FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business

Companies are fueling Florida's growth

(Mark Wemple)

Readers are familiar with the largest companies in Florida -- both public and private -- as listed in this magazine each year. These ubiquitous names include Publix, AutoNation, Carnival, Hertz and NASCAR, among others.

You may also be familiar with ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, a Florida company that has grown from humble roots in Orlando to statewide presence in a competitive field.

At one time, you may have been a bit embarrassed to be seen in an ABC liquor store, but that’s no longer the case as ABC now offers a “clean, well-lit place” with a wide selection of wines and gourmet foods.

Gone are the liquor lounges. Gone are the barred windows. Gone are the seedy locations. After some intra-family squabbling, today’s ABC has pushed upscale and now fits comfortably in Florida’s modern landscape.

When you read the article (access it here, or find it on page 44 of the July issue), please note the way the next generation of leadership has updated the business strategy. You won’t be surprised that operating a successful business such as ABC requires considerable management focus to execute the new strategy and appear seamless to customers.

The article about ABC accompanies the Florida Trend 350. I count 57 public companies with at least $1.0 billion in revenue and 52 private companies at that landmark.

The size of the public companies doesn’t surprise me as much as the great size of the private firms. Over time, Florida Trend has altered the balance of information listed -- in fact, we now list almost twice as many private firms as public ones.

Two other articlesin this edition caught my eye.

I hope never to need a heart transplant, but I’m gratified to learn that Florida has seven hospitals that perform the procedure. The article “New Life” (see page 36 of the July issue, or access it here) explains much about cardiac care that simply is unknown to most of us.

Orchestras in Florida are also getting a new lease on life thanks to a bevy of new conductors who are engaging younger, more diverse concert-goers. The state’s professional orchestras are adjusting prices, playing to modern themes and generally making the orchestra experience more fun.

The New World Symphony in Miami Beach has become a cultural phenomenon. Major philanthropic financing was a key element to get started, but a hipper attitude is equally important to its ongoing success.

Legal Elite 2015

Legal Elite appears this month for the 12th consecutive year. It’s a guide to selecting a trusted legal partner and thus a resource for Florida Trend readers and their companies.

To compile the list, Florida Trend invited all active members of the Florida Bar to name attorneys they hold in the highest regard. The list includes 1,131 honorees who work at 511 firms in 66 Florida cities.

Next year, we will expand our legal coverage even more by naming the July edition as the “Legal Issue” with further coverage of law firms, key cases, law schools and the many personalities that drive them forward. The Legal Elite section starts on page 77 of the July issue, or you can see the full list here.

Fitness update: Not much on the weight-loss front, but I've been jogging a fair amount and occasionally run a 9:30 mile.

— Andy Corty

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