tampabay.com

Talk of the bay: U.S. gas breaks the $3 barrier - the good way

By Times Staff
Published December 12, 2007


It's a thin line, but still ... the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline dipped below $3 on Tuesday for the first since Nov. 4, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. And, okay, it only hit $2.995, but at least that's below the psychologically influential $3 mark. In the Tampa Bay area, we weren't so lucky. Gas remained just on the other side of the $3 mark, at $3.021, on Tuesday. For perspective, that same gallon of gas here cost $2.28 a year ago.

Winn-Dixie touts brand-new plan

Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. is rebuilding and repackaging its arsenal of store-brand products. The latest arrival: Winn & Lovett, a new line of premium-quality foods, which debuted in the coffee aisle and is spreading to the pastries and meat cases, where it will share space with the Prestige brand. "Eventually, Winn & Lovett will cut across the entire store," said Peter Lynch, Winn-Dixie chief executive. Winn-Dixie dumped its bewildering cornucopia of 64 store brands such as stalwarts Crackin' Good, SuperBrand and Deep South in 2003, along with forgettables like Madison, Medic and Hickory Glen. All that remains is budget-brand ThriftyMaid, the mid-priced Winn-Dixie label and Quik Chek soft drinks. So far, 800 of Winn-Dixie's 3,000 store-brand items have been outfitted with new packaging for the first time in years. Winn & Lovett, incidentally, was the original name of the Jacksonville company before acquiring a chain called Dixie Stores.

Iman fits in with HSN sales model

Fresh off hosting Project Runway Canada on TV, glam diva Iman makes her HSN debut this weekend. It's another example of the St. Petersburg network trying to trade up to a more fashion-conscious shopper with different types of celebs. The child of a family of diplomats who was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, the supermodel later became muse of several prominent designers and is married to David Bowie. Now, 52, she has had a cosmetics line for years. For HSN, she brings a line of jewelry and fashion accessories developed in concert with HSN product guru Joy Mangano, creator of the Huggable Hanger and Miracle Mop. Iman's Global Chic Collection is priced from a $19.95 Day Planner to a $69.95 handbag and a $129.95 reproduction of the anniversary ring Bowie gave her.