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  1. McDonald's soft serve in Florida is made with handshakes and happy cows


    Floridians licked nine million McDonald's vanilla cones last year.

    Calves play with a rubber toy at the Milking R Dairy in Okeechobee, FL. Owners Sutton Rucks, Jr., and his wife Kris Rucks sell their milk to SouthEast Dairies cooperative, Edward Coryn of Dairy Mix in St. Petersburg buys it, transforms it into soft-serve ice cream base, and sells it to all the McDonald's. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

  2. Tampa-based Checkers testing delivery, aims for record expansion


    TAMPA — Tampa-based Checkers Drive-In Restaurants continues to fly under the radar compared to dominant burger chains like McDonald's and Burger King.

    Checkers Franchisee Shaji Joseph, of Tampa, hoses down the front walkway of his store at 6401 Park Boulevard, Pinellas Park. The business has a new look including signage and exterior tile. One drive through has been eliminated for an outdoor dining area, right. Joseph owns nine Checkers and is planning to open his tenth in Tampa.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times ]
  3. HSN star Joy Mangano promotes new book: Inventing Joy


    ST. PETERSBURG — After more than 30 years, Joy Mangano knows a thing or two about promoting products. Now she's promoting herself.

    Inventor and entrepreneur Joy Mangano is releasing her first new book, Inventing Joy on Nov. 7. [TIERRA SMITH | Times]
  4. Amazon expands in Tampa with Pop-Up shop in International Plaza


    TAMPA — A new retailer known largely for its online presence has popped up at International Plaza and Bay Street.

    Shoppers walk past the new Amazon kiosk Tuesday at the International Plaza in Tampa. The kiosk, which opened last month, offers shoppers an opportunity to touch and play with some of the products that Amazon offers.
[CHRIS URSO   |   Times]

  5. New HSN president Mike Fitzharris brings decades of international expertise


    ST. PETERSBURG — A long-time QVC veteran with e-commerce experience in Europe and Japan will take over as president of St. Petersburg-based HSN.

    Mike Fitzharris will take over as president of St. Petersburg-based HSN. He previously served as the CEO and representative director of QVC Japan. QVC Inc., announced Thursday the organizational structure and senior executive leadership team of the joint QVC Group, which includes QVC, HSN, zulily and the Cornerstone brands. [Company handout]
  6. US retail sales jumped last month, most in 2-½ years


    WASHINGTON — Americans increased their spending at retailers last month by the most in two and a half years, driven by strong auto sales as residents of hurricane-ravaged areas replaced destroyed cars.

    US retail sales jumped last month, most in 2-? years.
[AP file photo]
  7. HSN's top three execs leaving as QVC takes over


    ST. PETERSBURG — The top three executives now running HSN will be out the door when QVC's parent company, Liberty Interactive Group, takes over the St. Petersburg-based retailer.

    Bill Brand is one of three key HSN executives leaving as QVC takes over the company.
[File photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for HSN]
  8. 82-year-old Winter Haven resident invents device to prevent hot car deaths


    CLEARWATER — A nontraditional inventor is on a big mission to confront a controversial issue. Carol Staninger, 82, of Winter Haven, joins the ranks of lawmakers, automobile leaders and other inventors seeking to prevent hot-car deaths.

    Charles Ferrer, president and CEO of CMS WorldGroup, and Carol Staninger, of Winter Haven, show Stainger's invention SaveOurLovedOnes, which alerts drivers and passerbys that a small child, a senior citizen, a person with disabilities or a pet is inside an unoccupied vehicle. CMS plans to start selling the device next spring for about $300. 
  9. Busch Gardens offers free admission to first responders, family discounts


    Busch Gardens is giving first responders free admission through Nov. 24, with discounted tickets for their friends and family.

    Busch Gardens new ride Cobra's Curse ride.
Times files
  10. Dali Museum will have $10 admission on Saturday


    The Dalí Museum is giving art aficionados a treat this Saturday, when admission at the door will be reduced to $10, more than half off its regular admission price of $22.

    Salvador Dali's "Archeological Reminiscence of Millet's Angelus" is among the St. Petersburg museum's permanent collection.
Image courtesy Dali Museum