FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business

Thursday's Afternoon Update

U.S. economic growth strengthens

The U.S. economy grew at a 2.7 percent annual rate from July through September, much faster than first thought. The strength may fade in the final months of the year if Congress and the Obama administration fail to reach a budget deal. More from the AP and the Financial Times.

Winning the fight against state's bad insurance forms

For four years, Plantation resident and business owner Jack Stumpff has been trying to convince state insurance regulators to change the forms Florida insurers used to calculate homeowners' wind insurance discounts because he believes they fail to follow state law. More at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Silver Airways to expand routes in Florida

Holiday Wish List

michael minkow
For years, Minkow has been working at the Adult Day Training program, part of the nonprofit United Cerebral Palsy of Miami in Overtown. At the training program, he and others learn social and employment skills while on the job. His paycheck for two weeks of work varies from $4.50 to $15.50, depending on how fast he works.

So this year he is asking for gift certificates to restaurants, including his favorite one, Outback Steakhouse, as well as for funds that he could use for grocery shopping, bowling and movie tickets.

» More from the Miami Herald.

Fort Lauderdale-based Silver Airways is expanding its intra-Florida network with the addition of two new routes. The carrier, formerly Gulfstream International Airlines, will begin flights on Jan. 7 on a Tampa-to-West Palm Beach route and a Fort Lauderdale-to-Orlando route. More at the South Florida Business Journal.

See also:
» Propeller planes come back amid high fuel prices

Palm Beach tourism officials reveal 2013 plans

Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau officials have unveiled marketing and sales plans for the coming year aimed at boosting tourist arrivals and economic development in the area. Dubbed a "Blueprint for a New Era," the 2013 initiatives were presented to industry executives at an event at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach. More at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Amid 11-1 season, Gator fans buying more gear

Gator fans and the people who love them are buying more team-licensed merchandise this fall as excitement has built over the football team's turnaround season — even while remaining budget-conscious about their purchases, retailers say. Gator Mania owner Jenice Bushnell said the season has led to an improvement in sales over last year but the economy is still holding people back from historic levels. More at the Gainesville Sun.

Business History
Gas Stations, Then and Now

old florida gas stationIn the early years of the 20th Century, general stores and other businesses provided grease for equipment powered by horses and mules and kerosene for lighting around the county. Bulk oil plants delivered to the businesses, then customers came to the businesses to fill containers with kerosene and buy grease in containers. Curbside gas pumps sprouted up in front of general stores between 1900 and 1915. During this time, garages and tire stores began to emerge. Over time, pull-in gas stations became the norm. Read more from the Gainesville Business Report and see the exhibit Fill 'Er Up, Florida: a History of Gasoline Stations in Alachua County at the Matheson Museum.