FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business

Monday's Daily Pulse

Florida Trend Special Report
Florida tourism trends

Never mind high unemployment and stagnant housing markets in the U.S. Forget the European debt crisis. Visitors, both domestic and foreign, are bucking the economy and flocking to Florida. Read Florida Trend's Special Report on Tourism in the Sunshine State:

» Go Figure - Why Visitors Still Flock to Florida
» Visit Florida - Reinvented
» Hot Spots - Florida's Top Tour Stops
» Oil Money - Post BP Oil Spill, Bed-Tax Collection Rates Up

Britto draws mass appeal as businessman and celebrity artist

Behind Britto, the Brazilian artist, is Alina Shriver, the Miami businesswoman. Shriver has worked with Britto for 15 years and although she is married to Anthony Kennedy-Shriver, she jovially calls herself Britto’s office wife. Shriver is CEO of Shriver Art, the exclusive worldwide agent for Britto and the strategic thinker behind the explosion of Britto merchandise. [Source: Miami Herald]

Related Florida Trend Content
» Florida Icon: Romero Britto

Florida Medicaid program in limbo

Millions of uninsured Florida families and health care providers are in a purgatory of sorts. Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-led Legislature want to privatize the state's Medicaid program, but need the Obama administration's permission. The Obama administration wants to make more low-income Floridians eligible for Medicaid, but needs Scott and the Legislature to agree. [Source: AP]

Blood money: Black, gray markets for diabetes test strips

To diabetics, the tiny pieces of plastic are a lifeline to health. To pharmaceutical companies, middlemen and thieves, the pricey strips are worth their weight in gold. [Source: Palm Beach Post]

Signs of a comeback in small business lending

Since the onset of the recession, small businesses across the nation have faced the same problem: Banks have been reluctant to lend because they had written too many bad loans and regulators had demanded they impose stricter lending guidelines. Growth and hiring suffered as a result. But signs point to a shift. It's a message coming from community banks to megabanks alike: Small-business lending, as Conroy bears witness, is on the comeback trail. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


› Biotech companies to meet in Miami
For entrepreneur Claudia Zylberberg, the biotech conference beginning Sunday in Miami could mean an expansion of hiring and lab space. "We're doing business internationally and seeking funding for the growth of the company," said Zylberberg, chief executive of Akron Biotech, a six-year-old firm that provides raw materials and biotools to the stem cell industry.

› Taylor, Bean and Whitaker: The last goodbye
The last, most prominent vestiges of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. in Ocala could soon slip into the hands of new owners, as the defunct company's spare-no-expenses corporate headquarters stands for auction later this month.

› Port Canaveral amphitheater aims to attract variety of acts
Port Canaveral could soon become Brevard County’s biggest concert venue, drawing major acts that previously did not stop along the Space Coast.

› New eatery uses foreign money to expand franchise
A program designed to lure foreign investors to finance new ventures is helping one restaurant chain expand throughout Florida.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› Digital Domain vetting ignored critical reports, dire finances
Infatuated with the idea of building a digital animation college in the heart of downtown, West Palm Beach leaders ignored dire warning signs about Digital Domain before a deal that cost the city $2 million and put in jeopardy a $10 million city-owned property.

› Jacksonville Farmers Market looking to grow into 'destination'
Farmers markets have become a trendy thing in recent years. Every Saturday, the fruit-and-veggie vendors set up at the Beaches Green Market and Riverside Arts Market. They set up in Fernandina Beach, St. Augustine, not to mention parking lots here and there. Long before those sprouted up, for more than 70 years, the Jacksonville Farmers Market has been on Beaver Street.

› Downtown Orlando space starting to recover
Downtown Orlando's office market is recovering at a faster rate than the Central Florida market overall, according to a new report by Cushman & Wakefield Inc. The vacancy rate for the central business district during the third quarter was 17 percent, down from 18.5 percent a year earlier.

› Cruise megaship terminal is an idea still just off Tampa Bay's horizon
To save its cruise ship business, Tampa might have to move it to Pinellas County. It's a shift that could make a lot of money for both sides of the bay, according to Richard Wainio, the recently departed director of the Tampa Port Authority.