Business Briefs – September 13, 2017

Businesses Far From the Devastation Can Feel Storm’s Impact

NEW YORK (AP) – Small businesses with customers or suppliers along the Gulf Coast and in Florida are feeling the financial impact from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Sales have dropped off as people and businesses prepared for the hurricanes, and are still down as everyone assesses and deals with the devastation left by the storms. Many companies located far away have to strategize to boost their sales and in some cases, find alternative vendors.

Irma Wrecks Tourist Spots in Caribbean, Spares Disney

Walt Disney World theme parks and Universal Orlando Resort have reopened after Florida was hit by Hurricane Irma, while the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg planned to reopen Wednesday. But many other destinations in Florida and the Caribbean affected by Irma and other storms remain off-limits to visitors. In some cases, it will take days if not weeks to resolve extensive damage or power outages.

Target Stocks Up on Staff, Raising Holiday Hiring 40 Percent

NEW YORK (AP) – Target is stocking its stores and warehouses with even more extra staff this year-end shopping season, hoping to win customers with easy-to-find goods and fast service. It’s hiring 100,000 people to work at its more than 1,800 stores during its busiest time, up 40 percent from last year.

Its stock climbed $1.62, or 2.8 percent, to $59.51.

Irma Devastates Florida Orange Crop, Harms Other Produce

LAKE WALES, Fla. (AP) – Hurricane Irma dealt Florida’s iconic orange crop a devastating blow, destroying nearly all the fruit in some Southwest Florida groves and seriously damaging groves in Central Florida.

Much of the fruit was young, and it’s too late in the season to grow a new crop.

“We’ve had many hurricanes, we’ve had freezes, but this one is widespread,” said Harold Browning with the Citrus Research and Development Foundation. “We’re seeing the kind of damage we haven’t seen, ever.”

Statewide, fruit growers and farmers have just begun to assess Irma’s impact on the state’s citrus, sugar cane and vegetable crops — but they expect it will be significant.

Still unknown: How much damage the crops suffered, how much producers might recover from crop insurance and how much more people might pay for their morning orange juice.

Self-Driving Boats: The Next Tech Transportation Race

BOSTON (AP) – Self-driving cars may not hit the road in earnest for many years — but autonomous boats could be just around the pier. Spurred in part by the car industry’s race to build driverless vehicles, big shipping companies, startups and researchers are taking advantage of technological breakthroughs, broader public acceptance of artificial intelligence and far less traffic than there is on land.