What's ahead for Tampa Bay banks and their customers?
• Fewer branches.
• More automated services.
• More small-bank mergers.
• Bunches of banks competing in a slowly improving economy.
• Regulators wary of a sharp rise in lending that may become too risky.
• Bigger banks still fighting lousy public perceptions.
Let's call these the six top banking trends for the Tampa Bay and the Florida markets....
Five short years after Tampa philanthropist and Sykes Enterprises founder John Sykes decided to launch his own brokerage firm, he's selling it to a Minneapolis-based financial firm, Ameriprise Financial.
Ameriprise on Tuesday said it will buy the retail assets of privately owned JHS Capital Advisors — "JHS" stands for John H. Sykes — which provides brokerage and financial advice to clients via 150 financial advisers nationwide....
Neither new ad campaigns nor the muscular redesign of cartoon superhero Captain Citrus have yet to turn the tide on dipping retail sales of U.S. orange juice. Blame rising drink competition, changing public tastes and stiffer OJ prices.
Numbers released Monday show retail orange juice sales, in the four weeks ended April 11, fell 5.9 percent from the same period a year ago. U.S. consumers bought 38.7 million gallons of juice in those four weeks, compared with 41 million gallons in the year-earlier period, say Nielsen data published by the Florida Department of Citrus....
The dominoes are falling.
Cable TV giant Comcast's decision on Friday to call off its proposed $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable set in motion a series of moves by others in the cable industry with consequences for Tampa Bay cable customers.
Federal regulators balked over the Comcast-Time Warner merger because it would have given the combined company control of nearly half of the nation's broadband market and almost a third of pay television service....
04/24/15 Economic Development
A creative arts icon called the Studio@620 that recently celebrated a decade in downtown St. Petersburg is now taking steps it hopes will assure the next 10 years.
It's a remarkable success story — so far — thanks to the passion and hard work of its founders, sponsors, volunteers, an energetic board and, most of all, the charismatic personality and insatiable curiosity of founding artistic director Bob Devin Jones....
04/22/15 Economic Development
Downtown Nashville wants one. Dallas, too.
Downtown Tampa wants one — preferably two.
Downtown St. Petersburg has one and is about to get another.
As more city downtowns try to morph into walkable, live-work-play places with condos, apartments, restaurants, bars, parks and more, they all realize what they need most.
A supermarket. Not some quickie mart, but a substantial grocery store where people who live downtown can walk to buy quality fresh food and basics at reasonable prices....
04/20/15 Economic Development
Draper Lab, an MIT spinoff lured with much fanfare to expand to both Tampa and St. Petersburg in 2009, is shutting down most of its operations here, saying its initial plans to grow in Florida aren't working.
Draper's arrival in Florida six years ago coincided with a burst of premier medical and high tech research firms that included the likes of Scripps Research in Jupiter and SRI International in St. Petersburg. Their recruitments seemed to herald a new era both for Florida's high-tech image and for higher-wage jobs....
Regional leaders have spent several productive years building a better place for business startups, which led us to ask a range of area entrepreneurs: What's high on your wish lists?
Here are their top three needs:
1. Better regional branding: So that "Tampa Bay" or Tampa or St. Petersburg generate broader buzz and credibility as places to launch and nurture business startups....
04/16/15 Economic Development
Tackling the big kahuna of his business recruitment tour of Democratic-led states, Gov. Rick Scott visited California this week urging companies and West Coast ports to bring their business to cheaper, friendlier Florida.
"You have a beautiful state," Scott told the San Francisco Chronicle as he prepared to talk to about 500 business leaders in Southern California. "But if you look at our state and its successes, we're creating jobs and diversifying our economy," he said. "People are moving their money to Florida."...
Rather than sing another refrain of what really makes a Tampa Bay workplace a top workplace, let's do the opposite.
Here are four ways any area business can guarantee itself never to make this annual ranking of best workplaces, published every spring by the Tampa Bay Times in conjunction with the research firm Workplace Dynamics.
If you're keen to work for or run a mediocre company, if you want uninspired employees muttering "TGIF" (or worse) long before Friday arrives, if you love the extra cost and headache of constant turnover, or if you seek a CEO whose sole "mission" is to grab that paycheck and bolt, then this column is for you. ...
One helps health care businesses and hospital chains make sure patient data stays private. The other sets international technology standards to help train people to guard their organizations' information assets. ¶ Both Pinellas County companies made the latest Tampa Bay Times Top Workplace ranks. And both specialize in cybersecurity — perhaps today's hottest industry thanks to the rapidly rising information technology war of the "white hat" good guys against the "black hat" hackers....
CLEARWATER – At 87, legendary Major League Baseball scout Mel Didier not only can regale an audience with inside baseball stories that date to the 1940s. With the wisdom of age and sheer energy, he can also inspire workers. That's why he was back, again, speaking last month about the 10 steps to success — "without integrity, the other nine don't matter" — to a packed company cafe of employees at FrankCrum....
Duke Energy suddenly says it wants to be pals. That's hard to believe, coming from the gold medalist in the "most oppressive business to Florida consumers" category.
Earlier this month, Duke said it plans to install up to 500 megawatts of solar power in Florida by 2024, a proposal that in theory could more than triple the capacity of the Sunshine State.
A few days later, Duke offered a proposal to credit Florida customers $600 million. Those savings will result from Duke's proposed state amendment to allow utilities to issue bonds to pay for shutting down its failed Crystal River nuclear power plant....
Forget our slogan as the Sunshine State. When it comes to measuring Florida's sense of "well-being," this is clearly the Mixed Bag State.
In new surveys aimed at gauging the well-being of the nation's larger communities and all 50 states, Florida and its metro areas are surprisingly tops at some things, low on the ladder at others and smack dab in the middle overall.
Ranked No. 1 among the nation's 100 largest metro areas is Sarasota-Bradenton, followed by No. 2 "urban" Honolulu and No. 3 Raleigh, N.C., says a Gallup-Healthways survey. Yet just minutes north across the Sunshine Skyway bridge, Tampa Bay ranks a wimpish No. 81, not far above the survey bottom dwellers, Ohio's Toledo and Youngstown, No. 99 and No. 100, respectively....
Want proof that Florida can be celebrated for more than suntans and spring breaks?
Consider the seven innovators for 2015 just announced as inductees into the fledgling Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.
Sure, everyone will fixate on Henry Ford, one of the uber-familiar fathers of the American automotive industry and the first name listed among these magnificent seven inductees. Ford spent his later winters in Fort Myers as a neighbor, friend and sounding board on inventing with Thomas Edison, one of the inaugural year inductees last year to the hall of fame....