Reececliff Family Diner faced online backlash earlier this week after a job applicant was asked not to show up for an interview after she disclosed she is pregnant. Restaurant owner James Bronkhorst issued an apology Thursday, saying the employee erred and inviting the woman in to discuss job possibilities.
Here is the response we got tonight from the restaurant. pic.twitter.com/m789BVm10l
— Evan Axelbank Fox13 (@EvanAxelbank) August 10, 2018
Grocery and convenience stores in unincorporated Polk can now sell beer and wine on Sunday mornings. County commissioners on the prevailing side of Tuesday’s 3-2 vote said those merchants should have the same rules as competitors within Lakeland and Lake Wales city limits. Unlike in Lakeland, alcohol sales will still not be allowed in restaurants in unincorporated Polk before noon on Sundays.
ALSO: Ledger coverage
IKEA announced today it will lease 326,000 square feet for a distribution center off Allen K. Breed Highway in Lakeland’s County Line Road warehousing corridor. The facility is expected to open in early 2019 and will bring 200 jobs to the area, the company said. The fulfillment center will be operated by DHL Supply Chain and focus on items ordered online by customers in Florida. Here’s some background on the site.
When you just want to break something and pay $30 (or more) for the privilege, there’s a new business in Lakeland for you. Are smash rooms really a thing? Apparently so. The Tampa Bay Times reports they’re popping up around the country, and one is opening at 2120 E. Edgewood Drive on Saturday.
The Ledger’s Kevin Bouffard breaks news that the Publix Supermarket at Grove Park Shopping Plaza will be torn down and replaced by a slightly larger structure that will include a pharmacy and liquor store. The owners two small businesses say the Publix expansion is pushing them out. Shopping center owner Forge Capital Partners has cancelled the leases of:
- Liquor and Tobacco owned by Mike and Jay Patel for 15 years. The Patels had not started re-negotiating a five-year lease that ended last month, and industry observers told The Ledger that their store was probably the victim of an “exclusive use clause” giving Publix sole right to peddle liquor in the plaza.
- The Mail Room owned by Jack Frankenberger for 18 years. Frankenberger had switched to a month-to-month lease, giving him little leverage when Publix wanted to expand into his space.
The other business affected by the Publix expansion is Chamberlin Natural Foods, which plans to move to another Grove Park location.
The Lakeland Country Club on Lake Hollingsworth is moving along on several fronts, former Ledger Editor Lenore Devore writes for The Lakelander:
- Construction on the site that held the predecessor Lakeland Yacht and Country Club should be complete by year’s end, with opening scheduled for Feb. 1 and several large events booked for March.
- Membership stands at about 170, compared with the yacht club’s roster of 150 when it closed. In a join-soon-or-else move, club leaders say they will close member rolls on opening day.
- A new general manager has been hired: Bert Morales, who has managed several country clubs and restaurants in Georgia. Morales has selected a comptroller and is seeking an executive chef and a banquet coordinator.
The Walt Disney Pictures crews that spent three days filming “The One and Only Ivan” in Lakeland last month spent $134,365 in Polk County, Visit Central Florida says. The numbers were provided to the tourism agency by Disney’s production supervisor. Included: $38,115 on 363 hotel room nights, $31,250 on local cast, $5,000 on catering, $5,000 on miscellaneous expenditures and $55,000 on locations and associated fees such as police and security.
Unwilling to wait for an unwilling Legislature, Florida Poly administrators have identified other funds to begin construction of a $38 million research building. In an hour interview, university President Randy Avent discussed development on the land surrounding the campus, leading County Commissioner Todd Dantzler to comment that he’s heard there’s a letter of intent to purchase the 2,000-acre parcel from Williams Acquisition Holdings.