Tampa Bay Business Journal: January 18, 2013

TAMPA - In this week's Tampa Bay Business Journal segment, editor Alexis Muellner discusses the economic impact on Gasparilla on costume shops, the proposed residential complex in Tampa's arts district, and local company making home automation systems.

Attendance has been flat at the Gasparilla parades the past few years, but that has not hurt local costume businesses.

Quynh Le, co-owner of Dorcas' Dressmaking and Alterations, says she has seen a growing demand for ornate, custom-made costumes.

"We have noticed an increase this year," said Le.

"They spend a lot of money on some of these costumes," said Quynh's mother Be, who also works at the store. "Sometimes a man's jacket can be up to $800."

While the economy still remains somewhat sluggish, the money being spent for high-quality custom-made costumes is an encouraging sign.

The Tampa City Council approved the sale of a downtown parcel of land near the Straz Center to developer Intown/Framework LLC. The sale paves the way for a $85 million, 350-unit residential complex in the heart of Tampa's burgeoning arts district.

The project will also help with developing the Tampa Riverfront area north of Kennedy Boulevard.

Sarasota's Clare Controls is a leading provider of automated controls and systems for homes and businesses. Previously those systems cost upwards of $50,000.

Clare has shifted its business model and now offers products for both the regular and luxury housing markets.

The idea is to grow their business by seeking out homeowners looking for technology in the homes that might not be able to afford the $50,000 price tag.

For more information on these stories, click on the video player on the left, go to youtu.be/-OAmHy2UKQE or pick up this week's Tampa Bay Business Journal available on newsstands.

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