By Cecil G. Brumley
It's the salad days for the area hotels, restaurants and many of the retailers as thousands of race fans descend upon us.
If you need evidence, try to go out to a restaurant this Friday within 50 miles of Daytona International Speedway. I'm sure you can find one that won't be so busy you have to wait in line, but good luck with that. It's not a bad thing, though. Thanks to the late winter boost from race fans and bikers, most of those restaurants and retailers will be there for you to enjoy the rest of the year.
Volusia County is weird when it comes to retail sales. It's one of the few places in the country where just as much money is spent in February or March as December. A similar situation exists in most of Florida because of the snowbirds; it's just much more evident in Volusia when you add the race fans and bikers to the snowbirds.
Reports from the housing front continue to look good. There were 245 existing houses sold in January, according to the Daytona Beach Multiple Listing Service, compared to 213 in January 2012. The median price was at $126,000 up sharply when half the homes sold for less than $105,000 and half for more. Realtor Ron Wysocarski of Keller-Williams Realty, who was nice enough to send these stats along to me, said the higher median price shows the area real estate market is recovering. "It also shows how far the real estate recovery has come in one year's time," he said.
Down DeBary way, Matt Boltz, vice president of Henin Homes, reports the company has 15 new homes under construction at Riviera Bella and 13 of them are already sold. These aren't lower-priced houses, either; they're priced from $241,000 to $400,000.
Apparently some retail chains are expecting this area to have a serious hankering for frozen yogurt this year. Sweet Frog Premium Frozen Yogurt has opened a shop at the Shoppes at Beville Road in Daytona Beach and 1657 Taylor Road in Port Orange, and has one planned on West Granada Boulevard in Ormond Beach. I already mentioned Orange Leaf is going to open at Altamira Village, right across the road from Yo' Belle Frozen Yogurt that opened last year. In DeLand, Berryville Frozen Yogurt also opened last year. Mango Tango Frozen Yogurt just opened on Flagler Avenue in New Smyrna Beach. I'm sure I missed some, but it looks like there will be more.
Bellair Plaza is apparently getting a boost with a Marshalls store opening there. Haven't heard much else about it, but if any shopping center could use some new stores, it's Bellair.
The Shoppes at Beville, besides getting the Sweet Frog shop, also is getting a Tropical Smoothie Café.
The owner of Rossellini's Restaurant at 126 S. Atlantic Ave. in Daytona Beach wants to reopen the old Main Street Café as the Main Street Pub & Grill.
Deltona Inn Properties LLC wants to create a five-lot commercial subdivision behind the motel along Deltona Boulevard. Since its resurrecting a project originally permitted in 1993, the developer is bound to have at least one buyer lined up.
Managing Editor Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business in Volusia County for 16 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.