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Quicktips:  Manure expos, funky funerals and travel deals for single parents
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Quicktips: Manure expos, funky funerals and travel deals for single parents

Maybe this column should be called “quirky tips” instead of “quick tips,” because I can’t resist sharing some of the interesting and offbeat jottings from my notebook.  Hopefully you can embrace the oddities and spin an idea or two into a colorful summertime business feature. First off, my ears perked up the other day when [...]

Fourth of July stories sparkle on any business beat
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Fourth of July stories sparkle on any business beat

Already 2014 is about half over and the Fourth of July holiday is speeding toward us like a runaway locomotive.  It’s the make-it or break-it bellwether for many summer tourism businesses and particularly interesting this year because the Fourth falls on a Friday, making for an automatic three-day-weekend for many workers. According to Orbitz, many [...]

Consumers itch and businesess profit as mosquitos swarm
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Consumers itch and businesess profit as mosquitos swarm

As one of those lucky people generally ignored by stinging and biting insects, it was dismaying a week or two ago to be covered in itchy red welts after just a little while outdoors planting flower pots.  A few days later the graveside rites at a funeral I attended were actually cut short as mourners [...]

Self-publishing industry empowers local authors, service providers
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Self-publishing industry empowers local authors, service providers

Several of the best new books I’ve read lately have had one thing in common: They’ve lacked any sort of publisher’s imprint on the inside cover or title pages. Self-publishing, in either hardcopy or e-book format, is a fast-growing sector, driven by authors too impatient to wait for a traditional publisher’s verdict on their work, or [...]

Ties, tools, paternity leave: What fathers mean in the marketplace
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Ties, tools, paternity leave: What fathers mean in the marketplace

The annual salute to dads comes up June 15, and like all traditional and manufactured holidays and observances, marketers are not shy about using it to spark consumer spending.  My e-mail inbox is clogged with frantic exhortations from national chains pushing grills, apparel, retro beer posters, tools, cheese-and-sausage packs and other delights for Pop — all [...]

Find the $15/hour jobs in your market to localize Seattle’s new wage law
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Find the $15/hour jobs in your market to localize Seattle’s new wage law

The recent $15-per-hour minimum wage rule established in Seattle is creating a lot of buzz, and I’ve been brainstorming ways that business writers nationwide could localize the issue. As NBC reports, the Seattle law will phase in over time starting next April, and will include exceptions for teen workers.  It trumps San Francisco’s minimum wage [...]

One woman’s treasure: Or human interest at the scrap yard
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One woman’s treasure: Or human interest at the scrap yard

One of the best things about hitting the road is a change in perspective.  Getting a few miles, or a few hundred miles, outside your normal radius and routine can spur new ideas for financial features and economy stories to tackle when you get home. I had that experience over the holiday when a few [...]

Help readers explore ideas for money-making summer service businesses
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Help readers explore ideas for money-making summer service businesses

Headlines say “Teens still face a tough jobs market,” and other reports over the past couple of months have advised high school & college students – and anyone seeking seasonal employment this year – to apply early and often. I’ve seen more “Now Hiring” signs this spring than in several years, but some procrastinators may [...]

Wedding bells ring, vendors say cha-ching as wedding season blooms
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Wedding bells ring, vendors say cha-ching as wedding season blooms

It’s the peak of springtime and that ringing sound you hear is the peal of wedding bells – and the cha-ching of revenue echoing in the daydreams of wedding industry vendors.  Add to the mix the imminent marriage mania surrounding Kim Kardashian and Kanye West‘s vows, along with more Federal court victories for gay marriage, [...]

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