Trying to keep pace with princesses at Disney World and Potter at Universal Studios, SeaWorld has bet its future on making penguins from Antarctica at home in the middle of a former swamp. It was no picnic. Designers could fake the glaciers and icicles. But they had to lower temperatures in the birds' habitat to a permanent 30 degrees and figure out how to pump in 20,000 pounds of snow a day. And, of course, there's the penguin poop problem....
BY SUSAN THURSTON
Times Staff Writer
TITUSVILLE — Don't tell employees at the Kennedy Space Center the U.S. space program is grounded. Quite the contrary, they say, pointing to the latest rocket launches and deep-space missions.
For an example of a major investment, they talk up the $100 million home of the space shuttle Atlantis, opening to the public June 29....
Anyone in the market for a tablet, laptop, e-reader or non-recreational software might want to wait a few months.
For the first time, the state is expanding its annual back-to-school sales tax holiday to cover certain electronic products selling for up to $750. This year's tax holiday is Aug. 2-4.
"It will give thousands of Florida families an opportunity to buy their first computers or upgrade the ones they own," said Rick McAllister, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation, which pushed for the exemption....
All this talk about online and mobile shopping might make you think traditional malls are becoming obsolete.
Not so fast, says Marianne Bickle, director of the Center for Retailing at the University of South Carolina. Shopping malls are more vital than ever, as people look for new ways to stay connected.
Bickle's comments stem from a survey she developed for Glimcher Realty Trust on mall shopping trends. Glimcher owns and manages 29 retail centers nationwide, including Tampa's WestShore Plaza....
Rebecca Newman got married April 12 under a shady oak tree at a ranch in rural Brandon. She held her reception in an elegantly decorated barn.
The 26-year-old college student wore brown cowboy boots and a dress she never thought she could afford, a white strapless number that laced up the back with rhinestones on the bodice and a Southern belle-style bottom.
She bought it new at Goodwill's annual wedding gown sale last year, joining hundreds of other brides who found their dream dress at a discount. It's too bad, Newman said, that she'll be one of the last....
Panera Bread fans might shudder at the idea of calling the pastries, sandwiches and salads fast food. But that's just what the bakery and cafe wants to accomplish with the addition of drive-throughs at some of its locations.
On Wednesday, the chain opens its first drive-through restaurant in Tampa, at 3420 W Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. just north of Raymond James Stadium.
Panera decided to put a drive-through at the newly constructed building because of its proximity to St. Joseph's Hospital, residential neighborhoods and other large employers. And doesn't an Asiago cheese bagel and cup of hazelnut coffee sound pretty good before a Bucs game?...
Here's another example of a local restaurant concept heading north. Burger 21, a better burger chain founded by the owners of the Melting Pot based in Tampa, has expanded outside of Florida with the opening of a location in Voorhees, N.J.
Founded in 2010, Burger 21 has seven locations and 17 franchised locations in development in six states along the East Coast. We're not the only place chomping for burgers right now....
Rick Silva, the CEO and president of Checkers and Rally's based in Tampa, is back on prime time television this week. Silva appears on Epic Bosses, a special episode of Undercover Boss featuring updates on the most compelling bosses and how their undercover experience affected them and their companies.
Silva was the focus of an Undercover Boss episode that aired in February 2012 showing Silva pretending to be a contestant on a reality show giving failed business owners a second chance. The episode gave Checkers a big publicity boost and went on to win an Emmy....
RIVERVIEW — Zakia Carter prefers fashion in the fast lane — as in cruising down the road in a 37-foot RV loaded with dresses, shirts, pants and accessories. ¶ Carter owns White Tent Runway, a mobile boutique for women that operates out of a motor home with a dressing room, mirrors and clothing racks. ¶ The 40-year-old fashionista from Lithia's FishHawk Ranch started the business a year ago after hearing about the concept in big cities like Los Angeles. She liked the idea of bringing fashion to people's driveways and figured it would do well in a car-centric place like Tampa Bay. ¶ Food trucks certainly have....
TAMPA — This Mother's Day, shoppers can delight Mom and also do something good for the environment and people working on flower farms.
Sweetbay Supermarket is selling eco-friendly, sustainably grown flowers at its 72 stores in Florida and online for delivery nationwide.
"It's part of our commitment to sustainability," said Sweetbay spokeswoman Nicole LeBeau. "Mother's Day is a huge day to buy flowers, and we thought this would be a great time to start it."...
ORLANDO — Capitalizing on the success of a bespectacled boy wizard, Universal Studios Florida is creating a new themed area devoted to Harry Potter's hangout, Diagon Alley.
Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment announced Wednesday the addition of the Potter-inspired London shopping district, scheduled to open in 2014. The attraction will be within Universal Studios Florida, adjacent to Universal's Islands of Adventure, a separate park with separate admission....
Tyrone Square Mall is hosting Mom's Night Out on Thursday with a "Garbage Gone Glam'' fashion show featuring dresses made from recycled bags from Bath & Body Works, Chick-Fil-A, Cache, Dillard's, Justice, Hooters and other green-minded stores. The dresses will go on display in the St. Petersburg mall after the event, which runs from 6 to 8 p.m. in Center Court.
The party is part of a nationwide Mother's Day promotion at 129 Simon Property Group malls and will have refreshments, entertainment and beauty services by Loraine's Academy beauty school. The first 100 customers in line will receive a Mom's Nite Out tote with goodies. One lucky mom nationwide will win a trip for two to Chicago to see Bon Jovi in concert July 12. No doubt, that would beat a new toaster or pair of slippers. ...
About 130 retail and marketing executives gathered last week to talk shop during the eighth annual Global Retail Marketing Association Forum at the Loews Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach. Attendees got an earful about current trends in retail and how no business is immune to what's happening worldwide.
Here are some highlights from Friday's presentations.
• Nader Mousavizadeh, who was special assistant to former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said the best economic opportunities are in African countries where leaders have learned that peace and political stability are more beneficial than war. They have natural resources and a growing middle class. Also emerging are smaller nations, such as Colombia, Mexico, Myanmar and Indonesia, with decent governance and a basic economic foundation. Not promising are Russia, India and European countries....
TAMPA — Worried about harmful chemicals in most deodorants, Amy Cazin created all-natural Primal Pit Paste. She made batches in her South Tampa kitchen, turned her dining room into a shipping center and, as business grew, expanded into her garage.
Within months, she needed even more room.
Armed with big plans but not a lot of money, she turned to ClickStartMe, a new crowdfunding website based in Tampa. The site allows individuals and businesses to post campaigns to raise money for various projects in exchange for perks, incentives and just plain gratitude....
05/01/13 Food & Dining
Forget a basic birthday cake. The Red Elephant Café is celebrating its first anniversary in South Tampa by adding breakfast.
The restaurant at 111 S Dale Mabry Highway — at Kennedy Boulevard — started serving breakfast on Monday with egg-centric pizzas, wraps and Home Fry Bowls (egg and cheese dishes served over home fries). Breakfast runs from 7 to 11 a.m. weekdays and 8 to 11 a.m. weekends. The restaurant switches to its lunch menu at 11 a.m....