Tom Hudson

The Sunshine Economy
6:00 am
Fri August 30, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Luxury Retail, From Head To Toe To Stomach

Credit Tom Hudson

Jimmy Choo at Sawgrass Mills. Hermes in the Design District. Even Marky's Caviar in Miami Gardens. South Floridians are welcoming luxury retailers with open arms just like Britto's "Welcome" sculpture greets shoppers near Dadeland Station in the photo on the right.

Luxury retailing in South Florida is expanding beyond its traditional glitzy locations and stretching to include not just shoes and accessories, but also shoppers’ appetites.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Retail

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The Sunshine Economy
6:00 am
Thu August 29, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: The Fight For Your Spending

Credit freedigitalphotos.net

Of course you shop online. You're a digital consumer. You're on the Internet right now. You are a savvy shopper, looking for the right product at the right price and you want it fast and easy. Point, click, buy.

But you're in the minority. The vast majority of retail sales across the nation take place at brick and mortar stores. While Americans spend about $1 trillion per quarter in the retail industry, only a nickel of every dollar is spent online. But in the fight between online and in-store retailing, online spending is growing faster, much faster.

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The Sunshine Economy
12:30 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: The High Price of Luxury In South Florida Retail

Credit Tom Hudson

One square foot is not a lot of space. You can fit a pair of shoes in one square foot. But, if you are a luxury retailer at Bal Harbour Shops in Bal Harbour, you sell $2,800 worth of merchandise per square every year. That's six times what the average shopping center generates in the same amount space.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Retail

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The Sunshine Economy
11:59 am
Tue August 27, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: From Water Beds To Today

In the 1970’s it was water beds. In the 1980’s, Keith Koenig sold dinette sets. Now it’s couches and entertainment centers.

Koenig and his brother began what would become City Furniture in 1971. He has seen plenty of cycles in the South Florida economy, as well as how consumer tastes impact his business. Housing booms and housing busts. A growing population. And wicker. Koenig has a unique perspective at the intersection of two industries: real estate and retail. His outlook?  Very positive.

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The Sunshine Economy
8:10 am
Mon August 19, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Education

A new school year is underway for hundreds of thousands of children in South Florida. A new year brings with it the potential of new learning, new skills... and new challenges.

Are our kids learning what they need to in order to compete in the global job market of the future?

South Florida schools welcome back students August 19 and WLRN's Sunshine Economy looks at the education industry with "Getting Schooled, Public Education in South Florida."

WLRN's State Impact Florida education reporter Sammy Mack co-hosts the program.

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The Sunshine Economy
6:00 am
Fri August 16, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Fueling Florida's Power

FPL

The demand for electricity is growing in South Florida, but Florida Power and Light has been tearing down power plants.

The power plants like the one in the slideshow above have been generating electricity for more than 50 years in many cases. Often, they burned oil to make power.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Energy

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The Sunshine Economy
6:00 am
Thu August 15, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Fill 'Er Up With Natural Gas

Credit Wise Gas

How about a fill up for less than $20 a tank?

That's the promise of compressed natural gas at recent prices.But good luck finding a passenger car than runs on compressed natural gas today but more companies are converting their trucks or buying new ones that run on the fuel.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Energy 

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The Sunshine Economy
12:00 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Plugging Into The Math Of An Electric Car

Credit Tom Hudson

The sound of turning over the pistons in an internal combustion engine are familiar to just about everyone. The almost soothing feeling of that low rumble of a well-tuned engine in idle.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Energy

Linda Gassenheimer doesn't have these sounds or feelings anymore. And she doesn't miss them.

That's Linda on the right, in the driver's seat of her all-electric car.

And it's like her; petite but with a certain pizzazz.

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The Sunshine Economy
12:02 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Filling Up The Tank Less Often

Lee Doucette
Credit Tom Hudson

We are burning less gasoline. That may sound strange but Floridians have less of a thirst for gas.

Some of the drop can be blamed on the slower economy since the Great Recession, but also we are driving more fuel efficient cars and trucks. Except for a three-year period (2004-2006) the volume of gasoline Florida drivers are buying has fallen from its high in 2002.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Energy

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The Sunshine Economy
8:20 am
Mon August 12, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Energy

Credit Tom Hudson

Click play to hear Tom Hudson host this episode of WLRN's ongoing radio and online series, The Sunshine Economy, airing Mondays at 9:00 a.m. on WLRN 91.3 FM.

Flip a light switch, turn the ignition key or hit the start button.  These are actions most of us do several times each day without thinking about where the power is coming from. Florida may have plenty of sunshine but it doesn't have any substantial supply of fossil fuels.  And fossil fuels still power much of our lives.

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The Sunshine Economy
6:00 am
Fri August 9, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: It's Not Business But A Lifestyle

Spencer Antle

That's Spencer Antle in the picture to the left. He left South Beach for Palm Beach and has seen his lifestyle fashion business flourish.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Fashion

He founded Island Company, now headquartered in West Palm Beach. His clothing designs, retail shops and now music label have landed him on Inc. Magazine's list of the fastest growing 5000 companies in the U.S. four years in a row.

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The Sunshine Economy
1:15 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Video: How A Miami Designer Fashions His Workforce

Designer Rene Ruiz (left) instructs workers on the finer points of dress making.
Credit Tom Hudson

Designing high fashion is an art. So is making those designs into dresses.

Designer Rene Ruiz does both from a low-slung building in Hialeah. His factory is tucked in with furniture makers and hurricane shutters installers. About 50 people work there making dresses for Ruiz's well-heeled clients in South Florida and for his dresses destined for Neiman Marcus stores.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Fashion

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The Sunshine Economy
11:24 am
Fri July 26, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Manufacturing

Credit Tom Hudson

On the right is a picture of lancets.

These are small devices used by diabetics to prick their fingers in order to test their blood for sugar. The maker of these devices, Specialty Medical Supplies, is based in Coral Springs. The company was manufacturing up to 100 million of them each month in China until June of this year, when the company's president, Chip Starnes, was taken hostage during a visit to his Beijing plant.

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The Sunshine Economy
11:55 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Citizens CEO: Insurance Giant Is Unprepared For The Next Big Storm

Citizens CEO Barry Gilway
Credit citizensfla.com

The largest home property insurance company in Florida is $4 billion shy of what its head honcho feels it needs if a major hurricane were to hit the state this season.

In a recent interview, Citizens Property Insurance CEO Barry Gilway tells WLRN Special Correspondent Tom Hudson if a once-in-every-one-hundreds-storm—say, something more destructive than Hurricane Andrew—hit the state, policyholders and possibly taxpayers could be on the hook for all that money.

Below is a portion of that interview:

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The Sunshine Economy
11:30 am
Fri June 14, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Hurricanes

A view from the rooftop of L'Hermitage One Condominiums on Ocean Boulevard in Ft. Lauderdale
Credit Tom Hudson

L'Hermitage One Condominiums on Ocean Boulevard in Ft. Lauderdale is in an enviable location right on the beach. But when a hurricane is brewing, it's on the front lines of the storm.

On Monday's Sunshine Economy, come along as we talk with the building's manager, engineer and residents about their investment in storm preparedness.

In South Florida, we live with the risk of a big storm for six months of the year... every year. Like no place else in the U.S., we know the devastation a hurricane can bring. And the expense to protect ourselves.

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