Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Thursday's Daily Pulse

Floridians will factor inflation into their holiday budget

The Florida Retail Federation expects consumers in the state to spend an average of $875 on gifts, decorations and other items this holiday shopping season. Anca Voicu is a Professor of economics and head of Rollins College’s Women in Finance Program. She said despite inflation and high housing costs, consumers will be spending more this year compared to last. [Source: WMFE]

Florida escapes ‘Judicial Hellhole’ designation as tort reform measures take effect

Following a series of legal reforms, the American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF) has removed Florida from its ‘Judicial Hellhole‘ list, a long-held designation reflecting the state’s history of excessive litigation and frivolous lawsuits. The change is largely attributed to the passage of House Bill 837, which focused on transparency in damage claims in court trials. Sponsored by Reps. Tommy Gregory and Tom Fabricio, as well as Sen. Travis Hutson, the bill addresses the discrepancy between claimed and actual medical expenses in court cases. [Source: The Capitolist]

Hard Rock sports betting app is now available to everyone in Florida

The Seminole Tribe’s mobile sports betting app is now available to all Floridians, Hard Rock Chairman Jim Allen confirmed Tuesday. The app, Hard Rock Bet, launched in early November in a “limited” fashion for existing customers from its previous, short-lived launch in 2021, with a waitlist for new customers. Since its launch, growing numbers of users have gained access. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Florida Trend Exclusive
Publisher's column: The impact of a Floridian

One of the editions I treasure most each year is our annual Floridian of the Year issue, published each December. The final rounds of discussion among our editorial team can sometimes be vociferous as our journalists debate the merits and strengths of potential candidates, but they come out of those lively conversations agreeing on the year’s selection. This year, the choice of Florida Chamber President and CEO Mark Wilson was one that came together quite easily. [Source: Florida Trend]

Citizens tries to tamp down concerns

Saying the state’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has “never sought a federal bailout, period,” Citizens President and CEO Tim Cerio on Wednesday took issue with a U.S. Senate Budget Committee request for information about the insurer’s finances. Cerio, speaking to the Citizens Board of Governors, tried to tamp down concerns that the Senate committee’s request could cause about Citizens’ ability to pay claims. [Source: News Service of Florida]


› About 4 of 5 municipalities pay better than Pensacola, but raises could be coming soon
Many Pensacola city employees will see a pay raise in January if the City Council adopts new pay ranges next week. Pensacola Mayor D.C. Reeves is proposing new pay ranges for city employees based on a salary study that he began after he entered office. The new pay ranges are the equivalent of about a 6.8% raise across all of more than 800 city employees, however, not all 800 employees will see a pay adjustment, Reeves said.

› Uptown Tampa business accelerator accepts its second cohort of startups
The Soaring City Business Accelerator, based in Uptown Tampa, has accepted 12 startups to its fall cohort. The accelerator program launched in May with a mission to boost underrepresented founders. It seeks to help these founders build institutional wealth while also stimulating the area’s tech talent. The companies are helped with improving their businesses and receive a $3,500 grant without having to exchange equity.

› Miami’s newest museum opened during Art Week. It’s dedicated to the history of hip-hop
Derick G is tired. In the month leading up to the opening of The Art of Hip-Hop, Wynwood’s latest museum honoring the genre, the photographer has built a small-scale record store, scoured his closet for ephemera and even helped design the bathroom reminiscent of “8 Mile.”

› New Celebrity Ascent follows sister ships taking on Florida cruise duties
Celebrity Cruises is well beyond any growing pains with what has become its signature ship design as the line welcomed to Florida the fourth vessel in its groundbreaking Edge class — Celebrity Ascent. Celebrity Edge debuted in 2018 followed by Apex in 2019 and a slightly larger sister with Celebrity Beyond in 2022. All four ships have made their debuts from the line’s hub in Port Everglades, which this year is hosting seven Celebrity ships over the winter sailing season.

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› New report shows three new industries replace the top businesses that drive Palm Beach County's economy
While agriculture, tourism and construction industries drove Palm Beach County's economy for years, there's been a new trend with other industries bringing the most number of jobs in the area. "Our Wall Street South initiative is bringing in the most income to Palm Beach County," Kelly Smallridge, president and CEO of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, said.

› Florida mental health clinic to scale up in Orlando and beyond
A Florida City-based mental health clinic plans to expand its practice locally. Harmony United Psychiatric Care will add new offices in Lakeland, Bradenton, Kissimmee and Orlando, growing to 13 total sites in the state. Dr. Adil Mohammed, the founder and CEO of the company, told Orlando Business Journal that each location will start with up to five employees and grow up to 15 in roughly two to three years.

› Broward cities will soon be asked to help pay for county’s affordable housing effort
All of Broward’s cities will soon be requested to financially pitch in for Broward County’s growing affordable housing crisis that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to fix, commissioners agreed Tuesday. The cities will hopefully be “motivated to take on some of the burden,” said Ralph Stone, Broward County’s director of the Housing Finance Division. He called the problem “overwhelming.”

› Bloomin' Brands looks to address activist investors and woo customers
As Bloomin' Brands enters its 36th year doing business, the Tampa-based restaurant giant — owner of four major national brands — is having a bit of a midlife crisis. The company, founded along Henderson Boulevard as a single Outback Steakhouse in 1988, is now a publicly traded conglomerate that runs Outback, Bonefish Grill, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, Aussie Grill and Carrabba's Italian Grill.