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Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Young Tampa developer turns eye to restaurants

TAMPA — - There’s someone new to watch in Tampa’s restaurant and development market, Charles “Chas” Bruck. Warning: Read no further if you’re susceptible to envy of the young and successful. At age 30, he’s a founder at SoHo Capital and has built out more properties in this region than many developers do by age 50: Housing blocks in Riverview; an industrial park near the Fairgrounds; apartment buildings in St. Petersburg. Bruck’s father is a successful dentist in Temple Terrace. Bruck attended the University of Arizona, playing on its golf team, and his twin brother, Kyle, graduated from Stanford and did especially well in the tech boom. Chas, meanwhile, went into Florida development and now has his eye on restaurants. Last July, he bought an ownership stake in the company that owns Ciro’s Speakeasy, Boca Kitchen Bar Market and Samba Room. RV and real estate magnate Don Wallace is a personal friend of the family, and Bruck works out of Don’s former office space in South Tampa.
Building in town also means making the philanthropy circuit, and last year they built the Bruck Family Foundation. They also helped Metropolitan Ministries move its massive holiday donation tent to space at North Boulevard and Palm Avenue. As for where Bruck is going next, he’d rather not invest in corporate chains of huge locations. Bruck likes the quirky, small independent spots; places with things like membership lists, rotating menus and high energy inside. So, here’s a fair warning to Tampa’s restaurant scene. There’s a new player in town. Other retail, restaurant and consumer trend news: Seminole Heights may be the new hub of modern and hipster cuisine (Refinery, Ella’s, Mermaid, etc.) but it also might be home to a new Walmart. The deal isn’t complete, but the retail giant is targeting a former Chevrolet dealership site at 1720 E. Hillsborough Ave., a few blocks west of Interstate 275. They’ll need some city approvals, and permission from the state for new traffic lights. Sam who? Warehouse shopping icon Costco is on a tear of profit-making lately, easily outflanking rivals BJ’s Wholesale and Sam’s Club. How? Like most warehouse clubs, they buy inventory by the trainload, and price at near zero margin, because members will pay $100 or so a year to join up. They’re also willing to lose money on things like bananas or rubber floor mats, because that keeps shoppers coming back and choosing them for diamond rings, frozen foods and massive HDTVs. As for their edge over Sam’s Club, well, Costco proudly offers benefits to workers far more generous than others, in turn generating great employee loyalty, cutting down on turnover and creating a better shopper experience. We’ll keep calling the company, asking “When will you build one closer in to Tampa?” Give it up for Detroit, the new capital of fine watch-making in America. That’s right. We thank the awesome style website Uncrate.com for flagging us to the Shinola Runwell Watch that’s hand-made in the Motor City (using four-dozen Swiss-made parts), with a thick-cut leather band and classic, retro-style numbers and hands. Quartz movement, not diesel. Act fast, because they’re limited to 1,500 units, priced at $550 apiece, available in July in 47mm face size, and the more petite 40. But you know you’d get the bigger one. Order direct at Shinola.com. How’s this for a ringtone? “You’re drunk!” The fearless engineers at Breathometer have created a microbreathalyzer that plugs into your phone to give near-instant readings on your blood alcohol content. (Both iPhone and Android) Handily, the app will also help you call for a ride home. The company confidently states that “Breathometer will be FDA approved.” As for it’s effectiveness, we can’t say, but if you’re using a phone app to test your sobriety, haven’t you already answered your own question? Breathometer.com.

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