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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Jul. 8, 2005 16 years ago

Coffee Talk (Sara/Mana)

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New London ruling not as bad as it seems: There are some days it just doesn't pay to get up in the morning.It's not the Rays; the problem is the stadium, location: In the early 1960s, the pathetic Boston Red Sox couldn't attract more than 4,000 baseball fans for a home game.Clockwork ready to franchise in Sarasota, Manatee: With more than 250 franchises nationwide, it always seemed odd that Sarasota-based Clockwork Home Services Inc. (formerly VenVest) didn't have a single plumbing or HVAC franchise in either Manatee or Sarasota counties.
by: Adam Hughes Staff Writer

Coffee Talk (Sara/Mana)

New London ruling not as bad as it seems

There are some days it just doesn't pay to get up in the morning. It would seem like June 23, the day the U.S. Supreme Court came down with its decision for the city of New London in its eminent-domain dispute with several homeowners, would have been one of those days for the property-owner centered law firm of Brigham Moore.

But according to Bill Moore, one of the land-use firm's partners and the Review's Lawyer of the Year for 2005, the decision isn't as large in scope as some people think.

"I honestly don't think it will change things much," Moore says. "Obviously I have different issues with the decision by the Supreme Court regarding their decision as to takings for economic redevelopment, but Florida has special protections against takings that are established in state law. It's important to understand that Connecticut (the state jurisdiction for New London) has a state statute specifically permitting a taking for economic redevelopment. There is no such statute in Florida. The decision just defers to the state (legislature) on the issue."

Moore says Florida law allows takings not for economic development but for relieving blight or slums. But that is not directly affected by the ruling.

"I'm not happy about it," Moore says of the Supreme Court decision. "But it is also important to note that this was a pretty contentious decision. It only would take one justice to vote the other way to completely change it. I'm hoping that this is something the Supreme Court can revisit at a later time."

Moore says the decision also sets a fairly high bar for the planning necessary to show how property will be economically uplifted.

"That is certainly not the case in Murdock Village and other local takings, which may be helpful for us. So basically we are putting our faith in the Florida courts. I'm comfortable with that."

It's not the Rays; the problem is the stadium, location

In the early 1960s, the pathetic Boston Red Sox couldn't attract more than 4,000 baseball fans for a home game. Why, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays draw twice that to St. Petersburg on a bad night.

The dwindling fans of the Rays have been having a lot of bad nights this season at Tropicana Field. But they should keep things in perspective. The world champion Red Sox haven't always played before full houses at Fenway Park.

Coffee Talk recently visited the Hub and had to ask Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino about our hapless Rays.

Lucchino could have blamed Rays managing partner Vince Naimoli and his rampaging-elephant social skills. Or he could have said the Rays' front office is the most clueless in baseball. Instead, Lucchino chose to blame the Trop, the building and the location.

What did Coffee Talk take away from Lucchino? The only salvation for the Rays is getting out of St. Petersburg and into a new stadium - preferably, with a retractable roof.

Sports demographers claim the Rays need to play east of Tampa Bay to tap the Orlando market. A ballpark near the interchange for Interstates 4 and 75 would also be more convenient for fans in Tampa and Sarasota.

Who is going to pay for it? Hillsborough County taxpayers are the usual suspects, having already borrowed to shelter the Buccaneers, the Lightning and the New York Yankees in spring.

But Lucchino is pessimistic. He noted the state is resisting pleas for a new Miami park for the Florida Marlins, who've won the World Series twice since 1997.

Clockwork ready to franchise in Sarasota, Manatee

With more than 250 franchises nationwide, it always seemed odd that Sarasota-based Clockwork Home Services Inc. (formerly VenVest) didn't have a single plumbing or HVAC franchise in either Manatee or Sarasota counties. That's changing now.

"We are getting ready to pretty heavily promote our two franchise opportunities locally," says Rebecca Cassel, president of the company's franchise operations. "We are mainly going to do that via our magazine (Successful Contractor), other trade magazines, direct mail and invitations."

Cassel says the company is looking for a single franchiser for Benjamin Franklin Plumbing and another for One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating to service the two-county market. Aside from just establishing operating franchises in the local market, Cassel is trying to create franchisees that will serve as model centers. According to Clockwork business' structure, model centers are subject to a higher standard of compliance to the franchise plan and will provide a working company environment for Clockwork to showcase the franchise model.

"These franchisees will be able to get more training purely because of their locations," Cassel says.

On top of the print advertising, the company plans to put on an informational workshop to a select clientele of potential franchisees on Aug. 3 and 4.

In most cases the company is looking for potential franchisees that already own a business in one of the Clockwork's two home-service industries. Clockwork employees also judge potential franchise owners based on their business style and ethics, willingness to follow the franchise model and financial ability.

Clockwork has franchisees of both home-service models in Tampa, Naples and Clearwater. A One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating franchise operates in Fort Myers, and a Benjamin Franklin Plumbing franchisee operates in Orlando.

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