Thursday’s Afternoon Update – Florida Trend

Cecilia Nysing

One-third of Florida small businesses can’t pay their rent

Government policies may be relaxing mask mandates and encouraging people to eat out and go shopping again, but it’s not be enough for many businesses in Florida and beyond, says a new study. More than a third of small businesses nationwide still face challenges paying their rent, said the May Rent Report from Alignable Inc., a Boston-based small business referral network firm. Specifically, 37% of 7,774 business surveyed from mid-April to mid-May said they cannot afford to pay their rent in full, on time this month — representing an increase of six percentage points compared to 31% in April. More from the Orlando Business Journal.

Will disturbance in far Atlantic become the first named storm of 2021? Here’s what experts are saying.

Though it may be short-lived, the possibility of a system forming in the Atlantic in the next couple days is now appearing quite likely. It is expected to move southwest over warmer water on Friday. It could then take on subtropical characteristics and briefly become a cyclone before moving to the north or northeast this weekend, forecasters say. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Brightline shows off progress on huge train garage at Orlando International Airport

Trains will begin to arrive at Brightline’s massive garage that adjoins Orlando International Airport in about five months, easing through doors 18 feet high and 18 feet wide into a space equipped for tasks ranging from cleaning bathrooms to changing out locomotive engines that weigh 30,000 pounds. “This facility will be home to our state-of-the-art, American-made, eco-friendly train sets,” said Brightline’s president Patrick Goodard, speaking Wednesday during a gathering in the garage of mayors, council members and executives from a variety of transportation agencies. More from the Orlando Sentinel.

Air & Sea Show returns to Miami Beach for Memorial Day Weekend with new COVID rules

After being canceled last year due to COVID-19, the Hyundai Air & Sea Show will return to South Beach next weekend with its trademark military demonstrations — but without its annual concert and fireworks display. The Memorial Day Weekend event, which runs May 29-30, will feature military flyovers and parachute launches, extreme-sport demonstrations on land and sea, and interactive military exhibits with photo opportunities. More from the Miami Herald.

Tampa company gets green light to test cannabis and hemp

Method Testing Labs has won approval to begin testing hemp and cannabis throughout the state. Method is third-party testing facility that checks for safety and efficacy for producers. Among the items it will look for are heavy metals, pesticides, mycotoxins, microbials and residual solvents. The lab, which is only one of five allowed to test cannabis and hemp in Florida, has “an entirely digitized sample process, using a customized laboratory management system and patient portal” according to a statement. More from the Business Observer.

Transportation
Public transit is still recovering

During the pandemic, Clinton Forbes, executive director for Palm Tran, the Palm Beach County transit agency, has seen transit use fall 50%. Transit use has begun creeping back, but full recovery to 2019 levels may be years away, he says. Forbes, who has 30 years of experience in public transportation, is also the chairman of the Florida Public Transit Association, which represents more than 40 transit systems around the state, all deemed essential services during the pandemic. In that role, he brought them together in virtual meetings to share best practices from transit agencies around the country.

» More from Florida Trend.

 

Business Profile
Edge City

floridaFor more than 50 years, the Edge City retail store has been a landmark in the Five Points shopping and entertainment district in Jacksonville. A lot has changed in that time, but an icon remains after 45 years: Gunnel Humphreys, owner of Edge City. The Swedish-born Humphreys and her business and life partner, the late Tom McCleery, bought the store from the original owners in 1975 for $3,000 – his severance pay from the office job that disenchanted him at Bethlehem Steel Corp.

» Read more from the Jacksonville Daily Record.

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