After Time Warner Cable's ownership structure in the Tampa Bay area changed last year, it adopted the new name Bright House Networks and printed ads urging prospective customers to sign up and "live in a Bright House."
But the company apparently picked a house that was already occupied.
Atlanta market research company BrightHouse LLC has sued Bright House and its parent, Advanced/Newhouse Communications, in U.S. District Court in Tampa, claiming trademark infringement on a name it says it registered in 1999 and has used throughout the United States and Europe. Bright House Networks has denied the allegations.
While it's not yet clear which side will prevail, a quick Internet search reveals that variants of the name "Bright House" aren't exactly unique to either the market research company or the cable company. There's the Internet company Brighthouse Web Solutions of San Antonio, Texas, the construction company Brighthouse Conservatories Ltd. of Devon, England, and a consulting company, BrightHouse Management BV of the Netherlands.
_ LOUIS HAU
"Her Sports' sprints onto newsstands
There's a new national magazine coming out this month that's geared toward career and family women who try to cram a little triathlon training, snowboarding and mountain biking into their schedules.
The inaugural March/April issue of Her Sports magazine, a St. Petersburg publication for sports-minded women, will hit specialty shops and bookstores such as Barnes & Noble on Feb. 20. President and publisher Dawna Stone is self-financing the publication through a corporation called Wet Dog Media, which she formed in July.
With a target circulation of 50,000 for the premiere issue, Stone's team is relying on partnerships with organizations such as the Ironman Triathlon and the Active Network that allows the magazine to reach its target audience of active women age 25 to 49. They're offering trial subscriptions, setting up booths at races and events across the nation and marketing subscriptions through hersports.com.
"Unlike a Time or a Conde Nast, we don't have millions of dollars to market the magazine, so we're depending on grass roots marketing," Stone said.
Stone, 35, has watched similar publications such as Women's Sports & Fitness and Sports Illustrated Women fold, but she thinks she has learned from their mistakes. She's taking a vertical approach, limiting overhead and staff while digging toward a modest goal of 100,000 subscribers by next year when the bimonthly magazine increases to 10 issues a year.
Stone, who has worked in finance and marketing for Deloitte Consulting, Morgan Stanley and Clearwater's MarineMax, has had to convince a lot of people, such as her major advertisers Dasani and Kraft, that this time it'll be different.
"The bigger companies are extremely excited about the magazine and they're really supporting it because there just isn't a publication out there like this," Stone said.
_ BENITA D. NEWTON
New Pinellas condos: Rooms with two views
Vacant land is increasingly scarce in Pinellas County, forcing developers to make the best of what may be imperfect parcels.
Such is the case with the Grande Verandahs on the Bay, an 84-unit luxury condo development under construction on the St. Petersburg side of scruffy Gandy Boulevard.
Ads for the community's 3-bedroom, 3-bath units, which run from $319,900 to $499,900, focus on the positive: proximity both to downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg, "shimmering bay views" and "urban convenience," a reference to the complex's Gandy Boulevard egress. The main publicity photo features a stunning sunset view of the bay, framed by palm fronds.
What the photo doesn't show is the view from the development facing Gandy: a RaceTrac gas station located just a hub cap's toss away.
Oscar Blasingame, sales and marketing director for Ballast Point Group, said the St. Petersburg developer is taking steps to mitigate any concerns. That includes putting tall pines and other landscaping between the condos and the gas station, using fountains and a swimming pool waterfall to create white noise, and designing units so that master bedrooms face the waterfront. His staff has sold 35 condos so far.
Yet Blasingame declined to call the gas station view a problem. He said condo dwellers will naturally gaze beyond it to the Weedon Island nature preserve, and that Gandy Boulevard's honky tonk profile is slowly changing as developers build upscale housing on it.
"Anything that may be an eyesore now," he said, "will potentially be beautiful."
_ SCOTT BARANCIK
Parker remembered as "one of the good guys'
In late 1999, Bonefish Grill co-founders Chris Parker and Tim Curci hired Hardwood Specialists of St. Petersburg to install a handsome oak floor in their first restaurant, on 4th Street N.
Much would change for the pair. A 50/50 partnership formed with Outback Steakhouse in 2001 would turn Bonefish into a 40-store chain and its founders into rich young men.
Last week, Parker was killed in a high-speed boating accident in Tampa Bay.
Hardwood Specialists owner Terry Reeb says the 37-year-old St. Petersburg native enjoyed his new-found success but never lost his attention to detail.
A week before the accident, Parker visited Reeb's flooring store on 22nd Avenue N to look at alternatives to oak, which not only is growing costlier but has to be restained every time it is sanded, a major problem for a restaurant open seven nights a week.
With Reeb's help, Parker decided to switch to Brazilian cherry wood. Each of the 38 restaurants slated for 2004 will have it.
"He was a stickler for clean and neat," says Reeb, who developed a friendship with Parker. "They clean the floors of those restaurants every day with a buffer."
Parker's greatest legacy may have been his likable personality, however.
"He was very loyal to his friends and the people who worked with him," Reeb says. "He was one of the good guys."
_ SCOTT BARANCIK