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Monday's Daily Pulse

Florida Small businesses gearing up for "Small Business Saturday"

American Express began "Small Business Saturday" in 2010 to help small businesses get more exposure during one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. Last year, more than 100 million people shopped at independently owned small businesses on the day. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

» More holiday gift buyers are shopping online
» Retailers expect a solid holiday shopping season
» Retail employees rebelling against early Black Fridays

Florida prison health care system to cut 1,890 jobs

Nearly 2,000 state workers are being displaced from Gov. Rick Scott's administration because of the nation's biggest outsourcing of prison health care. "Due to the outsourcing of this function, your position will be deleted," reads a dryly worded dismissal notice from the Department of Corrections, sent to 1,890 state employees in the past two weeks. [Source: Times/Herald]

Big retailers becoming more like Big Brother?

Saks associates can let you know your favorite jewelry is on sale, Lowe’s can tell you how much garland you bought last year and somewhere underneath it all, computer programs are tracking every purchase and every social media “like” to build a better profile of you. Does this feel creepy, or convenient, for customers? It depends on when and how retailers reveal what they know about you. [Source: Palm Beach Post]

Florida Trend Exclusive
Familiar field at Stetson University

Dan Richey
Stetson, which last had a football team in 1956, gears up for the 2013 season. Go to story.

Stetson University in DeLand is preparing to take to the football field again after a more than 50-year hiatus, and the college town in west Volusia County is hoping to attract visitors and recognition through the school’s affiliation with the Pioneer League, composed of small, academically rigorous schools. Full story...

Elections show businesses should work with both political parties

Tom Feeney, president and chief executive officer of Associated Industries of Florida explains how ultimately, jobs, prosperity, funding for transportation, education and everything else depend on the business community being able to engage in job creation. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]


› Panama Canal’s $5 billion makeover could be boon for South Florida
Call it the race for deep water as ports up and down the East Coast, including PortMiami and Port Everglades, and along the Gulf of Mexico make plans to dredge their channels, shore up their docks or rustle up funding for renovations to receive the big ships. Many won’t be ready by the time water floods the new locks.
» See also: Competition heats up as U.S. ports prepare for Panama Canal expansion

› Attractions dip toes into airline-style pricing
If theme parks were airlines, the price of admission to the Magic Kingdom might vary depending on how far in advance you bought the ticket, whether you wanted to go on a Tuesday or a Saturday, and if your visit happened to fall during the high-demand season around Christmas.

› Local restaurants, growers work to bring fresh foods to table
Florida's newly established connection between the farm and table is captured in the new book "Field to Feast; Recipes Celebrating Florida Farmers, Chefs and Artisans." Propelled by an eat-local movement that swept the nation during the past decade, chefs around the state increasingly are turning to sources closer to their restaurants for ingredients.

› Diploma in hand, a poet and dreamer looks for work
Martin Steele had never been to the career center. As a student at New College, he could have visited any time. Now, two months after graduation, he sat down with the director and told her he needed help.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› CEO search trips up Florida's top tourism agency
Board members at the state's top tourism agency had agreed in September that the chief marketing officer should be promoted to take the place of the outgoing CEO. But there was a problem: Making that decision unilaterally could offend the agency's chief funders — the state Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott.

› On the new shopping list: milk, bread, eggs and a mortgage
As the nation's largest banks stay stingy with credit and a growing portion of the population has no bank at all, major retailers are stepping into the void. Customers can now withdraw cash at an ATM with a prepaid card from Walmart, take out a loan at Home Depot for a kitchen renovation or kick-start a new venture with a small-business loan from Sam's Club. This year, Walmart even started to test selling life insurance policies.

› Economists make small changes in Florida forecast
State economists are making only relatively small changes in Florida's improving forecast, but the federal government's so-called fiscal cliff could change that.

› Obamacare confusion: First Coast small businesses not sure what to do
The Affordable Care Act, signed into law nearly three years ago, is headed for full implementation in January 2014, and business owners are scrambling to find out what it means.