tampabay.com

Talk of the bay: Now you can look forward to car repairs

Taking the car in for service is a chore that sends most drivers elbowing for the courtesy van unless they like to watch Regis and Kelly on the lone lounge TV or want to catch up on old gossip magazines.

By Times Staff
Published July 2, 2007


Now you can look forward to car repairs

Taking the car in for service is a chore that sends most drivers elbowing for the courtesy van unless they like to watch Regis and Kelly on the lone lounge TV or want to catch up on old gossip magazines. In contrast the new $10-million Century Buick Pontiac GMC at 3300 Hillsborough Ave. in Tampa promises to be a multitasker's delight. After a mid-July opening, the dealership will have a shuttle and a plethora of on-site time-killers: a barber shop, nail salon, a wireless Internet cafe with sandwiches and free Starbucks, a kids play area and a gym equipped with cardio treadmills, weights, lockers and showers. Customers will be handed a pager that tells them their car is ready if they venture not too far off property. "We respect people's time, " said Ralph Ghioto III, Century president. "We're hoping customers tell us they aren't ready to leave yet."

From now on, it's just One Bay

Next, we'll all join hands and sing Kumbaya. In the spirit of togetherness, regional economic development group Tampa Bay Partnership has launched a new campaign: One Bay. It's a result of a brainstorming session - with an equally hip name, Reality Check - the partnership held in May. There, 311 developers, government officials, professional planners and corporate executives hammered out an economic game plan for the region through 2050. Among key issues: mixed-use development, public transit, preservation of water supplies and other natural resources, affordable housing and higher-paying jobs. Starting this month, the partnership will take One Bay on the road throughout the bay area to solicit feedback from residents and businesses. For more information, visit www.myonebay.com.

7-Eleven will look like Springfield

The folks at 7-Eleven are crowing "D'oh Thank Heaven" over their self-caricature promotion for the upcoming movie The Simpsons. All Florida 7-Elevens this week will be stocked with c-store cuisine lifted right out of Homer's neighborhood Kwik-E-Mart: Krusty O's Cereal, Buzz Cola, pink Sprinklicious Donuts and a 7-Eleven Slurpee branded the WooHoo Blue Vanilla Squishee. There's a $3.99 comic book called Radioactive Man and a flavor straw with mounted magnetic character heads including Apu, the Kwik-E-Mart owner. The Dallas chain even put a false front on a Lake Buena Vista 7-Eleven near Walt Disney World that was transformed into a Kwik-E-Mart down to the employee uniforms. Alas, no Duff's Beer. On second thought, that might be a good thing.