Southeast Florida Roundup
SinglesSwag ships 40,000 boxes a month
While a student in Florida Atlantic University’s executive MBA program, Jonathan Beskin was attracted to businesses like those known as subscription boxes, which make recurring deliveries of niche products. Beskin focused the business on women, who make up the majority of subscription box buyers. SinglesSwag was born, shipping boxes with beauty items, fashion accessories, treats, books and other goods. It doubled profit to $5 million in 2020 on a 46% increase in revenue to $15.5 million. “We have had by far our best year ever in 2020, despite the pandemic,” Beskin says.
SinglesSwag ships 40,000 boxes a month and ranks No. 181 on Inc.’s national list of fast growers and No. 9 for Florida. It employs eight full time and outsources many functions. Last year, Beskin acquired Paradise Delivered, another subscription service, this one focused on “vacation-inspired, spa-like experiences” at home.
- New York-based Kushner Cos. plans a 1-million-sq.-ft. distribution facility off Atlantic Avenue west of Florida’s Turnpike near Delray Beach.
- The association board for the twin-tower Trump Plaza condo in downtown West Palm Beach voted to remove the Trump name from the condo’s legal name. Trump signage had come down in 2017 for building renovations and wasn’t replaced, partly because of cost and aesthetics. Street-level Trump signage was taken down after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Occasionally, protesters appeared at the building even though Trump no longer had a financial interest in it.
- Community Foundation of Broward offered a $1 million Be Bold Prize for an innovative solution beyond traditional workforce development programs. A winner will be announced by the end of May.
- Early plans for the city of Port St. Lucie’s proposed adventure park at a site on Florida’s Turnpike include a surf simulator, climbing tower, go-karts, a paintball park, BMX racing track, zip lines, a ropes course and other challenges — along with a nearly $25 million price tag.
- Air purification device company AeroClean Technologies, an early-stage tech company, opened a new headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens. It expects to hire 100 and was to begin shipping its first product in March.
- Mitsubishi Electric acquired a patent-pending video compression technology developed by Florida Atlantic University researchers in partnership with OP Solutions, a Massachusetts-based startup that funds FAU’s work. Terms weren’t disclosed.
- Magic Leap founder and former CEO Rony Abovitz launched Sun and Thunder, a new AI-enabled storytelling company blending tech and art.
- Canada-based marijuana and hemp company Neptune Wellness Solutions will open its U.S. headquarters in Jupiter. CEO Michael Cammarata grew up in Florida and lives in Admirals Cove.
- The owner of 240-acre Saint Lucie Farm Preserve converted the citrus grove to a site for hosting events, including a February Farm to Grass music festival.
- The Port of Palm Beach commission chose construction contractor Joseph D. Anderson as its new chairman.
- The U.S. Maritime Administration granted a “marine highway” designation to a new route connecting Port Everglades with Port Houston, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The intent of the ‘highway’ is to move container cargo by sea rather than road to South Florida and open more direct service to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands from Port Everglades. The program allows the port to apply for federal funding for modernizing vessels and obtaining equipment and infrastructure.
- The Florida Department of Transportation pushed the start of construction of the $79-million North Causeway Bridge in Fort Pierce to January rather than late this year. Construction should take four years and replace the existing drawbridge.
- Palm Beach County’s hotels had the dubious honor of leading Southeast Florida in falling occupancy in 2020, down 36% to a rate of 46.1% for the year, according to industry tracking firm STR. It was both the lowest occupancy rate in Southeast Florida for the year and the steepest decline. St. Lucie County had the highest occupancy rate for the year at 53.5%, down 20.3% from 2019. In Florida overall, occupancy for 2020 was 47.9%, down 33.6% from 2019, STR reported.
- Florida Atlantic University researchers developed a simplified COVID-19 testing protocol that is said to be rapid, reliable and requires less labor, expertise and equipment.
- As of January, 29% of Broward public school district students weren’t making adequate academic progress as they struggled with remote learning in the pandemic. Eight of 10 failing to make adequate progress were black or Hispanic, nearly a quarter had disabilities, seven of 10 were low income, and 34% were English-language learners.
- Broward teachers with health concerns are required to report to work on school campuses along with other teachers, an arbitrator ruled in January, supporting the district.
- SunFest organizers again canceled the annual event, scheduled to begin this year April 30.
Read more in Florida Trend's April issue.
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