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Published Jul. 31, 2007

Bill Robinson, 57-year-old co-founder of what became a national sporting goods chain called Champs Sports, is back in the retail business. He launched Fit2Run seven months ago in Sarasota with his 25-year-old son, Parks, a one-time college baseball player who learned shoe retailing at Nordstrom in Tampa. Fit2Run signed a lease for what will be its second location in 12,000 square feet of space at International Plaza in Tampa, territory that last held TGIFridays and part of Kahunaville. A third store is planned for West Palm Beach. Fit2Run, which features a running track surface, carries popular and obscure athletic shoe brands, home fitness equipment, apparel and a juice bar. Slated to open by Thanksgiving, the store also offers gait, foot and step analysis to insure a better fit, said Parks Robinson.

CSX is welcomed with open hostility

It's not quite a derailment but it's definitely a hitch. CSX's plans to build a massive consumer goods terminal on 1,250 acres in Winter Haven faces a lawsuit from neighbors wary of the presence of "heavy industry" in their back yards. Neighbors in the rural Sundance Ranch community want the courts to stop the project on the grounds it will be a neighborhood nuisance. CSX needs a centrally located depot to whisk goods all over the state. Plans calls for 5-million square feet of warehouses, factories and offices that could employ 8,500 and generate $10-billion in economic activity and $900-million in taxes over 10 years.

Competitor wants a PODS payback

Recently cleared of allegations of patent infringement, Porta Stor Inc. is seeking to get paid. On Tuesday, the Pasco County mobile-storage company filed a federal lawsuit against competitor PODS Inc. for $16-million in actual damages, plus punitive damages and attorneys' fees. Porta Stor alleges that Clearwater-based PODS' legal team deliberately made false statements in an effort to win an injunction that effectively put Porta Stor out of business for more than two years. PODS general counsel Aaron Parker called the lawsuit "frivolous" and said it was filed for an "improper purpose."