The Sunshine Economy

Tom Hudson

Talking about sugar in South Florida is like talking about politics and religion in polite company. Few people are without strong opinions about the sugarcane farms stretching across the eastern Everglades south of Lake Okeechobee. The industry is a mix of government price policies, environmental regulations, trade practices and the demand for food.  

africa/freedigitalphotos.net

Sugar is one of the biggest special interests in Tallahassee. More sugar comes from Florida than anywhere else in the country. 

It’s grown in a 700,000-acre region between Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades known as the Everglades Agricultural Area. (Actual farming acreage, which includes other crops, is 470,000 because of conservation areas and other projects.) 

Courtesy of Don Peebles

 

When he was visiting South Florida in the winter of 1996, developer R. Donahue Peebles read an article in the Miami Herald about a rundown hotel on Miami Beach called the Shorecrest. Over the next several years, Peebles would combine that property with one next door and create the Royal Palm, the first convention-class hotel on Miami Beach owned by an African-American.   

Tom Hudson

 

In our 5 Questions series, we ask local entrepreneurs and CEOs how they got where they are and what they think of the business community in South Florida.   

Tom Hudson

As a regular digital feature of the Sunshine Economy, we'll be asking local CEOs how they got where they are and what they think of the business community in South Florida.  

Suzan McDowell is the President and CEO of Circle of One Marketing, a public-relations and community-outreach firm. A Jamaican-American, Suzan was named one of South Florida’s top 50 Most Powerful Black Business Leaders of 2013 by Legacy Magazine and the Miami Herald.

Tom Hudson

The quartet pictured above own and operate their businesses.  Some may consider them black businesses.  Some may not.  But they all operate in a commerce climate in South Florida that has been partially shaped by an economic boycott 24 years ago. In 1990, South Florida’s tourism industry was boycotted by blacks for three years.

Tom Hudson / WLRN

The dawn of a new year brings with it new promises and old challenges.  

Tom Hudson

Between our finances, fitness, beauty, working -- even our souls. We can spend thousands of dollars on making ourselves better. The self-help business is booming: from personal trainers to plastic surgery, how are we spending money to help ourselves?

Americans spent almost $12 billion on the self-help industry in 2012, according to independent market research firm MarketData.  Diet, exercise, motivational speakers, help-yourself books and other strategies are aimed at making us feel better, eat better, be better.  It is the business of better.  And business is good.

The Reality Of Retail

Dec 23, 2013

This program originally aired on Aug. 26, 2013.  

If you've wandered the hallways of the Dadeland or Aventura Malls or walked down Lincoln Road in Miami Beach on a Sunday afternoon, you know shopping in South Florida can be a full contact sport.

South Florida is home to both the biggest outlet mall in the United States (Sawgrass Mills) and the shopping destination generating the highest sales per square foot in the world (Bal Harbour Shops.) The reality of retail is a reflection of two of our most important industries; real estate and tourism.

Tom Hudson

Squeezed between South Florida's neighborhoods and the Everglades is a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry. Tomatoes, beans and avocados all sprout from the rocky South Florida soil along with one of the largest nursery industries growing trees, shrubs and other landscaping plants.

Agriculture generates a direct $700 million dollars a year in Miami-Dade County alone. The economic impact of the plowing, growing and picking of those crops is much larger.

Miami Book Fair International

Miami-Dade County Public Libraries have a big financial hole to fill. In order to stave off closing branches and laying off dozens of employees, the Miami-Dade County Commission this year raided the library's reserve fund. That will leave an estimated $20 million deficit in the next fiscal year. In order to generate ideas for the library of the future, library director Raymond Santiago has gathered together a task force with "everything on the table." That means the possibility of higher taxes to support public libraries.

Christie's

  

Sale 2791. Lot 8A. "Three Studies of Lucien Freud." $142.4 million.

On the evening of Nov. 12 at Rockefeller Center in New York City, the 1969 oil painting on canvas by Francis Bacon set a record price for publicly auctioned art. Its auction price may bode well for those hoping the upcoming Art Basel Miami Beach will lead to big business. But even if there are no nine-figure sale prices, a rebounding housing market and rallying stock market are expected to lift the spirits, and possibly prices, of the business around Basel.

Chloe Herring / WLRN

Only a few months ago, several public libraries in Miami-Dade County were targeted for closure. They were spared thanks to some last-minute financial rearranging of the county's annual budget. But the threat and budgetary maneuver sparked outrage first and now study of the role of public libraries in our modern-information society.

Tom Hudson / WLRN

Giving for educational purposes is a popular choice. It's second only to religious donations. According to Giving USA, Americans donated $41.3 billion to educational institutions in 2012. That is a 7-percent increase from the previous year.

May Jean Wolff and her husband Lou have been part of the Fort Lauderdale community since the 1950s. As Lou's career as an architect flourished, the two wanted to give back. They started by donating money for scholarships to Broward College.

Underwater Real Estate

Nov 14, 2013

  

The dream of South Florida real estate is beachside.  The marquee properties along our beaches attract global attention and eye-popping prices.  But as studies from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration have found, sea levels in South Florida have risen about nine inches in the past century.  Today's beachside may be the next century's underwater property.

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