By Cecil G. Brumley
Somebody out there was making money over the summer. But it apparently didn't get spread around enough.
In June, taxable retail sales in Volusia County were up 5.32 percent at $503.5 million from $478.1 million in June 2011, according to figures just released by the state Department of Revenue. Just about every retail sector was up, and all the major sectors grew, except building supplies. The home improvement and new construction suppliers are catching up, though, and were almost even with last year.
Based on housing starts in July, the building suppliers should do better. There were 85 new housing units started in July in Volusia, almost double the 49 started in July 2011, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report. The single-family housing starts were at 71, up from 41 last year.
Daytona Beach and Port Orange led the building spurt with sharp increases from last year. West Volusia also continues to show improvement.
While unemployment was down in July from July 2011, the overall economy apparently still needs to improve drastically to have a significant impact on employment.
But what's showing up on the EmployFlorida.com website provides some hope. One of the most significant is manufacturing jobs. In recent days, Covidien, the hyperdermic-needle maker in DeLand; Edgewater boat maker Boston Whaler; and Teledyne, the Daytona Beach undersea connectors manufacturer; have all had multiple listings for jobs.
Hopefully the August labor market report will start showing some improvement.
Amicorp Corp. of DeLand seems to think the housing market is improving. The company is seeking a stormwater system permit from St. Johns River Water Management District to complete the 196-lot Sabal Lakes subdivision in New Smyrna Beach. The development is off Pioneer Trail, between Glencoe Road and Sugar Mill Drive.
All the most recent big commercial real estate deals were in Orange City with the Kohl's-anchored West Volusia Towne Centre selling for $12 million. A Brooklyn, N.Y., investor bought the shopping center out of foreclosure. American Realty Capital bought the Ruby Tuesday property at 1212 Saxon Blvd. for about $2.3 million from CNL Funding. Even Major Leaguer Luke Scott got in on the action. He and a partner bought a medical office complex on Harley Strickland Boulevard for $923,500.
The Pantry of Charlotte, N.C., is celebrating the completion of renovations to two of its Kangaroo Express stores with re-grand opening celebrations. The stores are at Bill France Boulevard and Mason Avenue, and Beville Road and Williamson Boulevard, both in Daytona Beach.
Hendrick Honda (formerly Jon Hall Honda) is adding 6,800-square-feet of space to its dealership in Daytona Beach.
On the restaurant beat, Sonny's Bar-B-Q has opened at the junction of U.S. 17 and U.S. 92 in DeLand. The U.S. 1 Restaurant & Grill at 2842 Ridgewood Ave. in South Daytona has closed.
Although it still isn't on the store listings for The Pavilion at Port Orange, a Dollar Tree has definitely opened there. It's nearest to Williamson Boulevard in the strip that includes Marshalls and Michaels.
Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business in Volusia County for more than 15 years. He can be contacted at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.