Make us your home page

Justine Griffin, Times Staff Writer

Justine Griffin

Justine Griffin covers retail business and tourism for the Tampa Bay Times. She is a native Floridian who spent most of her childhood in Pasco County. Prior to coming to the Times in 2015, she worked for the St. Augustine Record, the Sun Sentinel and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, where she gained national attention for her retail coverage and for a longform article she wrote about her experience as an egg donor. Justine is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she studied journalism. She's an equestrian. Her horse is named Belinda.

Phone: (727) 893-8467


Twitter: @SunBizGriffin

  1. Water Street Tampa unveils video showing downtown's transformation


    TAMPA — Water Street Tampa, the sweeping, 50-plus acre redevelopment project in Tampa's urban core, has unveiled new images and video of what the downtown district will look like upon completion.

    Strategic Property Partners, the real estate firm backed by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates' Cascade Investment, hired more than a dozen architect and design firms to create the aesthetics of the Water Street Tampa district. ...

    Strategic Property Partners released a conceptual image of what the Tampa skyline will look like once its redevelopment of 50-plus acres of downtown will look like. [Photo courtesy of  of SPP]
  2. Q&A: A business leader and historian jointly delve into Tampa's waterfront


    TAMPA — As a native of Tampa, Arthur Savage has always had a passion for his hometown's history. And as a third-generation owner and operator of A.R. Savage & Son, a Tampa-based shipping agency, his affinity for his hometown also extends to its local waterways.

    Savage decided he wanted to chronicle the history of Tampa Bay's waterfront as a way to marry the two.

    "But I'm no historian and I'm no writer," said Savage, during an interview with the Tampa Bay Times. "I knew I would need help to do this."...

    Arthur Savage (left) and Rodney Kite-Powell, co-authors of "Tampa Bay's Waterfront: Its History and Development," stand for a portrait with the bust of James McKay Sr. in downtown Tampa on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017. McKay, who passed away in 1876, was a prominent businessman, among other things, in the Tampa area. He was Arthur Savage's great great grandfather. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Publix continues to invest in online and app delivery through in-house promotion


    Publix Supermarkets is investing more heavily in its online and app development by naming a new vice president to head this growing department.

    The Lakeland-based grocery chain announced Monday that Erik Katenkamp has been promoted to vice president of omnichannel and application development.

    Katenkamp was "instrumental" in launching the Publix grocery delivery collaboration with Instacart, which began last summer. In this new role, Katenkamp will focus on new online and app-based strategies for Publix, a release said....

    Publix Supermarkets is investing more heavily in its online and app development by naming a new vice president to head this growing department. 
 file photo]

  4. Overspending accusations spur stricter policies at Port Tampa Bay


    TAMPA —Port Tampa Bay's governing board approved a new spending and expense policy Tuesday amid recent reports of excessive spending among its employees.

    The revised policy, which went into effect Tuesday, forces port officials to forgo renewing golf memberships or Tampa Bay Lightning season tickets and will require detailed documentation of all business and travel-related expenses. Port employees will be required to attend a training session about the new policies and to fill out a new form to document every expense. ...

    Mike Griffin was appointed to the Tampa Port Authority by Gov. Rick Scott earlier this month in part to address overspending accusations against the agency.
[Photo courtesy of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce]
  5. Five big projects in Tampa; five big problems looming

    Economic Development

    The city of Tampa is on the cusp of a total makeover. With billions of dollars in investment and dozens of new apartment, condo, office and cultural buildings in the pipeline, the city's skyline and surrounding communities are poised to look a whole lot different than what it does today.

    But dreaming up the future of Tampa doesn't come without its challenges. For all the promises of a new urban core filled with hotels, parks, food halls and stores, there are also potential pitfalls. ...

     Related Development LLC, a Miami-based company, was approved for a $52 million loan to build a luxury apartment tower in the Westshore Marina District. [Courtesy of BTI Partners]
  6. Anthony Hucker named next CEO and president of Winn-Dixie parent company


    Anthony Hucker is now the official president and CEO at Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of Winn-Dixie and several other grocery store chains.

    Hucker, 51, has served as interim president and CEO since July when the company's former chief, Ian McLeod, resigned to take a job with an Asian grocery chain. Hucker previously served as the company's chief operating officer. He was officially instated as the current president and CEO Thursday, according to a press release....

    Anthony Hucker, the interin CEO of Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of Winn-Dixie, visited a remodeled store in Ruskin Thursday. [Photo courtesy of Winn-Dixie]
  7. GateHouse Media buys Florida Times-Union and 10 other newspapers for $120 million


    Times Staff Writer

    Two daily newspapers in Florida, the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville and the St. Augustine Record, have been sold to GateHouse Media Inc., a company that already owns nine other daily newspapers in Florida.

    Morris Communications announced Wednesday that it was selling 11 of its newspaper operations to GateHouse, and its Lubbock, Tex.-based commercial print operation. The sale is part of the company's strategic restructuring to focus its business on lifestyle and niche publications, according to a press release. News Media Investment Group, the parent of GateHouse, reported the purchase price as $120 million. The deal is expected to close on Oct. 2. ...

    Jacksonville skyline looking north. The Jacksonville-based Florida Times-Union is among 11 papers being bought by GateHouse Media.
[Times-Union file photo]
  8. Here's why one Tampa Bay entrepreneur chose Amazon Marketplace over other retailers


    TARPON SPRINGS — When Theo Prodromitis was looking for a way to revamp her in-home party business selling sponges sourced locally from the Sponge Docks, she went online.

    There are dozens of ecommerce platforms for entrepreneurs to sell products to virtually anyone, anywhere on the Internet —,,, and are just a few that work with third-party sellers. But Prodromitis chose the biggest one of all: Amazon Marketplace....

    Theo Prodromitis has been successful selling her line of sponges on Amazon Marketplace.
{JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  9. Don Cesar Hotel ranks on top 10 historic hotels list


    ST. PETE BEACH — The Don CeSar Hotel on St. Pete Beach was recently named on a list of the "Best Historic Hotels" by USA Today.

    The 277-room "Pink Palace," which has been an icon on St. Pete Beach for decades, was built in 1928. The hotel was recognized by USA Today for its history and restoration. It ranked No. 7 on USA Today's Top 10 list. The No. 1 historic hotel was the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Mich....

    The Don CeSar Hotel on St. Pete Beach was recently named on a list of the "Best Historic Hotels" by USA Today. [Times (2011)]
  10. It's now legal to use Uber, Lyft at Tampa International Airport


    TAMPA — Getting dropped off or picked up in an Uber or Lyft is legal now at Tampa International Airport, and those ridesharing companies are paying the airport to do so.

    The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority board of directors approved contracts with rideshare companies Uber, Lyft and Wingz Thursday morning to drop off and pick up passengers at the airport. In agreeing to the contract, rideshare drivers will pay a per-trip fee of $3 for each ride beginning this month....

    Getting dropped off or picked up in an Uber or Lyft is legal now at Tampa International Airport. Here, an unidentified rider climbs into a waiting Taxi cab at the Tampa airport in April.
[CHRIS URSO   |   Times file photo]

  11. A "concerned" Rick Scott appoints chamber chair to Tampa Port Authority


    Florida Gov. Rick Scott appointed Mike Griffin to the Tampa Port Authority due to recent reports of excessive spending at Port Tampa Bay.

    Griffin, 36, is the senior managing director of Savills Studley Occupier Services in Tampa. He also is the current chair of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. Griffin received his bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning Aug. 1, and ending Nov. 15, 2019....

    Mike Griffin was appointed to the Tampa Port Authority by Florida Gov. Rick Scott
  12. Publix stock drops but sales increase in second quarter


    Lakeland-based Publix Supermarkets' stock price dipped although sales and profits increased during the second quarter of 2017.

    Effective today, Publix's stock price decreased from $39.15 per share to $36.05 per share, the company rerported. The grocery chain's stock is not publicly traded and is made available for sale only to Publix associates and the company's board of directors. This is the sixth time in recent quarterly results that the company has decreased its stock value. Since Publix is not publicly traded, its stock price fluctuates based on what the company is valued at....

    Lakeland-based Publix Supermarkets' stock price dipped but sales and profits increased during the second quarter of 2017
[JUSTINE GRIFFIN | TImes file photo]
  13. The first Harveys Supermarket to open in Tampa feels a lot like the Winn-Dixie it was before


    Tampa shoppers might have noticed this week that their Winn-Dixie grocery store on East Hillsborough Avenue doesn't have the usual red banner out front anymore. Instead it's green.

    Inside, the store has been painted bright yellow. That's because on Wednesday, the former Winn-Dixie store at 2525 E. Hillsborough Ave., will officially become the first Harveys Supermarket to open in Tampa. Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of Winn-Dixie, Harveys, Bi-Lo and Fresco y Más grocery stores, is converting seven Winn-Dixie stores in Florida into Harveys Supermarkets in an effort to expand the Harveys brand in the state. All seven stores, which are mainly in the Central Florida region, will open in their communities on Wednesday morning....

    Aisles at a Winn-Dixie at 2525 E Hillsborough Ave., which is being converted into a Harveys Supermarket, the first one in the Tampa Bay region.

  14. Florida's first walk-in clinics for medical marijuana are opening in Tampa Bay


    TAMPA — Inside a nondescript white-washed office building across from St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa is one of the state's first walk-in clinics for patients seeking medical marijuana.

    Similar to a walk-in urgent care center, Tetra Health Care is a place where patients can see a licensed doctor about obtaining medical marijuana as a form of treatment.

    Tracilea Young, president and founder of the California-based chain of clinics, saw an opportunity to expand in Florida after the most recent round of legislation passed in Tallahassee earlier this year. She's opened six Tetra Health Care clinics in Florida so far. Five of those are in the Tampa Bay area, including St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa and Brandon locations. She plans to open 20 more across the state by next year....

    Tracilea Young is the president of Tetra Health Care, a chain of medical marijuana clinics expanding in Florida.
[Photo courtesy of Tetra Health Care]
  15. Outback Steakhouse sees growth in U.S. and Brazil markets in second quarter


    TAMPA — The parent company of Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's Italian Grill hopes investing in restaurant delivery and international expansion will stem sluggish sales and slumping traffic at its U.S. restaurants.

    Casual dining chains, from Outback to the Olive Garden, have struggled to stand out amid a slew of new restaurants that have opened recently. Consumers preferences have changed too, as many are opting for local and independent eateries over chains. New trends, from restaurant delivery apps like Uber Eats to at-home meal programs like Blue Apron are forcing restaurant chains, like Tampa-based Bloomin' Brands, to rethink their strategy to draw more diners, as seen in Bloomin' Brands' most recent earnings report released Wednesday. ...

    The Outback Steakhouse, on 4088 Park St. N, is showin on July 26, 2017. Restaurant sales were up at Outback Steakhouse  and Carrabba's Italian Grill during the second quarter of 2017, but Bonefish Grill continues to lag at Tampa-based Bloomin' Brands. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]