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  1. Florida Senate approves bill to let grocery outlets sell hard liquor in stores

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Floridians are one step closer to being able to buy whiskey, rum or vodka in a grocery store.

    The Florida Senate on Thursday approved a measure which would allow grocery stores like Publix to sell hard liquor on the shelves next to beer and wine instead of in a separate liquor store. [TImes file photo]
  2. Private equity firm buying Checkers restaurant chain for $525 million

    Retail

    TAMPA — Checkers Drive-In Restaurants is changing hands again.

    Private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners is set to buy Tampa-based Checkers Drive-In Restaurants for around $525 million.
[Times file photo]
  3. Brooksville store makes charms out of castoffs

    Retail

    BROOKSVILLE — From estate sales, garage sales and thrift shops to the showroom floor at Cottage Charms, castoffs become customers' cool things.

    Employee Donnie Nemon shows off a refurbished highboy. He said “the knobs were gone, the doors falling off.”
  4. Hard times for Sears as retailer casts doubt about its future

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sears, a back-to-school shopping destination for generations of kids, has said that after years of losing money that there is "substantial doubt" it will be able to keep its doors open. But it also insisted that its actions to turn around its business should help reduce that risk.

     Sears said it doubts that it will be able to remain in business. The company, which runs Kmart and its namesake stores, has struggled for years with weak sales. [Associated Press]
  5. 5 things to do under $5: Chasco Fiesta, Tampa's Fourth Fridays, Easter egg hunt

    Events

    1 Chasco Fiesta: This year's nine-day festival runs Friday through April 1 with a carnival midway. There are also a series of events surrounding the festival including a street parade at 1 p.m. Saturday, a car show around Orange Lake 1-8 p.m. Sunday, concerts, a Native American Festival (March 30-April 1) …

    The Chasco Fiesta runs March 24-April 1 in downtown New Port Richey featuring 9 days of activities including carnival rides, music, boat and street parades, a Native American Festival and more.
  6. Shipt expands Tampa Bay delivery service to include Costco

    Retail

    Starting today, Tampa Bay residents will be able to order Costco groceries straight to their door through Shipt, an online grocery delivery service. Shipt's new partnership with Costco will deliver from four Costco locations in the Clearwater, Tampa, Brandon and Wesley Chapel areas.

    CJ Hughes uses the Shipt app to find items for a family in Seminole in this 2015 photo. On Tuesday, the grocery delivery service is announcing a partnership to deliver Costco groceries in Florida, with Tampa as the first market.
[JUSTINE GRIFFIN  |  Times]

  7. The Prescription Shop closes after 70 years in Downtown St. Petersburg

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — A copy of Norman Rockwell's 1936 "Medicine" painting of a woman administering a spoonful of medicine to a small boy still hung on the wall of Mike Kinter's office the day after the Prescription Shop closed its doors.

    Mike Kinter, one of the owners of The Prescription Shop, is retiring after the shop was sold to Publix. (Divya Kumar | Times).
  8. HSN drops jewelry company accused of cheating its artisans

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — HSN is ending its business relationship with Bajalia International Group, an Orlando jewelry company accused of cheating female artisans it works with in developing countries.

    Debbie Farah, the founder and CEO of Bajalia International Group, is shown in this undated photo featuring Bajalia products on HSN. HSN said it has decided to no longer do business with Bajalia International following a months-long investigation.
[Photo from DebbieFarah.com]
  9. Culver's restaurant is building first St. Petersburg location

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — The fourth Culver's restaurant in Pinellas County is slated to open at 498 91st Ave. on the Fourth Street N corridor by mid-June, franchise owner Matt Stuligross said.

     This Culver's in Largo was the first in Pinellas County.
  10. Plant Museum minaret pieces part of pickers' paradise at Tampa auction, says owner

    Business

    For decades, sixth generation Tampa resident Clyde Darville traveled with his father to swap meets, flea markets and car shows, collecting and collecting.

    This vintage sign will be among the items auctioned in Ybor City on Saturday. [Harris Auctions]