has become a brand name that is no longer in the conversation in these parts. ...
Sometimes the symbolism on Mad Men is subtle, sly, prime for heated watercooler debate. And then sometimes...Sterling Cooper lands the Peter Pan account as Don Draper's life stays sadly, depressingly the same as people grow up around him. He can fly, he can fly, he can fly? Yeah, hopefully not off that balcony. Herewith, Sean Daly and Michelle Stark bandy about Sunday's ep (only three more until the finale!), including Joan's rich-old-dude-in-an-ascot plus the return of Ultimate Creepy Kid Glen and his kitchen tete-a-tete with Tinkerbell Betty....
BRANDON — It was almost called Potatoes O'Brien. The "neighborhood hangout" chain didn't serve wings. Or have TVs. Or pour liquor. It was a tiny unassuming Irish pub — named partly after the owner's mother — at the end of a mundane strip mall. It served steaks, at least until a thief burgled the meat. Then it started selling wings.
In 1985, Beef 'O' Brady's looked, felt, tasted very different than today's Beef 'O' Brady's, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary. The place had little interest in sports — until the family of Brandon High School baseball phenom Jody Reed needed a place to watch him play second base for the Boston Red Sox. Then it started showing games....
ST. PETERSBURG — Twinlab Consolidation Corp., the makers of Metabolife wellness supplements and Alvita herbal teas, will move its New York headquarters here sometime in late summer, setting up on two floors of downtown's First Central Tower.
Twinlab said it will relocate about 80 employees from its New York and Michigan offices; manufacturing will continue in Utah.
According to an SEC filing, the lease — for the fifth and eventually sixth floors of the building at 360 Central Ave. — is for 12 years, with an option for as many as 10 more. The security deposit is $1 million. The rent is $344,160 a year — although the first year will be given rent-free....
04/14/15 Real Estate
Athleta, an upscale women's workout and swimwear apparel retailer, and Lululemon Athletica, a hip shop dedicated to yoga and fitness accessories, will open locations at International Plaza in the summer. This will be the first Athleta in the Tampa Bay area. The Gap-owned chain will be on the mall's lower level near Dillard's and is slated to open in June. The namaste-centric Lululemon, which has several other locations in the bay area, will open in July. In other International Plaza news: Jewelry and timepiece specialist David Yurman will open his first Tampa Bay store in August. And as if designer Michael Kors wasn't popular enough, that shop has now moved to a larger location on the upper-level near the Grand Court....
Bullet With Butterfly Savings?!
Remember when taboo-tweaking rocker Marilyn "The Dope Show" Manson was considered the most dangerous man in America, a sign of the apocalypse, a satanic Pied Piper who would lead our children to the fiery pits of damnation?
Yeah, Manson's on Groupon now.
So is Billy "Rat in a Cage" Corgan and whoever's in the current iteration of Smashing Pumpkins. ...
Everyone was getting screwed in one way or another on Sunday's Mad Men, a carnal carnival slampacked with boot-knockin', laughs, bitter French women...and, per usual, an undercurrent of doom for our bed-hopping anti-hero Don Draper. There are only four eps left in the final season -- cue sobs and a shot of whiskey -- which means all hell should start breaking loose right..about...now. Herewith, beloved Mad Men-ers Sean Daly and Michelle Stark sort out the boinkage and whether this is the last time we'll ever see poor, sweet, and verrrry rich Megan. (You're a pig, Harry Crane. And your hair is stupid, too.)
MICHELLE: "New Business" is a strange, uneven episode of Mad Men, so much so that it feels intentional, like Matthew Weiner was trying to make us as uncomfortable Sunday night as Don must feel all the time in his skin. So many little things were off. We encounter Don's two ex-wives in the ep's first two minutes. (WHAT was with that longing look Don gave the Betty-Henry kitchen? Seriously?) SYLVIA ROSEN shows up in the elevator. Stan and Peggy receive sexual advances from the same woman. It's all a bit shudder-y....
Things can get stressful for the 150 men and women working at R.J. Kielty Plumbing, Heating and Cooling. ¶ After all: "There are a lot of people who try to flush cat litter," says dispatch manager Crystal Schuler.
And remote controls.
"People will try to flush anything," Schuler laughs.
Don't forget the critters that can bubble up from the depths: giant frogs, 6-foot snakes....