Friday, November 16, 2018


Sara DiNatale

Sara DiNatale

Sara DiNatale is the retail and tourism reporter on the business desk. She has been with the Tampa Bay Times since 2015. She is from Buffalo, New York, where she graduated with a degree in English from the University at Buffalo. Her work has previously appeared in the Boston Globe, the Oregonian and the Buffalo News.

Shoppers go from store to store during the morning hours of Black Friday at International Plaza in Tampa on Friday, November 24, 2017.  (EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times)

The 2018 Black Friday guide to shopping: Walmart, Target, Amazon, Best Buy

With Black Friday looming, and most major retailers kicking sales off after dinner on Thanksgiving, here's a guide that breaks down the trends and when your favorite retailers are open.
Published: 11/15/18
Vacationers, from left, Pamela Gaff, Sandy Deininger, Susan Miller, Valerie Mirwaldt and Wendy Hampton take a stroll on Clearwater Beach on the morning of Sept. 12 after moving to a hotel on the beach from a south Pinellas rental after the Red Tide algae bloom swept into the gulf waters near Tampa Bay from Southwest Florida. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD]

Pinellas hotels report 6 percent dip in room sales since Red Tide hit

Pinellas County is still on track to break its bed-tax collection record, even though Red Tide has showed little sign of letting up.
Published: 11/14/18
Updated: 11/15/18
St. Peterburg-based HSN, now part of the Qurate Retail Group, reported a 5 percent slump in revenue during the third quarter. 

HSN’s revenue slumps 5 percent, but parent company still posts higher sales

St. Petersburg-based HSN has seen quarterly revenues drop 5 percent compared to a year ago, according to the parent company that laid off hundreds of Tampa Bay employees last month, Qurate Retail Group.
Published: 11/09/18
Updated: 11/10/18
Store manager Cindy Gallo shows off the expanded toy department's new doll display at the Super Target in Clearwater. (Sara DiNatale | TIMES)

Look inside the new Target: six stores have been overhauled in Tampa Bay

• Six Tampa Bay Targets have been overhauled this year•1,000 will be remodeled by the end of 2020• A new handheld tool allows employees to cash shoppers out anywhere in the store• The new toy department will remind you of...
Published: 11/09/18
Tampa Bay Times reporter Sara DiNatale is taken through a Walmart Black Friday module using footage from an actual store, shown on the TV screen behind her. Assisting is Walmart employee Debbie Valdes. [Courtesy of Walmart]

What’s it like to train for Walmart’s Black Friday? Local stores use virtual reality goggles

ST. PETERSBURG — Virtual reality is now inside retailers’ back rooms: Walmart is using the goggles made popular by video games to teach its employees how to handle swarms of shoppers on Black Friday.Not just Black Friday, but any number of...
Published: 11/08/18
Some of the produce area at Lucky's Market in St. Petersburg, which opened on June 5, 2018.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]

Lucky's Market will open in abandoned big-box stores in Clearwater and Brandon

Lucky’s Market is tripling its Tampa Bay footprint, taking over parts of fallen retail complexes in Brandon and Clearwater.
Published: 11/07/18
Updated: 11/15/18
Republican Tom Lee has been re-elected to represent District 20 in the State Senate. (Courtesy of Tom Lee)

Florida Senate 20: Tom Lee wins seat over challenger Kathy Lewis

Incumbent is re-elected despite losing in Hillsborough County
Published: 11/06/18
Florida Senate 20: Republican Tom Lee (left) will face Democrat Kathy Lewis (right) in November. [Florida Senate / Lewis campaign]

Kathy Lewis, Tom Lee battle for Florida Senate District 20: What you need to know

Republican Tom Lee, a longtime member of the Florida Senate, is defending his seat from a political newcomer in Democrat Kathy Lewis, a writer and motivational speaker from Pasco County.
Published: 11/03/18
Updated: 11/06/18
This  file photo shows a smartphone displaying the Lyft app.Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc., is throwing its financial support behind ride-hailing service Lyft, deepening its rift with market leader Uber. [Associated Press, 2016]

Election Day: Uber and Lyft will help pay for your ride to the polls

Popular rideshare apps Uber and Lyft are both offering specials this Election Day to make trips to the polls a little cheaper, if not free.Uber will take $10 off your ride, which should cover the total cost if you’re going from your home to...
Published: 11/02/18
Starbucks's latest batch of seasonally themed cups. [Starbucks]

Free reusable cups? Starbucks changes up this year's red cup season for holiday drinks

The Starbucks on Fourth Street N in downtown St. Petersburg was doling out free red plastic reusable cups on Friday as the coffee giant launched its holiday beverages.
Published: 11/02/18