Business news

SeaWorld Expects Record Revenue for 2013

Jan 14, 2014

SeaWorld announced Monday it expects record revenue for 2013. The company is reporting record fourth-quarter attendance despite ongoing backlash from the documentary Blackfish.

SeaWorld expects its 2013 revenue to be near $1.5 billion, thanks to record attendance at its theme parks in Orlando, San Antonio, Texas, and San Diego, Calif. 

City of Tampa: There's an App for That

Jan 8, 2014
City of Tampa

The City of Tampa is going mobile.

It has launched its first app available for smartphone users that allows folks to do everything from viewing upcoming events around town to reporting a pothole.

"Technology plays a critical role in the economic future of our city. That’s why I am committed to modernizing our infrastructure, bringing free Wi-Fi to our urban parks, and making the city more user friendly through apps like this," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said.  "The app puts city services and City Hall at the fingertips of residents."

File photo / Associated Press

If you're heading home after the holidays, or just hitting the road to squeeze in that last bit of fun before going back to work or school next week, there are a few websites you might want to check out.

Bay News 9

A winter storm that stretches from the upper Midwest into the Mid-Atlantic and New England is having an effect on travelers at Tampa International Airport.

Officials posted a message just after noon Thursday on the airport's Facebook page:

This is our entry for best newscast.  

MoneyBlogNewz / Flickr Creative Commons

Recent protests across the country were aimed at doubling the federal minimum wage. In Florida the minimum wage will go up on Jan. 1, but not nearly by that much.

The federal government is getting involved in the fight against citrus greening disease, in hopes of saving Florida’s – and possibly the entire nation’s – citrus crop.

The plant's used nuclear fuel will remain in the existing on-site fuel pool until a new, on-site, dry-cask storage facility is built. Duke has stored the nuclear plant's used fuel on site for 35 years, since the facility's first refueling in 1978. All U.S. nuclear plants store used fuel on site – either in fuel pools or dry casks – because the U.S. does not have a central federal repository for used nuclear fuel. Radiological and environmental monitoring will continue during the entire decommissioning process to ensure safety and environmental protection.

Kena Betancur / Getty Images

The Florida Retail Federation originally predicted Black Friday 2013 would net three and a half to four and half percent more sales than 2012 and officials say they’re meeting that goal – handily.

Labor groups chided big retailers who pushed the sales weekend earlier to include Thanksgiving night in an attempt to maximize profits.

And although overall numbers are up, Florida Retail Federation Spokesman John Fleming says whatever retailers might have gained by being open Thursday, they might have lost Friday.

Part of the Planet Money T-shirt project.

On today's show, the Planet Money T-shirts arrive at the Port of Miami. But they're not quite here yet. If you've ever waited at an airport to clear customs, you can understand where our shirts are now: waiting for permission to enter the country.

Milwaukee Brewers

If the Toronto Blue Jays decide to no longer use Dunedin as their spring training home, a replacement team may already be waiting in the wings.

The Phoenix Business Journal reports the Milwaukee Brewers can opt out of their lease in Arizona after the 2015 season.

After Black Friday has come and gone, a new shopping day arrives: Small Business Saturday.

Small-business owners hope that after you've spent time at the big-box stores and the mall, you'll spend money with the mom-and-pops in your neighborhood.

The idea for the day came out of a committee at American Express in 2010, after the depths of the recession. AmEx President Ed Gilligan loved the idea of creating a new holiday.

A U.S. judge says American Airlines can exit bankruptcy and join forces with US Airways Group, all but ensuring that their merger can take place within weeks. Wednesday's bankruptcy court ruling was one of the final hurdles for a huge merger that's been in the works for more than a year.

The ruling by Judge Sean Lane comes months after he gave his preliminary approval to the plan. The two companies are now planning to finalize their merger on Dec. 9, when they would combine to create the world's largest airline.

After a bumpy summer, there are signs that the state's economic recovery is picking up once again.

Florida released new jobless numbers Friday that showed that the state's unemployment rate had dropped to 6.7 percent in October. It was 7 percent in August.

This is the lowest the state's unemployment rate has been since August 2008 - right before the height of the financial crisis. The state's rate is also below the national average of 7.3 percent.

Nathan Powell

The Chick-fil-A on Fowler by the USF Tampa campus is having its grand reopening Thursday morning.

This means people are already camped out in the Chick-fil-A parking lot for their chance to win one of 100 "Chick-fil-A for a year" prizes which will be given to the first 100 customers tomorrow morning.

This afternoon the Chick-fil-A parking lot was filled with eager customers waiting for their chance to win free Chick-fil-A for a year.

U.S. Department of Transportation

It's been said that automated vehicles are the car of the future - and always will be. But technology has been advancing so much recently that it won't likely be too long before our cars are driving us.

Not Made in China - But Florida

Oct 29, 2013

As the manufacturing cost difference between the U.S. and China shrinks, it often makes better sense to bring production closer to market, says Dave Sievers, a principal at the Hackett Group, a Miami-based consulting firm that advises manufacturers on offshoring and reshoring. Sievers also says that companies that manufacture closer to home can be more responsive to customers who need finely tailored specifications or customized changes to the products they’ve ordered

Far from just a problem for rich people who live on the beach, steep flood insurance rate increases approved by Congress last year largely will hit middle- and working-class homeowners who can least afford the higher costs. The average single-family home facing a large flood premium increase in Manatee County is worth $122,019 and has 1,442 square feet of living area, while in Sarasota County the average is a home worth $169,700 with 1,567 square feet.

Yankees Minor League Affiliate Ocala Bound

Oct 28, 2013

The Tampa Yankees are moving north.

It was announced this morning that the Yankees minor league Single-A affiliate reached an agreement to move the team from Tampa to Ocala.

A presentation will be held in Ocala Tuesday, giving a total overview of the project that would move the team into a proposed $45 million stadium/entertainment complex

Jeannine Robbins, a spokesperson for the city of Ocala,  says the plan for the new stadium will be revealed then.

Tampa Port Authority

The Port of Tampa will soon say "guten tag" to its fifth cruise line.

German cruise line AIDA Cruises (note: website is mainly in German) will base its AIDAvita ship out of the port starting in December 2014.

In winter 2015, the AIDAmar will takes its place in sailing out of Tampa.

"AIDA Cruises' announcement to come to Tampa is a milestone for us, not only at the port, but for all of our tourism and economic development partners in the region," Tampa Port Authority president and CEO Paul Anderson said in a press release.

CF Industries

The Mosaic Co. has announced it's buying the Central Florida operations of CF Industries. The price - $1.2 billion.

Among the CF properties included in the deal is the South Pasture phosphate mine and beneficiation plant in Hardee County, which totals 22,000 acres; a Plant City phosphate mine and beneficiation plant; and facilities at the Port of Tampa, including an ammonia terminal and warehouse facilities., Inc. today confirmed plans to open another fulfillment center in Lakeland. It will be in addition to another center that Amazon earlier announced it will open in Ruskin. Each center will be more than than 1 million square feet. Amazon officials say when both are open, more than 1,000 full-time jobs will be created.

The heirs of a well-known figure in the Florida citrus industry are giving up control of a company that remains one of the state's largest private landowners.

Two New York-based agricultural companies are spending $137.8 million to purchase shares of Alico Inc. now held by the heirs of Ben Hill Griffin Jr.

Alico owns nearly 131,000 acres of land spread across five Florida counties — including Alachua, Collier, Lee and Polk — that are used for citrus groves, sugar cane and cattle ranching.

Gov. Scott said the Florida Department of Transportation's work program will include additional investments of $9.7 million for a container yard at Port Canaveral, $10.4 million for a container yard at the Port of Tampa and $14.7 million to support the "Turning Notch" project at Port Everglades. In announcing the new plans for Canaveral, Tampa and Port Everglades, the governor's office said $642 million has been allocated since Scott took office in 2011 for port projects, including expansions at the ports in Miami and Jacksonville. There also have been terminal and rail upgrades at Tampa.

Duke Energy Rate Hike Causes Controversy

Oct 16, 2013
STOP Duke Energy Rip Off Facebook Page

A protest was held Wednesday morning in front of the state Public Service Commission headquarters in Tallahassee to oppose a new Duke Energy rate hike.

The protesters want to stop a settlement that would require Duke Energy customers to pay $3.2 billion to close the shuttered Crystal River nuclear plant and stop plans to build another generator in Levy County.

Democratic State Representative Dwight Dudley of Pinellas County - who was at the protest - says Duke Energy picked the wrong time to build a power plant.

Duke announced Aug. 1 it was canceling a proposed new nuclear plant in Levy County. In February, it announced it would close its Crystal River nuclear plant after botched repairs in 2009 led to its shutdown. The Office of Public Counsel says the settlement, revised with the cancelation of the Levy County plant, will provide $388 million in refunds to customers while reducing or denying more than $1 billion in returns on costs for Duke investors.

Florida citrus researchers are preparing to launch a large-scale test of new disease-tolerant orange tree rootstock in what one likened to a leap of faith to save the $9 billion state industry from a deadly citrus greening "tsunami." Florida, second to Brazil in global orange juice production, has lost billions of dollars in revenues from the disease that is killing orange trees faster than they can be replaced. Citrus greening, which makes the fruit unpalatable and kills trees within a few years, has helped put state orange production on a downward trend.

A second language is spoken in about 20 percent of all households in the U.S.

However, in the Miami area alone, that number rises to about 70 percent.

The dominant second language there, of course, is Spanish, but a new language is becoming influential in Miami’s business community.

From the Here & Now’s Contributors Network, Karen Rundlet of WLRN explains the rise of Portuguese in Miami.

In his new book The Everything Store, Brad Stone chronicles how Amazon became an "innovative, disruptive, and often polarizing technology powerhouse." He writes that Amazon was among the first to realize the potential of the Internet and that the company "ended up forever changing the way we shop and read."

Before backers of the $1.5 billion private venture by the subsidiary of Coral Gables-based Florida East Coast Industries expand to other east coast communities, and at more distant points across the state, they want to know they’ll have a chance to recoup their investment before adding stops. That didn’t prevent members of the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee this week from expressing a desire for the private venture to start making plans to expand the service west to Tampa and north to Daytona Beach and Jacksonville.