Business news

City of Tampa

We've all been there: an appointment downtown lasts longer than you were expecting. Your only options are to duck out early to feed the parking meter, or stay and pay the price in the form of a ticket. 

Starting this month, there's a third option. Drivers can use the City of Tampa's new pay-by-phone system to pay for parking from anywhere.

No more digging for change in your car's cupholder. No more urging restaurant servers to hurry up with that check so you can dash back to your car. With the new Parkmobile system, you can pay for parking via smart phone, cell phone or website using a credit card or PayPal account. Drivers can also opt to receive an alert 15 minutes before their parking session expires, and then add more time remotely.

While Florida's unemployment dropped 0.1 percent to 7.1 percent in May, the actual number of jobs in the state also fell last month by 6,200. At the same time, state economists have released a report that show a key reason for the drop has been people leaving the workforce or not actively looking for a job.

The huge Internet retailer Amazon is one step closer to building a fulfillment center in Ruskin. Hillsborough County Commissioners approved Wednesday a set of tax incentives to bring the company here.

Amazon is promising 1,000 jobs for Hillsborough County, with 375 of those being higher wage positions making an average of more than $47,000.

Hillsborough County Commissioners decided the new jobs will be worth the incentive of $225,000. 

Reversing his earlier decision, Governor Scott has reached an agreement with Amazon. While the arrangement will see the Internet shopping titan create 3,000 new jobs, it also includes a 6 percent state sales tax on Amazon purchases for Florida residents.

Startup Weekend Tampa Bay

For 54 hours starting Friday night, local entrepreneurs, developers and designers will match wits to see who can create the best new business at Startup Weekend Tampa Bay.

It's the fourth local version of an international event that's been held in over 200 cities around the world, but the first time it's taking place in St. Petersburg.

Yoselis Ramos

The Florida Aquarium in downtown Tampa is getting a facelift. Mayor Bob Buckhorn is attending the ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the new Stingray Beach exhibit tonight. .

Sand, shore birds, a boardwalk, and stingrays. It's the closest you can get to actually being on a beach. Stringray Beach is the latest expansion to the Florida Aquarium.


When South Beach comes to mind, you probably picture hot convertible cars going up and down Miami Beach roads in the warm Florida sun. But when you think about Sarasota, does the same picture come to mind? If one new business has its way, it soon will.

Sarasota is now home to AutoXotic-- a luxury car rental company that's launching Saturday. Its owners say Tampa’s southern neighbor is turning into the new hotspot for these high-priced ‘hot wheels.’

The Sweetbay Supermarket chain, along with two additional chains, has been sold to Bi-Lo Holdings, parent of Winn-Dixie, for $265 million in cash. Bi-Lo will buy a total of 165 stores: 72 Sweetbay stores, leases for 10 prior Sweetbay locations, 72 Harveys stores and 11 Reid's stores.

Powerball? America Already Hit The Jackpot

May 23, 2013

Finally today, I'm still thinking about that massive Powerball jackpot last weekend. That caused me to think about what's wrong with Powerball — the most important thing, of course, being the fact that I didn't win. You know you feel the same way. I'm sure I would have been a good winner. Like Oprah, I would use my powers for good and not evil. Like, I might buy a Bentley out of the showroom window, just to prove to myself that I could. But then I'd settle down and endow scholarships, and fix up blighted storefronts, and invest in local businesses.

If you bought a Powerball ticket in Zephyrhills, Fla., sit down and look at these numbers:

10, 13, 14, 22, 52 and 11.

As the AP reports, lottery officials believe only one ticket matched all six numbers in yesterday's Powerball drawing with a record $590.5 million jackpot.

Everyone knows about the excitement of Manhattan, but Southern Business and Development is singing the praises of America's not-so-big downtowns. The magazine is out with a list of "Ten Wonderful Small Town Central Business Districts in the South."

The mag gave props to Bradenton for its laid-back vibe, theater scene and redeveloped Riverwalk, which debuted in October 2012. Here's an excerpt:

It was called the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre before. Now, it has "MidFlorida" in its name.

So, you wanna start a business?

Tampa Bay may not be the best place to do so, but it isn't the worst, either. That's according to, an online marketplace that matches consumers with local services.

This week, the website released the results of its second-annual Small Business Friendliness Survey, which asked nearly 8,000 entrepreneurs nationwide to rank cities on criteria like zoning regulations, tax code fairness and the overall ease of starting a new business.

Here's the takeaway:

We learn two things from a recent study by

  1. Tampa is the sixth-best U.S. city for starting a business.
  2. There's a

The price comparison website recently calculated the best cities to start a small business, taking into account loan availability, per capita income, small business-friendliness rating and other factors.

Our own Cigar City ranked at No. 6 on the survey of 42 metro areas. Here's the explanation:

Ambro /

You've probably heard the statistic: For every dollar a man earns, a woman doing comparable work makes only 77 cents. That goes for full-time, year-round employees.

But a new study shows that the wage gap can grow or shrink depending on where you live. According to a report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research, Florida is home to three of the metro areas where women's pay come closest to that of men--albeit still not equal.

Check out the top 10. The numbers represent women's pay as a percentage of men's pay.